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Concept Motorcycles That Did and Did Not Make the Production Cut

Bombardier Embrio

Designers love to get a commission to take on the problem of what a motorcycle should look like.

And what’s not to like about that gig?

You get a comfortable chair in the product development department of a motorcycle factory, and nice play on the motorcycle web worldwide to display your imaginary wares and express your vision.

Though, like the vast majority of “concept cars,” most of these wildly imaginative machines don’t make it past the initial sketch stage, once in a very great while a manufacturer sacks-up and takes a flyer on the decision to build a prototype to trot out to the assembled motorcycle press. What purpose to these fevered visions of the future serve? They are statement from the boardroom which clearly says: practicality, economy and safety concerns be damned – this is the depth of our vision.

And then, one and all, manufacturers head back to the plant and get on with the business of creating safe, conservative designs and ultimately, making them real.

But as crazy as the “concept motorcycle” process might sound, some of the outlandish imaginings actually become motorcycles.

Cast your eyes, then, to the conceptual machine on the right from the drawing boards at  Bombardier Recreational Vehicles. Ignore for a moment the fact that it’ not really a motorcycle but more of a Shrine Circus unicycle clown-car thing. It would be an electrically-powered toy which uses hydrogen fuel cells and balances itself with the aid of  gyroscopes like a Segway on steroids.

But it is definitely not, and never would be, a motorcycle.

Some of the following visions do meet the “what is a motorcycle” test, so here they are…


Suzuki G Strider

Suzuki G-Strider

Unveiled to the world back in 2003, the G-Strider has stood the test of time. Although the bike was never put into production, at least in this form, it did have an enduring influence on motorcycle designers, particularly those in Japan.

 

Suzuki Bipolane

Suzuki Biplane

Suzuki Biplane

The Suzuki Biplane was a brutish-looking cruiser design which tried to marry the sportbike with an updated bobber feel. The look of the bike is engaging and streamlined, and the technologies proposed for it were forward-looking as well. The massive front forks are reminiscent of another bike on our list, the Confederate Wraith.

Indian Motorcycle Speed Racer

Indian Motorcycle Speed Racer

Indian Speed Racer

The outlandish styling  of this concept Indian by designer Dan Bailey for the Indian Motorcycle company, while it totally missed the mark of what an Indian ought to be, throws out the baby with the bathwater. Interesting but wholly inappropriate for an iconic brand which will – at least for the near future – rely on styling from the storied past of the marque

Ram1000

Ram1000

 

RAM1000

While you have to wonder what kind of handling would result from the bike’s vertically-oriented handlebars, the RAM1000 at least reflects the sportbike heritage of the Aprilia brand. It never got built and sprung from the mouse and pad of Finnish design student Heikki Naulapää, but it does represent a plausible concept considering the brand for which it was proposed.

Confederate Wraith

Confederate Wraith

Confederate Wraith

Designer Ed Jacobs actually saw this outrageous creation hit the road. The Confederate Motor Company has turned Jacobs loose and continued to produce variants of this fast and stylish creation. There’s even talk afoot that the next iteration of the Confederate breed, the X132 Hellcat, will come in somewhere under $45,000, so it not only made the production cut, you might actually be able to afford one.. .

Norton M28

Norton M28

Norton M28

Norton is back in the game, but not with any version of this project by design student Arron Rogers. It does, however, pay enough homage to the storied classic British manufacturer’s cafe-racer and race-track heritage.

Victory Vision 800

Victory Vision 800

Victory Vision 800

This sleek and innovative concept, the Victory Vision 800, may well be the harbinger of things to come from Polaris and Victory. The company’s latest production machines already feature styling which marks a departure from the old school machines favored by rival Harley-Davidson, so a toned-down production version of this bike may not be too far from reality.