Most are familiar with the typical design concepts of the contemporary motorcycle. There are some variations in the industry, but predominantly everything from the seating position and driving systems to the chassis and suspension, is a predictable and hopefully comfortable affair.
There have been many experiments throughout the years to varying degrees of success. Many have been groundbreaking and have extended their influence to this day.
Here we look at some examples of the strangest…
The Megola was produced in Munich, between 1921 and 1925 and designed by Fritz Cockerell. It had a very unique and unorthodox design by having its rotary engine mounted directly within the front wheel. This meant that a clutch and gearbox were not required.
The bike could be started by spinning the front wheel and idle in place. The rider could also push-start the bike with the wheel down. The model was successful in competition as well, winning at the German Championship in 1924.
Built in England by Malcolm Newell and Ken Leaman, the Quasar was first sold in 1976. Designed as a cabin motorcycle with a roof, the vehicle changed the usual position of the rider from straddling on top to sitting down inside. Even with the intimate space inside it is possible to carry a passenger.
The bike was able to offer excellent aerodynamics with a full-roof fiberglass body and a 750cc four cylinder Reliant automobile engine. It could even offer some small protection from the weather.
Quasar riders still gather at bike meetings to this day.
A popular motorcycle marque name for its time, the French model Majestic pushed styling boundaries, embodying the Art Deco aesthetic of the 1920s.
Previously exhibited in Italy and Slovenia, this model sported a streamlined torpedo like body, automotive-style chassis, duplex steering and air-cooled 350cc engine.
Michaux-Perreaux steam velocipede
One of the first motorcycles known to have been mass-produced, The Michaux-Perreaux steam velocipede had a small commercial steam engine fitted to an iron framed pedal bicycle.
Created by Louis Guillaume Perreaux, it was produced each year from 1868 to 1871 in France. Many historians make the argument that it was the first production motorcycle, as well as the Roper steam velocipede of 1867 or 1968.
Known for an innovative yet simple design, the Imme R100 was German engineered from 1948 to 1951. It had many advanced features that would not appear in designs of other prominent brands for many years to come.
The motorcycle’s advanced specifications included a single-sided swingarm suspension to the front and rear, with the swingarm also functioning as the exhaust system. The model was surprisingly popular in motorsport with a lightweight 98cc two stroke engine, and long travel suspension.