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 Wendy Moon Archive
 2005 Blog posts
 10-24-On the cheap
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Moonrider
Female Junior Member
26 Posts


St. Louis, MO
USA

Honda

VFR 750F
Peer Review: Blocked

Posted - 02/02/2011 :  10:32 AM                       Like
(Posted 10/24/05

If someone doesn't really grasp what actually happens during riding nor understands how the brain works nor "grasp what actually happens during learning," they may think Hondas Rider Trainer Simulator is great. It is true that if the hazard awareness software programs was designed with American traffic as the basis, it could help the intermediate student attain better skills. It's also true it would teach the novice-student how to use the basic controls shift/clutch, throttle and brakes in an absolutely risk free environment. That last part is problematic in itself, and we'll get to that, but for now, let's stay with the intrinsic wholeness of the riding experience.

According to the Monash University Accident Research Center in Australia, what research has been done on the effectiveness of motorcycle training has been written up in Japanese and not translated. This means that we English speakers know little about how the programs work, etc. An article by Tatsuhiko Awane of Honda's Driving Safety Promotions Center in Japan has been translated but since it is from a vested interest it should be taken with reserved judgment and was done on the earlier version and not the Rider Trainer.

But even Awane admits that it's too early to conduct an accurate evaluation and when they surveyed graduates as to the earlier version's (Prototype 3's) helpfulness they only had a 2-percent response rate, which is far too low to assume the results are reliable. But, even then, the results indicated that it was helpful in terms of hazard awareness but Honda's Awane didn't claim that it was the best way to learn basic riding skills. Another document supplied by Honda's Australian Roadcraft Training complex in Sydney claims that the death rate per 10,000 riders has dropped significantly.

If this kind of claim is allowed to stand unchallenged, however, one could then say with a straight face and as much truth that the BRC is very, very bad training since the fatality rate has soared since it has been instituted. However, no one would say that the BRC is *the* cause of the increase in rider fatalities in the USA - that would be absurd. Honda's claim, then, has to be challenged since it's unknown how many riders took the simulator training, what the riders who died exposure rate was, what else may have changed during that time in the traffic makeup, etc. etc.all those variables that are all too often ignored when manufacturers or their sycophants do the research and make the claims.

Iow, there hasn't been the kind of rigorous evaluation or testing on any of Honda's motorcycle simulators let alone the Rider Trainer to show that it is effective way to train as opposed to a nice adjunct to learning. And there is NOTHING to show that students learn accurately in terms of the whole picture or the ridingness of riding when they learn basic operational controls on a simulator. More on this later.

But do keep this in mind as you read: unless the motorcycling community - and particularly the MROs do something about it - this untested, unproven training is on its way to your local dealership.

So why did I begin this whole series about what is the riding experience? Why do I keep coming back to the wholeness of riding and intrinsic role sensation plays in riding period? Because the real issue I have with the Rider Trainer is that it divorces the essential nature of riding - and learning - from training.

This isn't just me here - Honda itself discovered while testing of Honda's earliest prototypes. The first one was in a cradle that allowed the motorcycle and rider to simulate actual rider movements and it was a disaster. According to the Honda Worldwide Technology Close up website (http://world.honda.com/motorcycle technology/sim/p3.html), they found that the sense of G force (acceleration) was essential to accurately manipulate the motorcycle simulator and without it, the "riders could not feel the posture of the motorcycle body." As a result, all the motorcycle experts felt without having that sensation to guide them. This led Honda to change the program goals from 'demanding manipulation of motorcycles' to 'anybody can easily ride' and 'let them have the feeling of riding on motorcycles'.

Prototype 2, according to Honda's website, improved to such a degree that it was possible "to practically feel the wind during driving." Duplication of the riding experience, then, was seen *by Honda* to be essential in accurate training and was tested on a large cohort 3,500 riders including some novices.

But that research conclusion was based on a very different rider simulator than the one Honda plans to insert into every Honda dealership. The Prototype 2 and 3 had a motorcycle body and a 120" screen to look at. The Rider Trainer doesn't. In fact, the higher degree of verisimilitude and "to practically feel the wind during driving" that was the very thing that Honda itself had discovered to be essential is notably absent.

Verisimilitude was also the route the other three of the Big Four manufacturers took with their motorcycle simulators: Kawasaki's version and the Mitsubishi Rider Training Simulator with the optional bike developed in collaboration with Suzuki and Yamaha Corps (see: RS 5000 http://www.mpcnet.co.jp/e/e_product...02/rs5k.html) though the Mitsubishi simulator might be just as bad without the optional motorcycle. It's hard to tell. At any rate, in these versions - the ones that Japanese riders are trained on - there's at least some attempt for some verisimilitude.

Another simulator, the MORIS (see: http://www percro.sssup.it/projects/moris.html) and a German one are used only for testing. If you can read German, here's another site for you: http://wsvst25.site.uni wuppertal.de/dirk/motsim1.html . In these versions there's every attempt to duplicate the actual riding experience. That effort circumvents some of these problems particularly the models that use virtual reality headgear rather than having the rider look at a flat computer screen that is some distance ahead of them.

Let's look at the pictures of the various simulators and the differences are dramatically clear between what it best for Japan and what Honda is offering the rest of the world:

Image: Mitsubishi Rider Training Simulator

Image: Honda's simulator based on the Prototype 3

Image: Honda's The Rider Trainer

Iow, even though Honda *knows* that the Rider Trainer produces a basically inaccurate experience that's divorced from exactly what they learned the rider needed from their first prototype on, they went with what is expedient and economical and *best for the company* rather than what would produce the best results *for the rider.*

And it certainly isn't in the individual student's best interests as we shall see.

James R. Davis
Male Administrator
17378 Posts
[Mentor]


Houston, TX
USA

Honda

GoldWing 1500

Posted - 02/02/2011 :  10:39 AM Follow poster on Twitter  Join poster on Facebook as Friend  
I believe that these are the three pictures Wendy included in her message, though I sourced them from the Internet.

Mitsubishi simulator:


Honda simulator based on Prototype 3:


Honda Rider Trainer:
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