The Weirdest Two Wheel Machines
Updated August 10, 2018
We appreciate all things “custom” here at Gear Heads, from stretched Busas to refined café racers, but there’s always room for the outrageous. When it comes to bike building, sometimes the “weirder” is definitely (or rather…occasionally) the “better,” so here are a few of our favorite bizarre builds. Throw practicality out the window, leave common sense at home, and whatever you do, don’t take it too seriously, unless you’re planning on building something just as extreme yourself! Let’s start off with something truly mental.
The Biggest Single Cylinder Motorcycle
Starting the bidding with the biggest cylinder, we’ve got a genuine 2-liter. Yeah, yeah, we know that 2 liter engines aren’t that unheard of – think of the Triumph Rocket III for example, it’s packing a 2.3 liter engine, but… it ain’t a single is it? This is the NSU “Bison 2000” by Frank Langer. The story behind it is pretty straightforward: Frank held the record for biggest single cylinder back in the day with a modest (cough) 1000cc number, until he was unhorsed by another fella who brought a 1500cc to the party. Naturally, Frank wanted his crown back and set to work on a 2000cc single, and it worked. Fuse the bottom end of an NSU Konsul with the cylinder from a radial aero engine. Dangerous stuff… I’d keep well away from the kickstarter. So, that naturally follows on to…
The Biggest Twin Cylinder
The bike itself, known as the “Gunbus,” rests at over three meters in length, which should give you an indication of roughly how big the v-twin engine probably is. Designed and built by German engineer Clemens Leonhardt, the Gunbus boasts a staggering 6.7 liter engine, and holds the title of the World’s Biggest twin cylinder motorcycle. The engine itself comprises of parts from a nine-cylinder radial aero engine, with tires to match. Interestingly, Leonhardt had plans to build kit versions of this whopper, but we’re yet to find someone who has actually invested in one… It doesn’t matter, it’s a record breaker and a thing of…beauty? With “biggest” covered, let’s move on to “most.”
The Most Cylinders
The title for the most cylinders goes to: the Whitelock Tinker Toy. Built in the UK at the Hertfordshire Superbike Centre by Simon Whitelock, the Whitelock Tinker Toy certainly has a lot of cylinders, and it’s unlikely that anyone will steal its crown. Boasting 48 cylinders, and housed by a custom made engine built from 6 eight cylinder banks, the Whitelock Tinker Toy uses cylinders from Kawasaki KH250s. It boasts 48 cylinders but if you look close enough, you might notice a 49th: the engine’s started motor is actually a 50cc single in its own right. With that many cylinders and spark plugs, we reckon that the maintenance on that is a bitch. What about “most engines?”
The Most Engines
We think it’s fair to say the “Dolmette” has the most engines. The Dolmette was the brainchild of German author Rötger Feldmann, also known as Brösel, and features no less than 24 separate engines. Granted, each of these engines is only a 78cc Dolmar chainsaw engine but that shouldn’t undermine the insanity of the project. Fused with the gearbox from a Harley Davidson and boasting one of the most crazy drive belt systems of all time, the Dolmette produces an underwhelming 170hp from its 1.9 liters. It once raced against an ABT Audi AS400, but lost – only by a narrow margin though…
The Most “Proper” Engines
Since most of the above are fairly…underpowered for what they are, this might tickle your fancy. Built by Gordon Tronson, this multi-engine’d behemoth chopper might not have as many engines as some of the others but it’s got proper engines – four, in fact. Each engine is a RevTech 100 cubic inch V-twin, and each one is capable of producing more than 100hp…which gives the machine a total hp of well over 400. To the average person, that sounds insane enough but for New Zealand’s Gordon Tronson, it’s all in a day’s work. His other creations include supercharged twin-V8 hot rods and a beast of truck with no less than four supercharged V8 engines, and each of those V8 engines produces over 1000 hp a piece…yikes.
And then there was the “heaviest.” Where most motorcyclists spend their time and hard earned cash minimizing the weight of their machines, scraping away grams and streamlining everything, Tilo and Wilfred Niebel do the opposite. The goal was to make it biggest and heaviest, and here it is. Weighing in just below the five ton margin, their machine is powered by nothing less than a V12 engine ripped straight from a Russian tank. It’s big and boisterous, but you can actually ride it too, should you feel like it.
If you like an eccentric ride, take a look at our list of the best car engine’d motorcycles for some more oddball rides, or go one step further and take look at Revatu’s awesome steam locomotive motorcycle – we’d have mentioned it here but we’ve already taken a closer look.