Post-apocalyptic dream ride made real in the striking Akira electric moto
Since the latter half of 2022, Barcelona-based upcycler and art studio Bel&Bel has been building a hybrid electric replica of an iconic motorcycle featured in a dystopian manga classic. Now a limited fully electric model is in the works, and it's being made available to fans.
Katsuhiro Otomo's 1980s cyberpunk manga epic Akira, which also made it to the big screen as an anime action flick, is set in a nightmarish future Tokyo built on the nuked site of Japan's capital – rocking a somewhat similar vibe to Blade Runner's Los Angeles. One of the series' main characters is teen gang leader Shotaro Kaneda, who rides a striking red low-ride motorcycle.
Though the Neo-Tokyo hellscape has yet to appear, despite Akira's 2019 setting, there have been numerous fan builds of Kaneda's high-tech moto, including one that toured Japan in 2012 that took some seven years to complete at a cost of around 10 million yen (then about US$121,400).
Following the completion of manga-inspired rides such as the Vespa-like Monowheel Z-One and Dragon Ball Capsule No. 9, a Spanish studio known for upcycling iconic vehicles into art pieces and furniture, Bel&Bel, is building working electric replicas of the Kaneda bike for sale to fans.
The recently completed prototype has been built around a chassis that was modified from a Yamaha Majesty YP 250 scooter, with a single-sided swingarm donated from a Honda VFR 800 – according to RideApart. Bel&Bel also report that it features a 250 cc Yamaha moto engine driving the rear wheel plus a 1,000-W electric hub motor to the front.
The latest functional replica is being custom built from scratch, and will be produced in a limited build-to-order series for €24,000 (about US$26,000). This one sports a metal chassis with fiberglass and carbon-fiber panels, rides with a 72-V/5,000-W mid-drive motor driving the rear wheel via a Gates Carbon Belt and will include three power modes plus reverse.
Bel&Bel reckons that the funky red moto will have 520 Nm (383.5 lb.ft) of torque at the rear wheel, sprint to 100 km/h (62 mph) is six seconds and have a top speed of 150 km/h (93.2 mph) – though the street-legal status of this futuristic showpiece is not mentioned, and tech specs could change as the project moves forward.
We've no word on battery capacity, but it's reported that the charging port will be mounted in the "original competition-type gas cap." The rear disc brake is expected to have optional ABS, and there's perimeter LED lighting on the 17-inch cast-aluminum wheels – which wear slick Moto GP racing tires. The digital control panel looks like a carbon copy of the manga original, there's a pop-up headlight mentioned, and the ride benefits from front and rear air suspension.
The studio is currently working on two private commissions, after which production of the limited series will begin. Folks interested in owning their very own Kaneda bike are being asked to commit €5,000 as a down payment, with the remainder to be paid during the build.