False Neutral #14: Oddball Bikes


After first catching up on what’s going on with the bikes in our garages, we explore the oddities of the motorcycling world: rotary, six-cylinder and turbo engined bikes, super huge and tiny bikes, and otherwise normal bikes with odd features.

False Neutral – Oddball Bikes


Except where noted in the captions, images are standard press kit/website photos used courtesy of the respective manufacturers.

Yamaha TX750
Yamaha TX750
Chrysler Tomahawk
Chrysler Tomahawk
Allen Millyard's Flying Millyard and Viper bike, from Bike Rider magazine (NZ)
Allen Millyard’s Flying Millyard and Viper bike (Photo from Bike Rider magazine NZ)
04 Rigdon Gunbus
Rigdon Gunbus
05 Boss Hoss
Boss Hoss V8
06 MTT Turbine
MTT Turbine
07 Morbidelli V8
Morbidelli V8
08 Norton Rotary
Norton F1 Rotary
09 Suzuki RE5
Suzuki RE5
10 20141031082337-her_01_jpg_resize_1000x830__type_jpg_
Hercules W2000 Wankel
11 Van Veen OCR1000
Van Veen OCR 1000
12 cbx79 foto 1
Honda CBX
13 Benelli 900Sei
Benelli Sei 900
14 doc00971220150714204801_001_cr
Kawasaki ZN1300 Voyager
Honda CX 500 Turbo aus dem Jahr 1981 (Quelle: Honda)
Honda CX 500 Turbo
17 xn85_1981
Suzuki XN85 Turbo
18 Yamaha BW200
Yamaha BW200
ATK 406 MX
20 BMW G450X
21 1980 Yamaha YZ125H
1980 Yamaha YZ125H
22 Italjet Roadmaster 350
Italjet Roadmaster 350 (Photo from MasterCross.net)
23 Bimota Tesi 1DES
Bimota Tesi 1D ES (Photo by Philippe via Wikimedia Commons)
24 Ner-A-Car
25 Italjet Dragster 180
Italjet Dragster 180 (by Quatro Valvole via Wikimedia Commons)
26 Yamaha TDM 850
Yamaha TDM850
27 Honda ZB50
Honda ZB50
28 gsxr50
Suzuki GSX-R50 (from gammamaniac’s PhotoBucket)
29 Christini AWD 450DS
Christini AWD 450DS

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12 responses to “False Neutral #14: Oddball Bikes”

  1. Batshitbox Avatar

    As everyone knows, you’ve barely scratched the surface when it comes to oddball motorcycles.
    Post WW2, the first that spring to mind
    Cannondale (everything they made was weird), Britten (everything he did is now normal), Kawasaki H2 (three-cyl 2-stroke no compressor), The Vindian (Vincent engine in an Indian frame) Nimbus (it’s Danish!) Maserati (it’s a Maserati!)

    Pre-war it’s just a Cambrian Explosion of weird. The Megola, I think, is the paragon of way-out, though.

    Confession: I haven’t listened to the podcast, maybe you covered these already? (I’m just not a podcast kind of guy, sorry.)

    1. Tanshanomi Avatar

      The Megola is probably the most obvious omission we made, far weirder than anything we mentioned. To be fair, we stuck with the ’70s–on, except for the Ner-A-Car (which admittedly just popped into my head when we were discussing center-hub steering). Why we subconsciously kept to our own era, I can’t explain.

    2. Garrett Michael Avatar
      Garrett Michael

      Oh god, I forgot about the Cannondale! I’m particularly fond of Cannondale bicycles, but their attempt at a motorcycle (not to mention ATV!) was pretty lackluster. Nice addition!

  2. SlowJoeCrow Avatar

    That tank coating discussion leaves me thankful the BMW coated their gas tanks at the factory, before switching to aluminum.

    As for oddballs, in addition to the Megola, the Czech Bohmerland 3 seater is another classic example. The Velocette LE is another comparative oddity, a fully enclosed liquid cooled flat twin with handlever starting, made in the mid 50s by an otherwise very traditional company.

    1. SlowJoeCrow Avatar

      A further bit of wackiness is the Dolmette, powered by 24 chainsaw engines, and built as a promo vehicle by Sachs-Dolmar.

      1. Garrett Michael Avatar
        Garrett Michael

        Reminds me of the Roadkill Monza turbocharged by weed blowers!

  3. Maymar Avatar

    Weird question, but fitting the oddball nature, has anyone ever tried mounting headlights to the outer edge of the handlebars on either side? I know it usually comes up that drivers just aren’t trained to see cyclists,which often causes accidents. I’m wondering if two distinctly separate headlights would trick a driver brain into seeing a bike where they wouldn’t otherwise (especially in places where daytime running lights are common).

    1. Tanshanomi Avatar

      Interesting proposal. Probably has some merit.

      1. spotarama Avatar

        problem there might be, the driver would see two spaced apart lights and judge the distance based on how far away a car would be if he could see those lights spaced that far apart (not overly well explained but you prob get the idea)

    2. Garrett Michael Avatar
      Garrett Michael

      I’m not sure motorcycle manufacturers would be willing to attempt to incorporate that into a design, though, it wouldn’t be a bad idea from a safety perspective. I like how some of the touring and adventure bikes have a centered headlight and two (sometimes more) driving lights mounted lower and wider apart. Anything that helps visibility!

  4. Garrett Michael Avatar
    Garrett Michael

    That picture of the TX750 is exactly what I want to look like when I ride mine. Time to find a bitchin 70’s riding outfit on eBay… Unless you have one stashed away in your closet Pete?

    1. Tanshanomi Avatar