Concept designs

Sometimes concept designs — unencumbered by the need to calculate weights, measurements and legal regulations quite so precisely — are responsible for bringing the most innovative products to light, and we’d say that’s certainly true of the new Full Moon motorcycle being shown off by Slovenian automobile manufacturer Akrapovič. The bike was exhibited at the Bad Salzuflen customize bike show at the start of December, where it attracted plenty of attention from visitors and many an admiring look. Over 800 customised motorcycles were shown off in total across an area covering more than 28,000 square metres (about 300,000 square feet or four football pitches).

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Bike Performance

So what makes the Full Moon bike so special, aside from its dramatically futuristic looks? It’s a bike primarily focused on exhaust performance, with an S&S Knucklehead 1,524 CC engine: it features two custom-made tailpipes, which you can see in these renderings, an automated steering system (that reduces the number of visible cables) and hydraulic suspension that can keep the bike upright when parked. The bike was developed in partnership with other Slovenian firm, Dreamachine Motorcycles, and it’s even been mentioned by Top Gear — a programme first and foremost focused on cars. In many respects the bike is a successor to Akrapovič’s 2011 Morsus design.

 

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The Full Moon

You can clearly see how the Full Moon motorcycle gets its name: the gigantic 30-inch front wheel, built from aluminium and carbon fibre. It blends effortlessly with the sheet metal frame and bodywork that makes up the rest of the motorbike, and it’s guaranteed to draw attention out on the road. Plenty of attention to detail has gone into the Full Moon bike, from the customised foot rests to the streamlined lighting system that keeps it visible in the gloom. The rear wheel is almost completely hidden from view, while the front profile of the bike’s design is low and flat to improve aerodynamic performance.

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Like no other bike

In its own words, Akrapovič describes the Full Moon concept as “an extravagant, technically exceptional, promotional bike”, adding: “This concept machine was developed to avoid being categorised, and as such is a bike that belongs nowhere and everywhere, making it a unique motorcycle… This is an extremely technically advanced motorcycle, full of unique elements that were carefully chosen to make the bike totally exclusive, and the shape hides completely new solutions used on a custom bike for the first time. The Full Moon is like no other bike out there now, and Akrapovič is very proud of it.” It’s unquestionably unique in the looks department, at least.

 

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Essentially an exhaust

“The bike itself is essentially an exhaust,” says Akrapovič, and exhausts are what Akrapovič specialises in — the company has previously done work for firms such as Harley-Davidson and BMW. Another innovation is the use of a composite braking disc, which the manufacturer says hasn’t been seen on motorcycles at this size up until now: the use of ceramics and carbon instead of iron means that weight is reduced and higher temperatures (and therefore speeds) can be reached. These kind of composite discs are most often found in high-performance, high-cost vehicles where affordability isn’t as much of a consideration (Akrapovič hasn’t yet put a price on its Full Moon motorbike).

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Tailpipe temperatures

The customised tailpipes that Akrapovič has manufactured for its Full Moon concept are going to help the company in its development of the standard exhausts used in more traditional, run-of-the-mill bikes. They’re going to be producing a lot of heat out on the road, particularly at higher speeds, but the firm says the rider won’t feel the effects thanks to the steel casing and reinforced saddle. All of this extra framework is another reason why the bespoke steering system is required to make sure that the bike can actually get around corners successfully. Akrapovič says that over 800 man hours went into the bike’s construction.

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Riding performance

For Akrapovič, it’s all about showing off its tailpipe technology, and the Full Moon motorcycle is certainly an impressive feat of engineering and design. On the downside, it’s probably not all that great to ride: the seating position for the rider doesn’t look particularly comfortable, and the bike is likely to topple over the first time you go around a tight corner at speed. Nevertheless, this is a motorcycle built to impress at exhibitions, not to win any performance competitions. The bike is set to be displayed at other shows, events and fairs across Europe, so you may eventually get the chance to see it in the (metal) flesh.

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The Akrapovič team

Here’s the Akrapovič team showing off the Full Moon at the Bad Salzuflen Custom bike show — it gives you some idea of how the motorbike looks in real life and the size of that exhaust system. As we’ve said though, it’s very much a concept and as far as we know you won’t be able to order your own for racing around your neighbourhood (perhaps if you made the makers an offer they really couldn’t refuse, they might build one for you). Top Gear described it as a something “a Tron-universe Cruella de Vil might ride to the pet shop” which sounds just about right.