I checked out the pictures of John's hand controls last night. How very
impressive! What determination. I would like to know more about John's
patent. Please let us know what it is about.
More info and images of the patent are available through the U.S. Patent Office
website at http://patimg2.uspto.gov/.piw?Docid=05299652 . Be advised that that
text below may appear sort of "squirrely" to some list subscribers, depending on
their email setups and list preferences. When in doubt, open the link for the
United States Patent 5,299,652
Bevins April 5, 1994
Motorcycle controls for physically challenged rider
Complete shifting and all wheel braking systems are controlled on the handlebars
to allow a physically challenged rider to safely operate a motorcycle having a
Inventors: Bevins; John P. (xxxaddressdeletedxxx)
Appl. No.: 977593
Filed: November 17, 1992
Current U.S. Class: 180/219; 74/473.3; 180/230; 303/9.62
Intern'l Class: B62M 025/08
Field of Search: 280/203 180/219,230 74/335,473 R,851,852 303/9.62,9.63
1. In a motorcycle having a frame, a front and rear wheel, front and rear
brakes, an engine, a manual foot actuated transmission having a gear shifting
lever arm, a clutch, a clutch lever, handlebars, and means for brake actuation,
the improvement comprising:
a pneumatic shifting assembly;
said pneumatic shifting assembly further comprising a compressor, an air tank, a
pressure controller, an output pressure regulator, an actuator having a linkage
means connected to said gear shifting lever arm, and release means for releasing
air from said tank to said actuator, thereby moving said linkage means to shift
said release means further comprising a handlebar mounted upshift and downshift
switch, an upshift solenoid, and a downshift solenoid, wherein first activating
said clutch lever and then activating said upshift switch causes said upshift
solenoid to open thereby causing said release means to release air from said
tank through said pressure regulator, thereby upshifting said transmission and
further causing said pressure controller to maintain a fixed pressure range in
said tank by activating said compressor; and wherein activating said clutch
lever and then activating said downshift switch causes said downshift solenoid
to open and cause said release means to release air from said tank through said
pressure regulator, thereby downshifting said transmission and further causing
said pressure controller to maintain a fixed pressure range in said tank by
activating said compressor; and
said means for brake actuation further comprising a proportioning valve, and a
single brake lever on said handlebars, thereby simultaneously operating said
front and rear brakes in an adjustable ratio by depressing said brake lever.
2. The improvement of claim 1 wherein said engine further comprises an ignition
switch and a battery, and said release means further comprises electric power
from said battery via a relay on said ignition switch, said relay functioning to
allow said electric power to said release means only when said ignition switch
3. The improvement of claim 1 wherein said engine further comprises an ignition
kill switch, functioning to cause said upshift and downshift solenoids to
momentarily switch OFF said ignition, thereby allowing clutchless shifting.
4. The improvement of claim 1 wherein said pressure controller further comprises
an operating range of 70-100 p.s.i., and said pressure regulator further
comprises an output of approximately 50 p.s.i.
5. The improvement of claim 1 wherein said frame further comprises a sidecar
having brakes, and said proportioning valve further comprises means for
simultaneously operating said sidecar brakes.
6. The improvement of claim 5 wherein said sidecar further comprises means for
mounting a collapsible wheelchair astern.
7. The improvement of claim 6 wherein said means for mounting a collapsible
wheelchair astern further comprises a horizontal support bar, a forward leaning
vertical strut supported by said support bar, a brace supporting said horizontal
support bar, and a support strap.
8. The improvement of claim 5 wherein pneumatic shifting assembly further
comprises quick disconnect means for electrical and pneumatic mounting behind a
passenger seat in said sidecar.
9. The improvement of claim 1 wherein said pneumatic shifting assembly further
comprises quick disconnect means for electrical and pneumatic mounting inside a
saddlebag on said frame.
The present invention relates to handlebar control systems for a motorcycle
which enable complete control of the motorcycle without moving the hands from
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
Traditional motorcycle controls utilize a right handlebar throttle, a right
handlebar front brake control, a right foot rear brake control, a left handlebar
clutch control, and a left foot shift control.
A physically challenged rider without a functional left foot or right foot
cannot control at least one essential element of a traditional motorcycle.
Paralysis victims suffering from a loss of use of the legs cannot shift or brake
the rear wheel of a traditional motorcycle. Additionally, they require a sidecar
to balance the motorcycle when stopped.
Known in the art is a suicide shift. In place of a left foot shift lever, a
shift lever is mounted adjacent the gas tank. A similar embodiment is a shift
lever directly attached to the transmission and pointing upwards adjacent the
left leg. While these controls allow shifting a motorcycle by a physically
challenged rider, they force the left hand off the handlebar for every shift.
This is dangerous, and can cause a loss of control of the motorcycle.
Additionally, no known proportioning front, rear and sidecar handbrake system
for motorcycles is known in the art.
One other shift mechanism is used by drag racers. The motorcycle is equipped
with a small compressed air tank. The tank is switchably connected to a
pneumatic actuator rod which is affixed to the shifting lever. A pneumatic
engine kill switch is hooked up to the air connection to the pneumatic actuator
In operation during a motorcycle drag race, the racer opens the throttle all the
way and keeps it there. For shifting, the racer touches (preferably with his
right thumb) the pneumatic actuator switch. The quick bursts of air from the
compressed air tank move the actuator rod up the range of gears. During the
shift operation, the pneumatic kill switch briefly kills the engine in order to
more synchronously merge the transmission gears up their range while the clutch
is still engaged. This system provides the starting point for the present
invention's adaptation for the physically challenged rider.
A downshift capability is added to the racer's upshift system. An on-board
compressor is added to the air tank. Normal clutch operation allows push button
up and down shifting of the motorcycle.
A proportional hydraulic single lever brake system is provided to apply braking
pressure simultaneously to the front, rear and sidecar brakes with an adjustable
proportion of 50% or more to the front brake.
Electronic controls prevent undue battery discharge. Finally, a wheelchair mount
is affixed to the rear of the sidecar for the paralyzed rider. The present
invention has proved totally functional for a paralyzed rider to safely drive a
motorcycle with a sidecar without ever taking his hands off the handlebars.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
The main object of the present invention is to allow the normal shifting of a
motorcycle without the use of the feet and without letting go of the handlebars.
Another object of the present invention is to provide a hand-controlled
multi-brake control system for a motorcycle.
Another object of the present invention is to provide the above features on a
motorcycle having a sidecar.
Another object of the present invention is to provide a wheelchair carrier on a
Other objects of this invention will appear from the following description and
appended claims, reference being had to the accompanying drawings forming a part
of this specification wherein like reference characters designate corresponding
parts in the several views.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
FIG. 1 is a right side plan view of a motorcycle having a handlebar shifting and
FIG. 2 is a schematic of the handlebar shifting system shown in FIG. 1.
FIG. 3 is a side view of the physical layout of the handlebar shifting system
for the sidecar shown in FIGS. 1, 5.
FIG. 4 is a schematic of the handlebar braking system shown in FIGS. 1, 5, 6.
FIG. 5 is a left side plan view of a motorcycle with a sidecar with a partial
cutaway of the sidecar.
FIG. 6 is a rear plan view of the motorcycle with sidecar shown in FIG. 5.
Before explaining the disclosed embodiment of the present invention in detail,
it is to be understood that the invention is not limited in its application to
the details of the particular arrangement shown, since the invention is capable
of other embodiments. Also, the terminology used herein is for the purpose of
description and not of limitation.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT
Referring to FIG. 1 a motorcycle 1 has a right handlebar 2, a left handlebar 3,
a clutch lever 4, a brake lever 5, a throttle 6, and a shift switch 7. Shift
switch 7 further comprises an upshift button 8 and a downshift button 9. In
operation the throttle 4 is advanced, then the throttle 4 is lowered while the
clutch lever 4 is closed thereby disengaging the clutch 10. The upshift button 8
is depressed thereby discharging a burst of air from tank 11 to actuator 12 and
advancing shift arm 13 thus advancing a gear in transmission 14. Downshifting is
accomplished in the same manner by pushing downshift button 9. The normal
operation of the transmission 14 is not affected. Transmission 14 has a
spring-loaded return for shift rod 15 Which causes shift arm 13 to always return
to a common return position after either an upshift or a downshift. The foot
shift lever 16 follows all the movements of shift arm 13 as it would as if
actuated by a foot.
Air compressor 17 maintains the operating pressure of about 100 p.s.i. in the
tank 11. The tank 11 output pressure is regulated by regulator 190 as seen in
Upshift control solenoid 20 is activated by upshift button 8 to release bursts
of air from tank 11. A gel cushion seat 21 is provided to improve the
circulation of a paralyzed rider.
A two-way proportional valve 22 is pneumatically activated by brake lever 5.
Proportional valve 22 simultaneously activates front brake 23 and rear brake 24.
The original rear master cylinder (not shown) has been removed.
FIG. 2 shows a schematic of the shift control assembly 200 housed in saddlebag
50 of FIG. 1. Wire 41 is powered when the ignition switch is turned on. This
activates relay 40 to pass the twelve volt battery power from wire 42 to the
pressure controller 31, compressor 17, shift switch 7, upshift control solenoid
20 and downshift control solenoid 30.
In operation upshift button 8 is depressed causing upshift control solenoid 20
to open, thereby allowing a burst of air to flow from tank 11 through junction
box 32 to the upper chamber 37 of actuator 12. Thus, the pressure in upper
chamber 37 is momentarily greater than the pressure in lower chamber 38 and
plunger 36 moves downward forcing arm 35 forward (see also FIG. 1).
Downshifting occurs in the reverse fashion by pushing downshift button 9. Gauges
18, 19 allow for troubleshooting to find leaks as well as to monitor the
functioning of regulator 190. Pressure controller 31 controls compressor 17 to
maintain pressure from 70 to 100 p.s.i. in tank 11.
An optional pneumatic kill switch 33 is shown in FIG. 2. This option momentarily
shuts off the ignition coil 34 during an upshift. By shutting off the ignition
(and consequently the engine) upshifting can be accomplished without using the
clutch. This would enable a physically challenged person without the ability to
depress the clutch lever 4 (FIG. 1) to shift.
Referring next to FIG. 3, a typical physical layout of the shift control
assembly 200 is shown. d.sub.1 is about 11 inches and d.sub.2 is about 12
inches. Thus, this layout fits in either a sidecar as shown in FIG. 5 or a
saddlebag as shown in FIG. 1. A quick connector 300 allows all electrical inputs
and outputs to be quickly attached. Pneumatic quick disconnects 1000, 1001 allow
for fast installation and troubleshooting. Mass production of this embodiment
for sidecar installation is economically feasible.
Referring next to FIG. 4, the proportional valve 22 is mounted on the chassis of
the motorcycle 1 as seen in FIG. 1. The standard front master cylinder 450 is
controlled by the brake lever 5. Proportion adjuster 229 is set by the user for
the desired proportioning of braking power. The front brake 23 would normally
receive 50% while the rear brake 24 and sidecar brakes 400 would share the
remaining 50%. In a panic stop, the front brake 23 provides 70% of the stopping
power. Therefore, the user may wish to set the proportion adjuster to 70% for
the front brake 23. The original rear brake master cylinder has been replaced by
proportioning valve 22. In operation a single depression of brake lever 5
applies all three brakes, front 23, rear 24 and sidecar 400 simultaneously.
FIGS. 5, 6 show a sidecar attachment to a motorcycle 1 and the present invention
housed in the sidecar 1050. A sidecar 1050 has a tire 1051, a seat 1052 and a
shift control assembly 200 mounted behind the seat 1052. The operation is
identical to the saddlebag version 200 noted above.
For braking, the same brake lever 5 powers the same front master cylinder 450
which in turn activates the three way proportioning valve 229.
In FIGS. 5 & 6, a wheelchair rack 2000 has vertical supports 2001, 2010, a
horizontal support 2002, and a tie down strap 2003 for the wheelchair 2004.
Braces 2005 and 2006 are bolted or welded to the sidecar frame 2007.
A physically challenged rider without any use of his legs can operate a
motorcycle/sidecar combination with the present invention. Although not shown,
it would be obvious to one skilled in the art to adapt the present invention to
any motor vehicle capable of being operated by hand controls. Three wheeled
power scooters having handlebars are well known in the art.
Although the present invention has been described with reference to preferred
embodiments, numerous modifications and variations can be made and still the
result will come within the scope of the invention. No limitation with respect
to the specific embodiments disclosed herein is intended or should be inferred.
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