Radical Radials
May 12, 2006 3:32 PM   Subscribe

Radial engined motorcycles are insane, but not unprecedented.
posted by mr_crash_davis (24 comments total)
posted by JekPorkins at 3:51 PM on May 12, 2006


The first one is interesting, but my first thought was that the torque would make the thing difficult to steer, and the orientation would make the drive-train unnecessarily complex. The second bike makes more sense to me, and is more aesthetically pleasing. The third? That's just cool.
posted by lekvar at 3:56 PM on May 12, 2006

Do they make rotary engine motorcycles?
posted by Tikirific at 3:57 PM on May 12, 2006

That is a thing of beauty. A darkly-insane-gibbering-at the-moon kind of beauty, but beauty nonetheless.

i can't decide which part of it scares me more; the absurd amount of power it probably produces, or the inevitable horrible burn one would get from that belt.

/admires from a good distance.
posted by quin at 4:10 PM on May 12, 2006

110hp 7 cylinder radial from Rotec Engineering

Can that be correct? Not that more cylinders automatically means more power, but my old K1200S had an in-line four that generated about 140hp.

These are beautiful, no question, but impractical, uncomfortable, and seemingly, at the end, not very efficient. Did I miss something?
posted by psmealey at 4:17 PM on May 12, 2006

Do they make rotary engine motorcycles?
They used to.
posted by lekvar at 4:17 PM on May 12, 2006

TAbd of course, there's always Jay Leno's turbine bike
posted by buggzzee23 at 4:22 PM on May 12, 2006

Do they make rotary engine motorcycles

Yup, Norton has the F1 which uses a wankel rotary engine and there are others that have used a rotax engine.
posted by squeak at 4:31 PM on May 12, 2006

OMG that is spectacular.
posted by Toecutter at 5:22 PM on May 12, 2006

Sweet bikes, not sure I'd want one as my V-Strom makes pretty good power already and handles fantastically well, but I sure do love looking at those purty customs!

The Megola is incredibly impressive in person. Beautifully made and finished. In fact, the entire Art of the Motorcycle exhibit was pretty fantastic (almost made up for my date ditching me).
posted by fenriq at 5:40 PM on May 12, 2006

JATO units come next.
posted by gigbutt at 6:18 PM on May 12, 2006

Spectacular but yeah, burn fear would nag me. I'm with quin, beautiful over there.
posted by peacay at 6:26 PM on May 12, 2006

From the same site: GSXR Powered Smart - Two kinds of fun in one!
posted by Extopalopaketle at 6:55 PM on May 12, 2006

Motorcycles are great. The pursuit of tissue tearing bone snapping speed.
posted by Samuel Farrow at 7:12 PM on May 12, 2006

WANT! pant, pant.

psmealy: I'm told that "Horsepower" isn't a great way to represent engine output, and can mean different things depending on how it's measured. So it may be that these radials have some balls. Of course, it's also a pushrod design, so.... If anyone who understands measuring engine output can clarify, that would be great.
posted by foozleface at 7:42 PM on May 12, 2006

Oh my fucking god ... that's either the most suicidal, or most beautiful engineering thingo I've seen for a while (and I was watching the 1st F1 practice from Spain this morning).
posted by Relay at 7:50 PM on May 12, 2006

Prolific sculptor Charles Ringer has a rotary motorcycle in his Joliet, Montana showroom. It is made with two cyliners from a B17.
posted by Sukiari at 1:08 AM on May 13, 2006

mr_crash_davis: (apt nickname) thanks for the links! i got the first picture via email this week and was wondering what the story about the bike was.

psmealey: radial engines like this are usually designed for use in prop-planes, where they have to run at peak horsepower almost from ignition, and deal with high g-forces and varying g-force angles - (challenging issues when you're trying to cool and lubricate 7+ cylinders) - it's a far different set of issues than you deal with in a car (even race-car) or boat engine. Every aspect of their design is centered around reliability during flight - peak power output and power/displacement are often not critical factors (although weight is).

Another link from that site - hayabusa powered austin mini. OMG I WANT ONE.
posted by jba at 1:51 AM on May 13, 2006

That second bike seems like it would suffer from pretty nasty uneven cooling problems.
posted by saladin at 6:22 AM on May 13, 2006

posted by safetyfork at 11:46 AM on May 13, 2006

Metropolis meets motorcycles.
posted by nola at 8:37 PM on May 13, 2006

As saladin points out, the setup of the second motorcycle is STOOPID. The whole point of radials is to improve the cooling of the cylinders. As for the drivetrain of the first one, lekvar, the answer is simple: get a cardan transmission. BMW and Moto Guzzi showed the way already a long, long time ago (not that Harley-Davidson appeared to take any notice).
posted by Skeptic at 10:23 AM on May 14, 2006

Thanks jba and foozleface, I knew someone could set me straight on that.
posted by psmealey at 10:24 AM on May 14, 2006

That first bike is all kinds of kick ass.
posted by Smedleyman at 9:51 AM on May 15, 2006

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