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Magnificent Motorcycles, Part 1

Link - article by Simon Rose and Avi Abrams

The Wild, the Wonderful and the Downright Weird Designs for Motorcycles

Even for those who have never ridden a motorcycle, there’s just something about these magnificent machines that make us simply stop and admire them. In this article, we take a look at the cool, the fascinating, the unusual and the ‘what the heck were they thinking’ designs for motorcycles that have appeared for over a hundred years.

(Predator Bike - more images and info at 1, 2)

Let's start with some vintage beauties. The first motorcycle was designed and built in Germany in 1885:

(image via)

FN or Fabrique Nationale de Herstal, a Belgian manufacturer of firearms, also made motorcycles from 1901 to 1967. This one is from 1913:

(image via)

1913 Garelli (left) and the Evans Power Cycle (right), from 1919:

(images via)

Indian Scout from 1928:

(image via)

The Sokol 1000 was made in Poland and used by both civilians and the Polish military in the 1930’s:

(image via)

1940 Indian four cylinder (left). On the right is the design for a Dream Motorcycle One from the early 1950’s -

(images via 1, 2)

The NSU Sportmax motorcycle was a winner in the 250 cc class in the Grand Prix Season of 1955:

(image via)

I’m not sure if I’d want to be racing across the battlefield in this machine:

(image via)

This one on the other hand looks more impressive. The Vespa 150 TAP, equipped with a cannon, was used by the French army and was meant to join the battle after being dropped by parachute (read our article about it here) -

(image via)

This bike, which also featured a gun, was developed for the Danish military in the 1930’s:

(image via)

Wondrous Biking Machines

From the movies here we have the Hill Valley police motorcycle from Back to the Future (left). And how could we forget Batman’s two-wheeled mode of transportation as portrayed in The Dark Knight (right):

(images via)

Boldly go where no has gone before, on the Star Trike, which apparently appeared at the San Diego Comic Con in 1982:

(images via 1, 2)

The TrikeBack’s engine reminded me of the propulsion systems in the jetpacks and rocket belts from an earlier article right here on Dark Roasted Blend:

(image via)

Although this looks like a rocket bike, this is a real bomb shell. More info about this "Crotch Rocket" here:

(image via)

Could this be the world’s largest, or perhaps tallest, motorcycle? -

(image via)

Or how about this 48 cylinder machine, which apparently actually runs - more info:

(image via)

The Panzerbike from Germany, weighing in at just under five tons, has an engine that once powered a Russian T55 tank and the sidecar used to be the casing of a Soviet missile:

(images via 1, 2)

Hopefully, this motorcycle isn’t a real death trap? Skeleton bikes by Jud Turner, John Farr and others:

(images via 1, 2, 3)

Toys for big boys? The Burgerbike, ideal for visiting the drive-through window, perhaps? (left) Not sure what the top speed would be on this one? (right) -

(images via)

This machine was apparently made from spare parts and bits of miscellaneous junk (left)... while this one is made of wood, partially at least (right):

(images via)

Not sure if you want to give up your motorcycle and buy a car, or vice versa? You can have the best of both worlds, with the Laverda sidecar bike (more info):

(images via)

Who said limousines had to be cars? Here is "Anaconda" -

(image via)

The Jaguar motorcycle, such a cool design! -

(images via)

The Allmond Rocket motorcycle fromn Roger Allmond, more info (left) and another unusual design from Japan (right):

(images via)

These are actually part of the "Tuner Scooter" culture phenomenon in Japan - see more here:

(images via)

Here’s a selection of really cool concept bikes. From motorcycle manufacturer Arlen Ness - more info:

(image via)

Icare concept (left) and Swordfish bike concept (right):

(images via)

Ferrari V4 Motorcycle concept (left); Speed Racer motorcycle (right):

(images via)

The Magic Tricycle might sound like a brightly painted kid’s toy, but it’s actually more like something from Transformers. If you prefer to be driving a car, the vehicle moves along on its side using three wheels, but can also flip upright and turn into a motorcycle.

(images via)

The 4-wheeled motorcycle? No, this is not an ATV: Japanese "Tesseract" is a unique dual scythe suspension system, allowing this sleek machine to lean into turns like a motorcycle:

(image via)

And finally, here is perhaps the weirdest vintage bike of all - this one includes a sewing machine! - more info:

(image via)

Article by Simon Rose and Avi Abrams, Dark Roasted Blend.




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Anonymous Anonymous said...

"could this be the worlds largest or tallest motorbike" ??

no - this is....insane, or what ? http://www.vincelewis.net/bigbike.html

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was expecting to see a Brough Superior in the first pictures.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The kleines Kettenkraftrad was not, properly, a motorcycle, despite the front fork assembly; it was designed as a light artillery tractor that could fit into a Ju-52 transport. It had a top speed of around 55 mph, so you couldn't even get to the kind of speeds you can reach on other motorcycles, although its fixed upright stance meant that turns at speed could tip you over.

Because of limited availability of strategic metals, the transmission was constructed from aluminum, and had problems with the gears chewing themselves up; postwar owners who had the transmission copied in steel don't have that problem, which vindicates the design.

Blogger Marrock said...

I'm pretty sure the Vespa 150 TAP mounts a recoil-less rifle.

Anything else on that would be a reverse-mounted rocket and blast the thing away from whatever you were shooting it.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

you forgot the bike from Tron

Anonymous LittleInsect said...

I'm surprised that, along with the NSU Sportmax, you didn't feature the Moto-Guzzi V8 of 1955-57. A bike so scary, that most riders refused to ride it!

Anonymous Charlie Brown said...

"Crotch Rocket" is not a real bombshell, but a disposable external fuel tank, I think.

Blogger Johnny Payphone said...

You can see more of the wacky Steinlauf family here:


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have you seen these?

Anonymous Will said...

I love the look of the "Swordfish". It looks so sleek and futuristic.

Anonymous sion said...

couple of excellent designs that you missed:

The Gunbus: http://forum.motorcycle-usa.com/attach.aspx/16967/gunbus%20tires.jpg

and the Dodge Tomahawk, powered by a Viper V10 engine: http://speedwallpaper.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/Motocycles_2003_Dodge_Tomahawk_Concept__003713_.jpg

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Two more worth mention:




Blogger Avi Abrams said...

Great suggestions, thank you - will go into Part 2... robotart bikes we featured in Robot Art articles...

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Check out the creations by "Doc" Hopkins at Doc's Harley Davidson, Wisconsin. All ridden and rideable bikes. Multiple engines and multiple riders. All built and designed "in house" at their dealership!! Way cool!!

Blogger Chris said...

I'm surprised that you missed out the Vincent Lightning (998cc, 156mph, IIRC) which, according to the Guiness Book of Records, was the fasted production bike for many years after Vincent ceased manufacture in 1955/56.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

And no bike from Akira? FOR SHAME.

Anonymous Samir said...

The Anaconda bike came to one of our local bike nights once. It was neat to see it in person seating 12. :D


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