By B. Madhusudan, CEO, Advanced Electronic Systems
Back in 1984, I bought a 50cc motorcycle (model: Spark, made by Kinetic Engineering, Pune, India). It was the best two-wheeler in its class. One fine morning I was driving on the roads of Hyderabad, stopped at a signal and waited for green light.
When the light turned green, I shifted from neutral to first and throttled. To my surprise, my motorcycle hit the vehicle behind me. I was travelling in reverse, which is unimaginable on a motorcycle. I had a heated argument with motorcyclist on my rear. I had to apologize. Nobody believed me when I said my motorcycle went into reverse and traveled backwards on its own.
I went to the service centre and explained whole episode to the service manager. He started laughing and asked whether I was drunk. Though I am an instrumentation engineer, I’m interested in automobiles and mechanical machinery and its functioning, operation and design. I couldn’t understand how it happened.
It happened a couple more times. I reported it to the service engineers of Kinetic Engineering. They asked me to show it working in reverse. But whenever, I wanted show it somebody, it behaved normally.
Even today, I wonder how my motorcycle sometimes went into reverse instead of first. It doesn’t have any reverse gear at all as per the design of the vehicle. Finally, I got rid of the problem by selling of the motorcycle.
Can any of you design engineers explain, how this could happen? It’s mystery for me even today.