Inoveli – A New Way to Throttle?

01/22/2014 @ 4:10 pm, by Jensen Beeler45 COMMENTS


There isn’t anything necessarily wrong with the twist-grip throttle design found on motorcycles, after all millions of motorcyclists each year manage to use this simple design with great efficacy.

This, however, does not mean that the current iteration of throttle design is perfect for its application; after all each time you twist the throttle, you are compromising the angle of your wrist in relation to the handlebar. Maybe it is time for another way?

That is the thought process behind the Inoveli throttle concept. Using a rider’s thumb, instead of their wrist, the Inoveli throttle allows one to keep a constant grip on the handlebar throughout the entire throttle range of motion, which translates into less rider fatigue and more rider safety.

The motion made to activate the throttle uses the natural motion of one’s thumb, and thus allows a rider to constantly cover the front brake lever.

This idea goes contrary to current designs, which intentionally make grabbing the brake lever and holding the throttle open a very difficult task, which brings up an interesting debate about the tradeoffs between the two designs.

For our two cents, we think the benefits outweigh the detriments here, and it would be interesting to see what kind of throttle control can be achieved with the thumb throttle design.

So far it looks like the Inoveli FV01 is available only for cable throttles (cost is €230), though hopefully the small French company will debut a ride-by-wire digital throttle as well for more advanced two-wheelrs.

Source: Inoveli via Bikes in the Fast Lane

  • Jimbo

    So this is a more ergonomical version of the throttle that has been on 4-wheelers and jet skis for decades?

  • Jesse

    So it’s a thumb throttle…like what’s been in use for years on quads and jet-skis.

  • Yes.

  • chris

    read about it in keith code’s new book… a flick of the thumb.

  • Mike

    I find on the quads that I’ve owned that my thumb gets fatigued long before my wrist would on my motorcycle. I also find them slightly harder to regulate over rough ground, which is unfortunate on a quad.

  • Rob Nye

    I can’t imagine using this arrangement for a long ride or any interstate riding without a throttle lock.

  • Moto_Neil

    From riding jet skis and quads I know that the muscle controlling my thumb got sore and fatigued towards the end of the day. I imagine this would be the same on a motorcycle. Combine it with manipulating a brake lever I imagine cramping, arm pump, and possibly carpal tunnel setting in. (Even with the different wrist angle. )

    At least with a traditional motorcycle throttle some of the work could be transferred to the other arm muscles.

    The thought is moving in the right direction but get back to me when we have controls directly linked up to our muscle and nervous systems. And why arent there more hover bikes??

  • paulus

    Unnecessary piece of kit. No benefit on road/off road bikes.
    It makes sense on ATV’s and sidecars here you have to physically lean off to turn… an answer to a question nobody was asking.

  • Shinigami

    On long open road rides, I am constantly using different parts of my hand to manipulate the throttle. Open hand with palm. two fingers and palm, thumb and index finger, one finger, left hand on throttle, you name it.

    All for the obvious reason that it shares the load among different muscles and reduces overall fatigue.

    Obvious, that is, if one has spent any significant time on two wheels. I suspect an inverse relationship between experience and really liking this idea.

    Jensen brings up the interesting point of how current setups (unless fiddled with) tend to work against grabbing a fistful of throttle and brake simultaneously. Not an issue on a watercraft but most certainly one for us.

    One wonders how many endos the use of this will contribute to.

    Ride by wire, properly done, is an advancement. This is not.

  • Jake

    As someone that’s struggled for years with carpal tunnel issues in my right wrist I’d love to check this out. Or to have this in addition to the normal twist throttle.

  • gabe

    This would make more sense if it was the brake that was thumb activated and the throttle was a squeeze lever.

    The current design (especially with a quick throttle and properly adjusted brake lever) functions well, and with some practice, grabbing the brake and throttle at the same time is not that difficult.

  • Jeff

    As one that instructs several hundred students a year (MSF type course) I have to say that new student don’t have ANY problem “grabbing” the front brake and applying a mittful of throttle. I’m with one of the typer’s above, an answer to a question nobody asked.

  • I doubt if most riders would benefit from a thumb throttle. It’s the system used in snowmobiles (and as others have pointed out, on some watercraft and quads.) None of those need the mid-corner throttle finesse that a road bike needs. That said, there are a lot of people (like me) with poor wrist mobility as a result of injury or illness. Some of them might appreciate a thumb throttle, although most would be better off with an adjustable “1/4 turn” throttle like the one sold by Motion Pro, and better grips, like the ones sold by Spider Grips.

  • Gonzo

    I like it…but for the record, my S1000RR uses cables that go to a potentiometer, it’s not all digital at the twist grip.

  • MTGR

    Thumb throttles are nothing new. They typically get used in places where the manufactures are concerned temperature (snowmobiles) or fluids (watercraft) might make it hard to grip a twist throttle consistently.

    But the downside is every time you change body position (such as hanging off even slightly) it is almost impossible not to alter input from your thumb. You can get away with it on snowmobiles or watercraft because snow and water have enough slip to hide abrupt throttle changes. ATVs were most likely blessed with thumb throttles because they were originally aimed at a market more like snowmobiles than motorcycles. But on ATVs, where traction is more direct, most serious riders convert them to twist throttles.

    Your wrist just has a much great range of motion to compensate for arm and body movements than your thumb does (And its not any harder to moderate a front brake lever while twisting that wrist than it is to remove both your thumb and brake finger/s from the grip at the same time and then use each to apply differing amounts of pressure in different directions while still holding onto the bars. If you don’t believe me just try riding hard on someones ATV sometime.)

    There was a period when some roadracers added thumb levers to apply their rear brake but that trend was started by a rider with an injured rear brake-side ankle. Other roadracers copied it with some success as they used it mostly when locked into one body position. The trend faded once most realized that even folded up at odd angles it was still easier to use your foot that try to subtly modulate anything with a thumb lever.

    And if you think long highway stretches are hard on a throttle hand then just imaging pressing your thumb hard down, non-stop, on something about 2 inches wide (that has lots of pressure pushing back in an attempt to limit the amount of unintended input you create with every body movement). There is, literally, only one position your thumb can be in the entire time and anyone who has ridden distances will tell you locking anything into one position without at least some movement is the most uncomfortable thing you can do. I think after a few hours of that your twist throttle, which at least allows you to move your hand and fingers around, would seem like a miracle of engineering superiority.

    Thumb throttles? No thanks.

  • Maris Crane

    at first thought, this is ridiculous. like making a joystick to drive your car. what we have now works JUST fine.

    but a second look shows this is not your typical Honda Recon thumb throttle. the one we all know from atvs, watercraft, etc. pushes forward -giving you all the problems mentioned in the comments above.

    this appears to work by the thumb closing on the fist -not pushing forward. a subtle difference, but the hand/finger mechanism is incredibly sensitive to subtleties of movement and direction.

    maybe they have something here?

  • grrb

    Thats not new at all, its been used on PWCs, ATVs and Snowmoviles for “ever”. It works tho, and could be interesting to try it on a motorcycle, not sure

  • 2ndclass

    I’d be keen to try it, but 230 Euro is an expensive experiment.

  • Mormont


    Rear thumb operated brakes are still in use. Current World Superbike Champion Tom Sykes uses a rear thumb brake on his ZX-10R.

  • Antihero

    Did you guys not here the same inspiring and logic circumventing music I heard? I want two of these on my bike and an extra for my helmet because Inoveli.

  • Norm G.

    if I recall, don’t a lot of the hard core quad riders and pro’s (think bill ballance of the GNCC) convert over to twist grips…? thought that used to be big about a decade ago…? kinda like the ATV equivalent of the street riders 520 conversion. oh, that and a set of NERF bars.

  • Norm G.

    there may be a safety element to the thumb operated throttle. it may be able to prevent problems like these two famous fails where you’re tendency to hold on to the bars only amplifies the trouble…

    oh wait, I just realized there is no fix for stupid. belay my last.

  • Lou Ordorica

    Interesting idea, but “a thumb press” isn’t nearly as catchy as “a twist of the wrist”.

  • Mariani

    This makes me think of Porsche’s first gen PDK.

    Porsche did something similar, having thumb-operated gear shifters as an alternative to conventional paddles, claiming their system was safer and easier, yet people simply resisted to it.

    If it ain’t broke…

  • Scotty Weir

    I hate the thumb throttle on my quad. Removed and a twist grip from an old motorcycle soon fixed it. Note, most quads in the recent Dakar Rally had a twist grip. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel.

  • L2C

    Why not just borrow some of Industrial Light & Magic’s speeder bike technology? There’s a great example at 00:01:50! ;-)

  • Thomas

    There are lots of great arguments for and against this and all have valid points.

    Having just watched the video, I didn’t see anyone mention the motion of the lever. It looks like this is designed with a different range of motion than a quad/PWC lever … I’ve only used a few thumb throttles, but all of them were pushed “forward” which does contribute to thumb fatigue much faster than a twist grip. The Inoveli system looks like it is pressed “inward” (across the grip towards the fist) which is a natural range of motion for your thumb. In effect, you are closing your fist on the throttle rather than pushing your thumb forward.

    I’ll bet this greatly reduces fatigue as well as enhances throttle control, even when leaning off the bike.

    I would love to give this a try sometime as I have always been curious how it would work on a bike, just as I have always been curious about using a twist grip on a quad/PWC.

  • paulus

    using a twist on a quad is completely natural and not a big issue. It can be a little tricky hanging off to the left, but it’s quite manageable…

  • Different is good.
    Windows 8 may be worse, but for how many years should you use the same interface all day long?
    Having spent endless hours hard riding on snowmobiles, roadracers, and PWC’s (almost none on motocrossers,) I would have to say that for roadracing a motorcycle this would be an advantage. For that application I’d take one over a conventional throttle. Maybe better, maybe not; it’s just something different. I’d also like a twist grip on a PWC.

  • swizzle

    The big problem I see here is loss of grip, especially during emergency maneuvers like braking or unexpected terrain. With your thumb operating the throttle, your 4 finger are all that is really holding the bar in you hand. If you suddenly gripped the bar with your thumb it seems you would simultaneously pull in the lever, opening the throttle. Or would you have to take your thumb off the throttle all together before getting full grip on the bars? With a twist grip, the rider can grasp the bar at all times with closed grip of fingers and thumb wrapped around the grip, all while still modulating the throttle. You can even take a finger or two off the bar to cover the brake while still having the thumb and remaining fingers and thumb wrapped tightly around the bar in a closed grip. This is closed grip is lost if your thumb has to be constantly floating over a throttle level that is sensitive to input/movement. I wouldn’t want to be using this set up when something unexpected happened.

    And I agree with the people who imagine the thumb fatigue would be unbearable.

  • Kaw4Life

    If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.

  • Alex(CVMA #999)

    I would love to see this is SOME applications, sport bikes however, probably won’t integrate it for issues or extremely heavy braking on the track or other issues unforeseen; but it’s always nice to have options available. Not to mention this could be an incentive for new riders; making learning less intimidating .

  • Norm G.

    re: “With a twist grip, the rider can grasp the bar at all times with closed grip of fingers and thumb wrapped around the grip, all while still modulating the throttle.”

    you mean a “seasoned rider” can modulate the throttle. however (comma) what happens in practice most often with beginners (hell even vets) is shown in the 2 video links i posted above…

    “unintended acceleration”.

    any of you around during the days of the audi 5000 will recognize this term. LOL

  • CLB

    I like the idea, but knowing how you need to modulate the throttle in such small increments while in a corner… I’m not sure the thumb / muscle etc will allow you to be as precise as a throttle / arm can be.

    I may be wrong and with some practice change my mind… but until they send one to me and let me work with it a while… can’t say… but it’s what ME thinks! :)

  • Bob

    The few times I ridden a quad, I had a tendency to release or add thumb pressure to the thumb lever depending on which way I turned the bars. On 2 wheels, this means either falling over or losing the rear end while leaned in a turn. Not for me.

    On ThumperTalk, there is a small legion of thumb throttle dirt bikers. They always state that you have to try it, it’s great. But my quad experience tells me no way.

  • Eddie

    Coming from an a background racing pro quad arenacross and more recently spending more time riding motocross, I can say that I found it more easy to come through the whoops or rythm section of jumps using a thumb throttle.

    If ever there were an area colored by personal preference and bias towards one’s own familiarity, it’s ergonomics and rider interface.

  • Keith

    Well after 45 seconds of ad with the typical ad music you get to see the product…and I don’t see how it’s going to cause thumb fatigue. Unless of course you’ve a handicap that prevents you from keeping your hand closed for more than a moment.

    But for that to make sense, you’d have to actually WATCH their 1:04 advertisement…and pay attention during that last 15 seconds. In this day and age of sound bites crossbred with advertising and the bread and circuses mentality of the average human. Eh, keep hating it. MY ding is the price. I’ve YET to see a throttle control worth $500…

  • More like $314.73 USD.

  • ken hague

    This will not catch on, we use the thumb universally to grab hold of something tightly working in situ with the fingers for one would feel unsafe on a superbike just holding on with my fingers

  • Thomas

    “This will not catch on, we use the thumb universally to grab hold of something tightly working in situ with the fingers for one would feel unsafe on a superbike just holding on with my fingers”

    But that is JUST the point myself and a couple of others have made above. This control configuration allows you to use your whole fist to hold the grip; thumb and fingers.

    Watch the video. It clearly shows the lever action favoring a closed fist in its design.

    I would love to try this and I’ll bet it works just as well as a twist grip for the majority of the street riding that most of us do. Notice I said street riding, which is the market where this product seems to be aimed. I don’t have racing or track experience to speak to that type of riding, or off road applications, but my guess is it would work well on the track or off road too as you no longer need to move your hand to control the throttle. Instead, you keep a nice solid point of contact with the handlebars.

    The problem most of us would have is “remapping” our brains to be proficient with the new control configuration; it would absolutely feel awkward at first.

    What if … what if this is a “better” design than existing twist and thumb throttles? What if it is more efficient, safer, more precise, etc? Will we all stick with our twist grips just because it is what we know, what we are comfortable with, fearing anything new or innovative? Why not give something new a chance to prove itself, before we all dismiss it out of hand?

    Haha …. sorry about the rant. :)

  • mxs

    Always hated the thumb throttle on ATV’s …. not for me really, even if it costs 5$. I can be a lot more precise with my wrist then just a thumb. The muscles controlling at least my thumb would fatigue much much faster than wrist … as a matter of fact, I can be tired of riding after few hours, but it’s never the throttle hand ….

  • taikebo

    RIP thumb finger

  • Straylight

    Modulating grip is reasonably tricky, modulating two grips with the same hand is very hard. A twist and a squeeze gives two separate movements.

    Anyone who says you can’t hang off with a twist grip has not watched a motorcycle being ridden by a halfway talented rider on a race track. I believe that is is the done thing there. Rumour has it that this is even attempted on the roads by riders who know what they are doing and have a motorcycle designed to go around corners.

  • I’m always impressed when people come up with solutions to problems that don’t exist.

    It does look better than the pushbutton throttles on most jet skis, more natural motion as others suggested. Might be good for dirt bike racing, where you have to get on and off the throttle real fast, or maybe other race applications like super Moto.

  • Royce Dawson

    Im going to try this. Ive just been diagnosed with Kienbochs disease in my right wrist. I currently have 30% wrist motion up or go fast on a twisty. The pain I have when riding and hitting bumps is almost unbearable but I love riding trails and I put up with the pain. I cant use a stiff wrist brace because I cant twist the trottle then. This design which takes the usual thumb controll a bit further by making it a close thumb action is the answer I ve been looking for. If this gadget enables me to ride even at somewhat reduced capacity Im buying. At three times the price who cares if it enables me to ride. Eventually my right wrist will need to be fully fused with a steel plate so my riding days would be over. Not with this.THANK YOU INOVELI. You legends.