Concept motorcycles, with their renders and sketches, captivate our minds with what could be. They are not confined by budgets, resources, or even reality, but instead are only limited by the imagination of their author. Some concepts are purely a work of fantacy, while others explore design and market elements. Because of the varying reasons and goals for a motorcycle concept, there is no single measure that one can apply in judging one concept against another. So instead our benchmark was to try and understand what the author’s intent was with their work, and then merit them on how well that goal was achieved. Asphalt & Rubber’s choices for the best motorcycle concepts of 2009 are after the jump.
Best Motorcycle Concept of 2009: Subaru WRX Powered “KickBoxer” by Ian McElroy
When we first saw the KickBoxer we fell in love immediately with its hub-center steering, riveted bodywork, and ridiculous use of a flat boxer motor complete with turbochargers. The design is tastefully done, and despite the outlandish idea, the KickBoxer isn’t over-the-top with aggressive styling. In fact, we imagine that if Subaru were to enter the motorcycle market, they themselves would create such a machine. This isn’t the first time a motorcycle concept has featured a car motor at its heart, but it’s the first one that we’ve seen that we’d actually like to see become a reality. Is there a need for such a motorcycle? Absolutely not, but do we want one? Definitely yes.
First Runner-up: Moto Guzzi V12 Concepts by Pierre Terblanche
At the EICMA show in Milan this year, Moto Guzzi unveiled three concepts by Pierre Terblanche that showcased the quirky company’s new perspective on where it fit into the evolving Piaggio line. Our personal favorite of the three bikes was the V12 X, while the outlandish Le Mans version was the bigger hit at the show. For us, the V12 X is not only a striking design, but also the most probable outcome in a modernized Moto Guzzi world. While modern and updated in its overall appearance, the V12 X retains the simple and striking lines that are traditional to Moto Guzzi. Again, another motorcycle we’d like to see built so we can have one in our garage.
Second Runner-up: Ducati Vyper Cruiser by Luca Bar
The Ducati Vyper cruiser concept, as imagined by Luca Bar, is a completely different step from these other concepts. While we lusted after these previous designs, the overwhelming negative reaction to a Ducati cruiser was a realization in how an idea can challenge our notions of a brand. Ducati continues to explore new market segments, as the feasibility of a sportbike-only company grow more and more impractical, but the cruiser segment is clearly an area that customers are not willing to see Ducati make an entry into. Customers own their brand, and for at least the time being, the company listened to their reactions of the brand changing.