Picture of the Day: A motorcycle born to be wild


Picture of the Day: A motorcycle born to be wild

Brazilian Tarso Marques made his name as a motorcycle racing champion Formula 1 driver and designer. He’s had the experience and opportunity to bring some of his imagined motorcycle concepts to reality.

This one is a jaw-dropping challenge to your understanding of what a motorcycle is all about. (If you’re looking for electronics in this one, it’s all pretty standard I think – this post is more one for custom-bike enthusiasts.)

The TMC Dumont is a one-off motorcycle that has to be seen to be believed. Pictured as it stands alone, the body line has something of the BatMobile about it, until you do a double take and realise that your eyes are playing tricks.

In the picture of the bike above it appears to be facing left, but once you install a rider in the saddle it becomes clear that the sweeping sculptural lines are not a faring that flies behind the rider, but an air intake for the engine that the rider leans forward into. In fact the bike in the picture above is facing right.

Engine

So if you ‘set the motor running and head out on the highway’, what about the engine? Oh my, the engine!

It’s a reconditioned 1960s 300 horsepower Rolls Royce helicopter engine redesigned to keep the 36-inch wheels of this beast on the ground. In the mid 1960s when Easy Rider was being filmed, with Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda celebrating the power and freedom that comes with big bikes, the engine that now graces the Dumont may well have been flying overhead as they rode from LA to New Orleans.

You might think that at least the wheels would be something like normal. But no. Spokes? Who needs them? Hubs? Not a chance.

The result is a flattish wheel that looks as if it will be unlikely to corner well – it’s hard to imagine leaning the beast.

Fantasy

photograph of test drive of TMC Dumont motorcycle

TMC Dumont on the road (Source: Tarso Marques)

All in all it ought be an impressive bike: it has comic-book hero body-styling with fabulously subtle metallic paintwork, a pimped and polished aircraft engine that is the stuff of steampunk dreams and a wheel and drivetrain combination worthy of space fantasy.

And yet somehow it misses the mark, I feel. There’s a huge transverse belt drive in front of the engine that must play hell with the aerodynamics, and the sitting position of the rider leaves him looking like he’s driving a vacuum cleaner or a lawn mower as he roars deafeningly in a straight line in the video posted on Youtube.