High-end motorcycles, especially the top-spec variants often come with heatable seats and grips, but now Honda may be taking that feature a notch higher with a climate-controlled seat. Patent images filed by Honda reveal what is likely to be a system to keep your backside at a pre-set temperature, with controls at the bar-mounted switch, quite like conventional heated grips and seat. The system will be simple, like the system used in car seats, and will likely use fresh air for cooling or hot air from the engine's radiator to warm you up on a cold day.
While the patent images are just representational, the patent application confirms that the design has already been built and successfully tested. The test bike seems to be a last generation Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade, but the technology could work on any motorcycle. The key elements of the patent are a new seat material, using a plastic mesh material which allows air to flow through it while being resistant to the elements, along with pipes to duct air from the front of the bike. One pipe directs air from the ram air intake, where it can take high-pressure cold air and run it through the seat to cool it on warm days. Another pipe runs from the bike's radiator, directing warm air to the seat to warm it in cold weather.
The system is controlled by a switch mounted on the handlebar, which lets users control valves in the plumbing, altering the volume of air going through, and also allowing the user to blend hot and cold air feeds to get the desired temperature. Honda's patent application reveals how the system works and also has accompanying text which refers to tests carried out in wind tunnels, with graphs to show how quickly the seat can reach the 'target' temperature when switched to them. It's clear that Honda has been carrying out successful tests on the system, and prototypes are being tested.
While there's no word on when the system will be production-ready, the Fireblade test mule could be just that - a platform for tests. It's more likely that the system will debut on Honda's touring and adventure models, including the next-generation Africa Twin and the big luxury tourer, the Gold Wing getting the system first. As is usually the norm, we can expect some sort of concept showcasing the new technology at one of the international motorcycle shows later this year.