The Road Runner was designed by Suhann, a student at Shih Chien University of Industrial Design, in an attempt to combine the streamlined-aerodynamics of WWII aircrafts with a cafe-racer.
For this project, Suhann actually started with Honda Super Cub 90 and then proceeded to throw just about everything away. In order to give the bike a visually “light” appearance a custom frame was constructed to create a lot of negative space.
The upper volume is a tip-to-tail aluminum shell that houses the seat, electronic controls, and a small carrying compartment. The middle volume is the fuel tank, reminiscent of the bombs carried by old WWII planes. And the lower volume features a large aerodynamic duct to cool the horizontally mounted cylinder of the Super Cub.
A monoshock suspension was incorporated to clean up the overall look. Custom high-rise rear-set pegs were fitted to complete the low slung racing position of the bike.
Now, just for fun, a bunch of French designers, Thibault and Marc Devauze and Clement Couvreur, have come up with a concept model of an Audi roadster. Their sleek design is based on a Ducati 848 engine with elements of Ducati’s Hypermotard and Monster.
With Ducati’s expertise with carbon fiber and Audi’s Direct Shift Gearbox, the prospect of a cross-breed motorcycle like this 848 Motorrad Roadster is not all that far fetched. As some will remember, Audi-owned DKW was once the largest manufacturer of motorcycles in the world.
Only time will tell if Audi actually intends to start work on an Motorrad division, or, if the $980 million purchase of Ducati was just deft move by VW to mitigate EU regulations that have been penalizing Lamborghni for excessive carbon emissions.
All next week we will be interrupting our normal broadcast of the Aether Journal to bring you live updates from our motorcycle trip: Aether Chasing Winter.
As the ski season comes to a close and the motorcycle riding season begins, we’re taking a trip of a lifetime and chasing the last of the snow up the Rockies. For the next week, we’ll be riding from Telluride, CO to Jackson Hole, WY on fully-loaded BMW GSs, stopping at every major ski resort along the way. Our goal: to hit the last of the snow and the first of the open roads.
While we’re out there, we will be testing out our new motorcycle jackets, the Skyline and Canyon, as well our entire winter collection. It might be spring time, but it’s still the Rockies. Things are going to get cold.
So stay tuned to the Aether Journal for updates, and follow our daily progress on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. #AETHERchasingwinter
Beijing-based motorcycle garage Bandit9 is back at it again, this time with The Hephaestus, a custom designed Honda Bros 400. Named after the greek god of blacksmiths, sculptors and artisans, Hephaestus was forged entirely out of stainless steel. No plastic fairings, no paint, just beautiful raw materials. Unlike their previous bike, a black-out Chang Jiang 750, Hephaestus represents a step into a lighter color paletee. Would be fantastic to see these two bike sitting in the garage side by side.
To find out more about Hephaestus or Bandit9 visit their website: BanditNine.com
Coursing with male-machismo, the word “tactical”, and a hyper-fixation on the coming zombie-apocalypse, the Dromedarii is Portland-based Icon 1000‘s custom rendition of a Triumph Tiger 800XC. To transform this perfectly reasonable adventure bike into a hell-fire Afrika Korp death-machine, Icon 1000 replaced the plastic fairings with steel, incorporated an oversized bespoke fuel tank, auxiliary fuel cells, and a front and rear racks. All of which, have been painted the requisite matte desert tan.
So if you’re looking for a really serious motorcycle, and we mean so serious that you don’t find anything disconcerting about Icon 1000 Gulf War inspired promo video for it, then the Dromedarii is definitely for you.
“The Edge… there is no honest way to explain it because the only people who really know where it is are the ones who have gone over.” – Hunter. S. Thompson
Joe Hoegh is one of those people. He recently piloted a customized Hellcat X132 Combat by Confederate Motorcycle down the salt flats of Bonneville at 172 mph. His run has set a new speed record for a naked street bike and makes the Hellcat Combat the world’s fastest big block American V-twin.
The prototype X132 Hellcat Combat uses a 132-cubic-inch S&S XWedge engine that pumps out 160 lb-ft of torque and 160 horsepower. It’s the same engine used by Confederate for their production model Hellcat, but with a variety of performance optimizing adjustments that push the bike to its limit.
Confederate plans to make 32 of these custom, handcrafted Hellcat X132 Combats and will offer them next year for $72,000. A steep price, but for the chance to own this record breaking 2-wheeled rocket, it’ll certainly be worth it to the right person.
These images are from the Red Bull Lingotto Special, which took place last year onto the rooftop track of an old Fiat factory in the Torino, Italy, and was held to celebrate 150 years of Italian unification. The event popped back onto our radar again when one of our favorite motor blogs, Silodrome, recently did a post on a it.
The “race” consisted of multiple stages, and points were awarded for a variety of non-race related criteria like best outfit. There was a tire change stage, in which the rear tire needed to be taken off and put back on again under a certain time limit, otherwise points were deducted. Participants then needed to ride up spiraling ramps to the roof in precisely 90 seconds, no more, no less. Once at the top, two lapse were to be done around the track and the individual with the two closest times to each other won. The judges could also award or detract points for variety of reasons that could be made up on the spot and which only they needed to understand.
As you might suspect, the whole thing was a complete farce, but for a Vespa race (celebrating the lock-step unification of Italy no less) nothing could have been more fitting than a chaotic rabble of well-dressed Italians zipping around on scooters, smiling, laughing, and making the best of it.
The term “to reinvent the wheel” is often used as a dismissive remark, but a team of students from San Jose State have set out prove everyone wrong by replacing the wheels of a motorcycle with a new spherical drive system. While the idea of using spheres instead of traditional wheels has been occasionally touched on in Sci-Fi fantasy, most notably the Audi RSQ from I, Robot, there has been little development into their real world application.
A spherical drive system allows a vehicle to move in any direction at a given moment, allowing for completely omnidirectional maneuverability. Unlike any other vehicle that uses a fixed axle to transfer energy to a rotating wheel, the use of spheres means that power must transmitted by contact friction alone. This is done through a variety of contact points on the sphere that will not only distribute power, but also stabilize the vehicle. Sensitive sensors and extensive control stabilization software need to be developed in order to keep the bike upright.
This project looks to test the feasibility of an omnidirectional vehicle at low speeds in a controlled setting, however, the ultimate intention is to develop one that is comparable in power and speed to current motorcycles.
Ever since the original Stars Wars first implanted the idea in our heads, the desperate desire for a personal hovercraft has weighed heavy on the minds of many. There have been many close attempts to replicate the thrill of a landspeeder, but none have succeed until now.
Recently Manhattan Beach aerospace engineering firm Aeroflex released a video of their first prototype’s test flight. Similar to other hovercrafts, this model uses large powerful fans to generate the necessary amount of lift. However, what sets the Aeroflex single-seater apart from any previous attempts is the intricate stabilization controls, which makes the bike so intuitive to drive that anybody can do it.
The bike, which was demonstrated in the Mojave Desert, can now get up to 30mph and hover as high as 15 feet. As the below video demonstrates the basic control of the bike is performed by the rider’s natural body movement. Much like banking a motorcycle through a corner, the hover bike response to the same type of human body English for navigating through turns.
However, like most amazing feats of engineering this piece of technology is slated to be snapped up by the military. Aerofex founder Mark De Roche thinks it could be used for reconnaissance through rocky canyons, heavily wooded areas, and swamplands. The hover bike offers the unique ability to travel over terrain that would otherwise be impossible to traverse using wheels or caterpillar tracks.
The current model looks a little bulky and cumbersome, but future models will no doubt be lighter weight and more streamlined. So it might not be right around the corner, but the prospect of driving a hover bike to work is now looking more feasible than ever.
Recently Beijing motorcycle shop Bandit Nine got their hands on a Chang Jiang 750 and gave it the full monochromatic treatment. In addition to the stealth bomber matte job, they completely rebuilt the flat-twin engine and installed brand new disc brakes. They left the front wheel with the traditional spokes but used a modern alloy for the rear.
The Chang Jiang 750 was originally based off the Russian IMZ M-72 which itself was almost an exact copy of the 1938 BMW R71. The first production of the CJ750 began in 1958 and used nearly identical parts as the M-72. Over the years slight improvements were made, but the overall design has remained distinctly German feeling.