We try to avoid hackneyed story ideas here at the Autopian. The minivans-are-cool argument had been beaten to death, with everyone reluctantly accepting their mix of practicality and lack of sex appeal. You can look up some of these articles online and read the hundreds of comments, but the bottom line is that once kids enter the picture your priorities and lifestyle limitations in general are typically so severe that the cool level of your car is the least of your issues. Maybe the BMW X7 M Competition (or whatever it’s called) seven seater you bought is fast, but your old life is done; there’s no barhopping with toddlers in tow. Worse than that, riding off into the sunset on a motorcycle is also off of the table, or even riding much at all. I mean, they don’t make the minivan or SUV equivalent of bikes, and they never will since it would be a ridiculous vehicle. Who would even draw up such a thing?
Well, us of course. What did you expect? We have to at least try to make a bike for the whole damn family.
In the U.S., there aren’t a lot of options if you want to carry more than two people on a motorcycle. Sidecars were a thing a century ago when a motorcycles might be the only vehicle that a family might have. Still, these were designed primarily to get from point A to point B around town; cornering at high speeds is sort of out of the question with a sidecar bolted on.
(Don’t bother telling me about that bonkers-ass sidecar racing; I’m already aware if its existence and this madness only proves how unsuited these things are to fast driving)
A strange concept that appeared in 1986 was the Italdesign Machimoto. This thing was based on a concurrent VW GTI where the body was removed and replaced with two long. parallel motorcycle-like ‘saddles’ (and a sort of bench seat in back) could hold up to nine passenger. The whole concept was (I think) to create a motorcycle-like experience for multiple people. With the seating positions, low sides, and lack of weather protection, it must have sort of felt like riding a bike.
Still, a bike is a bike and a car is a car. The Machimoto is a car that won’t lean in turns or be able to dart though narrow spaces in traffic; generally, I don’t see this thing replicating the motorbike experience. I find the same thing with three wheeled ‘trikes’ with two wheels in back, or those triple wheelers with a single wheel like a CanAm. When you get into things like a Polaris Slingshot you’re now just a three wheeled car with no roof; something where you’d probably be better off getting a used Lotus Elise. What’s worse is that none of these things carry more than two passengers at most.
No, to add more passengers and still be a bike it has to be longer. Some Harley dealer in Wisconsin must have seen tandem bicycles and realized that his skills with a welder would allow him to replicate something similar in the motorcycle realm, so he’s made several examples (including one that has an example of each of the HD engines over the years):
The results are absurd, but if we could turn the Stupid Meter down from 10 to around 4.5, we might be on to something. Okay, maybe six on the Stupid Meter.
Our concept- the Honda GoldVolt XV Grand Adventurer– can carry two adults and three small kids on Honda BikeSafe child seats. With woodgrain side trim, this thing is as close to a minivan or giant SUV wagon as a motorcycle can get. Let’s take a look:
The GoldVolt could also carry four adults (with a different rear seat cushion/base setup that easily snaps in). This crazy mega-bike would also showcase a few different, rarely or never before tried technologies.
First, Honda would use their latest EV capabilities with battery packs running along the bottom of the full length of the chassis for a low center of gravity. This would leave space under all of the seats for covered cargo area. Another innovation is the lack of a front fork, and idea that’s been used before on just a few bikes like the Bimota Tesi and unsuccessful 1993 Yamaha GTS. Supposedly this has the advantage of better stability under braking and theoretically more isolation for the rider, but the cost to benefit ratio never seemed worth it. The handlebars turn the wheel though a pivoting arm, which has electrical assistance so the bike in effect has power steering (there’s optional rear steering too at low speeds for tighter cornering). Both front and rear wheels are attached to swinging arms with an air spring at each end to allow for height adjustability (so it really is like an SUV bike) and to accommodate for the fact that total passenger weight can vary by hundreds of pounds.
Finally, the electric motors can mount high up on the swinging arms to reduce the weight at wheel. You noticed that I said ‘motors’ as in plural, right? One big advantage of electric motors means that you can get a two wheel drive bike rather easily, or at least far more simply than systems that have been used on existing all-wheel-driven bikes like the Rokon, the Yamaha WR450F, or the Christini (all of which you can read about in more detail here from a real bike author, Mercedes Streeter). I somehow think that all wheel drive might be a great choice for this giant bike; if that rear end started to wayward I’d want to have the front wheel help to pull you out of a mess, which the traction and stability control could certainly help with as well.
I’d hate to lay this thing down or even have to hold it up at a light. I looked at a technology that’s actually been patented by Harley Davidson- the gyroscope. This spinning weight fits near the front of the bike (where the gas tank would typically be) and keeps this heavy-as-a-small-car thing stable. The bike also features ‘training wheel’ stabilizers that could pop out just before the thing came to stop and retract quickly once you start to roll again (or when it’s parked). It would even have reverse since this thing’s too big to push.
At the back there’s a standard illuminated cargo trunk, but you could add saddle bags and such if desired (though the space under the seats would hopefully eliminate some of the need for that). The rear cargo trunk could come with an optional diaper changing station. Amenities would abound:
Active LED headlamps (four of them)
Radar adaptive cruise control
Lane change detection and brake assist
ABS (twin front disc brakes) and stability control
Backup light and CHMSL
Comfort and Convenience
Keyless start and unlocking of cargo bins
Power adjustable windscreen
Buffalo leather seating surfaces
Heated seats and hand grips
Electrically sliding front seat and foot rests
Heads up projector on the windscreen
Two 12 inch monitors for the driver
Video screen for the ‘second row’ of seats
Bluetooth intercom and communication headphones
Apple or Android Carplay and phone vault/charger
As long as a car, likely extremely expensive, and probably wickedly fast: this thing’s a monster, y’all. Still, it would indeed be able to serve the purpose of true motorcycle riding adventure for the entire family on one machine. It occurred to me that you’d look pretty silly riding this thing alone with the rest of the behemoth empty. Then I realized how silly I look driving alone to work or the store in our 6,000 pound eight seat SUV. Just like all of our neighbors.
Hey, maybe this thing would sell.
topshot- Barn Finds
All illustrations by The Bishop
How Our Daydreaming Designer Would Have Redesigned One Of Britain’s Biggest Automotive Failures – The Autopian
The Daydreaming Designer Shows How To Make A Budget Tiny House From A Broken RV – The Autopian
How Our Daydreaming Designer Would Turn An Old Mail Truck Into An Amazing Mini Camper – The Autopian
Our Daydreaming Designer Came Up With The Ultimate Autopian Car And It Is Full Of Terrible Ideas – The Autopian
It reminds me some ideas of the Monoracer
Amateurs. I’ve seen a family of 4 on a 50cc scooter in Taiwan several times. It’s not uncommon to see 3. My favorite is the guys delivering LP gas cylinders on motorcycles.
There was a family that had a 5 person custom bicycle. They were on a fun ride I was on in Denver. There was another rider that took a bad turn and took them out. No injuries to speak of, but I did stop to offer help. It’s quite the machine. They might have gone for that motorcycle.
It’s a stretch Pacific Coast!
I wish I could buy one of these Philippine tricycles here in the US. It would be the perfect vehicle for me to drop off my kids to school and other short trips around the neighborhood.
From 1924 to around 1939 a Czechoslovakian motorcycle manufacturer known abroad as Böhmerland and as Čechie at home made pretty astonishing motorcycles in eye-popping colors with some impressive technology such as all-welded tube-chassis, built-up leading-link front forks, and solid cast aluminum wheels as well as some primitive technology such as exposed overhead valves; they produced a number of different models including one, some 10.5 feet (3.2 meters) long, that could seat up to four people:
And they also had some lovely sidecars:
(meaning the Langtouren model could’ve been capable of seating five people if so equipped.)
As a motorcycle, no thanks.
As an Autopian branded waterboggan?
You have yourself a customer.
Bohmerland-Cechie beat you to it. In 1929 they built (and sold) 4-person motorcycles.
That red/yellow scheme they had (if memory serves) was quite fetching. I think I saw it at Art of the Motorcycle.
I didn’t even make it past reading the headline before screaming out “BRILLIANT!!” a la the old JibJab intro.
Just look at what xtracycle is doing with cargo longtail ebikes and there’s your answer, not this suppository shaped shame machine.
So I am thinking a good slogan for this would be “Id rather kill my whole family than give up riding my Harley.” I frankly don’t know why you would need space for 2 adults and 3 kids i am thinking you’d be dead before you could have a 3rd kid. Go ahead fight me on this.
Not a bike rider I’m guessing.
don’t forget; this thing has electric power steering, driver assists up the ass and a gyroscope so you’d barely be driving it yourself anyway
Oh, look what you’ve started. Somebody is going to make fake wood grain for Gold Wings. I just smell it.
This should probably be named the Honda Angel Wing because that’s what the riders will be sporting before too long.
Does the law limit how many people can ride on a motorcycle?
Fix It Again Tony- I really have no idea, and it might change from state to state. My original idea was to have two rear wheels parallel and right next to each other (maybe even the track would expand when the bike was stationary to keep it standing up) but I went with the gyroscope/outriggers. However if the bike ‘technically’ had three wheels (even if they are so close as to essentially be one), could it qualify as, well, not a bike and legally carry more if there is such a law limiting passengers?
If it is 3 wheels then it wouldn’t be much different from a sidecar. You can have 2 on the bike and 1 person in a sidecar and it wouldn’t look weird. 4 would be pushing it?
You ever see pictures of Asia? They have 5 people and a grand piano on a Vespa plus a weeks worth of groceries. They are more amazing than Circ de sole
Or India, where if you see a single headlight coming at you at night, it could be a scooter, a truck with only one headlight, a truck with no headlights obscuring one headlight of the truck behind it, or two scooters transporting a wardrobe.
Honda could roll this out next year as the 2024 Goldwing and I wouldn’t even blink. It’s already a 2-wheeled Winnebago with reverse and an air compressor and airbags and nav screens and I think it even has an awning on one side and soft-serve ice cream on the other. Adding 2 additional seats is just the logical next step.
Chocolate or Vanilla soft serve?
These things matter.
Throttle Out built a similar concept a few years ago
As a motorcyclist I find this absolutely unappealing, but you get a star for trying this hard. (-;
As is so often the case, Bruce Baldwin Mohs covered this ground, on this occasion with his King O’ the Road from 1947:
mdharrell- Is that the Safarikar guy? This makes far more sense than that.
It’s the same guy. The Safarikar and Ostentatienne Opera Sedan are his two flashiest creations, so they get the most attention, but he designed and constructed several other vehicles as well.
Bangladesh Bob says ‘ hold my बियर…’
Nayrbflat6aficonado- I couldn’t find my own pictures from Taiwan of the same thing. I also have a friend from Portugal that claims in the sixties his parents carried home pieces of furniture on their Vespa scooter. I have no reason not to believe him.
I know that guy.
I saw 3 men and a pig on a motorcycle in Bolivia. Sometimes you just gotta make it work.
I bet the pig was terrified, too.
sorry—but it had to be said
Okay maybe she wasn’t to your taste but no reason for name calling.
Hold my Saki?