Ten of the weirdest motorcycle concepts

Ten concept motorcycles that made us go 'What?' 

Ten of the weirdest motorcycle concepts

SOME concepts are undisguised previews of production bikes. Remember how BMW first revealed the R nineT Scrambler as the Concept Path 22?

Others are properly out there but become production bikes because we demand it. Remember how the B-King first appeared as a super-charged concept?

Some leave us wanting more. We're still waiting for Suzuki to make the Recursion

And some leave us scratching our head and wanting to try some of what the designers are smoking. Like these.

1. nUCLEAS concept

No, we haven't got cap-lock on. 'nUCLEAS' is how they write it. Perhaps to reflect how unconventoinal it is. We're surprised the name doesn't start with a full stop.  

It's an electric motorcycle concept that ‘invites us to come closer, to rethink, to look and to touch,’ according to Nonobject, the Calfornia-based design studio behind it.

‘The design sent shockwaves through the motorcycle industry,’ the firm says, adding: ‘Industry heavyweights said such a bike just couldn’t be done.’

Nine years later it’s still at the ‘pre-prototype stage’. Could it be that the industry heavyweights had a point?

2. The Magic Trike

Created by Iranian designer Seyyed Javad Ghaffarian, this is both trike and bike.

As a bike, one of the three wheels sits atop the enclosed rider’s cabin, where it is said to act as a stability aid. As a trike, all three wheels rotate through 90°, along with the cabin and seat, creating a lower, wider profile.

Ghaffarian won a Car Design News contest in 2008 for his creation.

Why is it called the Magic Trike? Because, as the late Paul Daniels might have put it, you’re going to like it. Not a lot.

3. Suzuki Falcorustyco

Here’s a tip for anyone making a motorcycle: don’t include anywhere in the name the word ‘rusty’.

This 1985 concept actually contained at least one good prediction of future technology, in active suspension.

But it contained as many red herrings, including hydraulic two-wheel drive and electromagnetic brakes. Rumour has it the Falcorustyco didn’t run.

According to Suzukicycles.org the name is Latin for Gyrfalcon, the bird known as the Hayabusa in Japan, so the name did in some form make it to a production bike: the Suzuki Hayabusa. 

Well, sorry, we’re still hearing ‘rusty’.

4. Porsche concept

This 1979 concept from car maker Porsche focused on providing 'comfort, safety and protection from mud and water’ rather than the ‘usual fascination with speed’.

‘The engine, running gear and wheels are carefully shielded by streamlined fairings to keep the rider clean and obviating the need for special clothing under normal weather conditions,’ Porsche said.

So why is he dressed like a psychedelic mummy?

Heated and adjustable handlebars and seat may have seemed welcome ideas at the time.

We’re struggling to picture how the ‘integrated kneepads’ would ‘carry the rider over the obstacle’ in a collision, as the designers also claimed.

5. Morbidelli V8

Cheer up mate. You’ve got a V8 in there. Why so sad?

In fact that V8 plant alone weighed 200kg, which would probably put a frown on the face of anyone who had to lift it.

Revealed as a sports tourer by defunct Italian marque Morbidelli in 1994, the V8’s high price of £90,000 made it economically inviable to produce. Judging from its expression, it never got over the news.

6. Suzuki XF425 Ugly Duck

With its profligate use of gaudy colours, the 1990s now seems like a decade that taste forgot.

Exhibit A: the 1991 Suzuki Ugly Duck.

It had a two-wheel drive, a theme in Suzuki concepts, as well as a two-stroke engine.

But nothing could redeem a thing so difficult on the eyes.

‘Ugly Duck’ is only one letter away from the phrase it brings to mind.

7. Yamaha Maxam 3000

It was inspired by American land yachts of the 1950s but we dare say the handling of the Maxam 3000 would have been more like an actual yacht, on water.

Revealed in 2005, it was three metres long, hence the ‘3000’ in the name. Had it gone into production it would no doubt have turned heads, if not corners.

8. Yamaha Morpho 2

Active suspension? Okay. A riding position that can alter on the move? Erm, not sure. Two-wheel steering? Get out.

Yamaha’s 1991 Morpho had all three.

A follow-up to another shape-shifting concept of 1989 called simply the Morpho, it debuted in 1991 like an even less realistic sequel.

Yamaha said the 1000cc machine’s technology offered huge performance improvements, and yet the only thing that seemed to make it to production was a hint of the looks, in the TDM850.

9. Honda Dream Kids Dokitto

It’s either the best or worst idea Honda has ever had: a kit of Meccano-style bolt-together parts to make your own vehicle, complete with a 31cc engine (that blue block with a pull-start).

It’s not kids in charge of vehicles that worries us so much as the vehicles built by kids part of the idea.

Honda said of the 1997 prototype: 'Offering the satisfying feel of a do-it-yourself kit, these kid-oriented machines serve up heaps of good times by offering a variety of fun styles. Powered by modularly designed small-displacement engines, the Dream Kids' specially designed parts can be combined to create either the Dream Kids "Dokitto" bike or the "Wakuccho" kart and expand a child's imagination.’

10.Sbarro concept

We feel claustrophobic just looking at this concept, from boutique Swiss sports car maker Sbarro.

Revealed at the 2008 Paris Motor Show with a mannequin in the rider’s seat and hub-less wheels, it looks more like a concept for a human wheelbarrow than a motorcycle.

Less Sbarro concept, more Barrow concept.