Concept motorcycles – we love them. The fevered imaginings of some raving lunatic who spends his entire life locked away in the product development department of a motorcycle factory, and get lets out once a decade to share the fruits of his labours with the rest of the world.
Most of the loopy machines they come up with never even make it past the initial sketches, but just occasionally the manufacturers decide to build a one-off prototype of some ridiculous bike to show the world what kind of awesomeness we could enjoy if it wasn’t for stupid things like practicality, economy and safety forcing them to stick with more conservative designs.
Here are ten examples of our favourite concept bikes, all of them as awesome as they are insane – which is pretty much the essence of what motorbikes are all about, if you ask us.
This futuristic motor-unicycle is a concept bike from Bombardier Recreational Vehicles. It’s electrically powered using hydrogen fuel cells, and keeps its balance with gyroscopes like a Segway – although it leans into corners like a conventional motorcycle.
This concept bike was unveiled to the world back in 2003, and still looks pretty awesome today. Although the bike was never put into production in this form, any visitor to Japan will notice a lot of similarly styled super-scooters on the roads, so it clearly had a strong influence on the country’s motorcycle designers.
Another belter from Suzuki. This brutal looking cruiser may have the turning circle of an oil tanker, but who needs to go round corners when you look this awesome?
Indian Speed Racer
This is about as ‘concept’ as concept motorcycles get – its outlandish styling (by designer Dan Bailey, for the Indian Motorcycle company) takes cues from the Alien films, and while it may look amazing, there are few clues as to how the rider actually sits on the bike (where are the footpegs?) never mind control the thing.
This nuts concept bike looks more like a buffalo than a motorcycle, and the vertical handlebars are barking mad, but it does look like a lot of fun to ride. Shame it never got built – the idea came from Finnish design student, Heikki Naulapää, who chose to brand it as an Aprilia (it certainly does look like the kind of thing they might do).
This might look like an insane, drug induced steampunk hallucination, but unlike most of the motorcycles on this page, there’s an outside chance that you could actually own and ride one of these machines. Yup, give the Confederate Motor Company a call, and if you’ve got enough cash they’ll probably build you a road legal Wraith of your own – just don’t expect it to be cheap.
This project by design student Arron Rogers takes a lot of inspiration from the classic British manufacturer’s cafe-racer heritage.
Victory Vision 800
Half motorcycle, half locomotive train, the Victory Vision 800 looks like the kind of bike you could go ram-raiding on.
Another machine that looks like it should have stayed in the concept phase, but is actually a (very expensive) production motorcycle. You can buy one of these bubble-rocket things from Swiss company Peraves.
No. Just no. Stick to making cars, please, Jaguar.