Friday, November 30, 2007

Vintage 1973: The Colani Motorcycle Study.

Colani's amazing but non-functional motorcycle design study

"Luigi Colani, (born in Berlin on 2 August 1928 as Lutz Colani), is a German industrial designer whose father came from Madulain near St. Moritz in Switzerland and mother from Poland.

The prime characteristic of his designs are the rounded, organic forms, which he terms "biodynamic" and claims are ergonomically superior to traditional designs. His "kitchen satellite" from 1969 is the most prominent example of this school of thought. Many of his designs for small appliances are being mass-produced and marketed, but his larger designs have not been built, "a whole host of futuristic concepts that will have us living in pods and driving cars so flat that leg amputation is the only option."

The earth is round, all the heavenly bodies are round; they all move on round or elliptical orbits. This same image of circular globe-shaped mini worlds orbiting around each other follows us right down to the microcosmos. We are even aroused by round forms in species propagation related eroticism. Why should I join the straying mass who want to make everything angular? I am going to pursue Galileo Galilei's philosophy: my world is also round. — Luigi Colani

His unconventional designs have made him famous, not only in design circles, but also to the general public. He has received numerous design awards.

Colani currently resides in Karlsruhe, Germany."

..and the not-so-successful Yamaha Alula study

The other Ghost Rider, Pt2.

"Norman, as always, drove like a maniac. Norman was young. He had never ridden any motorized device that lacked onboard steering and balance systems. He rode the bike with an intense lack of physical grace, as if trying to do algebra with his legs.

...they buzzed up along the road shoulder, the smart bike and sidecar scrunching over the oyster shells with oozy cybernetic ease.

From Distraction, by Bruce Sterling.

The Ghostrider robot is built by the "blue team" (composed of graduate and undergradute students from UC Berkeley as well as faculty and graduate students from Texas A&M.) for the Darpa Robotic Vehicle challenge.

This "Grand Challenge" is intended to accelerate the development of autonomous vehicle technologies. DARPA and other US agencies are already funding numerous developments in the robotics vehicle domain. This specific endeavor, however, is targeted to find smart solutions that are to be tested in a realistic scenario under challenging race conditions - something that has never been done before on this scale.

In July 2002, the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) announced that it would award a cash prize of $1 Million to the team that builds an autonomous robotic ground vehicle that will successfully win a race from Los Angeles to Las Vegas.

On March 13, 2004, the Grand Challenge took place with no vehicles completing more than 8 miles autonomously before being disqualified. Nevertheless, the event successfully created a community of engineers, garage enthousihast and students who together took the first steps in private autonomous vehicle development.

There was no winner March 13, 2004. So, DARPA decided to hold a new Grand Challenge on October 8th, 2005 with a $2 million prize.

The Ghost Rider contains thirty two (32) seperate electronic components. Beyond DGPS, we are using only high speed camera as sensor input. The are two types of cameras used onboard. First, a pair of high resolution 1600x1200 ethernet cameras manufactured by Cognex used for creating realtime 3D scene of the obstacles in front of the vehicle. Second a single CCD, high speed (40 Hz), color camera is used for road detection.

Here is the Component Diagram with all connections and logic paths....

The worlds best stinkwheel, Or the short story of the bicycle that rolled on its own.

"In 1940 Marcel Mennesson would a prototype of a 38cm-engine assited bycycle. Its characteristics are the of the actual Solex, including, among other things, a transmission with a running wheel, a cylinder out of the line of the wheel, and a gas pump that brings the gas back to the tank. By december 1940, this engine is installed on a men's bike - the "Alcyon" with is black with a gold trim, This was indeed the first production model of Velosolex.

In 1953 over 100,000 of the "bicycles with emergency engines."are sold. Its success is phenomenal, Solexes are sold to dealers 50 at a time and the dealers having to pay pay cash in advance due to the high demand. At the same time Solexes have even become a hot commodity on the black market.

On January 29 th 1974, Félix Goudard dies at the age of 86-in charge of the worldwide commercialisation of the Solex the company soon wained. A few months after Renault (the french car producer) took control of the Vélosolex. In 1988 the production line of Saint-Quentin stopped on november 7 and the last 100 units were be sold at an charity auction for "Les resto du coeur".
If your lucky you can still see the early Solexes chugging around the E.U. irritating both traffic and noses alike.

Thanks to the French Velosex site.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Vintage 1982: The Honda Motocompo.

Via: 3yen
"The Motocompo was born in the 80’s, it is still so much ahead of its time..

ska band Madness was enlisted by Honda to do a series of cheeky City/Motocompo commercials.

The Honda Motocompo is a little toy for adults who were too old when Transformer robot toys first appeared. It is a motorbike, but it is also a toy. It is a statement. People who bought a Honda Motocompo at the time were cool, those who still have one are even cooler.

Designed as a companion to the Honda City series (aka Jazz in Europe), this minibike folds up and fits in the trunk of your minicar. When you live in Tokyo and you understand the value of space, both in the street, in your home, and everywhere you spend some time, you really value the designers at Honda who came up with this little guy. The City car spawn many babies worldwide, such as the Polo, the Smart and so on. Yet, the Motocompo died and got forgotten. Sure, half of the bicycles you see in the street of Tokyo are foldable, but in the times of portable music, portable computing, portable gaming, and portable video, where is the portable bike?...

Sometimes, you can even fine one on eBay, if you don’t want to burn money yet be a hipster, you can always build your own in folded paper (Japanese style all the way)"
Here' Anime from motorcycle geek turned manga artist Kosuke Fujishima's series Your Under arrest. Showing one of the main characters Natsumi Tsujimoto performing some pretty fancy riding trying to avoid being late on her first new day of work at the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department,...only to be pinched by her future partner Miyuki.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Beauty riding...

From Tokyo's metropolis online magazine by Justin Gardiner
"In Japan, female motorcyclists had long been perceived as bad-girl gang members, but largely thanks to a couple of recent animated TV series and soap operas, women on bikes are now distinctly kakoii (cool). That doesn't mean that your average OL has been beating a path to the local Honda dealership, though. Sales of bikes remain flat in the current recession, and motorcycling continues to be a male-dominated scene.

But never ones to discount a shift in perception, Japan's biking big four-Honda, Suzuki, Yamaha and Kawasaki-are taking pains to get women saddled up and out on the road. They're doing this in part by wedding the intangible freedom of motorcycling with the nuts-and-bolts how-tos of riding schools. By showing women that they, too, can be part of the biking experience, the big four are slowly luring them out of designer retail shops and into motorcycle showrooms.

The downturn in Japan's domestic motorcycle industry is in part owing to, ironically enough, the country's postwar climb to prosperity. Anyone who's traveled around Southeast Asia has noticed that most families' initial motorized transport is the moped. As economic situations improve, small-bike owners tend to trade up to bigger ones, then from two wheels to four. This has been the case in Japan for some time now, too, with car sales increasing steadily at the expense of motorcycles, particularly bigger models. In an attempt to reverse this trend, bike builders have marketed their more powerful machines as leisure items rather than as everyday transportation, targeting single young men and, to a lesser extent, retirees.

Recently, however, the marketing gurus realized that they've been missing out on a segment of society that spends a large proportion of their high disposable income on leisure: the so-called parasite singles, those twenty something Japanese females still living with mom and pop. And with biking becoming less and less taboo for women, the manufacturers are making every effort to put a softer face on the whole biking experience.

They're doing this by taking advantage of what was long considered an impediment to their business: Japan's unique method of classifying motorcycles and their riders. Scooters and mopeds up to 50cc can be operated by those with a regular driver's license, chuu-gata (up to 400cc) bike riders must pass an extremely tricky test, while oo-gata machines are restricted to the select few willing to invest even more time and money to obtain the elite license.

Realizing that bureaucracy is standing in the way of sales of larger-engine (and larger-profit-margin) bikes, makers are opening their own riding schools to help provide the compulsory hours of training that license hopefuls must otherwise spend at the traditional, horrendously expensive driving schools/test centers-operations that have a financial incentive to fail would be riders.

This new breed of school also offers brush-up courses for "paper drivers" who have lost the confidence to ride Japan's crowded streets, as well as the chance for chuu-gata or even moped license holders to try out bigger bikes on private land and race tracks. As the manufacturer-run centers have a vested interest in enticing people onto bigger and better bikes, they are very competitively priced and interested in their students' success. And, increasingly, they're enticing women by appealing to their sense of sisterhood.

One such school is Honda's Beauty Riding, run by a group of bike professionals called Team Mari. Ex-125cc racer Mari Iigata, along with her sister Tomoko and other female championship motorcycle racers, hold bimonthly courses for women throughout the year at Honda's two racing circuits, Motegi and Suzuka.

But domestic bike makers aren't the only ones to attempt to tap into the female riders' market. As part of their "Big Bike Beginners" campaign-and at the behest of their European headquarters where similar programs have been successful-Ducati Japan have followed Honda's lead by starting the Women's Riding School.

This year's course was held in a large Nagano ski area's parking lot, where 20 beginners got their first taste of riding 400cc Ducati Monsters, and some more experienced riders got tips on cornering and balance from former World Championship rider Shunji Yatsushiro. Demonstrations and practice-weaving through cones had their merit, but going on high-speed slalom runs perched on the champ's pillion seat had the greatest effect on the ladies' confidence by clearly demonstrating just how low a bike can safely be "dropped" when cornering at speed.

Yatsushiro may have gotten a little carried away at times, scraping the mufflers on both sides of the machine on the asphalt as he and his students cornered, but Ducati Japan General Manger Mirko Bordiga wasn't worried. "These girls will have caught the Ducati bug by now. Honda have a huge advantage in the first bike market here, as almost all official driving schools use CB400s and people tend to stick with what they're used to. But Monsters are both lighter and more responsive than their competitors, making them easier and more fun to ride. We've also lowered the seat for the Japanese market, to make the bike more suitable for shorter women."

Test rider (and Honda CB400 and Yamaha X400 owner) Emika Tada seemed to agree, judging by the smile on her face when she reluctantly returned the test bike to Ducati after a run to Fuji and back. It's a smile Japan's bike salesmen hope to mirror as they greet young women walking into their showrooms."

Saturday, November 24, 2007

High Concept: The Black Drogo.

Via: Webbikeworld

"The Black Dogo is like the Argentine Mastif, sinuous and powerful, light and tenacious. The front end of the bike is snub and aggressive, the back lean with a short, curved mudguard. The mufflers and seat are short and compact. The tank is covered by elephant leather and has elasticized bands to carry various objects and travel gear. The rear view mirrors have been substituted with video cameras and the instrument panel with a monitor: solutions up to now unavailable on a production motorcycle.

Capasa’s Ducati C’N’C Monster is black and metal. The fairing is matte black rubber and velvety to the touch. The black frame is bright and shiny. The headlights dark and opaque. The engine is particularly luminous. The tank’s elephant skin is black.

“It is a great pleasure and true honor that a designer at the level of Ennio Capasa is inspired by our Monster S4RS,” commented Federico Minoli, President and CEO of Ducati. “It is testament to the passion and creativity that Ducati continues to enjoy in the worlds of fashion and design.”

The Nitroriders.

The Green Vapor


Eclipse 5000


In 2000 the Spawn action figure series featured something creator McFarlane Toys has never done before-The Nitro Riders. Still available on ebay, The plastic figures are between 5 1/4 and 6 inches tall and feature 15 points of articulation and massive motorcycles 9 to 10 inches long.

Love on the side.

From the Seattle Stranger by WM. Steven Humpfrey

"Life is never more perfect than when a moment stops and we realize where we are. There's a moment Dawna Holloway remembers: her face hovering two inches above the pavement that is moving beneath her at over 100 m.p.h. On the racetrack's corkscrew curves, her hands tightly grip the edge of her sidecar as she extends her entire body toward the upcoming left turn. She listens to the roar of the engine as her partner downshifts, and as they power into the curve -- smack! The front end scrapes the lead car's rear fender. Dawna's laughter fills her helmet, as it often does after a close call. As her padded shoulder brushes the pavement, she notices the fat rear wheel of the opposing car just three feet in front of her face. There's a little white pebble embedded in the hot rubber. That's her moment. That's when the world stops.

Boxes of Parts

"See all these boxes?" Dawna asks, as she shows me around her Georgetown warehouse. "All filled with junkyard parts. That's how I got started; begging and borrowing so I could build my first sidecar." Dawna Holloway is your average motorcycle sidecar racer -- if your idea of average is a gangly, puckish woman with the chatty hyperactive energy of a seven-year-old. "I paid three grand Canadian for a chassis with a bad motor," she says. "I had no idea what I was doing, just that I had to do it."

Unlike street-legal motorcycles and sidecars, Dawna's machine looks like it would be more at home in a wind tunnel. Barely over knee-high, the fiberglass-covered triangular frame rests on three fat wheels just a few scant inches above the ground. The driver sits on his knees, leaning forward to cut down wind resistance. The sidecar is no more conventional; it's a short, flat platform with a single hand-hold, and nothing to protect the occupant should the bike skid out or flip.

Though motor sports tend to be solo activities, sidecar racing is a team sport. The driver controls the speed, shifting and braking, but due to the width of the vehicle the person in the sidecar is responsible for making the turns. For example, a hard left requires the passenger to extend her body out over the roadway, using her weight to turn the car. Conversely, on a hard right, she literally leaps on the bike's back fender, grabbing whatever part of the chassis is available. It's like mountain climbing; there are times when you only have one point of contact -- except this mountain moves at 180 m.p.h.

While most people aren't fighting to race sidecars, there are those, like Dawna, for whom it's a calling. "I was never really into racing," Dawna says. "In fact, the first time I ever saw sidecars race I started laughing -- they were so ugly! But, for whatever reason, I just knew I'd be good at it. So... why not?"

Unfortunately for the human race, dreaming is always easier than doing, and Dawna's first year was particularly rough. After purchasing her first unassembled sidecar, her racing partner and mechanic suddenly decided to bug out. With practically no mechanical experience, or money to finance this expensive project, Dawna was seriously screwed. That's when she met her next partner, Tim.

"He should have taken one look at all the parts on the floor and left," she says. "But luckily for me, he was crazy, too."

A year later they completed the car, but even then, Dawna and Tim's first race was a comedy of errors. The sidecar shook so violently they were literally black and blue that day. It broke down at every turn. People were suggesting towing companies to haul it away.

"It could've ended right there," Dawna says, wiping her greasy hands. "My whole life had been a series of projects I couldn't seem to finish. This time I had moved from Olympia to be closer to my mechanic, rented this warehouse, and used every last ounce of money and energy to race sidecars, and what happened? We got around the track ONCE. But thanks to supportive friends, I kept going, and by the second race everything worked and I actually started to get a feel for it. Of course, that's when we crashed.

Dawna is on the back of the bike showing off her moves -- and looking right at home. Though she didn't initially strike me as particularly graceful, her movements are balletic. I ask her about the crash.

"We were both so new. Maybe Tim took the corner a little too hot -- but that's how you learn your limits. You push it, and push it, and then you crash -- that's where your limit is."

Dawna describes the scene as the car skidded off the track into the grass. Under normal circumstances they would have slid to a stop, but instead, they hit a gully which caused the car to flip. Dawna was thrown forward while Tim was trapped underneath the 600 lb. sidecar, the exhaust pipe burning his leg. Uncharacteristic in other motor sports, the lead racer immediately pulled over to help, and by the time Dawna and Tim returned from the medical tent, the club's president had welded and repaired their car.

"Then somebody flipped me a couple of prescription ibuprofen and asked, 'Ready to go again?' and I said, 'umm...Okay.'"

As it turned out, Dawna's collarbone was broken in three places, but she continued racing -- and has been doing it for the last three years. With her next race coming this Sunday, October 17 (at Seattle International Raceway; racing starts at 11:00am), she's ready for a win.

"This will be a big race for me. My new partner, Chris, and I know the track well, and our confidence is up. But win or not, I do it because I love to. When your timing is right, and the car is moving beneath you... it's kind of amazing. It's like flying.

"I mean, before the race, my bike can be in total chaos -- I'm working on it, throwing tools, trying to figure out what's wrong, and then all of a sudden it's first call. But when I close the lid on my helmet and hear the motor, everything else disappears. If I do this right, we'll do well; if I do this wrong, we could die. It's a meditative, grounding moment. I was crazy, now I'm calm. Then the flag drops and my mind is on nothing except what I'm supposed to do -- and I've never been like that before.

"Even when things get squirrely and I feel the back end of the bike breaking loose, I find myself laughing in my helmet. It's sort of a crazy laugh, and then the back end straightens up and we make it."

Dawna touches the smooth fiberglass of her sidecar.

"That's why I love it. It's all about finding that moment. And knowing exactly where I am."

Friday, November 23, 2007

Film: Tron.

Light cycles are fictional vehicles designed by Syd Mead for the Disney film Tron. These futuristic two-wheeled vehicles resemble motorcycles and create walls of colored light.

The vehicles were primarily used in a competition between humanoid computer programs, similar to an old computer game sometimes known as "Surround" or "Dominos". The players are in constant motion on a playfield, creating a wall behind them as they move. If a player hits a wall either by accident or by having no more room to move, he is out of the game, and the last player wins.
In 1981 Tomy released the red and yellow toy Light Cycle for the Tron action figure line. Power was supplied by a rip-type toothed cord that spun the rear this day there is still one of these jammed under my mothers china cabinate, just past anyones reach.
Medicom Toy has released this cute Lightcycle..complete light path trail it leaves behind- ¥3,800 from
For the purest collector you can get this striking resin scale model...
If your not content to get your fingers sticky with a model, or rummaging through e-bay for that perfect condition toy- try having a go at the cheeky Tron flash game. Or better yet get involved the Code Ninja's real world/real time bicycle GPS version of the games Real world Tron Lightcycle racers

Heroes: Brazil's Motoboys.

By By Larry Rothter from the NY Times/international

SÃO PAULO, Brazil - This is a city with nearly 11 million inhabitants and 4.5 million passenger cars, 32,000 taxis and 15,000 buses. Traffic jams more than 100 miles long are not uncommon, and even on an ordinary day, getting from one side of town to the other can take two hours or more.

Only one group here in South America's largest city seems immune to those frustrations and delays: the daring army of motorcycle messengers known as "motoboys." Zigzagging among stopped cars, ignoring lane markers, red lights and stop signs, they regularly menace pedestrians and infuriate motorists as they zoom their way down gridlocked streets and highways, armed with the knowledge that without them business would grind to a halt.

"Nowadays we are so integrated into the economy that São Paulo couldn't function without us," said Ednaldo Silva, a motoboy who owns an agency employing nearly 50 messengers. "People don't like us or respect us, but we are as essential to transport as trucks, and if we were to go on strike, the city would collapse."

The bulk of the motoboy's work involves rushing contracts and other legal documents from one business to another, especially for bank loans. But from car parts to architect's plans, human organs for transplant to passports or pizza, there is almost nothing he cannot or will not deliver.

"There's no way to do away with them," Gerson Luís Bittencourt, the muncipal transportation secretary, acknowledged. "They employ a ton of people and facilitate things for everyone. So what we have to do is find a way to regulate the phenomenon and restore sociability in traffic."

Though no one is sure of their exact numbers, estimates start at 120,000 and range as high as 200,000. Many work 12 hours a day or more to earn a salary of $300 a month or less.

According to official figures, São Paulo now has 332 motoboy agencies. Competition is strong, and they adopt names, often in English, stressing efficiency: Adrenaline Express, Moto Bullet, Fast Express, Agile Boys, Motojet, Fly Boy, Motoboy Speed, AeroBoy Express, Fast Boys.

With so much emphasis on speed and so much competition with other vehicles, the job is often dangerous. Broken bones and wrecked cycles are an occupational hazard, and according to figures compiled by their union, on average, at least one motoboy a day dies in a traffic accident.

"The truth is that we're discardable," said Edson Agripino, 38, a veteran of 15 years as a motoboy. "When a colleague gets hurt or killed, the first thing the dispatchers ask is 'Did he deliver the document?' "

Nevertheless, many motoboys, especially the younger ones, see themselves as free spirits or urban cowboys, defying the conventions of society and envied by stodgy wage-earners stuck in their cars and offices.

"It's great to be out on the street, on your own, watching the girls, and not in some cubicle with a boss bugging you all the time," said Fábio César Lopes, who at 29 has nine years' experience as a motoboy. "I spent five years at an insurance agency, and believe me, not only do I make better money doing this, but it's a lot more fun."

Ordinary motorists consider motoboys a plague, and hostility between the two groups is fierce and growing. There are at least 17 online chat groups devoted to complaining about motoboys, and conflicts in the street and even fistfights between drivers and motoboys are not unknown.

"I can't stand motoboys," said Flávio Kobayashi, a graphic artist. "You're sitting there stuck in traffic, on your way home after a long, hard day, and along they come with their infernal beep-beep-beep, weaving their way through traffic in complete disregard of everyone else on the road. They'll break the rear-view mirror of your car if you get in their way, and any time there is an argument they come to each other's rescue to beat up on defenseless drivers."

Pedestrians, especially newcomers from small towns in the interior, feel especially vulnerable. In a notorious incident in 2001, Marcelo Fromer, a guitarist in the popular rock group Os Titãs, was run over and killed by a motoboy with an expired license, who fled but was apprehended a year later, tried and convicted.

To bring the situation under control, the municipal government last year created an obligatory registry system. The new rules required all motoboys to pay a $110 tax, prove that they do not have a criminal record, obtain life insurance, wear a helmet, drive motorcycles less than 10 years old and carry their cargo in a rear-mounted basket with a license number on it, so they can be tracked.

But motoboys resisted the system, saying it was devised to banish them from the streets. Only 40,000 of them registered, and they organized protests that blocked some main streets. During the campaign leading up to the mayoral election here in October, some candidates endorsed their position and obtained judicial restraining orders exempting individual motoboys from registration, which eventually forced Mayor Marta Suplicy to rescind the program.

A few years ago, Congress tried a different tack and passed a law that would have made it essentially illegal for motoboys to practice their profession, which has begun spreading to other cities in Brazil. But the president at the time, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, who is from São Paulo, vetoed the bill, tacitly recognizing the indispensability of the motoboy.

"Everybody hates the motoboys except when they need one themselves," said Caíto Ortiz, the director of "Motoboys: Crazy Life," a recent prize-winning documentary. "When he's rushing some document of yours across town, then he becomes your savior, a hero, and you adore the guy."

The song of the sausage creature.

"When Cycle World called me to ask if I would road-test the new Harley Road King, I got uppity and said I'd rather have a Ducati superbike. It seemed like a chic decision at the time, and my friends on the superbike circuit got very excited. "Hot damn," they said. "We will take it to the track and blow the bastards away."

"Balls," I said. "Never mind the track. The track is for punks. We are Road People. We are Cafe Racers."

The Cafe Racer is a different breed, and we have our own situations. Pure speed in sixth gear on a 5000-foot straightaway is one thing, but pure speed in third gear on a gravel-strewn downhill ess-turn is quite another.

But we like it. A thoroughbred Cafe Racer will ride all night through a fog storm in freeway traffic to put himself into what somebody told him was the ugliest and tightest decreasing-radius turn since Genghis Khan invented the corkscrew.

Cafe Racing is mainly a matter of taste. It is an atavistic mentality, a peculiar mix of low style, high speed, pure dumbness, and overweening commitment to the Cafe Life and all its dangerous pleasures... I am a Cafe Racer myself, on some days - and it is one of my finest addictions."

Read the complete story, then have a shot of Wild Turkey, smoke a cigarette (with a holder please), listen in the distance and pray to a pagan god the sausage creature never finds us.

Vintage 1986: The Suzuki Nuda Concept.

Via: Global Suzuki

"Concept model with an ultra-advanced mechanism of "fulltime 2-wheel drive" developed with the accumulated ideas of Suzuki engineering staff. The technologies for creating an excellent drivability were also incorporated boldly in the power steering and swing seat. And high rigidity and weight reduction were realized by the adoption of honeycomb mono-cock body made of carbon fiber."

Damn kids: The Bōsōzoku.

Bōsōzoku (暴走族) (literally "Violent Running Tribe") is a Japanese subculture very similar to car clubs: gangs of young men who share a common interest in designing (often illegal) modifications for cars and motorcycles. These modifications often include removing the silencing features so that more noise is produced. They also engage in dangerous driving, such as weaving from side to side on the road, not wearing crash helmets, and ignoring red traffic lights. Japanese police call them "Maru-So"(police code:マル走)

A typical customized bosozoku bike usually consists of an average Japanese road bike that appears to combine elements of an American chopper style bike and a British café racer, for example: oversized visored fenders like those found on café racers, "sissy" bars and raised handle bars like those on a chopper. Loud paint jobs on the fenders or the gas tanks with motifs such as flames or kamikaze style "rising sun" designs are also quite common. The bikes will often be adorned with stickers and/or flags depicting the gang's symbol or logo. There is also marked regional differences in motorcycle modifications. For example, Ibaraki Bosozoku are known to modify their motorcycles in an extensively colorful, flashy way. They will often have 3 or 4 oversized visored fenders in a tower like way in a motorcycle painted in bright yellow or pink with Christmas light like adornments.

Want to know more about the speed tribes?
, go directly to the source

"Joe Bar Team is a famed series of biker comics whose main characters experience all sort of situations and adventures every-day riders encounter often in real life. They were originally released by Vents d'Ouest. The original idea was created by Bar2 and carried on by Fane.The first volume was initially released in 1990 and has had five more volumes for a total of six. The riders adventures were originally settled in 1975 Paris, but their motorcycles were switched for more modern ones in some of the comics. The time setting is not really important, since the situations they encounter are timeless."

Heroes: Pandora Pitstop.

Pandora Pitstop is the older of the two Pitstop sisters and heiress to the Pitstop Patented Pistons fortune. Educated abroad and the graduate of a fashionable foreign finishing school, she returns home at 18 to take on the family business. She is besieged by marriage proposals from an old family friend and financial adviser, Sylvester Sneekly. She suspects his motives and refuses. One night, after her third refusal, she disappears suddenly and without warning, without leaving so much as a trace! Her fate is unknown to the family, but she has been secretly committed to the Arkham Asylum by the disgruntled suitor, AKA. The Hooded Claw! Sneekly now sets his sights on Penelope - the younger, more naive of the two sisters - intending to make the fortune his own. But that's another story....

Many, many years later, Pandora makes her escape from the Asylum. She is confused and unaware of her birthright, the family having long since given her up for dead. She stows away on a ship headed for Europe to find a new life.

She finds herself in Potzdorf in the Kingdom of Carpania. In desperate need of shelter and a protector, she allows herself to become established as the mistress of Baron von Stuppe. Attracted by his wealth and fascinated by his scheming wickedness, she learns a great deal about the rewards to be gained from exploiting the cruelties of life. But his vast-walled chateau and controlling nature reminds her too much of her years in the Asylum, and she is unhappy there.She then uncovers the Baron's plans to take the throne of Carpania and is soon cast aside to make way for his new mistress - ruling power. Once more she finds herself on the road, searching for a life andidentity of her own.

She eventually finds work in a traveling show, Dark's Pandemonium Carnival, rumoured to take in strays and fugitives from justice. Her natural balance and fearless resolve places her in a motorcycle stunt side show, Old Nick's Own Rough Riders. She falls for the handsome Wall-of-Death rider, Max Speedworthy. Max discovers that she has a hidden past, as all who work these traveling shows do, but hers is sinister and has taken its toll. He jilts her for a blonde trapeze artist, The Luscious Lucretia of the Flying Lorenzos.

Broken hearted and vowing revenge, she steals a motorcycle and leaves the carnival. She makes her way across the continent, selling her skills, performing daredevil stunts, racing, and taking commissions to settle private disputes quietly and with no questions asked. She is feisty and independent, driven to win by a bitter, twisted past and a slightly insane jealous rivalry. She must win by any means necessary to prove herself and justify her independence"
"Skully" brooch. It's all about style over speed in the world of Pandora Pitstop and how more stylish can you get than a discreet rhinestone brooch in the shape of a skull and cross bones, Ms Pitstop's chosen emblem. The Brooch measures 3 x 2 cm, chrome plated with Austrian crystals and has a pin-clasp back. £5.00UK including p&p.

Vintage 1996: Phillip Starcks Aprillia Moto 6.5

Via: London Indendent
"The Aprilla Moto 6.5, is a very different machine, albeit one that follows the Italian firm's tradition for style. It was created by French star designer Philippe Starck, whose portfolio includes everything from boats, toys and lemon squeezers to numerous buildings and interiors, including the recent museum at Groningen in the Netherlands and Bordeaux airport's control tower, his latest project.

Mr Starck is a keen motorcyclist and has produced a distinctive non-aggressive roadster, aimed particularly at tempting urban travellers away from cars, buses and trains. The Moto 6.5 certainly looks like nothing else on two wheels, thanks to its fuel tank and seat/sidepanels.

Phillip Starck

It is powered by the 650cc single-cylinder unit from Aprilia's Pegaso 650 trail bike. Detuned slightly for this bike, the watercooled, five- valve engine produces a maximum of about 45bhp.

The chassis is based around a steel frame whose main tubes form a graceful curve. That shape is followed by the visible pan of the exhaust system, much of which is hidden beneath the engine. Unlike the Pegaso, the Moto 6.5 is intended to be ridden only on the road, and has considerably less suspension travel than the trail bike. Its telescopic forks and single rear shock unit, both from Italian specialist Marzocchi, hold wire-spoked wheels whose tyres are designed purely for the street.

Riders of average height or less will quickly notice one advantage of the road-biased suspension: the Moto 6.5's seat is reasonably close to the ground. The Aprilia is very light, too, at just 150kg which, in conjunction with the softly tuned engine, makes it both lively and easy to ride.

The prototype before production

Simply twisting back the throttle sends the Aprilia chugging forward almost regardless of revs (just as well since the wacky instrument console does not actually include a rev counter), and means that you do not have to worry too much about flicking through the five-speed gearbox.

Performance at town speeds is more than enough to keep the Aprilia ahead of even the most aggressively driven taxi. On the open road, the bike cruises easily at the legal limit, the engine's balancer shaft doing a good job of smoothing the traditional single-cylinder vibration. At that speed, there is some acceleration in hand to a top speed of just under 100mph. But, like most unfaired bikes, the Aprilia is better suited to a gentler pace.

The Moto 6.5's chassis also prefers a more leisurely approach, because the forces fed through the handlebars at speed are sometimes enough to trigger a gentle weave. In normal use the bike handles well, though, its light weight and wide handlebars giving quick, easy steering - perfect for flicking through tight gaps in city traffic.

Suspension at both ends is firm enough to encourage brisk cornering, but soft enough to make the Aprilia reasonably comfortable. Tyres and brakes are competent, the single front disc brake requiring a reasonably firm squeeze of the lever.

Starck's emphasis on appearance has resulted in a few practical drawbacks. The fuel tank is far smaller than it appears, reducing range to less than 100 miles. (Strangely, its tap is on the throttle side - not ideal if the tank suddenly runs on to reserve when there is a bus on your back wheel.) And the neatly shaped pillion seat would doubtless be described in less generous terms by anyone forced to sit on it for any long distance.

This is not a bike for riders seeking either speed or touring ability but, provided its limitations are accepted, the Moto 6.5 works well. Its pounds 4,795 price is reasonable, too, and does not reflect the designer label. There are motorcycles that provide more versatility for similar money. (Suzuki's cheaper GSF600 Bandit and BMW's F650, which is actually built by Aprilia, spring to mind.) But Starck's creation backs up its stylish looks by being nippy, practical - and much more fun than public transport."

Support your local Main Force Patrol: The Bikes of Mad Max.

Full of 1970's era cafe racers, the classic cult film Mad Max, is a cult icon. One of the movies main (and later tragic) hero's-the happy-go-lucky "Goose" rides a 1977 Kawasaki KZ1000, or, more correctly, a Kwaka. (Take a close look at the "Kawasaki" badge on the side of the bike when you next see the film and you'll see some clever production designer played
with the lettering)
CALLSIGN: Gosling-1. CLASS: MotoPatrol Pursuit. UNIT:Patrol - Sector 26. VEHICLE NUMBER: MFP MP1.MAKE: Kawasaki 1977 KZ-1000. CURRENT STATUS: Scraped, in repairs
The bikes fairings were supplied by the Melbourne based company La Parisienne, who unfortunately closed up business within a few years of the films release.

This brochure below is from the Japanese company Whitehouse, (editors note: the link is no longer active but see below for more goods) who were making replicas of Jim Goose's bike, including the fairings, the stickers, the helmet - the whole deal as far as I can tell." Better picts of the whitehouse bike here:
Okay, if we can't find Whitehouse in Japan, we can access the great Mad Max Jp site, it appears from what I can tell, that they have taken over all the original Whitehouse product line and offer a MFP reproduction fairing/seat cowl kit:

Here is a shot of a repro being built up from this Japanese Goose Replica site:

Reproducing the bike not enough for you?- be sure to check out the Japanese MFP Clothing Branch:
The MFP badge

Of course the leather jacket

and the swell stickers...
The Japanese seem to have cornered the market on the Mad Max enthusiasts, even more than the Aussies. This site even features perfectly photoshopped box art of never created Mad Max model kits.
Had enough?-not yet, here's screenshot of the motorcycles in The PS2 game GTA hacked into the Mad Max bikes.
A final exit, a Japanese fan does his best "Goose"