Dinsdag 26 Maart 2013

Does Brutus define a new genre of motorcycle?

Now here's a motorcycle with a difference. Alessandro Tartarini, son of Italjet founder Leopoldo Tartarini, this week used the EICMA motorcycle show to present a new motorcycle concept.

The aptly named Brutus (not to be confused with the existing Brutus electric motorcycle), is billed as "the SUV of motorcycles," and runs a single cylinder, 45 bhp, DOHC, four-valve, liquid-cooled 750cc engine with electronic fuel injection and "two-speed" CVT with optional reverse gear.

Alessandro has not yet declared how much Brutus weighs, but highly-regarded Italian motorcycle magazine Motociclismo reports that it is "less than 220 kg," which we take to mean somewhere in the vicinity of 220 kg (485 lbs).

That weight would put Brutus in the same weight category as the 1000cc adventure tourers such as the Ducati Multistrada and BMW 1200 GS.

Now there are some significant points to be made here and the first is that the adventure tourers are built for dirt roads, not for serious off-road conditions. The reason they cannot be taken truly "off road" is that they are FAR TOO HEAVY.

So as a serious off-road motorcycle, Brutus is morbidly obese, and I simply cannot imagine how the manufacturers could consider making claims such as it being the only two-wheeled vehicle "at home in any conditions" and "a valid work tool for going where other vehicles cannot", because the specifications suggest exactly the opposite.

One of the other aspects of Brutus that is worrying is its lack of suspension travel – 80mm at the front and 100mm at the rear – that's approximately half the wheel travel of the adventure tourers and indicates to me that Brutus is unlikely to be capable of any speed off-road.

The most obvious difference to existing motorcycles are the rims and tires – six inches wide at the front and seven inches wide at the rear – dimensions normally associated with sports car tires. In some circumstances, perhaps snow or deep sand, balloon tires of this magnitude might be helpful, but at the same time, much of the advantage in terms of traction will be lost through the bike's weight. In all other circumstances, I find it hard to believe they will offer any advantage.

The press release for Brutus suggests it has been designed "outside the box and beyond fashion and sterile market analyses" – in my opinion it seems to have been built without sufficient thought and diligence to create a viable usable motorcycle.

Brutus will be available, according to the press release, with a range of accessories and customizable add-ons, including a sidecar version, a winch, a fire-prevention kit, a generator, and a "snow kit" which is pictured above.

So does this two-wheeled SUV (or perhaps monster truck) genuinely represent a new genre of motorcycle? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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