I think we’ve all sketched or doodled our schemes at some point. I had a History prof in University whose voice was so boring, he made Ben Stein sound like Rod Roddy from the Price Is Right. Much drawing and scheming was done. Tanshanomi, however, has taken things one step further. But don’t take our word for it…
As a hot-rod-crazy kid, my vehicle tastes were profoundly influenced by a couple of encounters with minimalist, single-passenger vehicle such as Chuck Miller’s Honda-305-powered “Crater Raider” and a particulary wonky H-D flathead-powered sidecar thingie [The lead photo above -Ed.]. Then, at 17, I discovered motorcycles. I ate, drank and slept motorcycles from 1980 to ’96. After 11 bikes and 16 years of riding (including one near-death ambulance ride along the way) the risk or riding just got to be too much for me. Over the last decade, I’ve pursued “motorcycle-ish” vehicular hobbies, including VW street buggies, go-karts, and personal watercraft. And getting back into bikes has always remained a distinct possibility. Along the way, I’ve looked into such other stuff as the BRP spyder, VW trikes and the TwinTech roadster. I’ve also developed a lasting infatuation with Manx- and JAP-powered Cooper F3s and the stunning Sub G1 three wheeler.
Yet I’ve never been perfectly satisfied with what’s out there. So, I sat down and tried to conceive of the one vehicle I would build if I had the skill, time, and money. Sine I’m not an industrial designer, engineer, or CAD wiz, I sketched out my concept and sent the drawing to my friend Nori Watanabe of Pi-Unit, a CAD/3D graphics firm in Niihama, Japan. He’s is a great guy who did these drawings as a favor to me. Nori turned a very brief description and a very crude sketch into images that are amazingly close to what was in my head, and yet even better due to some nice detail improvements.
My objective seemed fairly simple, but frustratingly elusive to nail down: I wanted to explore how much of the simplicity, elegance and wind-in-the-hair (okay, wind-through-the-helmet) experience of a motorcycle could be combined with the opposing priority of safety.
People who have seen the design are surprised that, for an ex-motorcycle freak, I didn’t incorporate some sort of leaning technology. I don’t need to lean. First of all, that sort of technology is complex, expensive and challenging to design and make function properly. Secondly, I know how much fun a go-kart can be. I wanted something compact, simple and elemental, like an Atom. No heater, no doors, no glass, no windshield wipers. My main goal was a small, narrow, monoposto vehicle that could capture the wind-in-the-hair (okay, wind-through-the-helmet) experience of a motorcycle, as well as a bike’s pillarless, windshield-less panoramic view of the world ahead. That meant no full roll cage. However, as an ex-motorcycle freak whose come to recognize my mortality, it had to have bit more protection and stability than a bike, including some side bars, enclosed footwell, a roll bar, a head restraint and the ability to strap into four-point belts. Okay, so this isn’t even up to Smart impact standards, but it sure beats a bike, and is probably is no worse than a Jeep CJ. I further thought the seating should be comparable to a typical sedan — high enough to see traffic ahead, and high enough to be seen.
- I wanted three wheels not because I am a big fan of trikes (most are sort of goofy lookin), but because a swing arm is the lightest, simplest, cleanest rear suspension design. Also, since they are legally defined as motorycles, trikes skirt a lot of automotive equipment regulations.
- I wanted it to be economical, eco-friendly and light weight, so I chose a big water-cooled thumper from a dual sport bike for power, such as a Kawasaki KLR650 motor — enough to get me over the backroads I take to work, but not something that would send up a pillar of smoke from the rear tire.
- In appearance, I wanted to combine elements of a motorcycle, a tube-frame dune buggy, a go-kart, a vintage biplane and a bucket-T. (Hence, the name: Cyrobuka is a portmanteau of “cycle-rod-buggy-kart.”)
I had originally suggested a traditional, transverse-leaf dropped axle front suspension. The double A-arm suspension with inboard dampers was a great suggestion by Nori that also brings in a bit of open-wheel racing influence.
There are lots of details missing in these views, such as headlights and mirrors, obviously, and perhaps a rear fender. And there are a lot of unaddressed, “then something magical happens” functional and space issues hidden within that bodywork (but probably no more than the typical concept drawing you see from manufacturers, no?)
There are, of course, absolutely no plans to bring this any closer to reality, but there you have it — exactly what I would drive to work every day if I could. I’m just wondering what you Hoons have say about it…
So who wants to help him build it?