Magnificent Motorcycles, Part 2

Behold! The Fearsome Knight on an Iron Horse… or rather, 500 Horses

Earlier this year (see Part 1), we examined some of the cool, the fascinating, the unusual and the utterly weird designs for motorcycles that have appeared for over the last century or so. Here’s another look the wild and wonderful world of motorcycles.

Brough Superior motorcycles were made in Nottingham, England from 1919 until 1940 and were known as ‘the Rolls Royce of motorcycles’. Very expensive at the time, they were available only to the wealthy. This model dates from 1931.

(image credit: Kevin Hulsey, via)

T. E. Lawrence, better known as Lawrence of Arabia, owned several of these machines and died from his injuries after crashing on one in 1935… Another beautiful bike is this Imme (Germany), with a single side suspension:

(image credit: Robert Kimberly)

The Megola motorcycle was produced in Munich in the 1920’s. Some 2000 were built, but only 10 fully working examples are still in existence, one of which is in the Guggenheim Museum in New York:

(top image credit: Robert Kimberly)

In 1935, the Killinger and Freund motorcycle was an attempt to make an improved version of the Megola, but the advent of World War Two put an end to any further development:

(images via)

Some sources point out that “in 1940, when Indian’s skirted fenders appeared, several questioned the manhood of Spingfield’s designers”. It seems that aerodynamic shape of Killinger & Freund bikes influenced the Indian designers:

This streamlined torpedo is the French-made Majestic, 1929:

(image via)

Speaking about “Custom War Bikes”, here is one that was fashioned after World War Two style (modern concept by Kogisama):

(image via)

The previous wild concept was not so wild, after all – take a look at the real WW2-period 1936 BMW Schneekrad (more info):


Another front-wheel tracked motorcycle prototype from 1937 (more info):


Modern all-terrain tracked version is proposed by Hyanide & Baal:


After the war, the Moto Guzzi 500 cc V8 race bike was seen on the world’s high-speed racetracks from 1955 to 1957.


Going Hubless

The hubless wheel was invented by Franco Sbarro, who incorporated it into the Sbarro Osmos car in 1989. He also built at least two motorcycles employing the hubless technology.


Modern version of the hubless wheel can be seen in the recent concepts for Harley Davidson, by designer Miguel Cotto (more info):


Many of us remember the lightcycles from the 1982 movie Tron. The long awaited sequel, Tron Legacy, is set to hit theatres in late 2010 and will feature this splendid looking specimen:


Swordfish concept chopper:

Rats & Kustoms

This custom built motorcycle, called Iceman II, was made by Walz Hardcore Choppers of Germany for Formula One world champion Kimi Räikkönen:


Rat bikes are usually defined as motorcycles that are decades old, in a poor state of repair, but still maintained and kept roadworthy by their owners on a shoestring budget. Survival bikes do resemble rat bikes and the two are often confused, although survival bikes are usually modified in much the same way that cars are customized. Here are some great examples of both of these types of machines.

Imagine seeing this coming up behind you in your rear view mirror (below left)? On the right is the rounded green beauty, also seen at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally:


Not sure what kind of a view you’d get of the road ahead on this one (image below left)? On the right you can see a really inventive fuel tank –


On the left image below is The Survival Bike from some sort of Zombie Apocalypse… Whereas the owners of the bike (below right) decided to actually attach the coffin as a sidecar:


We featured what we had speculated might be the world’s largest motorcycle in Magnificent Motorcycles Part One, but the biggest one on the planet may actually be this one.


This bike is pretty big too and apparently this machine, called the Gunbus, is perfectly capable of being taken out on the road.


Want to travel in style? Why not try this Harley Davidson and limousine combination?


Concept Beasts

Finally, here’s a selection of concept motorcycles, which may or may not see the light of day at some point in the future. Here’s the Akira concept bike:

FuturA was designed by Mario Malagrino of the Florence Design Academy (left)… Romanian 3D artist Adrian Baluta created this cool bike called Darklight (right):


Above image, bottom row: the Suzuki Biplane and the Victory Vision 800 concept bike produced by Victory, a division of Polaris ATV’s.

William Woods designed the Fallout concept motorcycle in 2009 (below left). The Wrath concept (below right) by Alexander Barnard is dubbed a ‘future modern retro chopper’ for the year 2083:


So there you are, another look at cool, fascinating, unusual and weird motorcycles from around the world. Stay tuned for more from the wild and wonderful world of these magnificent machines in future articles right here are Dark Roasted Blend.

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