The most beautiful motorcycles

Table of contents


The most beautiful motorcycles

The most beautiful motorcycles
Ideal lines

It is said that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Nevertheless, there are proportions, shapes and lines that (almost) everyone finds beautiful. MOTORCYCLE was you looking for? and (almost always) found.

Stefan Kaschel


The dispute is as old as the MOTORRAD editorial team. What is beautiful? If a common basis can quickly be found when assessing driving dynamics abilities, when it comes to the question of appearance, there are many things that cross one another. Therefore, a vote was taken and seven motorcycles were chosen from a wide variety of categories. And then? Took the help of a professional for MOTORRAD. Why do we find beautiful what we find beautiful? Hans-Georg Kasten, head of target-design (Katana series from Suzuki, Sachs Beast), has a very simple answer. »Because the proportions are right.« This central creed of the designers applies above all to the emotionally charged world of the motorized two-wheeler.
And in that, according to Kasten, the mother of the current 998, the 916, was without question a very big success. Because of the proportions. Straightforward, without frills, the front fits the tank, the tank to the rear, and most of it is won. The then new arrangement of the headlights, the exhaust system placed under the hump and the unobstructed view of the rear wheel: everything is nice, but accessories. Without the proportions, everything would be nothing.
A judgment that can also be used without reservation for Harleys V-Rod applies. The powerful shapes would perfectly reflect this way of riding a motorcycle. With a mighty rear end, an only hinted at tank and this flat steering head angle. With so much coherence, Kasten may ignore minor design mistakes, even if he disgusts them in pithy words. “The radiator cowling is a disaster, as is the headlight. And the way the instruments grow out of the fork bridge is reminiscent of a pin tooth. ”
No question about it, the man doesn’t mince his words. Bad luck for them Moto Guzzi V 11 Sport Scura. Far ahead in the MOTORRAD ranking, Kasten cuts it down to designer dimensions. »They have a perfect basis for restrained sportiness with this engine. And what are you doing? Graft on that unfortunate combination of tank and seat. ”Objection, Your Honor, we think it’s beautiful. But Kasten cannot be stopped. »Design must also be commercially successful, which means: thinking in terms of concepts and understanding the psychology of the market. Moto Guzzi was a role model 20 years ago, today they are wasting opportunities. The new beginning has to be radical. ”
Does he have triumph in mind? Whose Speed ​​triple broke with old traditions, was radically different. Kasten calls this “the commercialization of a non-commercial world with astonishingly limited resources.” Because apart from the fixed double headlights and the plastic attachment above, “the rest is more or less ordinary.” Not a groundbreaking design masterpiece.
Neither does that KTM 525 EXC. This is done professionally because this form has prevailed in the terrain, where it is only about the function. “An enduro could also look completely different,” says Kasten with certainty. After all, he attests to the Mattighofeners that they have developed their own character through color and graphics.
He also admits this to Yamaha’s R1, the only Japanese motorcycle in the field. “Usually these types of motorcycles have a lot of paint. The R1 can safely do without it. Above all, the side view looks coherent, while from other perspectives not everything is from one piece. Nevertheless: the R1 has that character that I miss on other Japanese motorcycles. “
In the MV Agusta F4 will certainly not be missed by anyone. Not even Hans-Georg Kasten. That they are still behind in his personal ranking Ducati has another reason. »The 916 was a milestone, the MV is a» me-too product «. It already existed. Nevertheless, it has many interesting solutions in detail. ”
We realize: being beautiful is more difficult than we thought. And still rave about this appetizing technique. Who always hits the ideal line?

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