Web Exclusive: Can MotoCzysz Make It? - First Look

Closer to an all-American racebike?

Web Exclusive: Can MotoCzysz Make It? - First Look

Go ahead, take the easy answer: No.

Build a bike with radically different engineering than anything else out there? Counter-rotating cranks? Flex-adjustable front fork that isn't really a "fork?" Regressive damping out back with a spring on each side of the swingarm? Laugh out loud, say something about craziness, then tell whoever's listening, "It'll never work."

But you weren't in Las Vegas last week.

I watched Michael Czysz circulate the speedway's South Course, and the sound and acceleration of the C1 put a shiver up my spine. As they say in NASCAR: She runs good. Czysz pitted and tech David Sprinkle downloaded the data while he and Czysz discussed off-throttle fueling. I would ride the bike the next day and these two wanted to have it right. Not just because Cycle World is the world's largest bike magazine, but because the financial tightrope this company (www.motoczysz.com) walks is dependent on this bike working. They only have so many chances.

The next day I rode the bike on the Inside Road Course, counter-clockwise. My second lap was a 55-second circuit. That's quick. Jason DiSalvo can get his factory Yamaha R1 Superstock bike around in 50 seconds, 5 seconds quicker, but as he told me, "Yeah, for a second lap, a 55 would be great."

I only rode the bike three laps due to time constraints, but let's discuss the stopwatch. I'm a 46-year-old journalist who goes okay, but I ain't no 22-year old DiSalvo. Let's say his skills are 3 seconds better than mine on a 55-second course, and that might be being a bit too kind to the old man. That puts the C1 at a 52 on the second lap, only two ticks off a proven Superstock bike with an ace rider with lots of seat time at this track. Impressive.

So before you answer the question posed in the heading, know that Michael Czysz's off-beat ideas are now proving out on the racetrack. I can't wait to try the bike again. It mixes the beautiful feel of a 250GP bike with the oomph of a hard-revving liter bike...but better because of the engine layout and front-end performance. I've always hoped MotoCzysz would make it. Now I know it can.

C1 is now making the right hp numbers and seems reliable, but the project's continuation depends on finding investors.

Nick takes notes. Swoopy tailsection tells of Czysz's day job as an award-winning architectural designer.

Good-looking and purposeful, right? There's nothing conventional about the C1, starting with its north-south, "almost inline," narrow-angle V-Four 990. Photo: Brandon Bones/Studio 819

Our man Ienatsch (left) and Czysz, post-test ride. A minor oil leak was the only glitch on the day, a welcome relief from past testing adventures.

Czysz again, getting right down to it while testing a Honda CBR600RR with some of his front suspension pieces attached.

Latest prototype is finished in a more sinister black and carbon-fiber, makes about 200 hp at the crank, figure 175 at the rear wheel.