The catch is that you have to bring your own motorcycle (and a pile of cash).
Sim racing has gotten a massive boost in popularity over the past year, particularly in the early part of the pandemic, where all actual physical motorsports ground to a halt. Unfortunately, pretty much all of that fun was restricted to racing of a four-wheeled nature. Recreating the experience for us motorcycle enthusiasts would prove to be a little tougher.
How much tougher? Well, so tough that it's only now, with the announcement of the MotoTrainer on Thursday, that we're even in the ballpark. Unfortunately, as you see in the launch video, it's not exactly the kind of gaming solution you strap to your desk, given that it uses an actual motorcycle as a peripheral.
MotoTrainer was developed in partnership with Dorna -- aka the company that owns MotoGP -- and works either with the game MotoGP or riders can follow an onboard lap of any of the MotoGP circuits. Unfortunately, there currently aren't any hardcore motorcycle racing simulations in the vein of iRacing available to the public, so don't expect to have the same experience.
"The software behind Moto Trainer, developed by our engineers, is capable of playing any onboard video and allows riders to save their efforts on a telemetry master track," said Andrea Lombardi, CEO of MotoTrainer, in a statement. "This means that you can load any circuit and motorbike you want, with riders replicating the video to the reference telemetry. The software then analyses the rider's performance by monitoring the accelerator, front and rear brakes, gearbox and trajectories."
Now, this is all incredibly cool, but you're probably wondering what it will cost, assuming you have a spare motorcycle and the space necessary to set one of these up. Well, less than you might think, actually, and significantly less than a full-motion auto racing simulator, but still a lot. The MotoTrainer starts at around $6,000 and goes up from there if you want things like force feedback. The fully tricked-out version will run you around $18,130, including a PC.
So, knowing all that, who would buy this thing? Well, maybe you're a hardcore motorcycle racing fiend that is unable to get to a racetrack with a bike, or possibly you're someone recovering from a prior injury. Perhaps you own a business like Base51 (which is owned by sim rig manufacturer CXC Simulations), and you want to offer two-wheeled fun to your customers.
Currently, it doesn't appear that there are any of these open to the public in the US, but we're keeping fingers crossed that as the pandemic hopefully ends, that changes.