TTW - Tilting Three Wheelers


last updated 4/22/2002

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Mitch Casto's research has turned up many patents related to tilting trikes. Here is a beginning to the listů click on any of the thumbnail sketches to see the first page of the patent. Note well that there are dozens more below. You can email Mitch Casto at

Articulated Tricycle Patent No. 4,541,501, Katsuyoshi Kawasaki, 1985, "Articulated Tricycle." Very much like an uncovered GM Lean Machine, this patent shows the most conventional of tilt trikes.

Tricycle Patent No. 5,240,267, Peter Owsen, 1993, "Tricycle." This pedal powered tilt trike has two interesting features: first, it is foldable, and second, as you can see from the thumbnail sketch, the tilt linkage causes the bike to tilt along the line of the contact point of the front tire to the road.

Leaning Vehicle... Patent No. 4,903,857, King Klopfenstein, 1990, "Leaning Vehicle with Centrifugal Force Compensation." This pedal powered tilt trike is different in that the wheel pair is in the front, no the rear. It still tilts, though!

Vehicle Body Tilting Mechanism Patent No. 44,660,853, Edmund F.N. Jephcott, 1987, "Vehicle Body Tilting Mechanism." Jephcott patented the mechanism for automatically tilting the vehicle body apart from the vehicle itself. Indeed, this tilting mechanism could be applied to a four wheeler, or train, or anything. Jephcott, recall, is the inventor if the tilt-trike, 1980, and the Jephcott Micro, 1987. The Micro employed this patented mechanism.

The following is an updated list from the tireless Mitch Casto, November 1999, of TTW-related patents. You can see details about many, though not all, of these patents at this IBM site: Thanks, Mitch!

United States Patents

Note: these first patent numbers do not have any content on the www patents databases. They were found in other sources.

1332042 Johnston 1920, motorcycle sidecar which leans
1688579 ?
2152938 ?
2221196 ? circa 1920 I think this one was a 4 wheeled auto which in the patent description says that purpose of the invention is to counter the discomfort of lateral forces on the passengers in curves. Looks like the lean control was operated directly by the driver and was hydraulically assisted

2493817 ? Rich
2702196 Gamaunt 1955, motorcycle sidecar which leans
2819093 ?
2960941 Li 1960 patent might be by "Y.T." Li who has 3277840 also
3277840 Yao Tzu Li 1966, 1F3T narrow track motorcycle based machine with assisted lean. It is likely the later reported in work at MIT
3504934 Wallis . Probably is the patent for the 1F1T Ariel Three which was produced in Britain by BSA

Note: The IBM and USPTO patent databases begin 1971 with only brief written descriptions, images including drawings do not begin until 1974 dates.

3561778 La Brie 2F3TNL human powered, pedalled chain drive

3572456 Healy (Hedly?) titled "Bankable Tricycle Vehicle"
3583727 Wallis see also 3504934
3601213 Patin
3645558 McMullen banking 3-wheeler 1FNL? helps teach how to ride a bicycle without falling
3669468 Rich Toy
3696681 Fetter chain drive for a tilting vehicle
3698502 Patin 1F three-wheeler with "a device sensitive to resultant of weight and centrifugal force"
3707199 Gerich banking vehicle that may or may not have wheels, described as especially useful for snow/ice
3712404 Walquist This is a tractor, not a highway vehicle to be used on the sides of hills without overturning
3729210 Cunningham mechanism uses 'subframes' to keep wheels vertical at all times
3746118 Altorfer 3-wheeled vehicle with powered lean
3781031 Patin seems to be a 1F design three-wheeler perhaps tilt controlled by a pendulum device

Note that for the IBM and USPTO websites the first images begin in 1972 patents which follow below:

3792748 Regier depicted as as a riding lawn mower which can negoiate sideways on slopes without overturning
3820809 Blonar could be applied to more than 3 wheels, a tilt control device that may use hydraulics
3880449 Wada 1975 1F1T Suzuki Motor Company depicted as human powered
3899037 Yuker 4-wheeled all-terrain-vehicle (off-road )
3931989 Nagamitsu, Daihatsu Motor Company 1F1T motorized scooter see
3583727 I read that Daihatsu bought the Ariel Three patent, perhaps this is one of their imporvements for the 'Diahatsu Hello' scooter. It is for a 'connecting device' of the ront/rear sections and seems to purposefully restrict lean with rubber damping instead of the Ariel's metal torsion bars
3937486 Weiters Toy, looks like a conventional high seat child's trike with 1 front wheel that has pedals, but leans by handlebars
3938609 Kensaku, Daihatsu Motor Company see 3931989
3958814 Smith 2F3T depicted as pedalled hpv (bicycle)
3964563 Carling 1F3T depicted as an enclosed motorcycle
3976302 Hammarstrand pivoting axle system for a tractor
3995875 Wada, Suzuki Motor Company see 3880449
4003443 Boughers 1F3T narrow track
4006916 Patin locking device for articulated vehicle
4020914 Trautwein depicted as an enclosed vehicle
4036506 This is a sled, it has no wheels.
4045048 GM Toy
4046211 Carling see 3964563
4050710 Flaig depiction could have 3 or more wheels
4050711 GM Toy Denzer, General Motors Toy which combines concepts of skateboard and roller skates with handlebars
4050713 GM Toy
4064957 Parham "three-wheel motorcycle" for many passengers, uses hydraulics
4065144 Winchell, General Motors 1F3TNL Stabilized with foot pedals. Depicted as enclosed motorized vehicle.
4065146 GM Toy
4071261 GM Toy
4072325 Bright 2F3T seems to use a "pendulum" to control lean automatically
4087101 Toy
4087104 GM Toy
4087106 GM Toy
4088199 Trautwein 2F3TNL depicted as a motorcycle which uses foot pedals to help with lean control
4126322 Mika depicted as a 2FAL three-wheeled vehicle for negoiating sideways on slopes without overturning and described as having automatic lean control
4123079 GM Toy
4132435 Wilson 2F3TNL steering determines the lean angle regardless of speed
4133551 GM Toy
4159128 Blaine mechanism for "tilting the outside wheel at a greater angle than the inside wheel in the direction of the turn in order to automatically compensate for the effects of lateral forces"
4159752 Kanno, Yamaha motor company. 1F drivetrain motor noncentered placement, not certain if leans
4165093 GM Toy
4198072 Toy Hopkins
4209072 Orlandea Deere company (similar to Calleja, Boughers) large construction machine
4281844 Jackman Toy
4283074 Tidwell many passenger vehicle
4316520 Yamamoto, Honda motor company. 1F2TNL seems to be an improvement of the Gyro/Stream to drive both rear wheels to avoid torque steer
4325565 GM Toy
4340125 Honda Stream/ Gyro/ Canopy ? 1F1TNL
4351410 Townsend 1F or 2F vehicle with powered automatic lean using a parallelogram
4356876 Honda Stream park-lock
4359231 Mulcahy Toy with steering controlled by leaning 1F
4360224 Sato, Yamaha motor company 2F3TNL
4368796 Patin tilt control apparatus
4375293 Solbes 2F3T narrow track (refs Boughers)
4385770 Mitchell leaning sidecar motorcycle
4408776 Randolph 2F3TNL unusual idea- back wheel pivots from side to side to change back wheel location.
4421194 Kawasaki, Honda motor co 1F1LNT pivot point assembly drawing depiction looks like the Stream/Gyro
4423795 Winchell, General Motors 1F1LNT apparently this is the GM Lean Machine which was published in Road & Track January 1983, pp 80B,C,D
4424877 Kawasaki , Honda motor co. 1F1LNT looks like development of Gyro/Stream
4429760 Koizumi , Honda motor co. 1F1LNT looks like development of Gyro/Stream
4432561 Feikema Toy
4437535 Winchell, General Motors see 4423795
4448436 Ohzono, Honda motor co. park lock perhaps for Gyro/Stream
4451064 Perkins 1F1LNT depicted as human pedal powered, seems to focus on chain drive mechanism
4453616 Porter, Yamaha motor company. allows for 'slight' tilting of the frame by the rider
4469188 Mita, Honda motor company, seems to be an improvement of the Gyro/Stream in that the motor is situated so that it is not unsprung weight
4469344 Coil, 2F3T steering controlled lean, apparently regardless of any factor except steering
4470611 Duphily not certain if this intends to make a leaning vehicle
4477097 Hayes leaning motorcycle sidecar
4484648 Jephcott, 2F1TAL This is the machine of which there were very brief articles in Popular Science July 1980 p95 and November 1989 p63. see also
4487429 Ruggles depicted as 4 wheeled automobile with objective of keeping vehicle level in curves, not compensating for full lateral force on passengers. Claims to be more simple and less expensive than others.
4497502 Forbes, Huffy Corp. bicycle company. 1F3TNL depicted as a recumbent human pedalled vehicle steered by leaning

4526392 Berkstresser depicted as recumbent human pedalled vehicle with steering by lean
4534439 Shimazaki, Honda motor company park lock perhaps for the development of the Gyro/Stream
4540192 Shelton Toy
4541501 Kawasaki, Honda motor company. looks like a development of the Gyro/Stream to independent rear suspension
4546997 Smyers 2F3TAL This is the Mother Earth News 3VG which was described in that magazine Sept/Oct, Nov/Dec 1983. magazine founder Shuttlesworth is listed as coinventor. see also 4600216
4550926 MacIsaac this is depicted as a 4 wheeled automobile as a wheel leveling device to maintain tire contact through turns
4560026 Yanagisawa, Honda motor company. seems to be an improved park lock for the Gyro/Stream
4572535 Stewart 1F1TNL depicted as pedalled human powered front wheel drive, steering controlled with body lean
4580802 Herman Toy
4592441 Marier, Yamaha motor company, 1F1TNL depicted as a motorized off-road vehicle
4600216 Burkholder see 4546997
4624469 Bourne 2F3T 'simplified driver controlled lean' attempts to compensate for lateral forces
4632413 Fujita, Honda motor company. Depicted with both 3 and 4 wheels. It may be that the vehicle leans according to steering without regard to speed.
4634137 Cocksedge 2F3T human powered with rear wheel drive by chain
4647067 Paquette Depictions of both 3 and 4 wheeled vehicles. The 3 wheeled vehicle, especially on sheet 2 of 7 is depicted as having a pivoting yoke, realtively narrow track, off-road vehicle
4650213 Fujita, Honda motor company. see 4632413
4666018 Shibuya, Honda motor company. Seems to be an improvement of the Gyro/Stream. the focus is a damper which varies its strength according to leaning speed
4660853 Jephcott see 4484648
4678053 Watanabe, Honda Motor Company. looks like developments of the Gyro/Stream including reduction of unsprung weight of the rear shock absorber and other potential improvements
4697663 Trautwein 2F3TNL, lean controlled with foot pedals. Depicted as a scooter
4703824 Irimajiri, Honda motor company. Depicted as a 2F enclosed 'carlike' vehicle. Cambers by moving the single wheel from side to side.
principle similar to 4408776
4717164 Levavi. 2F3TNL not certain if machine has speed differeniated lean control, but supposedly automatic lean. Depicted as an enclosed two person human powered vehicle
4740004 McMullen. 2F3TNL parallelogram, depicted as pedal bicycle
4789173 Lofgren. 1F3TNL leaned by moving the front wheel to one side. depicted as a recumbent, front wheel drive pedalled human powered
4854603 Scaduto "automotive" chassis/suspension intended to eliminate camber, could be applied to 3 wheeler
4877102 Stewart depicted as 1F3TNL all terrain vehicle
4887829 Prince 1F3TNL rocking yoke rear suspension, depicted as all terrain vehicle
4903857 Klopfenstein 2F3TNL depicted as a pedalled bicycle. Does not vary lean with speed.
4909538 Langton ( looks like a wheelchair sized vehicle though that is never mentioned- purpose? )
4921263 Patin 'inclinable multiwheel vehicle'
4948166 Kaneko, Nissan motor company. 'vehicle height regulating system'
4974863 Patin. 'stabilization device for an inclinable vehicle'
4998596 Miksitz 1F3T front wheel drive by hydraulics. Lean might be controlled by hydraulics.
5040812 Patin 'inclinable vehicle with 3 or more wheels' includes a clutch for lean control
5116069 Miller 1F3TAT lean is motorized hydraulic. depicted as enclosed narrow vehicle
5238258 Michaud leaning motorcycle sidecar
5240267 Owsen 1F1T depicted as pedalled front wheel drive bicycle
5437467 Patin stabilization device for vehicle with 3 or more wheels
5580089 Kolka camber control system for automobiles
5611555 Vidal 1F3TNL depicted as a motorcycle
5678835 Sung 1F1TNL may not differentiate lean angle to speed, depicted as pedalled bicycle
5730453 Owsen 1F1TNL focus is chain drive to rear
5732962 Mageren depicted as an automotive body tilting strategy
5762351 Soohoo inclinable vehicle depicted as human powered by pedals
2F3TAL with computer control lean and manual overide
5765846 Braun, Diamler-Benz motor company. described as a 'curve leaning vehicle' this apparently is the patent for the Mercedes Lifejet
5772224 Tong vehicle tilting system to improve passenger comfort
5927424 Van Den Brink tilt control device, all hydraulic
RE32031 Winchell General Motors 1985 see 4423795
RE32681 Randolph see 4408776

EP Patents - European Patent Office (EPO) images back to 1979/80

4230 Patin 1982 device for controlling lean
20835 Jephcott 1985, discusses a variety of theoretical chassis designs
142505 ? Geerlof 1985 (no image available)
153521 Jephcott 1985 especially concerns tilt control hydraulics and actuation
205419 Jephcott 1986 database says, "no image available"
247093 James 1987 titled, "Self-Stabilizing Cambering Vehicle", but there is no image available from the patents database
251906 Patin 1991. tilt control device has some mathematical formula mixed in the French language section
369863 Patin 1993. "Stabilising device for inclinable vehicle" depicted as an enclosed 1F3T
557449 Fought 1996. may be a tilting three-wheeler for handicapped people
560670 Patin 1995."Vehicle Stabilization Device"
606191 Vidal 1997. 1F2TNL
626307 Doveri. 1998. depicted as enclosed tilting trike
686112 Nehrke 1996. 1F3T appears to be a device to connect a chain drive to a rear wheel drive system
796193 Van Den Brink, tilt control device
900713 Holzel, Mercedes company may concern the LifeJet
941198 Aregger same as WO 9824681

WO Patents - World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)

9200217 Vendrami, 1992. similar to GM Toy US patent 4045048
9534459 Van Den Brink, 1995.
9721583 Muccio, 1997. 1F3T
9727071 Geiser, 1997. 1F3T depicted as enclosed motorcycle sized vehicle
9843872 Tomaselli. depicted as enclosed, says has been tested
9824681 Arregger. same as EP941198
9849023 Braun, 1998. Mercedes LifeJet? emergency back-up system
9912795 Ammon, 1999. Mercedes LifeJet? roll control system
9924308 Van Den Brink. tilt control device
9941136 Ficcadenti, 1999. 2F3T

JP Japanese Patents

3109191Tanaka, 1991. Front frame tilted electric tricycle
5039073 Matsuura, Honda motor co. 1993. seems to be a battery powered trike maybe 1F1TNL
5085451 Uchiyama, Suzuki motor company 1993. seems to use a double backbone to tilt a 1F
5008782 Sato, Kubota motor company 1993. looks like a 1F3TNL
5139357 Kamiya, Honda motor co. 1993. 2F3TNL
5155372 Muamatsu, Suzuki motor co. 1F
5155373 see 5155372
5178251 Hikichi, Honda motor company, 1993. might be all wheels leaning, said to be self erecting when stopped. depicted as motorcycle sized vehicle with windshield and roof
7165127 Murakami Isao 1995 "Purpose: To tilt a vehicle body to the right or left relative to a traveling device." depicted as a one-person enclosed vehicle.
9207856 Ishihara, 1997. 1F3T
11011372 Murakami Isao 1999 "swing small-sized three-wheeled vehicle"

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