A&R Rubbies: The Best Motorcycle Concepts of 2009

12/27/2009 @ 8:42 am, by Jensen Beeler9 COMMENTS

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.

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  • MTGR

    Not bad choices but I would argue that 2 of the 3 selected don’t belong in the “concept bike” class but in the “cool computer mock-up” category.

    While I am sure computer mock-ups, that seem to run rampant these days, take a lot of creativity and knowledge to create they are nothing like actually building a three-dimensional machine such as the V12 X Guzzi. Further, as strictly computed images they are not limited or effected by laws of physics to the same degree as an actual physical object no matter how detailed their theorectical ingformation is. In my mind, that makes these types of mock-ups an unfair comparison to actual concept bikes (even ones that are not fully operational). It is the difference between telling an excellent story or producing an actual book.

    Yes, I know in the modern world of manufacturing both mock-us and physical models are necassary steps used when turning a “broad concept” into an actual production machine, but the fact remains one is theory only while the other is an actual physical reality so they should not be treated the same. Just my opinion.

  • Dr. Gellar

    Good thing Ducati never put this into production. From all the illustrations I’ve seen of the Vyper, it is ugly.

    Still don’t understand why they don’t produce a modern version of their Scrambler, maybe using one of the smaller air-cooled engines (696 or 796). Or if they have to get into the cruiser market, go with a modern take on the Apollo, with a big air-cooled V-4, classic cruiser styling but with a Ducati twist, and lots of accessories.

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  • Sean Mitchell

    The Apollo was a bust…as any cruiser from Ducati will be.

    Ferrari doesn’t make trucks…Ducati doesn’t make cruisers! End of story.

  • Bjorn

    @ Sean Mitchell.
    You’re right, Ferrari don’t make trucks, however Ducati have made cruisers in the past. Try searching for the Indiana, it was based around a 750 two valve motor. I think it was late 80’s or very early 90’s.
    I was amused to also discover that Lamborghini make Tractors.

  • Dr. Gellar

    @ Sean

    Perhaps. But just because the original Apollo was “a bust” in the past, doesn’t mean a modern iteration, if done right, could not be successful today.

    If Ducati is indeed looking to get into the cruiser market in one form or another, I’d have to say regarding your “end of story” comment….hardly.

  • RSVDan

    No mention of the BMW Concept 6?


    In my opinion, it is a fantastic example of a concept bike in the purist sense of the term.

  • jake318

    Sean Michelle sorry , everyone has scellotons in thier closit . Including Ducati the Ducati indiana ( nt badmouthing , just informing I own a Ducati also 999. With 8 other bikes in stable .