Crazy Concept Motorcycles That Are Out Of This World
Crazy motorcycle concepts are often revealed at huge expos like EICMA, CES, Intermot, and the Tokyo Motor Show. Sometimes the designs might make us think about what was going on in the heads of the designers, but more often than not it has us wishing that the future was now. Unfortunately, many never make it to production, but it is always inspiring to see the creativity and resourcefulness that many design teams fabricate. Whether they are fueled by the future, their passion, or different energy resources, we can still dream that these past concepts will come to fruition eventually.
Honda CB125M Concept
Honda’s small-bore supermoto was the star of the show at the 2018 EICMA. This concept has 17-inch forged wheels, SC Project exhaust, slick tires, and solid brake discs. While some concepts have quite elaborate designs, this approach is minimalist but still stands out with the red headlight shroud, hand guards, suspension guards, and seat. Serious shenanigans would be had on this bike, now if only we could get Honda to throw it on the production line.
Husqvarna Vitpilen 701 Aero
If any concept would look at home when we eventually do touch down and settle on other planets, it would be this rocket-esque Husky. When the Svartpilen and Vitpilen 401 were launched in 2017, they remained faithful to the concepts and prototypes, so Husky, if you’re listening, keep that trend going for the 701 Aero. Now all I will need is my $250,000-plus space travel ticket and this 701 Aero with me when I go off on my Martian vacation, thank you very much.
Aprilia RS 660
With body that is built for solid stability at speed and a twin-cylinder engine nestled in an aluminum frame, this Aprilia RS 660 concept looks light and lithe and already poised to take our money. The 660cc parallel-twin engine is derived from the Tuono V4 and RSV4 1100 Factory V-4 powerplant and has us dreaming of testing its stability and power at the track. If this concept can carry over all of the bells and whistles of this concept to production, we don’t think anyone would complain.
Small bore, spoked wheels, and Dakar-appropriate bodywork would excite any ADV or Dakar Rally enthusiast who wants to eat up the unexpected rally terrain. If you also take a peek at the front end, you may notice the clutch-side brake caliper looks familiar like, say, on a CRF perhaps. Although this was revealed just last year, if this small-displacement ADV motorcycle made it through to dealers, a whole slew of beginner riders would make it out to dunes, trails, and more on the coolest light adventure bike ever.
BMW Vision DC Roadster
The Bavarian manufacturer’s first electric jolt in the thunderstorm of current electric machines, this Vision DC Roadster maintains the BMW identity without the boxer flat-twin by having some lateral width to mimic the classic internal-combustion architecture. If you take a look from above, you will see the gaping hole in the aluminum frame and through this hole you can see the longitudinally oriented battery. The design doesn’t need to take into account a gas tank and that, in addition to the Duolever fork, makes this positively futuristic. The nod to the exposed drive shaft and boxer width blur the lines between BMW tradition and modernity.
In honor of BMW tradition, we are going to take a look at an art-deco-styled bobber. The production-version frame cradles the seriously beefy boxer engine that displaces 1,800cc (hence the “18” in the name) while the driveshaft runs uncovered, a nod to BMWs of yesteryear. Does the large engine look familiar? It was showcased in customs like Custom Works ZON’s “Departed” and Revival Cycles’ “Birdcage.” Since BMW often uses custom concepts to tease new engine platforms to come, with the amount of effort it has put into the R18 it’s nearly certain the manufacturer will heft this powerplant into a production model.
Honda Self-Balancing Technology
Of course, self-balancing tech had to make it on this concept list. If you remember, a couple of years ago Honda showcased this “Riding Assist Technology” at the 2017 CES. Honda’s video displaying the capabilities of its tech was something straight out of a futuristic sci-fi movie. Really, when a motorcycle (without a rider, mind you) can follow someone out of a building, that is when you realize the future is now. Some elements on this concept such as the inclined cylinders and exhaust pipe are taken from the NC700.
BMW Autonomous R 1200 GS
BMW also jumped in on the self-driving CES spectacle with this R 1200 GS. Like Honda, BMW is hoping to propel the motorcycle industry forward with this tech marvel. The bike starts, stops, turns, accelerates, and slows without a rider on board. It is kind of unnerving to see, knowing that a machine can do these things without human intervention, but this tech is not meant to remove the rider from the equation, rather, it is meant to aid the rider and increase safety.
Ural Electric Prototype
The sidecar-centric manufacturer, Ural, is even treading lightly into the purely battery-powered world with this all-electric sidecar. The Russian brand reached out to Zero Motorcycles and ICG for some guidance on the battery and motor for this project. This quiet ride is estimated to have 60 hp available at 5,300 rpm and 81 pound-feet of torque. This prototype is optimized for a low center of gravity and stability, and might be hitting the streets sooner than we might think.
BMW/RSD Concept 101
Cross-country tours never looked more inviting and our daydreams definitely have us perched on this collab tourer from Roland Sands Design and BMW. This six-cylinder machine is state of the art, and what do you expect from the RSD crew? The motto “The Spirit of the Open Road” graces the silhouette from the front fairing down to the integrated side cases. Every detail was well thought out with a great balance and use of material with the wood, aluminum, and carbon-fiber accents. Concept 101 foreshadowed the production BMW K 1600 B bagger released in 2017.
Victory Core Concept
Bare bones at its finest. Although Victory is no longer with us and thus production of this bike is but a dead dream, this concept is raw and unique. A cast aluminum frame and bare essentials like the engine, frame, wheels, front suspension, and even African mahogany seat are raw and powerful in appearance. According to the press release in 2009, “The overall impression is a thin, low, sharp, and purposeful motorcycle that is elemental and fierce at the same time.” Elemental and fierce indeed.
Honda NP6-D Scooter
Fourteen years ago, the 2005 Tokyo Motor Show had this NP6-D scooter displayed. It may look alien with the funky headlight cluster and seat arrangement, but it does catch your eye (whether in a good or a bad way, that is for you to decide). Honda’s motorcycle theme at the show was “Dream Wings,” which captured the manufacturer’s “vision of a motorcycling lifestyle based on a new set of values, and a desire to help people pursue their dreams.”
Victory Combustion Concepts
Inspired by American muscle cars, this concept/custom designed by Zach Ness is definitely a brawny beast. It was inspired by the prototype “Project 156” V-twin built by Roland Sands and raced at Pikes Peak, but was based on the production Octane cruiser set to debut for the 2017 model year. “In our eyes the Combustion achieves the often elusive balance of proportion, shape, and color to form an iconic custom American musclebike.”
Ducati XDiavel-based draXter
The folks of the Advanced Design area of the Ducati Design Center (responsible for exploring future style and design concepts) developed the draXter shown here. Brakes and suspension are plucked from the Panigale and the Pirelli rubber sprinkles a bit more of the yellow accents from end to end. The “90” is a nod to when Ducati celebrated its 90th anniversary and the overall design accentuates the lines of the XDiavel it is constructed around.
Honda Super Sports Concept
When you are building a concept around the phrase “strong presence,” you better design something that demands attention, and we believe Big Red did just that. The sharp bodywork, detailed-yet-subtle graphics, and aggressive demeanor hit the nail right on the head. The matte graphics and subdued, nearly hidden lighting hinted that there was more than just a “concept” hidden beneath the angular bodywork. The bike was, in fact, a forthcoming Honda CBR250RR that eventually entered production.
Honda Grom50 Scrambler Concept-One
The beloved Grom has seen countless custom builders taking to their tools to design all sorts of interpretations of the beloved minibike. In this photo you see Honda’s scrambled-out Grom50 Scrambler Concept-One. Number plates and bar-end mirrors have this mini looking like it is ready to take on its own unique minibike dirt track race, and the skid plate, spoked wheels, and gravel-ready tires hint that it is more than capable of doing so. It’s no accident that this concept has design elements that eventually showed up on the 2019 Honda Monkey.
Honda Grom50 Scrambler Concept-Two
Concept-Two from the 2015 Tokyo Motor Show was yet another scrambler-fied Grom from Big Red. The matte-green tank and tan seat work well together, don’t you think? Hints of carbon fiber on the rear fender and heat shield are also nice additions to lift just teensy bits of weight off of this small two-wheeled ride. The LED headlight and turn signals add just a pinch of modern tech all while keeping this concept ready for the street or little joyrides in the dirt.
Yamaha went electric with the PES2 concept, giving us a glimpse into possible all-electric motorcycle that may one day come from the tuning fork folks. This street-focused two-wheel-drive ride houses a lithium-ion battery and is powered by DC brushless motors, one for the rear wheel and another for the front, making its two-wheel-drive system possible. Yamaha claimed this electric concept tipped the scales at 286 pounds. With its monocoque structure and sharp angles, you would be the coolest patron at the clubs of tomorrowland.
Like the PES2 listed previously, this PED2 has a monocoque structure. We think it would have been more beneficial for this dual sport concept to be equipped with an additional electric motor on the front wheel hub like on the PES2, but it was probably not used to keep it lighter weight and simpler. A personal favorite feature of mine, however, is the futuristic urban camo graphics and the weight (only a claimed 220 pounds). This bike will have the future you roving over the mountainous terrain in quiet, electric style.
Yamaha Tilting Tesseract Concept
Okay, so even if the future of motorcycling is conceptualized into this four-wheeled (not two-wheeled) machine from Yamaha, at least it catches your attention. Whether or not you believe tilting vehicles like this will have a place alongside motorcycling, just look at how the three-wheeled Nikken has made its way into the motorcycle industry. All OEMs still have to think of any way to get new or returning riders back into the sport, and if designs like this encourage stability and overall confidence to riders, then I am all for it. These four wheels move independently from one another and are close together to provide a narrower track to help get it closer to motorcycle width.
Oh, the ’80s. Big hair and even bigger ideas of what the future of the motorcycle industry, and the future in general, was perceived to look like. At the 1985 Tokyo Motor Show, Suzuki had this Tron-like two-wheeled machine on display. In a previous report on _Cycle World_, this concept was “powered by a supposed square-four four-stroke with three cams and packed with ‘hydraulic drive,’ hub-center steering, etc., all of it was ‘so advanced in its development that it could be produced almost immediately,’ said Suzuki.” While we, of course, don’t see these on the roads now, maybe Suzuki will revive this idea for the future.
“Does the future wear forks?” was a very good question addressed on this 1990 cover of _Cycle_ magazine. It was a time of experimentation and big R&D budgets, and the Morpho is proof. Like the Falcorustyco, this machine has hub-center steering (this must be a required trait for the future, eh?), but this one goes above and beyond with ergonomic capabilities by having everything adjustable, from the bars to the seat. In 1993, Yamaha introduced the GTS1000 sport-touring bike with similar front suspension design.