Artem and Vladimir believe Japan’s design ethos lies heavily on their culture and history, pulling inspiration from minimalism, origami, and traditions like the samurai spirit, but a heavy European influence has resulted in Japan’s large automobile industry following cues that aren’t originally Japanese. Setting out to design a motorbike that is indicative of Japan’s culture, spirit, and aesthetic, Artem and Vladimir designed the Motorbike for Great Japan.
The motorbike’s design makes use of planar surfaces, reminiscent of samurai uniforms, and a body with an origami-inspired form. It even goes the distance to integrate a Samurai-sword-style woven handle for the handlebar grips! The bike comes with a styled carbon-fiber body, which not only makes the bike lighter and faster, but allows it to achieve its origami-style design rather seamlessly. The bike even sports dual-suspension on the front and the back, along with an adjustable seat for comfort, and what looks like a push-to-accelerate footrest. That’s innovative, even by Japanese standards!
Designers: Artem Smirnov & Vladimir Panchenko
Pretty much bridging the gap between concept bikes and concept art for games and movies, Mehmet Doruk Erdem’s “Khan” is an eclectic mix of unbelievable, dangerous, and beautiful. However, if you’ve followed Mehmet’s work in the past, you know exactly what level of aesthetic beauty the Turkish designer works on. Khan, in many ways is classic Mehmet, but at the same time it’s just surreal for us mere mortals who have, up until now, only seen relatively normal-looking motorbikes.
Erdem’s “Khan” concept takes a BMW R 1100 R twin-cylinder boxer engine and giving them an absolutely new lease of life, with a front-heavy wasp-inspired exterior and an almost naked frame at the rear, much like Erdem’s Alpha concept, and dominated by an extremely large rear wheel, and a seat in the middle, resting on a twin-suspension. There isn’t much method to Erdem’s madness, or maybe I don’t spot it, but the Khan is surely a beautiful beast. Unique from practically every angle, the Khan has a remarkable silhouette no matter where you stand… and it especially looks dangerous from the front. I mean, I wouldn’t want to be standing in the path of the Khan as it zoomed towards me!
Designer: Mehmet Doruk Erdem
At first glance, the BMW Motorrad Birdcage looks like a 3D model viewed in wireframe mode. It’s easy to make that mistake, because the Birdcage, sure enough, has an incredible, wireframe-inspired design. Designed as an homage to the BMW Motorrad boxer engine the company developed 50 years ago, the Birdcage houses the absolutely stunning piece of engineering in a titanium see-through mesh-esque cage that gives the engine the attention it deserves. The titanium frame allows the curvilinear boxer engine to be viewed from practically every angle, and was assembled along with the other individually crafted components such as handlebars, footrests, shift lever, seat and unique carbon suspension.
The team at Revival Cycles, headed by Alan Stulberg took a lot of inspiration from Ernst Hennes’ record-setting machines from the late 1920s and early 1930s, and put together the entire Birdcage motorcycle in a stunning span of 5 months, just in time for the 2019 Handbuilt Show.
Designer: Revival Cycles
Combining Honda’s expertise in robotics and in motorbikes, Tom Hylton envisions a solution that helps disabled ride bikes, perhaps even in a professional capacity.
The Honda Prosthetic Arm exists in the capacity of a concept, and allows people without an arm to operate a Honda motorcycle. The arm attached at the shoulder and plugs right into the handlebar, giving you a great grip over the bike. The robotic arm is also built to send commands to the bike, allowing you to accelerate, decelerate, or even brake without the need of a palm or a hand.
“The bike and the prosthetic communicate with each other and the rider to calculate appropriate lean angles and aid body positioning, it will also eject with the rider in the event of an accident. It Is modular to suit trans-humeral and trans-radial amputees and I’m currently designing a leg to go with.” says designer Tom Hylton.
Designer: Tom Hylton
If you were ever a fan of Buell’s motorbikes, you probably weren’t to happy to hear them being absorbed by Harley Davidson. Eric Buell (founder of Buell Motorbikes), however, has moved on and founded a new bike company, rather sardonically named Fuell. And this bike right here, is The Fuell Flow.
Designed to be the vanguard of urban mobility, the Fuell Flow is a fully electric motorbike available in both 11kW and 35kW variants. With a comfortable 125 mile range, and a motor that sits on the rear wheel, eliminating the need for a transmission belt or chain, the Fuell Flow makes for a comfortable urban ride. It features a connected dashboard, 13 gallons of storage on-board for bags and whatnot, and is even customizable, allowing you to switch motors, batteries and chargers. And what’s truly the best bit is that it combines the talent and expertise of Eric Buell, the founder of Buell Motorcycles, and Frédéric Vasseur, Formula 1 Alfa Romeo principal engineer. The Flow does a pretty good job of capturing the soul and aesthetic of Buell’s café racers, and giving them a modern touch with liberal use of straight lines along with the combination of black and silver with just a dash of green!
We’re officially putting Dennis Sedov on our watchlist for design talents this year. Sedov has an unusual way of playing with forms, introducing new combinations and new perspectives to his designs. His cars look mesmeric, his products look unusual and inviting, and his motorbikes, a category we’ve covered practically in entirety, bring a new way of looking at form design in the two-wheeler category.
Sedov’s bikes aren’t designed to be practical. They’re clearly outlandish, but they’re outlandish enough to be celebrated for their outlandishness. Sedov plays wonderfully with proportions, materials, negative space, and geometry to create a bike that is a bike in theory, but looks like something from a parallel universe. The B4 is one such example.
Thinner and leaner than his other bikes, the B4 has a skeletal design that looks more bike-like than his previous motorbike designs. It splits into two broad volumes, connected at two points, one right below the seat, and one under the handlebar unit. The bikes sport a black + copper finish, but what’s most alluring is the bike’s wheels. Sedov’s usually relied on airless, solid tires that showcase unusual patterns that also provide the suspension function, but the B4’s tire is more traditional. The tire comes with a pattern around the hub that looks eye-catching but also flexes under pressure to provide a smooth riding experience. I can’t tell you how much I’d love to see a proof-of-concept!
Designer: Dennis Sedov
Call me a fan of Sedov’s redefined, simple motorbike aesthetic. His bikes may be purely conceptual, bordering on impracticality in the current scenario, but they sure are eye-catching. Sedov boldly uses straight lines and geometric shapes in his vehicles, deviating from the aerodynamic, organic designs most automobiles have. The result is a motorbike that has the essence, but changes presentation, much like a deconstructed dessert. Sedov also gives tires complete visual priority, often reducing the motorbike’s body to be as tall and as wide as the tires themselves, and even experimenting with airless tire designs. The B3, in that regard, is classic Sedov.
The B3, much like the B1 and B2 in Sedov’s ongoing series, follows the capsule-body silhouette. However, unlike the B1 and B2, the body is relatively smaller than the tires, and doesn’t leave any negative space in the center. The B3 also highlights Sedov’s obsession with triangles, not only using them to create a taillight pattern, but to also create the tires’ airless design. The different sized triangles would help keep the tire sturdy, but give it its bounce. The tires are connected to the bike using a novel single-sided fork design that alternates between the front and rear tires. Like all of Sedov’s B-series motorbikes, the B3 doesn’t have a dashboard either, and boasts of a gently curved leather seat, followed by relatively simple handlebars. There’s also a chance that the seat has a suspension at its base, hidden away in the motorbike’s slim, alluring body. I vote for a proof-of-concept!
Designer: Dennis Sedov