If you google the meaning of the word ‘Radical’, it will get you the following result: relating to or affecting the fundamental nature of something; far-reaching or thorough. Often, we come across motorcycles so radical that they shatter the beliefs and fundamentals which surround the notion of two-wheelers. Every motorcycle manufacturer tries to make their offering better and faster than the competition but there lies a special breed of individuals and manufacturers who depart from the above-mentioned aspects and go on to develop something outrageous. Here’s a list of the ten most radical motorcycles of all time:
This American motorcycle manufacturer which was founded in 1990 caught all the eyes when it developed motorcycles by swapping in powerful engines from Chevrolet cars. They equipped V8 engines sourced from Chevrolet cars into a huge frame built around two-wheels to make one of the most powerful bikes to be produced. For instance, one of their offerings featured a 6.2-litre V8 engine producing 445 hp! That amount of power is crazy even for a car and imagine that being applied to mere two-wheels. Absolute madness!
Developed by Marine Turbine Technologies, almost everyone has heard of the Y2K. As the manufacturer’s name suggests, the Y2K is powered by Rolls-Royce’s gas turbine engine which makes 320 hp at 52,000 rpm. Yeah, you read that right! Y2Ks aren’t mass-produced in continuous series as each unique bike is hand made to order after receiving the buyer’s specifications. If the performance figures don’t excite you, its turbine sound most definitely will.
Many might disagree that it isn’t a motorcycle but as Superman’s mother said in Man of Steel, “People hate what they don’t understand.” Dodge introduced this as a concept at the 2003 North American International Auto Show and it was subsequently produced and sold in very small numbers. It went on to become the talking point within press circles and regular junta alike for its striking design, its outsize-displacement, 10-cylinder car engine, and its four close-coupled wheels, which give it a motorcycle-like appearance. The engine is so large in the Tomahawk that it grabs the centre stage of the overall design. Performance figures are as outrageous as the whole motorcycle as it produces 500-horsepower. As they were not street legal, Dodge called the Tomahawk a “rolling sculpture”, not intended to be ridden.
This four-wheeled motorcycle might have an uncanny resemblance with the Dodge Tomahawk but what sets them apart that while the Tomahawk was a rolling sculpture, the Lazareth LM847 can actually be ridden and can be leaned as much as 30 degrees. The LM 847 is powered by a 4.7L V8 Maserati engine with 32 valves producing a massive 470 hp at 7,000 rpm and 490 Nm of torque at 4,750 rpm. If you look closely, you will find that the rear end is sourced from a Ducati Panigale and it seems befitting the whole motorcycle as well. Only 10 units were made of this ‘radical’ motorcycle.
Only 10 of these were made and all of them are resting in museums around the world. Reasons are many apart from the obvious exclusivity. It is a handbuilt race motorcycle designed and built by John Britten during the early 1990s. it deployed a host of innovations including extensive use of carbon fibre, the radiator located under the seat, double-wishbone front suspension, frameless chassis and engine data logging. Even during that time, it produced a mighty respectable 166 hp @ 11,800 rpm from its Water-cooled, 999cc, 60-degree V-Twin engine.
A production motorcycle during the 1970s featured a 1047cc, in-line, six-cylinder engine! Let that sink in for a moment.
It was the flagship motorcycle from Honda’s stable and produced 105 hp. The performance figures might not seem a lot but they were some mind-numbing figures according to the standards at that time. It went on to become the fastest production motorcycle for sale anywhere in the world at that time. The howl from the engine of this ‘First Superbike’ resembled that of an F1 car!
Bimota Tesi 3D Racecafe
If we are listing down the most radical motorcycles of all time, how can we leave Bimota unaccounted? Famous for their scandalous designs and hub-steering setup, Bimota showcased this concept at the 2015 EICMA show. It went on to garner phrases like “Pinnacle Weird” by the automotive industry. Power for the Tesi 3D RC comes from the Ducati 803cc Twin. It was developed alongside the Tesi 3D Naked in Bimota’s effort to latch on to the growing Cafe Racer segment of the market.
Andreas – A Ferrari V8-powered Motorcycle
Andreas Georgeades is no ordinary man. A racer who built and raced his motorcycles in the 60s, the man even finished on the podium in his first year at the Isle of Man TT! With a successful racing career behind him, Andreas decided to hang his leathers and exploit the idea of cramming a powerful motorcar engine into custom-built motorcycles. Between 1978 and 1998, Andreas built three Ferrari powered custom built motorcycles. Two of them were powered by a Ferrari V6 and were called the ‘Dino’, while the third, powered by a Ferrari 308 sourced V8 was called “Andreas”.
For this build, the man traded his prize, a bronze trophy from his podium finish at the Isle of Man TT to source a 1978 Ferrari 308’s V8 engine. The motor was then bolted on to a hand-built aluminium frame that used suspension components from a Kawasaki 900 Ninja. The rear wheel came from a Yamaha V-Max and the drive shaft was ditched in favour of a conventional chain drive. He’s built a V12 and a V16-engine powered bike too! Do read more at those highlighted links. We insist.
The idea of destroying well-perceived notions surrounding motorcycles isn’t new. The Roadog was built during the 1960s and is the biggest motorcycle ever which weighs a whopping 3,000 pounds! There were only two motorcycles born under the Roadog brand, both the brainchildren of “Wild” Bill Gelbke. He didn’t just build one, he even intended to sell them at one point and wanted it to go into mass production. It would seriously have been a sight to witness a 3,000-pound motorcycle rolling on the streets today.
Whitelock Tinker Toy
The name does sound cute but when you see this beast of a motorcycle, you would seriously start questioning the definition of ‘Toy’. If you are wondering which vehicle holds the world record for having an engine with the most amount of cylinders, this is it. The Whitelock Tinker Toy is a 48-cylinder motorcycle that was created by Hertfordshire Superbike Centre in the UK. Based on 2-stroke Kawasaki triples, the Tinker Toy has 48 cylinders and a capacity of a massive 4200cc. It consists of 16 Kawasaki KH250 3-cylinder engines arranged in six banks of eight and it is completely road-legal!