Top 10s

Top ten weird motorcycle designs

From hub steering to obscure engine layouts, motorcycle design has strayed into many weird and wonderful areas over the years, here’s the ten weirdest we can find

THE basic design of a motorcycle over the years has remained anything but static. We’ve seen everything from hub-centre steering, steam power and whacky, feet-forward machines that look like something out of an 80s TV show.

For the most part, the strangest and most outlandish designs tend to remain as flights of fancy or small capacity builds, rarely seeing more than a few sold. But every now and again a new bike with a different answer to the two-wheeled problem becomes a genuinely viable option.

In this top ten we take a look at some of the weirdest motorcycles ever to turn a wheel, whether successful of not!

10. Quasar

The typically 80s naming of this bike makes you instantly think of a bike with this kind of outlandish design! Looking like a cross between a Sinclair C5 scooter and a spaceship, the Quasar was a futuristic take on what a sports motorcycle could look like.

Built around a tubular frame, the bike was powered by the 850cc engine, sometimes from a Reliant Robin and then later from the Suzuki GS. They even managed to show-horn a Z1300, six-cylinder engine into one of the hub-steered machines.

9. Lazareth LM847

For a machine with four wheels, the Lazerath is still an interesting looking motorcycle! For one thing, it seems to be more engine than anything else! Built around the 400+bhp, 4.7-litre engine from a Maserati sports car, the LM847 includes four single-sided swingarms – one for each wheel – Buell-style hub-mounted brakes and road presence like no other motorcycle on earth!

8. Böhmerland

No, this isn’t a vehicle from the kid’s TV show Noddy, this is the Böhmerland, built in the now Czech Republic from 1924 until the end of WWII. Everything about the bike screams utilitarian, it’s function over form on two wheels! The bike was typically powered by an overhead-valve, single-cylinder engine of around 600cc. You could even opt for a two, three and even four-seater variant of the bike.

7. Peraves Monotracer

One of the more bizarre motorcycles of the 2000s is this, the Peraves Monotracer, a two-seater, 155mph jellybean on wheels! The BMW powered bike is still available today though and is even available as a fully electric machine. It isn’t cheap though, and at launch would set you back £50k and even more if you wanted to spec the thing up a bit.

6. Boxx

Yes, it’s a bike in a suitcase. No, it isn’t road legal and no, we wouldn’t want to ride it either! The Boxx was the mobility solution for the well-heeled businessperson around town. Rushing to get from one meeting to another? No problem, just grab your Boxx…

Or maybe not; HR will probably have something to say about that!

5. Rokon Trail-Breaker

The Rokon was originally dreamed up in the 1960s to provide a rugged, lightweight motorcycle that could be quickly and easily repaired if needed. The key to this machine is its clever two-wheel drive system, that uses a series of chains and sprockets to direct drive to both the front and rear wheels. The balloon tyres make short work of deep mud and snow and can even be swapped out for even more overinflated items that make the bike float over swampy areas!

If the zombie apocalypse does arrive, you’ll probably want one of these!

4. TMC Dumont

Built by Tarso Marquez, the TMC Dumont takes everything you thought a bike needs and leaves them on the garage floor. It’s powered by a Lycoming aero engine, has hub-less wheels, handlebars that seem to mount through a supercharger and apparently no brakes whatsoever!

What could possibly go wrong – apart from speedbumps?

3. MTT 420 RR

The MTT is a motorcycle with a jet engine from a helicopter. Yes, you read that correctly. Even more bizarrely, this model is called the 420 RR, which the company happily boasts on their website means ‘Race Ready’! Ready to race against what, a Typhoon jet fighter!? The ‘bike’ has a mind-boggling 420bhp and 600lb-ft of torque. Good luck finding a straight road long enough to test it out!

2. MotoInno TS3

Taking a leaf out of the Bimota guidebook of motorcycle building, the MotoInno goes at the hub-centre steering method but goes about it in a completely different way. The bike’s front swingarm pivot is mounted a long way above the front axle and is joined by an upper control arm mounted just in front of the steering head. Whether it worked or not is a different story, front end feel is quite a personal thing and Humans have been getting used to how forks feel since we started riding – anything else tends to feel a bit weird!

1. Lazareth Moto Volante

Another machine from the crazy team at Lazareth, the Moto Volante is the first machine – that we know of anyway – that can genuinely transform from a motorcycle, to flying vehicle and back again. And it actually works! The ‘engine’ of the machine is actually a composite creation, hiding the fuel tanks for the machine’s jet engines. It’s thought the bike in road form uses electric power to move as there don’t seem to be any chains of belts to power the rear wheels.

When the rider/pilot of the machine fancies taking to the wing, the bike transforms into a flying machine in as little as sixty seconds! The wheels fold flat, revealing four jet turbines that produce a combined 2,800Nm of thrust and a claimed 1,300hp! The bike has two small jets located on either side of the ‘bike’ that provides the machine with forward thrust.

And how much for this jet-powered lunacy I hear you ask? You won't get much change out of £500k is the answer!

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