Top 5 Craziest Motorcycles From EICMA 2019

Bikes from legendary British and Italian marques and electric upstarts.

BST Hypertek
The BST Hypertek, designed by Pierre Terblanche.BST

EICMA 2019 was full of surprises, not least of which were the range of truly unique motorcycles and the storylines no one could have predicted. Who here expected we’d be talking about Pierre Terblanche, Aston Martin, and Bimota?

The dominant narrative spun by the motorcycle industry is pretty gloomy: Dealerships are closing, the younger generation isn’t into bikes, the gold mine of boomer money is being spent on hospice care or something (not on new bikes, at least). We know, we know. But the major OEMs—as well as boutique manufacturers—are producing completely badass motorcycles. If anything, hard times are making everyone dig deeper, be super innovative, and take more risks.

Bimota front left
Billet aluminum and carbon fiber for days.Bimota

Kawasaki revives Bimota and makes a Tesi with an H2 engine. Pierre Terblanche designs an electric bike that’s as futuristic as anything from _Terminator_. Aston Martin and Brough Superior have a marriage made in heaven that produces a turbocharged love child for the über-rich. A little Swedish brand makes folksy people-movers that hearken back to the post-war years when motorcycles were cheap transportation for the masses. And Adrian Morton has so much fun at the design table that he can’t help but give us a bonus MV Agusta 1000. So yeah. Things could be a lot worse.

AMB 001
The AMB 001 by Aston Martin and Brough Superior, a $220,000 track-only motorcycle.Brough Superior

No one’s denying the industry has fallen on hard times, but radical new bikes suggest—like in every age—there’s a silver lining, a contrapositive script. Old marques are rejuvenated. Once-shuttered dealerships become DIY community garages. Says Dickens: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times… it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair…”

So it goes in the motorcycle world. EICMA 2019 was the season of crazy motorcycles born in a spirit of new-age thinking amid age-old troubles.

Bimota Tesi H2

Kawasaki-powered Bimota
We haven’t seen a Kawasaki-powered Bimota since the early 1980s. Kudos to Kawasaki for knowing the H2 engine is what everyone would want in a Bimota.Bimota

When news broke that Kawasaki purchased a large minority share in Bimota, the storied Italian marque famed for its clever chassis designs and dramatic bodywork, we were very curious to see what would happen. And now this: the Bimota Tesi H2. Kawasaki Heavy Industries is now in the patronage business. It’s not only done the good work of reviving a beloved brand, but it hasn’t even made us wait for its first all-new motorcycle. And fittingly, it’s a Tesi. Kawasaki endowed the Tesi H2 with its supercharged engine; Bimota did the rest. Hub-center steering, billet eye candy, top-shelf components: it’s all there.

AMB 001 by Aston Martin and Brough Superior

AMB 001
The press release says the AMB 001 is the first product to come from the partnership. So there will be more?Brough Superior

Two of the most legendary names in motorsport combine for the track-only AMB 001. Turn up the Edward Elgar, pour a glass of Glenlivet, and gaze upon its beauty. With design duties by Aston Martin and engineering from the boffins at Brough Superior, the AMB 001 has a turbocharged V-twin producing a claimed 180 hp, all in a sub-400-pound package strutting with carbon fiber, titanium, and billet aluminum. Painted in Aston’s Stirling Green and Lime Essence racing colors, the motorcycle’s body takes inspiration from Aston’s own automobiles. At 200,000 euros (VAT included)—that’s just north of $220,000—and limited to only 100 examples, the AMB 001 will probably only end up in the hands of the ultra-rich. Think: the king of Jordan, a stern Russian shipping magnate, or a spiky-haired boy band singer. Still, we’re glad it exists.

MV Agusta Rush 1000

MV Agusta Rush 1000
MV Agusta Rush 1000. Check out the carbon fiber aero cover on the rear wheel. Price unknown.MV Agusta

We’re thrilled MV Agusta is grazing in greener pastures, flush with capital, releasing new models, and resting in the very capable hands of Massimo Bordi (the engineer behind Ducati’s Desmoquattro) in his new role as executive vice president and head of production and quality control. Based on the brand-new Brutale 1000 RR, the Rush 1000 is an MV styling exercise gone right. It looks like nothing else on the market and has performance to walk the walk, producing a claimed 209 hp and 86 pound-feet of torque when fitted with the custom SC Project exhaust. Crystalline creative vision executed perfectly suggests that MV’s designers are in an environment that allows them to flourish and push the boundaries of two-wheeled design. It signals that MV is back in a big way,

Cake Ösa+

Ösa
The Ösa qualifies as a moped, so state regulations will determine what kind of license you need to ride it on public roads. The Ösa starts at $4,500 and the Ösa+ starts at $6,500.Cake

The Cake Ösa+ is the latest electric bike from the Swedish manufacturer known for the Kalk, a machine that’s functionally somewhere between an electric bike and an electric motorcycle. Now, it’s exploring the fundamental simplicity of the motorcycle in hopes of changing its identity from recreational vehicle to utilitarian transport for the Western world. The Ösa and Ösa+ have varying batteries and powertrains (the largest Li-ion battery has a range of around 63 miles) and has an optional power converter that can power tools and other equipment. With the bike’s attached workbench, Cake envisions a world of urban farmers, carpenters, and moms with small children zipping around and minding their business—sounds like a utopian real-life Richard Scarry book.

BST Hypertek

BST Hypertek
The BST Hypertek. Where does one begin?BST

What does a carbon fiber wheel maker know about making electric motorcycles? Enough to hire Pierre Terblanche to be the designer, apparently. Terblanche is best known as the head designer at Ducati around the turn of the new millennium. Responsible for the 999/749, the original Multistrada, Supermono, Hypermotard, and Sport Classic line, Terblanche was harshly criticized by conservative Ducatisti. But his designs have held up remarkably. Now he’s set his pen to designing the electric bike of your dreams for BST, the British firm best known for its carbon fiber wheels. The Hypertek is a bespoke machine with a US-made DHX Hawk water-cooled electric motor that BST claims produces more than 100 hp and 88 pound-feet of torque. BST cites an impressive range of 186 miles and a DC/DC quick charge time of 30 minutes. The carbon fiber monocoque chassis and elemental styling are unlike anything we’ve seen before. For a guy who’s loaned his skills to Ducati, Norton, Confederate, and Royal Enfield, we’re not the least bit surprised Terblanche can design pretty much anything as long as it has two wheels and an engine, er, motor.

H2 engine
Bimota Tesi H2. Quickshifter, dual Öhlins electronic suspension.Bimota
Bimota
Welcome back, Bimota.Bimota
MV Agusta Rush 1000
The MV’s 998cc motor features a revised combustion chamber for higher performance.MV Agusta
Oxford Tan leather saddle
The Oxford Tan leather saddle on the AMB 001. The central fin is designed to mimic the side strake on Aston Martin automobiles.
Brough Superior aston martin
Don’t see that emblem on a motorcycle every day.
Brough V-twin turbo
V-twin turbo, structural carbon fiber body, double wishbone front end. From the looks of it, the engine is a version of Brough’s 997cc 88-degree V-twin.
non-slipper/regenerative clutch
The BST Hypertek features a non-slipper/regenerative clutch that allows riders to rev the bike at a standstill. Photo: BSTBST
BST HyperTek
The HyperTek also includes a Cross helmet with a heads-up display and features a built-in sound generator, cruise control, and hill-start control.BST

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