It is unclear to us whether Mr.Rob Hackstetter is a genius or a madman, or both, but certainly his Invex 998 AWD project is fascinating. Since 2005, this American gentleman - but of German roots, as he points out - invests most of his time in the realization of the first All Wheel Drive Superbike, and this is already enough to tell you just which sort of troubles this brave man got himself into.
After all these years the bike is finally ready, built and patented, and you can admire it on the pics. Apparently it is also quite good on the tarmac too, so much so actually that the AMA has banned this diminutive manufacturer from the American Superbike Championship because it could benefit ‘too much’ from this technical solution. The engine is a Ducati Testastretta lifted from a 998, while frame and chassis were developed by Hackstetter himself, who also designed a Viscous-Coupling differential that allows to electronically vary the power distribution between front and rear. In normal conditions, the ratio is 50-50, but it can go up to a 80% at the rear and 20% at the front on the rear in order to balance the power in acceleration.
Actually, the 2×2 motorcycle in itself is not a brand new idea as even some big brands had already thought of it - Yamaha, for instance, launched the WR450F 2-Trac enduro bike in 2004 dropping the project shortly afterwards.
The Invex 998 AWD comes with a number of sensors transmitting the information in real time to the ECU, which is in charge of distributing the 136 horsepower delivered by its engine to the wheels. Hackstetter would like to make it a road project and prove it can be better that a traditional sportsbike (especially in wet conditions), but there are two issues on the way: first, it weighs too much (and that’s a crucial point for a Superbike); second, it costs too much (meaning that one collector last year had to sign a $ 132,000 cheque to put his hands on a prototype).