Suzuki just filed one of the more interesting patents this year, for a hybrid motorcycle featuring an inline four coupled to an electric motor, featuring a semi-automatic transmission. Motorcycle.com discovered the new sportbike patent filed with the Japanese Patent Office.
The electric motor (#43) is mounted behind the cylinder bank and can be used to provide full electric drive or assistance to the inline 4. The battery is expected to be mounted beneath the seat.
The electric motor and the combustion engine both route power through the semi-automatic gear box. When bypassing electric power the transmission turns the motor into a generator, which is ready to deploy electric power injections at will.
Unlike DCT transmissions the rider is still responsible for shifting with his left foot, but the inputs are translated electronically. The Transmission Control Unit (TCU) will understand that the rider has chosen to shift up or down and will relay that message to the ECU which cuts power on upshifts and blips the throttle on downshifts. Essentially this would seem a poor mans version of the seamless gearbox Suzuki is developing for Aleix Espagaro and Maverick Vinales' MotoGP GSX-RR's.
When any of this makes its way to a piece of road near you is unknown, but Suzuki is certainly working on fascinating technology for the future.