I've always been intrigued by "Cabin Motorcycles", probably because I live in the north and would like to extend my riding year round. I don't think I would want to replace an open motorcycle with one of these during the summer, but on a long trip in the late fall or on a winter day when the roads are reasonably clear, this seems like a good alternative to a car.
Although, I had been thinking about the concept, I had forgotten that there is a company, Peraves, in Switzerland who makes these expensive (>$ 70k) and interesting bikes. Thanks to the Kneeslider for reminding me of their existence and getting me to their website.
But seeing these bikes got me asking the question, what is the right packaging for an enclosed motorcycle. No matter what you do, its going to be a very long wheelbase, by either car or motorcycle standards. Especially if you carry a passenger.
Peraves has essentially split a motorcycle at the steering head. Up front you have the front suspension and the rider/driver with his legs spread around the front wheelhouse in order to get in the right position relative to the handlebars. Out back, the engine and rear wheel are in a relatively normal relationship. The end result is the rider is well connected to the steering and the front wheel, but the rear wheel is very far away and its probably hard to feel what's going on back there.
I was wondering, what if you could make it a front engine, rear drive package like a traditional sports car. The front suspension would be in the normal relationship to the engine and the rider would be sitting behind the engine looking out over the hood. We would have to figure out how to make the steering work back there, but the rider would be in a position more typical of a car, that is, somewhere near the center of the wheelbase (assuming a backseat). A single seat version would put you even closer to the rear wheel and able to feel the front wheel through the handlebars and the rear wheel through your intelligence (seat of the pants).
Anyone wanting to check out the Peraves bike should check out their website, in particular, the photos of the Brno driving school. The Peraves link is below.