MotoMorphic JaFM

Rotax motorcycle
In the holiday spirit of not taking things too seriously, here’s a curve ball to throw into the Bike EXIF mix. A lot of strange contraptions come my way, but this Rotax-engined number is one of the most extreme motorcycles I’ve seen for a while. It’s built by Jim Davis of MotoMorphic—based in San Rafael, California—and costs $100,000 or more, according to specification.

Inspiration apparently came from ‘four seemingly disparate things: streetfighters, a fat tire, American muscle cars, and fighter planes.’ The design started with the tires, namely Avon’s Venom: There’s a 250 on the front and a whopping 300×35/18 at the back. So does it handle? ‘There are a few idiosyncrasies with the JaFM,’ say MotoMorphic, ‘but nothing that precludes the enjoyment of the ride. Due to the wide nature of the front tire, the JaFM tends to stand up under front trail braking. It can easily be compensated for, and trail braking should be exercised with caution on any motorcycle.’

Rotax motorcycle
To match the huge tires, the main frame has 5” diameter tubes, with the secondary tubes at 4”. Gas is stored in the tubes, nearly seven gallons of it, and the massive air scoop is modeled on the belly scoop from a WWII P-51 Mustang. The motor is a dry-sumped Rotax V990 with an integrated 6-speed transmission and slipper clutch. (It’s the same Austrian-built V-twin unit that powered the Aprilia RSV Tuono and still does service today in the Can-Am Spyder three-wheeler.) MotoMorphic uses a Dynojet Power Commander III to optimize the mapping, and claims 110 hp and 70 ft-lbs of torque at the rear wheel. Suspension is Öhlins at the front and Penske at the back, and the adjustable handlebars reportedly feel ‘natural’.

My first question was, Why? But there’s an answer to that in the entertaining MotoMorphic FAQ: ‘If you have to ask, you won’t understand. No, really.’

[Via La Repubblica. Thanks to Cristiano Bertacchini.]

Rotax motorcycle
Rotax motorcycle
Rotax motorcycle

  • LocomotiveClothing

    O…..M…..G. CRAZY. COOL. I never thought a bike could look this radical…so rad!

  • LocomotiveClothing

    btw, good idea on the new log in for comments :)

  • Wombat

    Transition from upright to lean on that front tyre looks… well ……interesting

    • David_sandra

      hi m8t i have got the same nickname as you

  • Mule

    I think he really needs to make the tank just a little bit bigger to get a balanced look!

    • Lew

      Well what if the tank stretched the length of the bike, and you sat on the tank? Surely if it were ‘all tank’ then it would be better balanced! Paint it yellow and call it the banana bike! Oh yeah the stalk could be the muffler, and the round front bit could be a headlight! Wicked! Or green and have the cucumber bike, or pink and have the dildo! Handles like the titanic and you look like a plonker on it, but you gotta understand the concept, innit? ;-)

      • Chris_sellars

        Lew… you’re funny !

  • AlwaysOnTwo

    Wholly Karap!! That’s out of the box and just beyond the typical “unique” look. Part Terminator, part Alien, totally awesome. Anybody got a hundred large they could lend me?

  • Septic the Sceptic

    Kookie and fun, but 100G’s? He’s having a laff.

  • Mat

    You’re not kidding he’s havin’ a laugh. Look at those welds. Ain’t too pretty. ‘Specially not for a hundred grand.

  • http://www.facebook.com/model3113 Derek Larsen

    The only way this bike would be sillier looking is if it came with handicapped tags. :P But it still looks like it has pretty standard rider positioning and geometry–which tends to be often ignored with silly bikes.

  • http://www.robertlevinson.com/Project_C/ RobL

    NICE!

    “Just another F***in’ Motorcycle”… that’s exactly the attitude and fun guys start having when they’ve already built a ton of very awesome bikes. And then they start building bikes like these, outlandish exploitation of the techniques they’ve perfected. Absolutely love this thing.

    This part I really like: “The riding position is tailored to fit each individual JaFM owner. The unique ratio of their seat-to-foot pegs-to-handgrips is measured and incorporated into the crafting of each JaFM.” When I want to look like a monkey rogering a football, I’ll get on a current sportbike.

    Love the reverse controls, reminds me of the Parker Brothers Batpod bike (but that had hubsteering), good way to take some strain off the wrists.

  • Lew

    Some people see a bike and imagine how they will look on it, and the image that other people will see. What the bike looks like and the image it portrays makes them decide whether or not they like it. Usually these people can’t ride, or can’t ride very well. This is the kind of bike those people like.

    Other people look at a bike and imagine what it will be like to ride. How the bike will accelerate, stop and most importantly handle will make these people like or dislike a bike, not so much the image or the name on the tank. This is the kind of bike those people dislike.

    Looks like a reject from Judge Dredd. Waste of parts.

  • Micah

    What’s the opposite of “necessity is the mother of invention”?

  • Jleedenn

    “Due to the wide nature of the front tire, the JaFM tends to stand up under front trail braking. It can easily be compensated for, and trail braking should be exercised with caution on any motorcycle.”

    this reminds me of the “should be a easy fix” section of the for sale ads, just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should… I’ll pass one this one

  • Doyle

    I sometimes amazed that with every project someone stepped back an said, “That’s cool…” Oh well, a car dealer once told me “There’s an ass for every seat…”

    Happy New Year everyone…!

  • Loosenoose

    KILL IT WITH FIRE!

  • Thiago

    WTF? I must have it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Mookie

    it really is difficult to put into words what i feel right now.
    this one may be the ugliest contraption i’ve ever seen.i’m sorry.

  • Ben-bot

    I challenge anyone (including myself) to take this for a 100 mile ride and still like it.

    • http://www.robertlevinson.com/Project_C/ RobL

      Where do I sign up to take the challenge? ;-)

      • Ben-bot

        You can send your non-refundable deposit to my Paypal account! ;)

        • http://www.robertlevinson.com/Project_C/ RobL

          No problem, I’ve got some funds coming from a banking mix-up in Nigeria. How does $3M sound, just send me back half of it? ;-)

          • Mule

            Rob, That’s the perfect solution!!!! Lucky you! :-)

  • Harry Farquhar

    Now that’s what I call a proper 2-wheeled monstrosity well done.

  • Kazm

    A curve ball is right. Looks like it came right out of the movie Alien.

  • elven

    Ugly with bad wheel sizes.

  • http://bikermetric.com trent reker

    no.

  • Iwood58

    err, no.

  • Jimmy

    So it’s expensive, fugly and handles like a dog. What is the point?

  • Iansolley

    As much as I like and respect different bikes – I do struggle with a bike that costs the same as a Porsche 911 – I just feel short changed in looks, performance, comfort and usability. Having said all that I really like the Confederate hellcats, but this is just a bit to strange – I hope he has a marketing department in the Middle East.

  • Usat42

    nice very nice only trouble every cop in the world would stop you for a close up

  • http://www.susokary.com/ Susokary

    WTF?! Please, tell us it’s a joke…
    =/

  • Dave Enfield

    Mad , bad ,ugly , insanely expensive , road dangerous ……………. on two wheels ? Beautiful .

  • Guest

    Definately seeing some MZ ES250/2 Trophy in this thing’s genes.

  • A-grip

    100 what g.f.y.

  • mack-o-matik

    waste of time and money.

  • ofredo

    Pre coffee daze, I read title as… Motorrific Traffic Jam.
    After coffee I’m sticking with my initial assessment.

  • woody101

    nasty

  • Mule

    I’ve actually seen this “thing” in the flesh at the Quail last May. There were some extremely nice bits and fabrication touches that I really admired. However……..if the builder would have consulted someone with some sense of design taste or run the idea by a few buddies over a couple beers instead of six hits of acid, the overall look could have been toned down a bit. Outside the box? I think the box got run over and crushed by the gigantic front tire.

    For all you youngsters out there, the reason bikes in the early 80’s went to 16″ front wheels/tires and then later settled in on 17’s was to reduce gyroscopic effect for better handling and turn in. This front wheel would INCREASE gyro effect ten fold. You couldn’t turn this goddamn thing at over 30mph with Popeye arms!

    Sorry to sound negative, but this thing is a beautiful execution of a really horrible, hideous idea. Waste of good parts and exceptional talent. $100K? For what? I’ll take the acid for $10.00 Bob.

    • http://firstgenerationmotors.blogspot.com/ Emmet

      +1.

      Just because you make something different doesn’t mean that it’s special. I like the forward controls, but the rest of the front end is grossly oversized. I could imagine this coming from OCC, where they ‘bike builders’ wanted to make yet another theme bike, with the list of elements listed by Chris in the article.

      “Hurr Durr, let’s make us a rice rocket theme bike boys! Don’t forget now, we MUST make sure it’s absolutely unrideable when we’re done with it. Take yer fat rear wheel and put ‘er up in front-who cares about unsprung mass, that’s the Devil’s work!. It’ll be like making art!

      Such a shame, since it looks like the builders have experience in craftsmanship.

  • http://www.robertlevinson.com/Project_C/ RobL

    “Not fer nuthin’…” but all you naysayers do realize this is likely more of a design exercise? What this bike clearly shows is that Motomorphic can build cool stuff. If 100-150mm were sectioned out of the longitudinal centerline of this bike, y’all would be drooling all over it.

    • Mule

      “If 100-150mm were sectioned, etc, etc”. Yes, but it hasn’t been, so no drool! A design exercise with no purpose. Sorta like a Boss Hoss with a lightweight motor. Why? Like I said, beautiful workmanship, but stupid looking. Sorry, no sale.

      • http://www.robertlevinson.com/Project_C/ RobL

        I think you’re missing the point… only an artist in complete control of his medium can choose to make a caricature of this extremity. Anybody can punctuate badly, but only an expert like e. e. cummings can make that an art form. Knowing the difference is the expertise.

        Found on another blog, JAFM development is in progress, #2 bike looks to be complete and not appreciably different than #1. To state the obvious, nobody builds two bikes like this unless there were something to it.

        Personally, I am extremely curious how these bikes ride. I understand the physics involved and why they should be different than a conventionally-tired bike, but perhaps the forces involved are being somewhat exaggerated. Regular bikes with shorty clip-ons or just narrow bars aren’t high effort – and when you look at the JAFM, you see the bars are fairly wide, lots of leverage assistance. Maybe it’s not so difficult at all. And finally, with all the discussion of rider-tailored dimensions, maybe this thing isn’t designed for the 140lb lawn jockey set.

        Jim Davis, I need a test ride!

        • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_PFA4AXUOWYA3FNXTDD5FJEK2IM WillyP

          Can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.

          • Lew

            RobL, I know it is not completely irrelevant in some ways, but look at mountain bike tires. A guy who rides cross country would never run 2.5 inch tires, or go he’d so slow he’d be practically standing still, also a guy who rides downhill would never dream of running 1.95 inch or risk ending up head first in a tree. That’s about half an inch difference in width for totally different purposes.

            These 17 inch diameter 120/70 etc sizes on the front aren’t arbitrary, pulled out of some Japanese Test Riders’ ass. They are the sizes they are….for good reason, sure, you can fuck with the established sizes if you like…but be prepared to do some serious explaining…..why, what advantage?

            If there was any good reason for racers to run anything other than what they do, do you think they’d fail to mention this to Bridgestone/Michelin/Pirelli? If there were any advantage wouldn’t Mr Rossi, Lorenzo or Stoner be exploiting it? Surely anyone with the simplest imagination can imagine this bike will handle as slow as hell. Yes, we’d all love to ride it, to establish just how slow it turns into a corner, but we all know it would be so damn slow it would be dangerous in a race or on a real road…purely from observation and basic imagination. It doesn’t make the designer of this bike a ‘visionary’ or a ‘genius’ for putting a front tire this size on a motorbike. Although it terms of sales and marketing could end up being a quite astute, if someone pays for this, or something like it.

          • Mule

            What Lew said! Many good points brought up here! Personally I’ve tried all kinds of wierd crap and lived to tell. This bike is the question that no one asked. I think though it would be possible to throw huge wide triple clamps and a rear wheel onto the front of a lot of different stock bikes and test the design theory. That is if for some reason that the designer didn’t know what this monster would ride like already! Now glob 10-15 weird ideas all into one giant $100K package. Huh?

            More than likely, he has a billion hours of fab time invested in it and says to his buddy over the final hit, that if some fool wants to buy this thing, it’s gonna cost them a hundred large. Yea, thats it.

            Sure I’d like to ride it, just see what it feels like. Probably like a Ducati Drivel-o with forty less horsepower, a real fat front wheel and ape hangers.

            On a positive note, the fab work is great….really! I looked at that part for quite a while at the show.

          • http://www.robertlevinson.com/Project_C/ RobL

            Are we revisiting the “every bike must perform as the ultimate sportbike or else it’s flawed” theory? Is this bike optimized for racetrack use? Hell no. Is _your_ bike optimized for racetrack use? Unless there’s a number on the side and you’re running slicks, the answer is “no”. Not every bike has to live up to that hypothetical performance ideal.

            If this bike handles half as well as the builder and the supporting pics assert, then it handles better than most cruisers, at least as well as many standards, and certainly better than the recent crop (thankfully falling out of favor) of ridiculously ill-riding show choppers.

            It’s not my job to defend a bike like this – it’s the luxury of everyone to consider that such a bike could indeed ride decently and be quite entertaining.

        • elven

          Why do NO tyre makers make a 250 front tyre?
          ‘cos something that wide doesn’t work well on the road, resistant to turning, only safe to brake in a straight line.
          Is it a good idea to fit a wide tyre with its profile designed for rear wheel use onto the front of a road bike?
          No, the more you lean, the smaller the contact patch gets.
          Is it a good idea to load so much weight high above the centre of gravity?
          No, gives “flip-flop” handling.

          Plenty of mugs with money out there!

          • Anonymous

            and it weighs 140 pounds more than the RSV Tuono with the same motor!

          • http://www.robertlevinson.com/Project_C/ RobL

            Are you saying you think this bike is a replacement for the RSV Tuono? Same buyer, same goals?

          • http://www.robertlevinson.com/Project_C/ RobL

            Given the only analysis of the actual, not theoretical, handling of this bike seems to say that it did pretty well on a real racetrack, maybe the basic assumptions aren’t accurate. Yes, it’s a wide tire… a wide *rounded* tire, like a scaled-up standard bike tire.

            If the tire carcass profile is a section of a circle, any lean angle still puts the surface tangent to the road surface.

          • Anonymous

            No RobL, I’m thinking “What’s the point of using high-tech suspension and construction with a decent motor…. then slow it down with a lard-ass chassis with terrible aerodynamics and stupid tyres”.

            Tyres are not circular in profile, they are sort-of eliptical, the lower the profile, the “flatter” they are a /30 profile tyre is SO MUCH more flattened than a /70 tyre.
            Rear tyres are designed to give the greatest contact for straight-line acceleration. Just look at the pics, see any round profiles?

          • http://www.robertlevinson.com/Project_C/ RobL

            Replying to Elven below as the “Reply” button disappeared…

            The point of the sport suspension in a “style” bike is that it still rides well – as opposed to many of the “style” bikes that do not.

            I can’t keep repeating this point – if you think this bike is designed to be the ultimate in performance, you’re not understanding it. Most bikes, even sportbikes, are ridden at maybe 10% of their capabilities 90% of the time, and only a pro-ridden bike ever sees 100% of it’s capabilities exploited. Crashes are usually caused by a rider at 10% making a sudden shift to 150%.

            As far as “low profile” – let’s review the obvious and discuss that second number in a tire’s size designation. The sidewall measurement is height expressed as a percentage of the tire’s width (not a specification of flatness nor curvature). The 250/40-18 front tire has a sidewall height of 100mm (40% of 240mm). Compare with a Hayabusa’s 120/70-17 which has a sidewall height of 84mm (70% of 120mm). This 250 has a 25% taller sidewall on a 1″ greater diameter wheel, so you know you’re dealing with a larger diameter tire. At that point, our comparison falls apart without hard data on the actual carcass curvature, but I’m still thinking the total curve isn’t radically different from a mild regular street tire in a standard size.

            Todd Shafer’s post below puts much of this to rest – the bike *does* handle.

  • Griso

    Needs a big eagle slapped on the front and Judge Dredd sitting on it. He’d probably arrest the designer of those bars though.

  • Zyon

    Builders went wider, then longer and now apparently they are going taller. It just needs a clown called BoBo and one of those round cages to ride around in…

  • Zyon

    And the front profile looks just like that robot from the movie Short Circuit.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_PFA4AXUOWYA3FNXTDD5FJEK2IM WillyP

    This is just full of ‘We can do it different so we will’, but what’s the point if the different is not also better?

    Well, each to their own, I guess…

  • Patrick

    you mean there’s more than one of those? *retch*

    “idiosyncrasies” in the handling huh…so you buy an obscenely priced and styled bike that will be out handled by a Honda Rebel. makes sense to me.

  • d2237

    Well it is like looking at ugly fat naked chick standing in your garage. You know it is ugly but you might ride it but not tell your friends. But years later when time and embaraasment have passed you might admit to riding it.

  • Paul E.

    Sorry to disagree, but I think it’s an interesting treatment of type. A hypergolic mix of Yamaha Vmax and Confederate P120 Fighter. Beautiful. The rear-view camera is an eye brow raising touch.

  • Jack Straw from Wichita

    That is the polar opposite of what I want my bike to look like.
    Whenever I am considering a mod, I’ll pull out this picture and make sure that it is diametrically opposed to this bike. If so, then I’ll proceed.

  • Stu

    Wow. That thing has “Bite the Road” written all over it.

  • Macfly

    Without a doubt the ugliest motorcycle I have ever seen in my half century on the planet. It was at the Quail Bike Event last May, and these pictures actually do it a lot of justice, in that they absolutely fail to express how hideous the thing is in the flesh.

  • Saginawdan

    I never send negative comments to any blog, but there’s always a first for everything….

    There is one word that describes this bike – HERMAPHRODITE

    An organism having both male and female reproductive organs. In many species, hermaphroditism is a common part of the life-cycle, enabling a form of sexual reproduction in which partners are not separated into distinct male and female types of individual.

  • Mel Beaty

    Why build this bike (loosely defined)? Dog law. Or, why does a male dog lick certain parts of his anatomy? Because he can. Can’t think of another reason to do this.

  • Mule

    Todd, you gotta admit that this bike is at an extreme end of the design spectrum. Yes, no? Ok, lets say it just might be and that fact means that some people are going to embrace it and some are not going to care for it all that much. Doesn’t mean the people that don’t like it are all of a sudden a-holes. Just as those that do like it are not a-holes. Don’t get so tense over it. This is a forum and wierd shit gets posted here and everybody throws their opinions out there and bounces them around. Some make sense and some don’t.

    I don’t like this bike at all. Not one iota. But I’m not a hater. I’m just not a buyer. I wouldn’t buy a Confed Wraith either, but after seeing this beast, a Wraith makes more sense to me. The fact that the builder/owner could wrestle it around Laguna Seca says more about his riding ability than the soundness of the bike’s wheel choices.

    Haters whinning about the price? It’s one hundred freaking thousand dollars for cripe sake!!! I feel totally justified choking on that price!

  • D Cobbold

    This thing must be a very serious contender for first prize for the ugliest thing ever set on 2 wheels (and maybe on any wheels). Did the guys who designed this have their heads overflowing with Budweiser (the US version) or what?

  • http://www.bendpress.com jenks

    Looks like it’s made outta old inner tubes.

  • Steve

    Was this designed by the partially sighted? Practicality is never a given with custom bikes, and shouldn’t be, limits are there to be pushed, but this thing is laughably ugly. Just awful, waste of fabrication talent

  • Vinnie & Cody

    Finally, I have been waiting for the latest bike to come out of Paulie Jr’s shop since he left OCC!.

    • Zyon

      Really? The only thing even more stupid than this bike is this comment. Any your username, seriously? LMFAO!

      • Vinny & Cody, Plus MIkey

        Exactly. That was my point using a bit of back handed humor. Who would pay $100.000.00 for this turd. Relax its 2011, I think we are in for a long year and a good sense of humor will help us all. All of these so called custom bikes trying to be different just for the sake of being different is ludicrous. It’s like all of the Jap bike manufacturers building Vtwins trying to copy Harley, Why? so you can have a bike that is a copy of an outdated motorcycle to begin with. I think Triumph is the cutting edge motorcycle manufactur as of to date. At least they are building a variety of Quality bikes for a a variety of people and taste. Plus there are numerous other manufacturers trying to do the same in this tuff economy. Go check out the Clevelenand Motorcycle Werks, Or the HIghland Motorcycles out of Oklahoma. Any way………..Keep the rubber side down, and may the good lord give you plenty of good riding weather….P.S. Vinny and Cody say Hi…….

  • Kerry

    I can only think that this shop had a bunch of parts from junkyards, old bikes, tractor parts, a bag of coke and a huge tax liability. “Let’s just build something” so weird that nobody could challenge the value (tax write off/loss) this thing represents.

    There is no art, form or function here, just pure manure. It was silver about a year ago and blue paint really spruce’s it up. It’s testimony to all that is wrong in motorcycle building. Bikeexif should have stayed on vacation today.

  • Kevin

    wow thats a really ugly bike .. thats a lot of work to make something that bad looking

  • Kevin

    wow thats a really ugly bike .. thats a lot of work to make something that bad looking

  • Hh0207

    Wow. 275 facebook likes. The people have spoken. I like it.

    • Mule

      What people?

  • Adam

    I suppose some celebrity will pick it up for justification to spend a ridiculous amount on an ugly over the top performance bike. If you build it they will come.

  • Kik

    There will be some cool parts for somebody to build a nice motorcycle one day..

  • Trav

    ugly. If they built the same bike, but with normal proportions, it would still have the ‘look’ they are going for (which would still be polarizing) but the bike would be much more acceptable as an example of a functional motorcycle. That really isn’t debatable.. it’s scientific fact. Plus, I’d be more curious how the handlebar configuration affected feeling and handling. I’m curious about that, in general. However, like the tires, my guess would be that it’s a styling exercise first and foremost. If it happens to enhance the steering, I’m sure it was second priority to ‘the look’. We all get going after ‘the look’… we all like motorcycles. Sometimes, it goes too far to be respected, and that’s the feeling most people have about this.. at least those of us enthusiasts who are in to chassis design both as form and function, hand in hand. If it had a viper V10 for an engine, I’d be more impressed. Further, if it was part of a functional 4-wheeled vehicle that could then be shed to reveal masterpiece, I wouldn’t have much to say but ‘bravo!’. However, it’s not the case. As far if it had an oversized engine like that, as least the rear tire would make more sense. Probably the front as well, as I don’t think it would need a side stand. Also, at least the tires are proportionate to one another. I wonder if they’re both too large for that to make a difference, or if it’s at least better than a huge, small diameter rear with a large, narrow front… wayyy out front. It’s like a, dare I say it… a ‘sports chopper’ !

  • Mule

    The bikes are not my taste at all, but I fricking love that video the most! Superb backdrops and camera work. I don’t think I’ve seen anything better. Number one and I’ll be sharing that with a lot of people for sure!

  • http://vx800-restoration.blogspot.com/ Stephen F.

    Simply disgusted. The fact that he could get sponsors for a bike like this, amazes me. The “Mine is Different” motto of his, exemplifies the “f-you, my toys are better,” attitude I’ve observed of some of the arrogant, wealthy people of San Rafael that I’ve come across. That attitude never ceases to be a turn-off to me. Most custom builders strive to be different as I do myself, of course, but to end up with this result shows a serious lack of taste and prompts the question: What’s missing in this guy’s life that he’s trying so, so hard to get attention? Designing a motorcycle around a tire? Need I say more?
    Seems like the whole thing is an exercise by a needy man with too much money.
    (I’m sure this comment will open up all kinds of attacks on my person, my command of the English language, etc, but I just can’t help speak it.)

    • Swifts

      Agreed.
      The whole concept and style is just gross.

  • Scott Halbleib

    i just puked in my mouth a little bit

  • http://twitter.com/martylepine Martin Lepine

    Jim started on Hawks and is now producing this. Not sure if I like it, but the ingenuity is incredible.

  • http://see360studios.com Davidabl2

    The thing belongs in the movies. Superhero action movies.

  • MIKE

    “Now for something completely different”