Moto Magazine

All-enveloping Bodywork

Posted on the 16 March 2012 by Wideopenmoto
All-enveloping bodyworkAll-enveloping bodyworkAll-enveloping bodywork
During the mid to late '80s, some strange things were going on in the motorcycle design world. At some point, someone decided that bikes handled better with 16 inch wheels. A few years later it was all off, leaving the lucky owners of those low-volume, cutting edge machines either chasing replacement tyres as manufacturers deleted them from their catalogues, or compromising the originality of their bikes with 17 inch wheel conversions.
Only the Italian bikes shown here both have the pesky 16 inch wheels, however all three display another fairly short lived, concurrent design trend- masses of bodywork obscuring the mechanical components from view! The trend also appeared outside of Europe with the Suzuki Across and one of the Honda CBR models. For the most part it was not well recieved by riders (although personally I find the Bimota DB1 pretty dang sexy).
All-enveloping bodyworkAll-enveloping bodyworkA non original DB1 with 2-into-1 exhaust and 17 inch wheel conversion.
When I was researching for my industrial design thesis project, one of the things which stood out in terms of motorcycle styling, was the importance of visible mechanical componentry. Generally, when judging examples of motorcycles of different styles, those with covered up or obscured mechanical parts were frowned upon by riders. Even for superbikes which are aerodynamically better off in many cases by covering the oily bits, designers generally allow selected parts to remain visible. On any fully-faired bike today you can see parts of the frame, engine, radiators, exhausts, shock absorbers etc. On the 3 examples here however, not a thing. Is this why the trend was so short lived? Dunno...could be I s'pose...
All-enveloping bodyworkAll-enveloping bodywork Ducati Paso- again with 17 inch wheel conversion.
All-enveloping bodyworkAll-enveloping bodyworkThe Norton F1 rotary.
Useful Trivia Time! The DB1 and Paso were both designed by none other than Massimo Tamburini- creator of the Ducati 916 and MV Agusta F4. Apparently Tamburini's first Paso concept (deemed by Ducati to be too expensive to produce) became the Bimota DB1 which ended up beating the Ducati to market by 1 year (1985/86). Sneaky devil!

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