Motorcycle Forms

An Interesting Study..

While these simple forms are primarily function driven, there are some compelling visual elements at play. Notice how a simple gas tank placement transforms the quintessential American form to the Japanese form. Tamburini understood this line and it is embraced and celebrated in his masterpiece, the 916.Almost all subsequent Japanese sports bikes are based on this line, and for good reason- it is emotive and functional- linking swingarm pivot to steering neck in the most direct way. This line says modern and sporting, yet undeniably, the same line for choppers, bobbers, customs, and iconic American machines.

The European form has been the most used, first by the British, then Italians, and copied through the ’80s by the Japanese until the advent of the perimeter frame and the discovery of their own design language. The European form is probably the most widely acknowledged as the most “beautiful”, and timeless form.

This leads us to the Vincent Shadow. Regarded as the most beautiful motorcycle of all time by a vast majority of enthusiasts, the Shadow uses all three forms. The Bienville as well morphs from café racer to bobber to modern sports motorcycle by pulling from all three primary forms, considering them and ultimately reconciling them. A modern Ethos with historical precedent.

Now the question becomes: How do we incorporate the New Orleans form?

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