Motorcycle manufacturers and custom builders have a bevy of modern materials at their fingertips. From ABS plastic to braided carbon fiber, from CAD software to 3-D printing, today’s designers can create anything we can dream up. Despite those modern techniques and materials, motorcycle builder Jay Donovan kept it old school with his latest project.
Commissioned as the third installment in a three-piece exhibit for Dallas, Texas’ Haas Moto Museum, the Amadeus showcases Donovan’s metallurgic mastery. In an industry ruled by emerging technologies, the builder opts to bang, roll, and shape his latest rolling sculpture out of good, old-fashioned stainless steel and .
Gallery: Amadeus: 1963 BMW 60/2
“It started out on paper as a few rough profile sketches, trying to work out the design and general proportions,” noted Donovan. “Along the way, I became curious with how a more subjective sculpture could be better integrated within what would be considered the traditional design of a motorcycle.”
Armed with a 1963 BMW 60/2 boxer engine, Donovan knew the heart of the build would match the artistic ambitions of his Amadeus project. However, he designed the motorcycle’s body first and adapted the 590cc, 30-horsepower mill to the layout. Donovan integrated the vintage powerplant into the chassis with an elliptical tubular steel frame connecting directly to the swingarm.
Dual rear shocks, telescopic fork, and wire-spoked wheels are about the only other conventional bits. From there, the flowing yet sharp draws the eye. With the subframe extending down to the front of the cylinders and the frame sweeping from the headstock to the rear axle, Donovan creates two arching shapes from stern to bow. The X-like structure delivers a sense of symmetry while the various shapes hold the viewer’s attention.
“It is designed to be seen from atop its mirrored platform in the Haas Museum and to catch and refract light back upon its environment,” explained Donovan. “An attempt at creating an additional bit of beauty to the visual experience while introducing more metaphor into the concept.”
Modern materials and processes may accelerate motorcycle production and customization nowadays, but Jay Donovan’s Amadeus build proves that faster isn’t always better.