We agree styling is a completely subjective topic, but every now and then something comes along that gets a unanimous vote of being vile, hateful and ugly. Motorcycles are not exactly things of beauty, but that does not mean they look like a disgruntled Goblin Shark. There have been moments in the motorcycling word when some god awful monstrosities have been put on sale for people to buy. No, we do not feel sad for the people who bought those. Here is a list of a few mingers off the top of our head.
2003 BMW R 1200 CL
At the time when BMW was not known much in the touring motorcycle segment, they came up with the R 1200 CL as a unique product for comfortable long distance riding. This motorcycle had a 2-cylinder 1170cc engine producing 61bhp of power. It came with features like heated grips, heated seats and a CD player. Even when it was launched the design was controversial as BMW engineers had paid a lot of attention to detail on the CL and the built quality was impeccable. Then why you may wonder did it have to have such untactful design.
2007 Suzuki B-King
The original concept of the B-King shown somewhere in 2001 was a breathtaking design. It had a supercharged hayabusa engine, fat rear tyre and probably the most brutal appearance ever. Now we all know that concept designs never make it to production but the production model surely captures the essence of the original design. Not with the B-King though. What the Suzuki design team gave us was a stupid looking disfigured 2008 B-King with ungainly hanging under-seat exhausts and a porky tank.
2007 KTM 690
One of the meanest, lightest, most fun to ride and extremely popular motorcycles made by KTM is not exactly a good looking one, is it? The new models have still gained some aesthetics but the 2007 KTM 690 is just collection of random lines drawn by the design department after they were rendered completely useless in the KTM factory. Engineering went so well for this machine that the designer couldn’t use any panels for that might increase weight.
1988 BMW K1
The BMW K1 was being built at a time when aerodynamics started gaining importance in the motorcycling world. Engineers decided to apply every trick in the book to make the K1 as streamlined as possible. The K1 was a sport touring motorcycle with a 4-cylinder engine producing 100bhp and 100Nm pushed by a shaft to the rear wheel. But mighty numbers fail to justify the completely weird design.
1995 Aprilia Moto 6.5
The Philippe Starck designed Aprilia Moto 6.5 sort of became an icon when it was shown to the public. Styling has been done in spades; in fact all design theories look combined in one tiny body making it look utterly confused. The 42bhp producing 649cc engine too didn’t help the case as performance was too basic to excite anybody. It was made as a stylish city run about with a quick and light steering. But it just fails the style quotient completely, making you consider performance and it had neither.
1999 Buell Thunderbolt S3T
Buell motorcycle designs have already been controversial always, and then in 1999 they introduced this funny looking thing. Style elements included an uncanny bikini fairing those plastic pannier bags. This one made the 1996 Bimota Mantra look bit pleasing to the eye.
These are just a few blots in a sea of controversial motorcycle designs throughout history. No matter how important engineering becomes, design will always be an important element that shall never be overlooked. Please let’s just let designers have their own time and imagination on production models and not put eye sores on tarmac for everybody to be mooned at.