The present invention concerns an element of thermal protection and/or
protection against inclement weather (e.g. rainstorm) for users of motorcycles,
of the type comprising a flexible cover which the user of the vehicle can use as
a screen for parts of his body and a means securing said cover to the vehicle in
such a way that it can be removed.
The increase of urban traffic and the difficulty of parking motor
vehicles in towns have for some time led to an ever growing use of motorcycles,
and particularly of mopeds (or scooters), as a preferential means of urban transport.
In fact, the agility and the reduced dimensions of mopeds, their increased autonomy
and load-bearing capacity, make these means of transport extremely practical and
versatile in use, even though they oblige the user to suffer considerable discomfort
when the atmospheric conditions are not optimal.
In order to allow the use of motorcycles even during the winter months
or in inclement weather, it is common practice to equip the motorcycle with protective
elements fixed to the chassis or to the bodywork, usually in a removable fashion,
with the function of shielding the user of the motor vehicle from the external environment
in such a way as to exert an effective action of thermal protection of the user
and/or protection against inclement weather.
Among the most versatile and efficacious protection elements known
to the prior art, there are those (see for instance GB-A-2 360 263) composed of
a flexible cover, of waterproof and thermally insulating material, which, equipped
with means for fastening them to the motor vehicle, allow parts of the motorcyclist's
body to be covered, either the rider or the passenger.
The flexible cover is usually fixed to the motorcycle at the front,
and extends towards the tail of the motorcycle, along the saddle, so that, during
use, the user can put himself at least partly under the cover.
In particular, this cover usually comprises two side flaps located
corresponding to the sides of the motorcycle, to protect the motorcyclist's legs,
ad a central portion connecting said side flaps suited for covering the lower part
of the motorcyclist's bust and for guaranteeing the continuity of the same protection
The realisation of the flexible cover with several layers of synthetic
material, one on top of the other, including for example polypropylene, when the
cover is in its operative position shielding the motorcyclist, allows not only a
more efficacious thermal insulation and a more valid protection against atmospheric
agents, but also good mechanical resistance of the protection element against any
To facilitate use by motorcyclists, the flexible cover is also shaped
in such a way as to present at least one flap not attached to the motorcycle, which
can be shifted when the motorcyclist intends to get under the cover. In particular,
the front part of the cover is fastened with laces and/or hooks to a front structural
element of the motorcycle, while the portion of the cover that extends towards the
tail of the motorcycle, corresponding to or near to the saddle, is instead left
free so that the motorcyclist can shift the cover, sit on the saddle and position
the cover so that it protects his lower limbs.
However, the presence in the flexible cover of a flap that is not
secured to the motor vehicle, or even of the entire rear portion of the flexible
cover, means that, when the motorcycle is moving, the impinging air flow causes
the free flap of the cover to swing and therefore to lost the covering position
desired by the user. As the speed of the motorcycle increases, the vibration of
the free flap in the impinging air flow becomes more and more consistent.
This means that, during forward movement of the motorcycle, the free
flap tends to move away from the motorcyclist's body and consequently to allow air
flow, or even rain, to get under the cover, losing the thermal insulation and the
protection against inclement weather which the cover ought to guarantee.
To avoid this effect, it is common practice to fix tapes on this free
flap of the cover, corresponding to one of its edges, so that these tapes can be
tied to the motorcycle, after the cover has been arranged over the limbs of the
motorcyclist, to keep the flexible cover in position. In particular, these tapes,
or ribbons, can be placed between the saddle and the motorcyclist's body and held
down by the motorcyclist's own weight, so that the cover is kept lying over his
This solution, however, has revealed that it is not always able to
guarantee that the cover is impermeable to water and air which impinge the motorcycle
and is also particularly uncomfortable for the motorcyclist, who is forced to adopt
unnatural positions to block the tapes.
Moreover, in the case of frequent stops, such as occur especially
in urban use of the motor vehicle, the motorcyclist shifts his centre of gravity
and consequently tends to shift the tapes with respect to the saddle; this makes
it necessary to adjust the position of the tapes often to prevent their becoming
slack and making the protection element ineffective.
Finally, in the case of storms or rain, the operations necessary to
arrange the tapes can allow water to get in under the flexible cover onto the saddle,
to the considerable discomfort of the motorcyclist.
It is an aim of the present invention to realise an element of thermal
protection and/or protection against inclement weather for users of motorcycles
of the type comprising a flexible cover which can be secured to the motorcycle,
which does not present the inconvenient aspects of the prior art.
Another aim of the present invention is to provide an element of thermal
protection and/or protection against inclement weather for motorcyclists which is
extremely easy to arrange in its operative position and which during movement of
the vehicle is not shifted by the action of the impinging air flow.
A further aim of the present invention is to realise an element of
thermal protection and/or protection against inclement weather in which the thermal
insulation is better than that offered by the protection elements of the prior art.
These and other aims are achieved by the present invention as stated
in the first independent claim and in the subsequent dependent claims.
The element of thermal protection and/or protection against inclement
weather for motorcycle users according to the present invention comprises at least
one flexible cover that can be associated with parts of the body of a user and means
for securing the flexible cover to the motorcycle in such a way that it can be removed.
Moreover, the flexible cover comprises at least one portion having
one or more chambers.
In a preferred embodiment said portion of the cover comprises two
separable layers which define said one or more chambers.
Moreover, according to a particular aspect of the present invention,
at least one of the chambers with which the flexible cover is provided can be inflated
with air or can be filled with a section of synthetic material, for example polystyrene
foam, polyethylene foam or other foam polymer.
According to another aspect of the present invention, the cover presents
two slide flaps located, during use, corresponding to the two sides of the motorcycle,
and on one or both of said side flaps is located at least one of the aforesaid chambers.
In a preferential embodiment of the present invention, the portion
with two separable layers which define one or more chambers is located on a rear
part of the cover, corresponding to the saddle of the motor vehicle.
The embodiment with chambers in the flexible cover in which may be
housed a fluid, such as air, or an insulating synthetic material, not only increases
the thermal insulation of the cover in the area corresponding to the chambers, but
also contributes to stiffening and shaping the flexible cover itself. Surprisingly,
above all when said chambers are located corresponding to the lower edge of the
side flaps of the cover, it has been found that this stiffening prevents or reduces
the effect of the impinging air flow on the flexible cover, stabilising the latter
during movement of the vehicle, without being uncomfortable for the user.
Illustrated below, purely as examples without limitation, are some
embodiments of the present invention, with reference to the enclosed figures, in
- figure 1 is a side view of a motorcycle equipped with a protection element according
to a preferential embodiment of the present invention;
- figure 2 is a side view of another motorcycle on which is fastened a protection
element according to a further aspect of the present invention;
- figure 3 is a sectioned front view of a protection element of a preferred embodiment;
- figure 4 is a side view of a detail of a protection element according to another
aspect of the present invention;
- figure 5 is a side view of a detail of a protection element according to a different
aspect of the present invention;
- figure 6 is a sectioned front view of another detail of an alternative embodiment
of the present invention;
- figure 7 shows an overhead view of a further embodiment of the present invention;
- figure 8 is a schematic overhead layout view of a protection element according
to another aspect of the present invention.
With reference to figures 1 and 2, the element of thermal protection
and/or protection against inclement weather according to the present invention comprises
a flexible cover 5, 105, made of insulating and waterproof material, and means 6,
106 for fastening to a structural element of a motorcycle 1, 101. The flexible cover
5, 105, extends from the front part 2, 102 (the front shield) of the motorcycle
1, 101 towards the tail 3, 103, at least partly involving the saddle 4, 104, in
such a way that it can protect, by shielding them, the lower limbs of a motorcyclist.
The fastening means 6, 106 secure the cover 5, 105 to the front part
2, 102, of the motorcycle 1, 101, in a removable fashion with hooks and/or straps,
in such a way that the same cover 5, 105 can be shifted by the user of the motorcycle
in order to use the protection element itself. In greater detail, with reference
to figure 2, the front part 108 of the cover 105 is secured in a removable fashion
to the front shield 102 of the motorcycle 101, while the rear part 109 extends corresponding
to the saddle 104 and is free to be shifted and positioned by the user, when the
latter intends to use the vehicle.
According to the present invention, moreover, the flexible cover 5,
105 comprises at least one portion equipped with at least one chamber 7, 107. In
particular, according to the embodiment shown in figure 1, the chamber 7 extends
substantially corresponding to the whole lower edge of each side portion (flap)
of the cover 5, while, in the embodiment in figure 2, the chamber 107 extends corresponding
to the rear part 109 of the cover 107, substantially near the bottom side edge of
In an embodiment not illustrated, the chamber 7 or 107 can have dimensions
such as to coincide substantially with the entire extension of the cover 5, 105.
The chamber 7, 107 can also be directly filled with a fluid, such
as air, or with a suitably shaped insulating material, such as polystyrene foam.
Depending on the filling material and on the conformation and arrangement
in which it is made, each chamber 7, 107, which may project or not from the external
surface of the cover 5, 105, gives particular rigidity and thermal insulation to
portions of the 5, 105.
In fact, the presence of chambers 7, 107 in the cover 5, 105, located
corresponding to the position assumed by the limbs of the motorcyclist during movement
of the vehicle and filled with a fluid or with an insulating material, increases
the thermal insulation that the cover 5, 105 guarantees to the motorcyclist.
Moreover, surprisingly, the presence of said chambers 7, 107, above
all if located corresponding to the bottom rear edge of the side flaps of the cover
5, 105, guarantees a high stability of the same cover 5, 105 during movement of
the motorcycle 1, 101, thanks to the fact that said chambers become elements of
structural stiffening of the flexible cover 5, 105 and to the outline that the same
cover assumes with respect to the impinging air flow.
For example, by simply inserting air in these side chambers 7, 107,
the latter become an element of stiffening and of further insulation of the flexible
cover 5, 105 which determines a considerable reduction of the vibrations to which
the rear portion 109 of the cover 5, 105 is subject during movement and an increase
of the thermal insulation of the same cover 5, 105 with respect to the motorcyclist.
The reduction of the vibrations to which the rear portion 109 of the
cover 5, 105 is subject is such as to make unnecessary, or at least of little importance,
the presence of tapes for securing said rear part tale 109 to the motorcycle during
use of the cover 5, 105 itself.
Figure 3 illustrates another preferential embodiment of the present
invention. The flexible cover 5', which comprises two side flaps 20, 21 and a top
part 22 for connecting said flaps, is composed of an internal layer 10, usually
of synthetic fur, and of two bonded outer layers 11,12.
The external layers, for example of polypropylene or of polyamide
fabric with an external layer ("spread") of PVC or polyurethane, guarantee thermal
insulation and impermeability, and are separate from each other in the area corresponding
to the lower portions of the side flaps 20, 21 so as to form two chambers 7' and
7", each on one flap 20, 21.
This embodiment is particularly simple to produce and guarantees high
performances of the protection element according to the present invention.
With reference to figure 4, the cover 205, according to another peculiar
aspect of the present invention, can comprise a chamber 207, fluid-sealed and provided
with an opening 214 communicating with the external environment which, in turn,
presents a closing valve 213. By means of the valve 213, the chamber 207 can be
filled with any fluid, for example compressed air, directly by the user of the motorcycle.
Figure 5 illustrates an embodiment of the present invention which
has proved to be extremely useful as regards the stability of the cover during movement
of the motorcycle.
The flexible cover 305, of which figure 5 shows a side flap 321, comprises
a chamber 307 having an entrance opening 314 and an exit opening 315 for the air
flow &phis; which impinges during advance movement of the motor vehicle. The air
flow within the chamber 307 tends to inflate the chamber 307 itself and to stiffen
the portion of the cover 305 corresponding to the latter, in such a way as to guarantee
the stability of the cover 305, or rather of the side flap 321, during movement.
The exit opening 315 has preferably an outflow section considerably
smaller than the outflow section if the entrance opening 314 and, in an embodiment
not shown, the exit opening 315 can coincide with the holes made for the stitching
of the same chamber 307.
Moreover, in the particular embodiment in figure 5, the entrance opening
314 comprises an access inlet for impinging air fixed to a disc 330 which may be
stitched on corresponding to an access opening (or hole) to the chamber 307, in
such a way as to guarantee fluid continuity between the access opening and the chamber
Likewise, by symmetry, also the other side flap of the cover 305 (not
illustrated) is provided with a chamber completely similar to the chamber 307, comprising
an entrance opening for the impinging air flow &phis; which opens corresponding
to the front portion of the motorcycle (and therefore of the cover 305) and an exit
opening located corresponding to the rear portion of the cover 305.
Figure 6 is a schematic sectioned representation of a further embodiment
of the present invention. The flexible cover 405 is composed of two insulating and
waterproof layers 411 and 412 (for example variously charged polypropylene) which,
in the area corresponding to a bottom edge of the same cover 405, define at least
one chamber 407 provided with an opening 414 communicating with the external environment.
Located inside the chamber 407 is a body 416 made of insulating material, for example
polystyrene foam or other foam polymer, and shaped in such a way as to adapt to
the internal volume of the same chamber 407. The body 416 may be inserted in and
removed from the chamber 407 thanks to the opening 414.
Alternatively, the body 416 may be a removable air chamber which is
inflated outside the flexible cover 405, and is then inserted in the chamber 407
by the user.
Figure 7 shows an embodiment of the present invention which highlights
a further advantage of the latter.
The illustrated element of thermal protection and/or protection against
inclement weather comprises a flexible cover 505 and means 506 for securing the
cover 505 to a motorcycle 501. The flexible cover 505 comprises a seat 518 provided
with a closable flap 517, within which is located a part for operating the motor
vehicle, for example the ignition.
According to a particular aspect of the present invention, the flexible
cover 505 comprises a chamber 507, suitably filled with air or with an insulating
material, located around the seat 518. The chamber 507, which in the illustration
in figure 7 is ring-shaped and entirely surrounds the seat 518, has the purpose
of stiffening the portion adjacent to the seat 518 to keep it convex and thus prevent
the portion of the cover 505 around the seat 518 from becoming concave, which may
allow the accumulation and entrance of water into the same seat 518.
Another purpose of said conformation of the chamber 507 is to protect
the motorcycle part 501, housed in the seat 517, against accidental impact or involuntary
operation of the part by the user of the motor vehicle 501.
Figure 8 shows another embodiment of the present invention, in which
the protection element comprises a cover 605 provided with two chambers 607' and
607". The cover 605 extends from the front 602 to the rear 603 of the motorcycle
601 and partially covers the saddle 604, while the two chambers 607' and 607" transversely
surround the whole cover 605, that is each one of them extends continuously from
one side to the other of the cover 605, in such a way as to protect also the front
of the user of the motorcycle 601. The two chambers 607, 607' can also be reciprocally
connected and can extend from the front portion 608 to the rear portion 609 of the