BMW Motorrad Spezial

Lamborghini Design

Lamborghini motorcycleIn the 1980s, the troubled supercar maker Lamborghini was taken over by the French Mimran brothers. Patrick Mimran discovered he could sell engines to powerboat makers, so he decided to try his luck further—and put Kawasaki engines into Lamborghini-branded motorbikes. The result was the Lamborghini Design of 1986. Designed by Thierry Henriette of top French racebike specialist Boxer Bike (now Boxer Design), it had a frame conceived by the legendary Claude Fior—creator of the Fior 500. The Lamborghini Design was a technological tour de force, from the aluminum frame to the cadmium-plated brake callipers, and used one of two Kawasaki engines: first the 900 cc (from the ZX) and then the 1000 cc (from the RX). Most sources say that only five or six Lamborghini motorcycles were made, but the true figure is just under 40. French photographer Thierry Vincent has shot a machine labelled #009 for a magazine retrospective, and we’ll let you know when this is available.

Lamborghini motorcycle
Lamborghini motorcycle
Lamborghini motorcycle

  • Ben

    Eek! Bastard offsping of Duc Paso and Suzi RF900. Should have been put in a sack with some rocks and drowned at birth.

  • KIK

    they look like vegetables with wheels..

  • That’s nasty. Can I unsee it now?

  • Greevous

    As a kid, the Countach was my absolute dream car, but I can’t say that my enthusiasm carries over to these. It took me a sec to realize what bike it reminded me of… how similar are the lines between that red one and a KTM 690 Adventure (if KTM had just extended the plastics down to cover the engine).

    Just me?

  • Mjingen

    Nasty indeed. This thing should never have left the design table….Just as some other not-so-good-looking 80’s bikes. I still can’t get the images of the Moto Guzzi Panther out of my head that i want to unsee.

  • Aman

    This is plain ugly….ugly ugly..!!

  • madvillain

    woh, lunch hour hate!

    i think this is an amazing piece of industrial design. the body has maybe three seams, and look at the gauge cluster!

  • micah

    Ha ha the 80s! regardless, its kinda neat. I wonder if I would have liked it back then, without the context of current machines. For all its exotic appeal, though, it really needs to be supercharged and make 200hp. Oh, and it needs more lazers

  • el vencejo

    Interesting that there should be shots of an everyday Paso and this similar, but no doubt expensive, piece of kit so close together.
    Ben got it on the first comment :)

  • You should watch it guys… This bike was a real tour de force in its time. It was fast, precise and pretty inovative. Besides, she is a very interesting vehicle in the history of superbikes. She has a lot more to say than her mere typical eighties style…

  • Loving the Muira in shot 3. CarEXIF Chris? It’s not like your busy or anything…

  • RobL

    It’s always the most advanced bikes that have full bodywork, you can’t see anything.

    Mr. Vincent, any chance you took some naked pics of this bike?

  • Ken

    Actually, this is genuinely fascinating and very cool. The lines are nicely drawn. It’s suspiciously reminiscent of the Ducati Paso of the same year, although the Paso had a headlight made by grown-ups. If you want to see properly ugly, I’d suggest a quick Google image search for Morbidelli.

  • The Phantom

    Quite unfair to judge this bike’s styling against what we are used to today – even the Chinese can build an attractive bike now, I saw a Megelli 250 yesterday and it looked sharp.

    In the context of the likes of the slab sided 1986 GSX-R750, the Lambo looks stunning, and the only other comparable bike of the era was indeed the Paso.

    The 1986 VFR750s were probably the most cohesive design of the era, though.

  • series3

    Stick to designing silly super cars – you give bad bike.

  • Ya know, I actually kinda like this bike. I can certainly appreciate what went into the execution of the styling. Love it or hate it, it could be made to look so much better w/o the monochromatic color scheme. Break it up with some stripes, get rid of the butt-ugly yellow windscreen and headlight cover, and there you go. Look at what Bimota was doing in the 80’s and this is right there with them. Boy, it’d be a snap to keep clean, too.

  • kevin

    Greevous… yes its just you

  • It’s a good thing the 80s are over.

  • Aerion

    For some more information:

    There is also some information and photos of the Fior 500. In that case the suspension is a variation on the Hossack design since adopted by BMW, but with the steering linkage working through a bell-crank pivoting off the lower front control arm.

    • To_Be

      thx, mate

  • RJ

    In 30 years we’ll all be saying how retro and futuristic it looks – a vision of where motorcycle design might have gone in some Fringe style parallel universe. I think this bike will look stupendous in about 20 or 30, but for now I agree it just looks odd

  • Aerion

    Correction, that’s a steering damper on the lower front arm on the Fior 500.

  • I’m not 100% convinced that the information on the Autodrome website is accurate.

  • Hiwatt Scott

    As a GPz900R owner, I can attest that the gauge cluster is definitely off of a 900R, and the fork on the bike Royet has for sale is a 900R unit as well (anti dive brakes). Interesting that all three bikes (the yellow featured bike, the red bike, and the one Royet is selling) all have different forks and calipers.

  • Peter B

    Does anyone remember the so called “Ferrari Motorcycle” by David Kay that went up for sale a couple of years ago? Google it – yuk!
    It makes the above look like a 916….

    The Lamborghini is not to my visual taste but by the sound of it, it at least had considerable engineering integrity.
    Re the fabulous looking Miura in the background – note the non standard (as in P400 / 400S / SV) air vent in the wing…is it a Jota?

  • Botlhale Maseloane

    Now Lamborghini has made riding more interesting and fun…I wouldn’t mind getting it for my birthaday…

  • shawn

    I knew most people here wouldn’t like it.
    Unless its a bobber, cafe racer or a bike that looks 40s its just not on for the blindfolder viewers.
    Anybody got an imagination past 1960?

  • llamaman

    seen in the context of its time it looks modern and sleek. Design flutes in rear bodywork are very similar to ferraris testerossa of 2 years earlier in 1984. I remember my own mullett hairstyle of that time as modern and sleek as well!

  • Steve

    The differences between them are interesting… looks like the yellow one has acquired a few mods over time. The red one has a sleek, semi-concealed muffler, while the yellow one has an aftermarket can of some sort. The yellow one has also sprouted upside-down forks… definitely not 80’s.

  • el vencejo

    @ Shawn:
    people don’t like it because of the fugly plastic bodywork; it wasn’t pretty in the 80’s, it isn’t pretty now.

  • Anti

    Love that bike. I f—-ing love that bike.

    The tinted screen and headlight cover were sex enough. Then the red one with the vented headlights. I have fallen in love with the 80’s again.

    Also really enjoyed that interview with Richard Backus yesterday. That small hero tribute, was so refreshing after hearing all the usual revered racer name dropping in past interviews.

  • Hmm, its not really stood the test of time very well. But who knows, in another 10 years it might be different, I find that most of the late 80’s sportsbikes look pretty ugly to my eyes at the moment but im sure that will change in time.
    What I do love is the guy is gonna take it for a ride wearing an open face helmet and loafers, you gotta love the italians!
    I do like the stubby exhaust in the last picture though, fortelling the future, very MotoGP.

  • Was this around the same period when Lambo made those 4WD SUV’s? The equally as rare ones that Uday Hussien had and the Americans blew up. This bike looks typical of Lambo in the 80s. Ridiculous by modern tastes but perfectly suited to a Kenny Loggins soundtrack and girls in one pieces with big hair. The world would be a much worse place with these crazy Italians.

  • RobL

    A few points:

    The red bike appears to be an artist’s rendering or styling mule (which makes sense as it matches the early advertising here: , but regardless, many significant deviations from the yellow production bike:

    Windscreen: yellow 1-piece, red 3-piece.
    Mirrors: none on red.
    Headlights: real on yellow, louvered mystery on red
    Brakes: different between the two, front and rear.
    Brake reservoir: red handlebar-mounted, yellow not visible.
    Exhaust: red, small and tight to body. Yellow larger, beyond tail.
    Forks: red, conventional, yellow inverted.
    Pegs: different.

    The bodywork alone has so many differences, again I’m thinking the red is an artist’s interpretation or early design mock-up:
    Windscreen as mentioned above.
    Front fender different.
    Fairing clearance below headlight different.
    Half the retaining hardware points different.
    Huge header clearance on yellow, bare vent on red.
    Exhaust clearance and scallop different.
    Tiny NACA duct in front of rearset in different positions.
    Extra access hole at rear of lower front side strake on yellow.
    Seats totally different.
    Yellow appears to have a removable cover for pillion, red does not.

    Second point that I am surprised nobody has mentioned; this bike bears very strong resemblance to the BMW K1 of 1988-1993… fully enclosed and somewhat heavy-handed bodywork, “knee rests” built into the fairing, and removable pillion cover with integral backrest:

    Not saying it’s a clone, far from it, but the common design “inspiration” between these two performance-oriented European companies bears mentioning.

  • RobL

    Oops. Sill .nl website using non-standard URL. Try this pic instead:

  • I’ve just updated the article after feedback from photographer Thierry Vincent, who got the information from builder Thierry Henriette. So, for now, this is the definitive history of the Lamborghini motorcycle. If Vincent’s article reveals more relevant information when it’s published, I’ll update the piece again.

  • Cocaine is a helluva drug!

  • To_bE

    What does it look like without fairing? Wish to see if it’s Fior who designed the chassis. Please post

  • Leadfootmike70

    one of the ugliest bikes i have ever seen its a damn kawasaki with ugly plastic and im sure over priced just cause of the decals

  • Habib

    Dig the cheese graters on the sides — freaky!