This is getting a little ridiculous

Honda asked some bike designers to go all out with their visions of the Honda Fury, the factory chopper Honda’s been touting for several months now, as well as the new Stateline and Saber.  They got these:

Honda Concept Furious
Honda Concept Furious, by Nick Renner. Based on the Fury.
Honda Concept Slammer
Honda Concept Slammer, by Erik Dunshee. Based on the Stateline.
Honda Concept Switchblade
Honda Concept Switchblade, by Edward Birtulescu. Based on the Saber.

There’s nothing wrong with these concepts visually, if you don’t mind a bit of motorcycle with your Arlen-Nessiness.  But, at the end of they day, they’re all 65HP VTX1300s.  No machine based on the VTX1300 can possibly be “Furious”.  Of course, I’m a grown-up, so I realize that there’s not much marketing magic in calling a bike the “Mildly Annoyed”.

On the plus side, you would at least look good tooling along at 45MPH on one of these babys.  Just don’t expect things to turn out well if someone offers to race you for “pinks”. Not that anyone would, because, you know, who’d want to take one of these away from you? Their best-case scenario is that they’d win a VTX 1300.

Yes, yes, it’s a Honda, so I’m sure it’d be finely crafted, smooth, and reliable as all hell. But the VTX1300 platform is, in a word, boring. It’s as dependable a platform as you could ask for…but who would.  Honda’s a fine company, and they make some great bikes (see CBR1000RR or Gold Wing), but the VTX1300 is far closer to “workmanlike” than “great”.

Quadro 4D Concept

One of the more interesting concepts that will be shown at the EICMA show in Italy this year are what appears to production-ready prototypes of a new scooter concept from Quadro Technologie, a new arm of Marabese Design. Marabese was the designer for the Piaggio MP3 scooter, but now they’ve gone one step beyond that with a 4-wheeled concept. The video makes it look very interesting.

httpvhd://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v2OJa-vWEaE

Essentially, what you have here is a 4-wheeled vehicle, but with each wheel independently suspended, allowing it to lean like any other scooter or motorcycle.  What you get from that combination is a much more sure-footed vehicle, with loads more traction, and more abilioty to take bad road conditions in stride.  At the same time, the ability to lean makes cornering safer by balancing the forces of gravity and inertia–unlike a normal trike, where cornering can be a bit riskier business.

I can certainly see the advantages this offers for a commuter bike.  Keep an eye on this technology.

Note to “Green” Motorcycle Designers

Trying to design and build “green”, zero-emissions motorcycles is becoming sort of a big deal.  There’s even an eGrandPrix going on at Vintage Motorcycle Days at Mid-Ohio this year.  I don’t particularly have anything against the idea of zero-emissions, environmentally friendly motorcycles.  Sooner or later, that’ll be the only type of vehicle–of any type–you can buy.

Luca Bar Electric Concept Racer
Luca Bar Electric Concept Racer

But, if you’re a motorcycle designer, do us all a favor.  when you hit the drawing board, try and come up with a design that at least looks like a real motorcycle, and not some odd concept creation that not only looks ugly, but as this Luca bar design shows, is actively dangerous.

Granted, this design is for a racing bike, so maybe having the rider drawn up into a fetal position isn’t a show-stopper.  But, I’m pretty sure that even professional motorcycle racers don’t want to have a foot ripped off by the rear wheel if they make a little mistake in their foot placement.

Oh, and, granted, nice Buell front wheel, but are mismatched wheel sizes really the direction you want to go in in terms of precise handling?  Or should we just ride directly into the hay bales now, and save everyone a lot of time?

Yes, you designers are no doubt a talented lot, and are just chock full of neat ideas for how cool stuff can look.  But it’d be nice if the final product was one that wouldn’t actively try to, you know, kill you.

Let’s concentrate on getting a few simple things right first, especially for motorcycles that people micht actually want to ride somewhere other than a race circuit.  A 250 mile range might be nice. Some sort of wind protection would be appreciated, too. Oh, and let’s just ditch the idea of rechargeable electrics as a valid platform for…well…anything.  If I have to go see my family in Albuquerque, it’d be nice not to have to stop and recharge for eight hours every 200 miles.

The eight day round trip would be kind of inconvenient.