Motorcycles

The Exodus, by Suprine: A recumbent motorcycle powered by BMW

The Exodus, by Suprine: A recu...
The Suprine Exodus recumbent motorcycle
The Suprine Exodus recumbent motorcycle
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The Suprine Exodus recumbent motorcycle
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The Suprine Exodus recumbent motorcycle
The Suprine Exodus recumbent motorcycle
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The Suprine Exodus recumbent motorcycle
The Suprine Exodus recumbent motorcycle
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The Suprine Exodus recumbent motorcycle
The Suprine Exodus recumbent motorcycle
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The Suprine Exodus recumbent motorcycle
The Suprine Exodus recumbent motorcycle
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The Suprine Exodus recumbent motorcycle
The Suprine Exodus recumbent motorcycle
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The Suprine Exodus recumbent motorcycle
The space frame and roll cage enclosure of the Exodus.
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The space frame and roll cage enclosure of the Exodus.
The Suprine Exodus recumbent motorcycle
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The Suprine Exodus recumbent motorcycle
The Suprine Exodus recumbent motorcycle
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The Suprine Exodus recumbent motorcycle
The Suprine Exodus recumbent motorcycle
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The Suprine Exodus recumbent motorcycle
The Exodus' wing mirror and indicator
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The Exodus' wing mirror and indicator
What looks to be a standard BMW frame, wheel and swingarm, with everything else hand made.
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What looks to be a standard BMW frame, wheel and swingarm, with everything else hand made.
Raked-out front forks and twin-disc Brembo brakes
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Raked-out front forks and twin-disc Brembo brakes
1200-cc BMW powerplant
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1200-cc BMW powerplant
Shaft drive and BMW paralever rear suspension
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Shaft drive and BMW paralever rear suspension
The Exodus' perspex windshield, featuring a terrible photoshop cut-out and a bizarre ice-themed background layer
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The Exodus' perspex windshield, featuring a terrible photoshop cut-out and a bizarre ice-themed background layer
The Suprine Exodus recumbent motorcycle
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The Suprine Exodus recumbent motorcycle
Rear end of the Suprine Exodus
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Rear end of the Suprine Exodus
Back view and license plate mount
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Back view and license plate mount
Close up view of the aluminium racing seat
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Close up view of the aluminium racing seat
The Suprine Exodus recumbent motorcycle - head on
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The Suprine Exodus recumbent motorcycle - head on
View gallery - 21 images

The Exodus recumbent motorcycle, by US company Suprine, is a 130-horsepower lay-back motorbike with a roll cage and a perspex windscreen. It's a radical design with a street-legal prototype already in action, and its remarkable form factor allows it to make a fantastic 80-plus miles per gallon on the highway, while looking like something out of a Japanese anime movie.

I think we'll file this under "nice execution of an odd idea." We see a lot of strange motorcycle concepts here at Gizmag, many of which never make it past the CGI stage. This is often for good reason. Motorcycles don't appear to be evolving particularly quickly at this point, so it's tempting to propose wild new designs, but at the end of the day the standard motorbike as we know it seems to still have an edge over competing ideas when it comes to real-world use and practicality.

One design that has made it through to a working prototype stage is this one, the Suprine Exodus. Built in Baltimore in the United States, the Exodus is a naked, recumbent motorcycle with a large windshield and a tubular steel spaceframe with a protective roll-cage.

The Suprine Exodus recumbent motorcycle
The Suprine Exodus recumbent motorcycle

Built around a 1200-cc four-cylinder BMW engine, presumably out of the K1200LT tourer, the Exodus also incorporates the BMW's shaft drive and paralever rear suspension. Front suspension is a pair of raked-out telescopic forks and the gearbox is a five-speed with reverse – which I can imagine would come in very handy.

The cockpit features an aluminum racing bucket seat that puts the rider's backside just 7 inches off the ground. Initially, the Exodus is conceived as a bare-bones, naked celebration of engineering, but you can easily envisage it becoming an enclosed riding cabin in future releases.

The rider's feet are free to touch the ground and hold the bike upright at the lights, although the seating position looks like it'd make this a bit of a challenge. When it's moving, you pop your feet up onto a set of cruiser-style forward controls and off you go. Parking the bike requires an electrically operated centrestand (there's no side stand) so you've clearly got to pick a good flat spot.

The Suprine Exodus recumbent motorcycle
The Suprine Exodus recumbent motorcycle

Benefits of the recumbent motorcycle design

The Exodus has been built to achieve rider comfort, aerodynamic efficiency, high gas mileage, enhanced rider safety and a low centre of mass. Probably its most impressive achievement is its claimed 80mpg (less than 3 litres per 100km) gas mileage - that's roughly twice the bang for buck I get out of my 2002 FZS1000, even when I'm being good.

The gas mileage is mainly a function of aerodynamics - with the rider sitting low in the frame and behind a smooth clear windshield, the Exodus has roughly 50% less frontal area than a regular motorbike, and its bullet-shaped profile no doubt helps it slip through the air even easier.

The Suprine Exodus recumbent motorcycle
The Suprine Exodus recumbent motorcycle

Drawbacks of the recumbent motorcycle design

While the aerodynamics look really handy for extended freeway riding, drag racing and land speed record runs, to me the Exodus looks wildly impractical for day to day use.

For starters, the wheelbase looks to be well over 2 m (6.6 ft) long. Combined with the extreme rake of the forks, I'd expect the Exodus to execute a u-turn in roughly the same distance as a nuclear icebreaker. It's also big and heavy, weighing in at 680 lb (308 kg). Granted, it's lighter than the 761-lb K1200LT donor bike, but then, in your recumbent position, you really only have your calf muscles to hold it up with.

The Suprine Exodus recumbent motorcycle
The Suprine Exodus recumbent motorcycle

Then there's the safety element. It's open to debate whether a rider is safer crashing in an enclosed metal frame or separating from the vehicle and doing the old Superman impersonation in a collision. But in terms of passive safety, one of the motorcyclist's key advantages is sitting higher than most car drivers, allowing you to see over the cars in front of you and read traffic two or three cars forward in the line. The Exodus puts you at tailpipe level even if you're following a compact sedan. With less information to work with, you'll need to leave a significantly bigger gap in front of you to maintain the same level of safety.

Overall impressions

As with all non-standard vehicle designs, the proof will be in the pudding, but the Suprine team can rightly be proud to have reached the street-legal prototype stage. The bike's engineering looks sturdy and the finish looks tough and futuristic, with a function-over-form approach that I always appreciate.

I'd certainly be game to take the Exodus out for a test ride as it'd be fascinating to see how such a thing would handle. But for now I'll keep my imaginary US$55,000 in my pocket and see how it develops.

You can see a video of the Exodus on the racetrack below.

More information at the Suprine website.

An Exodus at the Track

View gallery - 21 images
23 comments
Nairda
I like this a lot. Bringing up so many hoon emotions from the old days. Being a big fan of the Akira bike, and having seen a few designs this looks to be the most practical and safest.
One thing: " Parking the bike requires an electrically operated center stand (there's no side stand) so you've clearly got to pick a good flat spot." Its begging for gyro stabilization, so give it what it needs.
A flywheel powered from the main drive can continue to keep the bike steady for a minute or so while the driver dismounts or lowers the mechanical supports. Gyro stabilization might offer the second benefit of being able to control a drift if things go pear shaped.
Also, I know the theme is economy, and nothing has to deviate from this. But placing the driver in front begs for the mother of all engines.
Maybe something rotary with a turbo, or a alcohol fed gas turbine. I'll be honest, the only thing I'd ever want to do sitting in this position is test the grip and upper speed limit.
Jon A.
It's a neat concept. Reminds me of the Tron light cycles a bit. Or the Akira bike.
It really seems like it should be a couple feet shorter, though. They seem to have kept the donor powertrain intact, and that makes it much longer than it should be.
Milton
Nice! Reminds me of a more polished "MotoLuge": http://tulberg.com/motoluge.html
Or a non-gyro version of the Lit Motors vehicle: http://litmotors.com/
Very cool.
exodous
Wait, this doesn't get as good millage as the elio? If that is the case I guess it being not fully enclosed creates some(i.e. a lot of) drag. Back in high school we had a class where we build an electric car and competed against other schools. Near our school we had a factory that produced single engine planes and they made a plastic coated fabric skin for the smaller planes to keep them light. I have no idea what it was called but they made us one for our car and it would go quite a bit farther on the same charge with it even though it added 35 lbs. We won every year because of this.
I really think a serious vehicle needs to be fully enclosed. This is fine for a street legal version of a snow machine or a 4 wheeler, basically something to play around on, but not to use every day or long distances.
The Skud
I agree about the huge length, why not run gearbox/shaft drive along side the motor? Would not need a huge offset with the right engineering. As for parking, why not something like the several versions of locking dual front forks/wheels available on some (carving?) machines already? With separated front wheels, should be enough to keep it upright while climbing out.
Gadgeteer
80mpg is hardly "fantastic" or "impressive." Another recumbent motorcycle, the Quasar, was said to have similar fuel economy, and that was made over 30 years ago.
Slowburn
That is just so cool. I wouldn't want to spend a lot of time in urban areas but on the open highway it would be great. Two bad you cant pick up hitchhikers though.
Sandy Hewlett
What about the voyager made by Royce Creasy in the U.K.? a much better concept.
BigGoofyGuy
I think this is way cool. I think one could travel long distances since - basically - one is sitting down like in a car and not straddling it. I think side doors would make it even more aerodynamic.
jerryd
Nothing new here and not a good example either.
I drive a low seat, low CG EV MC with just a 1' stretch so a passenger could sit low too for 78'' wheelbase IIRC, and it's just not smart go over a few '' longer than that as impossible to turn in close in normal spaces, roads. Just try to park it in many spots ;^p
His problem is picking the wrong too long motor/trans and it being in the rear forced the length. The only place for this is the freeway or a drag strip. Outside of those it's just a pain.