All-wheel drive system to be featured on complete models
INDIANAPOLIS — The inventor of an all-wheel technology that has long been a kit option for dirt bike riders now is taking the technology one step further.
Starting this fall, Steve Christini will work with U.S. and overseas dealers to provide consumers models that possess the company’s all-wheel system. The step from a kit to a complete model — actually two models — is an evolution Christini said has long been in the works.
Christini, who founded his Philadelphia-based company in 1999, first tried to work with different OEMs to create an all-wheel drive model. As that has failed to develop, the Christini Technologies group and its investors began looking to build its own bike through overseas partnerships.
“We decided if we are ever going to realize our full potential, we have to figure out a way to do it ourselves,” he told Powersports Business.
Christini AWD, the brand name that will be associated with the new models, initially will feature a four-stroke, 450cc model (MSRP: $6,895) and a two-stroke model with a 300cc Gas Gas engine (MSRP estimated at $8,995).
The dirt bikes will be geared at the slightly older off-road enthusiast who probably already has one or two off-road motorcycles.
“A lot of them buy it thinking it’s going to be their extreme bike,” Christini said of off-roaders who have purchased the company’s kit and added it to their stock bike. “Then they realize it does a lot more than just climb rocks.”
The all-wheel drive system is said to dramatically improve handling in muddy and loose terrain areas. Christini said in a normal rear-drive vehicle, a portion of the bike’s horsepower can be lost when the rear wheel hits a hole and starts spinning. But with the all-wheel drive system, when a back tire begins spinning, some of the bike’s horsepower is transferred to the front tire, giving it better handling and also additional acceleration.
“It prevents bikes from ever getting stuck,” he said. “If you’re getting stuck, both wheels are buried in something.”
In the past, Christini featured kits for both KTM and Honda models.
Going forward, the company will be marketing its two new models to the more than 11,000 Facebook followers it has as well as expected additional international interest.
In North America, Christini believes the company will be building a dealer base from dealers who already have niche off-road brands, like Gas Gas. Those dealers, Christini believes, will see interest from off-roaders in the 40-50-year-old demographic who already own more than one dirt bike and are looking for another trail ride.
The new models, which Christini has been testing since last summer, are expected to be available later this fall as the company completes its emission testing.
Copyright 2011 Powersports Business