– Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

Non-Object nUCLEUS

Designers Steven Takayama and Branko Branko have created this design concept as one of the projects in their new book, Non-Object. It’s called the nUCLEUS, envisioned by Branko to be a “zero-emission, zero-impact speed machine” that challenges our assumptions about what a motorcycle is and how it interacts with the user.

It’s just pixels in a computer-generated illustration right now, but Non-Object has put a lot of thought into nUCLEUS. Around a conventional alloy or composite frame and electric motor (Branko acknowledges that battery technology is still lacking) is a strong, light, box-like structure that conceals the mechanicals and electronics. When the rider sits down on the bike, it rises up on its suspension, like a camel rising off its haunches, ready for action. A keyless ignition recognizes the rider, the seat pops up, and the bike is ready to ride.

Serbian-born Branko, an accomplished designer who has put his stamp on a wide array of consumer products from golf clubs to salad spinners, envisions the nUCLEUS as a tough, stylish urban machine. The outer panels can be quickly swapped for different colors and textures; glossy black paint for evening wear, graffiti finish to blend into a rough neighborhood, or quilted leather for urbane sophistication. And when it’s time to go fast, don’t be fooled by the bike’s “square against air” blockiness: plenty of thought has gone into the bike’s aerodynamics. “When I think about speed, going fast, I think of a blade going through the air,” said Branko. Modern motorcycles are styled to be aerodynamic but often have the same-or worse-coefficients of drag as semi-trailers.

Why do we need a box-shaped motorcycle? Branko is challenged by the conformity of the manufacturers products: “motorcycle design has become mere fashion statement and all motorcycles look alike to me.” Instead of copying what has been done so many times already, Branko is interested in “a brutally simple, minimal shape with lots of impact.” Designers and engineers mastered the art of making a motorcycle function well by the end of the 20th Century in the opinion of Branko; every motorcycle you can buy will do what you need a motorcycle to do with equal competence. Branko says the nUCLEUS is about “exploring a new motorcycling experience.” I don’t know about all that, but it might be cool to sit down on a big metal box and then ride away on it.

Don’t expect to be able to do that anytime soon. The nUCLEUS is still imaginary, to be featured in a book of other Non-Object creations-including a spoon with 1001 bowls and a camera that takes simultaneous pictures from both sides-next year. But like all Non-Object’s projects, it’s designed to someday be mass-produced. They’d love to talk to anyone interested in working on the project, so you can drop them a line here. You can email us with your thoughts about the nUCLEUS as well, and be sure to check out video of the nUCLEUS doing its thing.

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