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Starck Raving Mad? Customizing the world’s worst bike

Aprilia Moto 6.5: Customizing the world’s worst motorcycle
Remember the Starck-designed Aprilia Moto 6.5? Many were so traumatized by its existence, they’ve struck it from memory.

The British website Visordown was particularly brutal in its appraisal: “Aprilia commissioned French avant-garde designer of the ’90s, Philippe Starck, to design a motorcycle. What they got was a crime against motorcycling.”

Aprilia Moto 6.5: Customizing the world’s worst motorcycle
It wasn’t just the Moto 6.5’s looks that counted against it. With power coming from the Aprilia Pegaso 650 cc motor, it wasn’t a particularly exciting ride either. Still, there are some fans out there—like Rick Geall. He’s the founder of Wreckless Motorcycles—a ‘pro-am’ shop in Northamptonshire, England, and he owns a Starck-designed toilet.

With a 1996-model Moto 6.5 in his garage too, Rick was trawling the net for modified 6.5s—of which there are understandably few—when he stumbled upon a rendering by the Australian graphic designer Michael Bretherton. He reached out.

Aprilia Moto 6.5: Customizing the world’s worst motorcycle
“This was the start of the direction the bike would take,” says Rick. “Get it sitting low and flat, and making—for want of a better expression—a street racer style bike. A mix of curves and angles, and more aggressive looking.”

“The egg shape frame, the Rotax motor and the oversized, curvy tank were to be the backbone of the build, to provide the echo to the original machine. Everything else was up for grabs.”

Brand new Showa forks designed for the Honda Hornet 600 were grafted on. Wreckless used a Hornet lower clamp and stem, and a one-off, hand-machined top clamp from a third party. It was designed to hold a set of Renthal clip-ons, and a recessed KOSO digital dash (and it reportedly cost an arm and a leg to make).

Aprilia Moto 6.5: Customizing the world’s worst motorcycle
To clean the cockpit up more, the guys relocated the key ignition to the toolbox. (Yes, the Moto 6.5 has a toolbox—it’s on the right, just below the tank.) They also fitted Renthal grips, Brembo controls, and a mirror and bar-end turn signals from Rizoma.

Out back, Wreckless installed a Bitubo shock, repainting the spring to match the rest of the graphics. The stock 18F/17R spoked wheels were ditched for a matching set of 17” alloy items from an Aprilia Pegaso Strada, shod in Michelin Pilot Power 2CTs. New Brembo brake calipers and upgraded discs were fitted too.

Aprilia Moto 6.5: Customizing the world’s worst motorcycle
Up top, Wreckless lopped off the subframe and fabricated a new one. Then they fabricated a new seat, sending it off to Matt at Herbert & Ellison for a new Alcantara cover. The swingarm was also lengthened by 55 mm, to give the bike a more stretched out, aggressive look.

The guys also fabricated a bunch of smaller parts to tie everything together. The side covers, rear splash guard, bash plate, under-seat tray and chain guard were all made in-house—along with the somewhat sinister-looking headlight housing. New aftermarket rearsets were fitted, and a relocated sidestand mount was fabbed up.

Aprilia Moto 6.5: Customizing the world’s worst motorcycle
Wreckless didn’t ignore the motor though. Iain treated it to a strip-and-rebuild, with new gaskets, seals and bearings. Every last fastener, washer, filter and plug was replaced, and every cable or tube neatly wrapped up.

The original bulky twin exhaust system was replaced by a custom-made two-into-one system from Alan at APH Engineering. It sweeps up, and flows into a stubby Akrapovič can.

Aprilia Moto 6.5: Customizing the world’s worst motorcycle
For paint, Rick went in the complete opposite direction from the OEM scheme. The fuel tank and a couple of other bits were given a carbon-like texture by Wicked Coatings in Dorset, using a hydrographic process.

As a homage to Starck himself, the bike was nicknamed ‘S±ARX,’ and the tank treated to a deep orange cross. Vinyl Revolution in Oxford whipped up some decals, including a ghosted Wreckless logo up top.

Aprilia Moto 6.5: Customizing the world’s worst motorcycle
“This bike was very awkward,” says Rick, “and challenging, and time consuming. But ultimately a lot of fun to do. The Moto 6.5 Owners Club in Italy likes it—that will do for me!”

Hang on a minute—there’s a Moto 6.5 owners club?

Wreckless Motorcycles | Facebook | Instagram | Images by Daniel Du Cros at Junction11 Studios

Aprilia Moto 6.5: Customizing the world’s worst motorcycle

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