Motorcycle Design

the appearance, function and engineering of motorcycles

Archive for the ‘Design’ Category

Tim Cameron’s Swann Motorcycle Project

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Tim Cameron is an Australian designer with some really nice ideas about making the sport safer and less costly.  As part of a project with IAG Technical Research Centre and Swann Insurance he has developed a concept vehicle making use of “Ablative Design.”  Many low cost components are designed to take the brunt of damage if the bike is laid down.  In his own words,

Think of a $30 alloy cover bearing the brunt of a simple fall off the sidestand, instead of your $2,000 muffler. Simple really. ‘Ablative’ comes from the old Apollo space program, where it was used to describe the heat shield that burnt up whilst protecting the crew on re-entry.

Beyond that the bike makes use of some very nice electronics to handle proximity warnings and alert you if it is not on level ground when leaving it on the side stand.  The proximity sensors that monitor the blindspots are also a plus.


Link: Tim Cameron

Link: Swann Project


Written by Michael

26 May 2008 at 10:24 am

The Aprilia Magnet. Really Hot. Hybrid.

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This concept vehicle was designed by a Finnish student as part of his thesis.  It runs on a conventional 550cc engine powering the rear wheels, and two electric motors driving the front wheels.

It looks like an F1 car and leans into the turns.  Feet forward is awesome.. 



Written by Michael

21 May 2008 at 5:33 pm

CAD Motorcycles.

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Mark van der Kwaak, an Aussie living in the Netherlands, has some rather amazing bikes he has designed in ProE Wildfire.  What is really impressive is that some of his work has made the migration from solely digital content to real life fire breathing chunks of metal.

This bike is a cafe racer with a twin cam HD engine, tele-lever front suspension and a garrett turbo charger.  I want.



Written by Michael

21 May 2008 at 2:04 pm

New Project. Free Solidworks.

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I’ve been inspired by the fairly amazing design log of Dennis Palatov and the DP1 project.  The napkin to race car progression is fairly amazing.  What I really like is how he handled determining specifications and preformance goals for his project.  His belief that you can either spend the time and money to attend school to be an automotive design engineer.  Or you can invest the same resources into an actual design project. 

With that in mind I would like to begin laying the ground work for a motorcycle.  I want to develop a modern interpretation of the GP bikes from the 1960s.  Possibly toning it down a bit and adding some cafe racer influences for the street.  I’m thinking modern fuel injected inline four cylinder 600cc mill mounted in a tubular steel frame, with modern carbon fiber interpretation of rounded full fairings on the old race bikes.  High quality materials, attention to detail and a desire to find the simplest solution should make this a winner.

I’m getting ready to leave the country next month, to study in Brazil for a semester.  My 1978 Kawasaki KZ400 is ready for paint after many months of grinding and sanding.  And the mailman just delivered a new Student Edition of Solidworks.  I’m excited it’s time to start sizing up the competition.

Written by Michael

15 May 2008 at 12:13 am

Motorcycle Forms.

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J.T. Nesbitt and former Confederate employee Dave Hargreaves posted a nice article about the basic forms of almost all motorcycle styles.  J.T. does some of the nicest work I’ve ever seen.  This article deconstructs all motorcycle styles into a simple arrangement of lines and arcs.  Really understanding this stuff lays the ground work for anyone wanting to design their own bikes.


Link to

Written by Michael

3 May 2008 at 9:53 pm