Thursday, August 17, 2006

The Weird Five: Strangest motorcycles ever!


No, really, that - the Bimota Mantra - is supposed to be a motorcycle!

A motorcycle so ugly, it looked like a cross between a dying mutant insect and a disjointed alien. Bimotas should look exquisite, handle like a dream and go very, very fast – none of which the Mantra did. The bike's designer, a Frenchman called Sacha Lakic, is said to have taken inspiration from wasps when he penned the Mantra's lines - I kid you not! Just what were Bimota thinking of when they gave this one the green signal?!?


The single-cylinder Ducati Supermono was very high-tech, but still rather pointless...

Designed by Pierre Terblanche, the single-cylinder Supermono, launched in 1993, has to be one of Ducati's whackiest efforts ever. This very hi-tech single-cylinder motorcycle had a 550cc engine, which made about 80bhp at 10,000rpm - enough to propel this lightweight (only 115kg) machine all the way up to 220kmph. Ducati built this pure-bred racing machine at very high cost, and among others, noted bike journalist Alan Cathcart raced this bike. Only a handful were ever built, and used examples now command prices of up to US$40-45,000 (Rs 18 - 20 lakh!).


What could have BMW been thinking when they made the R1200ST??

For all its long-distance touring capabilities, last year's R1200ST is one of the ugliest motorcycles I’ve ever seen. From the front, the ST looks like something lashed up in somebody’s backyard, with whatever parts that happened to be lying around. The headlamp looks like a bathroom fitting from a low-end, economy hotel. I don’t care that the engine makes 110 horsepower – the bike just looks crap!


The Morbidelli V8 MK-1 (top left hand corner) is probably the ugliest-ever Italian motorcycle, though later versions (also shown in the pic above) were slightly better looking

First shown in the mid-1990s, the Morbidelli V8 Mk-1, designed by Pininfarina, wins the contest for being the ugliest motorcycle ever made. For US$55,000 you could buy this shaft-drive motorcycle with a 32-valve, 8-cylinder, 850cc engine, a single-sided swingarm, and get this – an instrument panel made of wood. For what it’s worth though, Morbidelli bikes did win three 125cc motorcycle racing world championships, from 1975 to 1977. Even more interesting is the fact that Graziano Rossi, Valentino Rossi's father, also rode a Morbidelli 500cc racer, fitted with a unique monocoque chassis, in 1979.


The Foggy Petronas FP1. Ha ha ha ha ha...!!!

Carl Fogarty was very cool when he was winning WSB championships on Ducatis. Carl Fogarty was not at all cool when he was running his show with the Petronas team, and not winning anything at all. And why anyone should buy an FP1 for US$45,000 (Rs 20 lakh), when they could buy a top-of-the-line Ducati 999R Fila Replica for slightly more than half of that, is quite beyond me!


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