Remember when the new model year meant something and many of us would wait with anticipation for the new designs to be unveiled in the fall? That was a different world and it seems so long ago. It hasn’t been so very long that motorcycle design, actually vehicle design in general, was in a far different world, too. Designers might sketch radical designs putting their visions on paper, but as soon as it came time to build an actual vehicle the radical thoughts were put away and reality set in. Trying to engineer the actual pieces and knowing what could be built with the manufacturing capabilities in existence, the vehicle became a much more conservative end product. Cost was also factored in, some things might be possible if price were no object but to the customer, price is always an object except for the fortunate few.
Fast forward to the current day. Can you think of any conceivable design for a wheel driven vehicle too radical to be built? You might build something no one would like but if you weren’t concerned about commercial success, you could build darn near anything.
These thoughts started rolling around in my mind after writing about Tim Cameron’s dream bike and Michael Czysz’s Motoczysz C1. In the case of Tim Cameron’s bike, here is a fellow who has superb skill at 3D computer design, who has turned out some of the most spectacular idea bikes in his computer. Although they have not yet been built, one, the Dream Bike, is in the process of becoming a real rolling motorcycle. From imagination to street. An amazing piece.
Then we have the Motoczysz C1. In this case we have an architect who turned his attention and design skills to the world of motorcycles and instead of beginning with what was possible, started instead with what he had in mind and went from there. How about a four cylinder engine mounted longitudinally and then splitting the engine into counter rotating pairs of cylinders? Sure, why not? Then let’s redo this whole front suspension thing. Let’s keep going until it runs and everyone likes it and then let’s keep moving forward even further.
If these sorts of thing don’t make you slack jawed in amazement, you have a higher threshold for engineering awe than I do. In both of these cases, we’re talking about small companies doing what was simply impossible in the not too distant past.
At the recent Tokyo Motor Show, major motorcycle manufacturers rolled out all sorts of concept bikes and some are being considered for actual production, like the Honda DN-01. Yamaha had radical scooters and foldable electric bikes, Suzuki brought out the 6 cylinder Stratosphere, it just keeps going on and on.
I will never tire of seeing the output of creative minds, coming up with ideas like these and the best part of being around today is those ideas can turn into actual products. Life is good!