Described as the “first affordable and foldable motorcycle simulator,” LeanGP is a dedicated gaming controller and chassis for bike enthusiasts, compatible with various VR-supported gaming platforms. Valencia-based startup LeanGP reached their Kickstarter goal within the first 48 hours of the crowdfunding campaign.

Unlike the breadth of hardware available for car simulation, the selection of consumer-grade peripherals dedicated to two-wheeled motorsport is very limited. There are plenty of bike games, but most don’t offer anything close to realistic handling as the controls are optimised for gamepads; realistic bike simulation is extremely difficult to control without dedicated input devices.

Integrating hardware with realistic motorcycle dynamics is considerably more difficult than cars due to the active influence of the rider’s bodyweight and positioning. This unique interaction between human and machine is complex, and ideally requires body tracking and multiple powerful actuators to simulate the motion characteristics of an entire bike chassis through its various states of acceleration and weight transfer, as seen in this professional 6DoF Cruden simulator.

LeanGP takes a more simple approach, focused on cornering lean, which in turn (sorry) makes it compatible with the simplified controller input of most motorcycle games. The device claims to be ‘plug and play’ with a large number of titles and gaming hardware, calling out various VR headsets including PSVR, Vive, Rift, and even mobile VR headsets. But the truth is, decent VR motorcycle experiences are hard to find; there is only one serious motorcycle sim on PC with good VR support: PiBoSo’s GP Bikes beta (and the associated MX Bikes, but as a motocross sim it is less suitable for this chassis). For PSVR, only Moto Racer 4 (2016) showed some promise as a fun arcade racer, but turned out to be a disappointment with restricted VR functionality.

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In order to make the most out of GP Bikes, LeanGP needs to support not just chassis lean, but also a separate steering axis to detect the subtle countersteer that initiates the lean (the prototype had fixed handlebars). In a post on the PiBoSo forum, LeanGP CEO Salvador Felip Llopis indicated that the team was investigating the possibility of separate axes for lean and steer, but the status of this is unclear.

According to the project’s ‘stretch goals’, more nuanced movement could be possible using actuators and force feedback solutions, but this is dependent on the success of the funding campaign. For now, this can be seen as a promising sign of enthusiasm in a unique area of simulation that desperately needs more support from hardware and software developers.

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The trial version of Microsoft’s Monster Truck Madness probably had something to do with it. And certainly the original Super Mario Kart and Gran Turismo. A car nut from an early age, Dominic was always drawn to racing games above all other genres. Now a seasoned driving simulation enthusiast, and former editor of Sim Racer magazine, Dominic has followed virtual reality developments with keen interest, as cockpit-based simulation is a perfect match for the technology. Conditions could hardly be more ideal, a scientist once said. Writing about simulators lead him to Road to VR, whose broad coverage of the industry revealed the bigger picture and limitless potential of the medium. Passionate about technology and a lifelong PC gamer, Dominic suffers from the ‘tweak for days’ PC gaming condition, where he plays the same section over and over at every possible combination of visual settings to find the right balance between fidelity and performance. Based within The Fens of Lincolnshire (it’s very flat), Dominic can sometimes be found marvelling at the real world’s ‘draw distance’, wishing virtual technologies would catch up.
  • brubble

    The 90’s called and wants its idea back.

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  • Andrew Jakobs

    I wonder if this is really realistic in it’s goal.. I’ve seen devices like this before, but the constant strain on the pivot makes it break pretty soon after normal use. Only the pretty expensive arcade versions are robust enough to handle longtime use..
    I still remember fondly the arcade game Harley Davidson, but having talked to the arcade owner back then, it broke down many times due to the leaning and the hardware not really up to it having it used that many times (or let’s not forget the overweight people).

    • jj

      that is good to know thank you

  • Marc-André Désilets

    Oh my god… this is a piece of junk. Look’s like it only leaning left and right, have no force feedback, the handle bar doesn’t rotate, have nothing to detect weight transfert, nothing to give you the impression it’s accelerating or braking…

    I really think this project has more potential.

  • patrickD

    This is an inexpensive approach but nothing to do with real sim Racing such as