Spotlight: novelties

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Spotlight: novelties


Spotlight: novelties

Spotlight: novelties that we are still waiting for
Force expressions

MOTORRAD designer Stefan Kraft is not a man of loud words. Instead, he draws. For example, what he would have wished for but could not find in the flood of new products of this model year.

Stefan Kaschel


Telegabel instead of Telelever? No problem, it’s done with a few pencil strokes. In addition, a minimalist rear frame without annoying passenger grab handles, pannier racks or even a luggage rack? That too is done quickly, at first only a few sketches thrown out briefly. So or do you prefer something completely different? MOTORRAD designer Stefan Kraft has every opportunity, visions on two wheels emerge on a sheet of white paper or on the computer screen. Just like that, with no constraints or business plans. A dream.

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Exactly, a dream. Because actually, in real life, everything works very differently. Everyone has something to say and everyone wants to have a say. The engine people have very special requirements, as do the electricians. And those from the chassis want something different again. Finally, the package team tries to bring all of these different demands under one roof. And when she has managed that, then those from purchasing or the controllers come with the sharp red pencil and tighten here and paint there. And at the very end, the designer is amazed at what remains of his once bold design.

If only they could be bought …

It is completely different with the “again-nothing-there-drafts” on these pages. Nobody talks in there. When 51-year-old Stefan Kraft dreams of his very own BMW R 1250 R, he simply does what he has always wanted to do. He leaves out the Telelever, as BMW does with the coming one R 1200 R yes apparently does too. Because it disrupts the line. Because it doesn’t want to go together with Kraft’s mix of conservative basic layout and progressive design language. Yes, conservative, because the proportions of this R 1250 R are definitely classic. “I have in mind a synthesis of a classic naked bike and a dynamic street fighter. And that fits in with the technical development that the boxer has taken. Because the youngest generation is more concerned with Bavarian cosiness. Now there is life in the booth, and you should see that too. A roadster should be crisp, and the current R 1200 R is far from that. And because I’m already dreaming: A little more displacement wouldn’t do the boxer badly anyway. “

Aha! Quite clear: When it comes to displacement, people tend to be generous when a shot glass is just a brush stroke. Hence, shares power of his born again Kawasaki Z1, based on the motto “A lot helps a lot”, doubles the cubic centimeter ration of its historical predecessor. Kraft’s modern “Z” should be a statement for the brand, and that includes a powerful engine. So six cylinders, just like the Z 1300 back then. But this time in the historical Kawasaki style with pronounced valve covers and – very importantly – the good old cooling fins, despite the water cooling. Add the style-defining, clear design language of the classic, as is so often the case with Kraft designs, combined with the latest chassis and brake technology – and you have an impressive Z 1800, which many classic Kawa fans would probably like to put in the garage. If only they could be bought.

The 51-year-old loved the classics

In general, the classics. They did it to the 51-year-old Kraft. Norton Manx, Triumph Trident, Yamaha SR 500. “They still look good today,” he enthuses. And so they are at least as characteristic of his Yamaha design as the historical models SRX 600 and TRX 850. Krafts Yamaha SR 850: That means a filigree cafe racer in the English ace cafe style with a lot of visible technology. Exhaust and noise regulations do not challenge him any more than the fact that Yamaha has just launched a famous 850 triple and is certainly not thinking about a single in this displacement category. Especially not with an air-cooled one, because that’s how Kraft’s SR motor should be. But one with dohc technology, of course, with four valves and injection. In addition, the K is visible from afar&N air filter and unpainted frame tubes made of chrome-molybdenum steel, again combined with modern chassis technology. And this time with a tight cockpit cladding and a classic clock arrangement. The black color goes just as well as chrome and lots of polished aluminum.

Last but not least, even the Kickstarter is experiencing a renaissance and leaves some who have already struggled with the 500cc single of his SR shudder at the 850 cubic centimeters. But don’t worry: Kraft’s fantasies also put an additional electric starter before the broken foot. Better safe than sorry. It is also just as certain that many who think of Honda and the long-haul distance still mainly mean RCB and RSC today. The style mix of the Honda endurance racers of the 70s and 80s was too distinctive, which actually represented a crude combination of highly professional technology and subsequently screwed on long-distance equipment such as headlights. That stuck in the memory.

New Honda with an old spirit

Even with Stefan Kraft, who in his modern interpretation of the endurance legends replaced the two headlights with an asymmetrically mounted one, thus creating space for an exaggerated air intake. Of course, this has to be just as much with these models as the indicated quick tank device and the dominant start numbers. And of course the cooling fins of the water-cooled row four, which, however, unlike the original, are not covered by a bulky full fairing. Here, too, a tubular space frame connects the steering head and swing arm bearings, and modern chassis components and the latest rim and tire formats are also used here.

However, Kraft combines the mighty upside-down fork with two conventional spring struts and a box swing arm with square beams. But it is precisely this mix that takes up the charming approach of the role model and interprets it in a current way. In terms of displacement, however, Kraft is cautious. 1000 cubic centimeters – that is the current capacity limit in top-class sport, and the new Honda with the old spirit should not shake that either.

In the style of the muscle cars: a Harley with sport appeal

Just as little as Harley in the more than a century old V2 confession. An iron from Milwaukee needs the Big Twin like air to burn. But where, please, is it written that on a Harley the handlebars have to be high and the seating must be very low. XR 1400 R – the reference to the unfortunately not very successful XR 1200 cannot be overlooked in terms of the name. And otherwise, parallels between Kraft’s fantasies and Harley’s attempt to market the successful dirt track engagement can hardly be overlooked. It starts with the bumper engine instead of the much more modern V-Rod unit and doesn’t stop with the manifold guide. Kraft sees its 1400s as a synthesis of street fighter, muscle bike and cafe racer, copying the style of American muscle cars – most importantly the open intake scoop with visible throttle valves – and combining it with modern technology and light metal frames. That seems much more progressive than the Sportster XR 1200, which is somewhat staid in comparison and could probably not only inspire Harley fans in this form.

Moto Guzzi Le Mans IV: red and filigree

As well as one Moto Guzzi Le Mans IV would certainly find fans in other camps as well. Also because Kraft not only indulges in nostalgia and brings back the blissful Le Mans of 1976, but also designed a modern two-cylinder sports car that combines classic Italian design with contemporary technology.
Very important, of course: a modern, water-cooled engine with two overhead camshafts and four radially arranged valves per cylinder, which, in typical Guzzi fashion, stretches its red valve cover at a 90-degree angle into the airstream. Kraft initially leaves the displacement open. However, since the balanced character and the fine traits of the new 1290 KTM twin have been known, we have known what is possible on this side of competitive sport, and this displacement category can also be imagined in the Sport Guzzi at any time. Incidentally, like the single-sided swing arm in conjunction with a cardan shaft. BMW has impressively demonstrated how it works with the dream boxer HP2. Unfortunately, however, also that these motorcycle dreams often do not pay off commercially. And that’s why they mostly have to remain dreams.

Portrait of Stefan Kraft

Spotlight: novelties


Stefan Kraft, born in 1962, studied product design in Schwabisch Gmund from 1982 to 1986 before setting up as a freelance designer.

“The picture in your head”

Stefan Kraft, born in 1962, studied product design in Schwabisch Gmund from 1982 to 1986 before setting up as a freelance designer. Kraft already drew for MOTORRAD during his studies and continues to do so today. In his private life, the Stuttgart native prefers to drive his 20-year-old Honda VFR 750 with more than 100,000 kilometers on the clock. Actually things are different. It is Stefan Kraft who asks. Sometimes it is about basic information such as the engine concept or the frame design, but more often it is about details such as manifold routing, the shape of the side covers or the design of the brake calipers. At least when Kraft draws motorcycles whose image others – for example the MOTORRAD editors – have in mind. Or at least believe you have it in your head. This time, however, Kraft drew what he had in mind. “I just wanted to draw motorcycles that I would also put in my garage,” is how he describes the creation of this drawing. Anyone who grew up with a Kawasaki Z1, a Yamaha SR 500 or a Moto Guzzi Le Mans or dreamed of them will understand that the classic shapes and proportions predominate. His successful BMW design shows that the Swabian does not lose sight of the future. And thus probably the only one of these strong expressions that has a good chance of a life after the drawing. Because there will be a roadster with the new water boxer. And soon.

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