Concept studies: Honda NAS 1000, Aprilia 1000 Blue Marlin, Suzuki B-King, Ducati Multistrada

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technology & future

Concept studies: Honda NAS 1000, Aprilia 1000 Blue Marlin, Suzuki B-King, Ducati Multistrada

Concept studies: Honda NAS 1000, Aprilia 1000 Blue Marlin, Suzuki B-King, Ducati Multistrada
Declaration of waiver

Okay, the 300 km / h sound barrier has been cracked, 200 hp are not far either, there are electrically adjustable discs and CD players. But is that what we wanted?

Gert Thole


The engine of every technical evolution is the striving for the better, and ultimately for perfection. This mainspring has given us an extremely high level of motorcycle technology. The optimum seems within reach, increases are only possible in minimal steps. It is becoming more and more difficult for the technicians to construct something really new. The time seems ripe for a small revolution. Especially since some customers are in a crisis of meaning: why drive three km / h faster and does adjustable seat heating really make you happier? At the trade fairs, visitors crowd around fascinating studies and noble individual items, while the triple R, which has been strengthened by 3.5 hp and slimmed down by 4.85 kilograms, is soberly noticed. After the era of engineers, the hour could now come for designers who put emotions at the center of their creations instead of technical arguments. So the reflection on the essentials, the conscious reduction is the predominant element of many new concept studies.
The Honda study NAS 1000 proves that such a waiver in no way means loss of face, but on the contrary only underlines the concise expression. NAS stands for North American Sports, because the purist machine was created in the US think tank HRA (Honda Research & Development America). “It has the nature of a beast,” says designer Tom Schroeder, commenting on his masterpiece. Aha, was the Sachs Beast sponsor after all, as the Nuremberg-based company proudly announced in a circular? Hardly, because HRA started the project back in 1999, when there was still nothing to be seen of the Sachs.
The core of the NAS is a standard VTR-1000 motor, the frame layout is also very similar to the VTR. Everything else is reduced to the bare essentials. Unilateral wheel suspensions allow the motorcycle to float when viewed from the right. The single-arm telescopic fork comes principally from aircraft construction; Paioli developed a similar construction for Gilera as early as 1990. Only at second glance can the sleek front spoiler be identified as a silencer. The cooler also had to retreat discreetly, as in the case of Britten or the Benelli Tornado, it is located in the rear. Two huge intake openings stretch their necks into the wind and scoop air backwards. The opening on the left supplies the filter cartridge located across the tank, while the cooler is ventilated on the right. The NAS 1000 looks breathtaking on the viewer because of its formal harmony and the perfect workmanship.
A similar direction as the NAS is suggesting Aprilia with the Blue Marlin, but with a completely different background. The swordfish with the mille heart may not be a retro bike with a nostalgic look, but it is reminiscent of the sports machines of earlier years. It started with one of Aprilia’s first motorcycles, an Aprilia Colibri 50 from the sixties. Wind-slippery plastic cladding did not exist back then, sport was defined by narrow stub handlebars, hump seats and infinitely long tanks. Like the Honda, the Aprilia study lives from being reduced to the essentials. The French forge Boxer-Design built the prototype under immense time pressure before the Milan trade fair. The French grabbed the shelves for many components: Swingarms and mufflers can also be found on the Boxer B2 (MOTORRAD 22/2001), for example. Critics still find some stylistic breaks, such as the handlebar trim in street fighter look. The cone-shaped, slim silencers, on the other hand, are beautiful, but the sound should also correspond to that of the sixties. The chance of realization is still much greater compared to the Honda, the Aprilia naked bike expected for 2003 could look very similar.
Pure emotion was also the leitmotif for the Suzuki B-King. However, it does not impress with its delicate aesthetics, but the design should signal the sheer violence. Brute comes the B-King hence, a muscle-packed flat maker. The lack of any color underlines the aggressive appearance. A compressor turns the Hayabusa engine into a 250 hp powerhouse, the B-King embodies an acceleration monster in the style of the Vmax. Perhaps that is precisely why the rear view turned out so impressive, from this perspective challengers should mainly look at the B-King after the traffic light spurt. And what about a series offshoot? Technically feasible on foot, the dream of many dragster fans is unlikely to become a reality. Small consolation: Design elements may appear in future Suzuki naked bikes.
With the Multistrada, on the other hand, series production is already a done deal. Ducati is looking for new ways with it, the study should unite the best of all categories: a lot of sport, plenty of fun bike, also touring qualities and a tiny bit of off-road suitability. Chief designer Pierre Terblanche took his bearings from the less specialized motorcycles of the seventies. Light, compact, versatile and practical – that is the concept of the Multistrada as a counterpoint to many highly specialized machines of today. The Multistrada has one advantage over the three other studies: It is air-cooled, so the designers can save themselves pull-ups to hide an annoying cooler in an effort to create a clear line.


She was one of the stars of the Milan trade fair, which polarized Aprilia 1000 Blue Marlin, and provided plenty of material for discussion. Aprilia denied any idea of ​​series production despite the lively response, but was impressed by the overwhelming response. MOTORRAD asked the readers for their opinion on the Internet at Here are a few voices: »The retro look with contemporary chassis, that’s something. Just don’t cut the engine’s performance. «Markus Solbach, Cologne» Only two or three little things don’t please. Definitely with round headlights, rear with a small hump instead of the gap and an air-cooled engine. «Sebastel, Ettlingen» Great the way it is. Yes, no round headlights on this ingenious device. “Erik Jansen, Landsberg am Lech” Loveless and inhomogeneous. Tank in the shape of a carpet knife, handlebar cover from the accessories trade, the rear looks as if the cover has been lost. “Andreas Schulze, Krefeld” Could easily become weak. Wouldn’t have thought that Aprilia could bring something so nice after the previous aberrations in taste. «Jochen Krupski, Krefeld» It would look a bit funny if I sat on such a slim moped with my 90 kilograms. 25 kilos less, and the machine would be on the shortlist. «Gorodish, Wahlwies» Great part. Motorcycling has to do with emotions, otherwise I could drive the bus right away. Hopefully the indicators, license plates and mirrors don’t spoil the whole look. «Berthold Fisch, Ruthen» This motorcycle has what it takes to become a cult bike. For this I would immediately give my mille in payment. Provided that the price remains within the framework. «Thomas Fischer, Leipzig

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