Are girder front ends making a popularity comeback?
A custom build called the “Extreme Machine” lets you know, right out there, what you’re going to see before you see it. Meet “Macchina Estrema,” the extreme, and extremely Italian, custom build. Simone Conti Motorcycles, a one-man outfit out of Modena, Italy, created this interesting little thing for this past May’s Motorcycle Arts & Designers (MOARD) exhibition, held in Milan’s historic Palazzo del Ghiaccio.
The bike’s design, despite its extremely futuristic appearance, was all done by hand and on paper; Conti did not do any designing in CAD or on a computer. This is especially surprising when you see how the exhaust pipes curl around from the headers before exiting under the seat. That’s a lot of welds to do without the help of a computer program, and they are all beautiful.
Conti built the whole frame using 1.5mm steel around the Aprilia SXV550 engine and 30mm tubing out back. The hardtail design saves weight, sure, but I’ll bet this bike handles quite poorly in bumpy corners. Or fast corners. Or any corners.
Speaking of suspension, there’s that girder front end again. This time, the bike has a mountain bike shock stuffed into the middle of the wishbone. Does it work? When a designer has a nearly limitless choice of fork setups and designs, with the option to cover them with panels if they desire, I am baffled that they would choose century-old tech in a design like this. The girders are hidden; he could as easily hidden some lovely, functional USD forks.
The front of the bike sports a forged Marchesini rim off a Ducati, and Brembo 4-piston brakes on a monobloc caliper. The rear wheel? Conti made it by hand out of two chunks of aluminum. This entire motorcycle may be a design lesson in extremes, a juxtaposition of past and present, of technology, and hand-shaped metal. The skill that went into this build is undeniable. The machine is compelling, but the more I look at it, the more I scratch my head. Is it rideable, or did the builder do that lovely little Aprilia engine a disservice?
Wander over to BikeEXIF (linked) for more, and more in-depth pictures of this build.