The Motorcycle: Design, Art, Desire exhibition preview

Greater than a century of motorbike design and improvement – and a glance to the way forward for two wheels – will likely be on present in Brisbane this November.

Photographs: Numerous, courtesy of QAGOMA

An artwork exhibition with a distinction will hit Brisbane this November, when ‘The Bike: Design, Artwork, Need’ opens on the Queensland capital’s Gallery of Fashionable Artwork (GOMA).

Recognising the motorbike as a design object, The Bike: Design, Artwork, Need will function over 100 machines that doc greater than a century of motorbike historical past – from the 1870s to the current day.

Modelled on the massively profitable ‘Artwork of the Bike’ exhibition first held at New York’s Guggenheim Museum in 1998, The Bike: Design, Artwork, Need was curated by the identical workforce – Charles B. Falco and Ultan Guilfoyle – that curated that groundbreaking exhibition, however what will likely be on present in Brisbane’s GOMA is not any mere rehashing of what was offered 20 years in the past.

Firstly, lots of the bikes within the exhibition have been sourced from Australian collections and have important Australian historical past. Rarities, one-offs, race bikes and Australian-made specials will function, whereas the increase within the customized bike scene can also be lined. Extra importantly, the present shift from inside combustion engines to electrical energy can also be showcased – a component unseen in earlier motorbike artwork exhibitions and one which “seems ahead” to the way forward for the motorbike, in addition to wanting again at motorcycling’s previous.

Greater than a 12 months within the planning and curating, The Bike: Design, Artwork, Need has sourced bikes from all around the world, chosen for his or her significance in motorbike improvement, groundbreaking aesthetics, built-for-purpose simplicity, or simply as a result of they’re lovely items of design.

The exhibition opens on 28 November, 2020 and runs to 26 April, 2021, so hopefully the worst of COVID-19 will likely be over and people exterior of Queensland will have the ability to journey interstate and see this exhibition for themselves.

Till then, right here’s a sneak preview of simply a few of the 100+ bikes that can function in The Bike: Design, Artwork, Need.

Particular Because of Michael O’Sullivan, Design Supervisor at QAGOMA, for help with this text.

1906 Spencer

Whereas not the oldest motorbike within the exhibition, the Spencer is maybe one of the vital important, a minimum of from an Australian perspective, because it was one of many first bikes to be virtually fully manufactured on this nation. Whereas many veteran-era Australian bikes matched imported engines to locally-manufactured frames and cycle elements, virtually every thing on the bike launched by David Spencer in 1906 was designed and constructed in-house.

Certainly one of ten constructed and regarded as the one compete instance, the Spencer on present can also be a really “native” bike, because it was constructed within the Brisbane suburb of Auchenflower, solely minutes away from the exhibition house at GOMA.

The unique timber castings for the engine may even be displayed with the bike.

Supply: The Australian Motorlife Museum, Wollongong – Paul Butler Assortment

Photographs: Penelope Clay

1912 Henderson 4

The tandem seat structure is the very first thing you discover concerning the American-made Henderson, however what was extra vital was its mechanical componentry, which was superior for the interval and distinctive given this was the primary motorbike Henderson produced. The specification included a crank-start 965cc (60ci) four-cylinder engine with mechanical valves and splash lubrication, twin pedals for the rear brake, a magneto and a clutch – the latter function nearly exceptional when this bike debuted in 1912.

Two American adventurers had sufficient religion within the Henderson 4 that they tried to trip a pair of them around the globe. One rider dropped out inside days, however the different rode on, finishing the journey ten months and greater than 18,000 miles later.  

Solely six Henderson Fours from the primary 12 months of manufacturing are thought to exist worldwide.

Supply: Clyde Crouch Assortment

Photograph: Robert La Prelle

1920 Indian Scout streamliner

No, this isn’t the streamliner chances are you’ll bear in mind from The World’s Quickest Indian, nor the one you might have seen in Invercargill, however it’s a real Burt Munro Indian streamliner.

Munro refined and modified his design throughout the course of his quite a few visits to the Bonneville Salt Flats, however transport the bike and all its elements backwards and forwards was costly. As such, Munro would go away body, streamliner our bodies and different elements within the US, bringing simply the engines and gearboxes again with him to New Zealand for additional improvement.

Claimed to be certainly one of two surviving real Burt Munro streamliners, this bike was utilized in 1967 – Munro’s seventh and final Bonneville marketing campaign – and the one on which he set an SA 1000 class land velocity file that stood unbroken for 50 years.

Supply: Clyde Crouch Assortment

Photograph: Robert La Prelle

1929 Douglas DT5 speedway

With speedway being born in Australia, the curators felt it was vital to current a motorbike representing that historical past and chosen this restored instance of the kind of early speedway machine that might have been seen each right here and within the UK within the Nineteen Twenties and early ‘30s.

Born from Douglas’s RA mannequin that had been specific profitable in Australia, the DT5 (Dust Monitor 500cc – a DT6 600cc model was additionally accessible) carried the signature Douglas inline flat twin engine and was one of the vital aggressive speedway bikes of the late Nineteen Twenties. Regardless of being such a narrowly-focussed machine – no clutch, no brakes, and many others. – the recognition of speedway within the UK meant that greater than 1,300 Douglas DT bikes like this one had been offered there in 1929 alone.

Supply: Non-public assortment, Sydney

Photograph: Penelope Clay

1940 Indian Chief outfit

Earlier than Charles Falco and Ultan Guilfoyle even got here to Australia to seek for bikes to incorporate in The Bike: Design, Artwork, Need, they had been conscious of Peter Arundel, as his assortment of historic Indians is just not solely one of the best in Australia, however arguably one of many largest and greatest on the planet, too.

Considerably, lots of the bikes from Arundel’s assortment have lengthy Australian histories, both in civilian, navy or competitors use.

The 1940 Chief outfit was chosen for the exhibition as a consequence of its distinctive design options, notably the deeply valanced mudguards that debuted on Chiefs that 12 months, whereas the manufacturing unit sidecar is a design object in its personal proper. Different Indians from Arundel’s assortment within the exhibition embrace a 1916 8-valve racer, 1926 hillclimber and a 1928 ‘401’ four-cylinder mannequin.

Supply: Arundel Assortment

Photograph: Anne-Marie De Boni

1941 Harley-Davidson knucklehead chopper (1973 construct)

This motorbike has a JUST BIKES connection, of types, because it was on show with long-term JUST BIKES advertisers Vintage Bikes in Cheltenham.

Representing chopper design from the Seventies, this knucklehead-based customized has all of the class’s signature styling cues, from the acute rake, to the hardtail rear, ape hanger bars, sweet twist springer fork, modified lighting, entrance brake delete and customized paint job.

A number of original-era choppers had been thought of for the exhibition, together with an Simple Rider ‘Captain America’ bike, however this one was chosen because it not solely represents the model however can also be Australian-owned.
In-built New York in round 1973, this chopper was a part of a set in New Jersey for a few years earlier than it got here to Australia someday within the Nineties. The present proprietor bought it from Vintage Bikes.

Supply: Non-public assortment, Mackay

Photograph: Andrea Beavis

1956 Tilbrook

Australian-made bikes had been an vital consideration when curating this exhibition, and this one comes from the post-WWII interval when Australian-designed and made bikes had been changing into rarer and rarer.

The Tilbrook title is rightly related to sidecars, however Rex Tilbrook additionally sought to construct an all-Australian motorbike. The primary instance rolled out of Tilbrook’s Adelaide manufacturing unit in 1947, with commuter and competitors bikes following. Most had been powered by Villiers singles in 125cc and 197cc capability and recognized by outsized gas tanks to cowl the distances usually travelled in Australia.

Whereas Tilbrook racing bikes had been profitable, motorbike manufacturing by no means reached the heights Rex dreamed of, with solely round 55 inbuilt whole. The bike within the exhibition is the final Tilbrook constructed, differing from its predecessors with its bathtub-style fairing and a traditional twin-shock swingarm.

Supply: Dennis Martin Assortment
Photograph: Brayden Mann

1960 Vespa GS150

A bike design exhibition merely couldn’t be held with out a Vespa being included – it’s a reputation that’s turn into synonymous with scooters!

The importance of the GS (Gran Sport) 150 is that it moved Vespa from purely utilitarian transport into the realm of favor and velocity. With a high-revving engine and four-speed gearbox, the GS 150 may hit near 100km/h and do it with higher roadholding than most of its contemporaries.

This instance got here from the gathering at Vespa Home in Melbourne, which has been run by the Tonon household for 3 generations.

As a mirror to the Vespa – and an extra demonstration of two-wheel transport being adopted by “non-riders” on a big scale after WWII – a 1960 Honda Tremendous Cub can also be exhibited.

Supply: Vespa Houise and Frank Tonon

Photograph: Anne-Marie De Boni

2009 Deus Ex Machina ‘Drover’s Canine’

With Deus Ex Machina being such a serious a part of the brand new millennium customized motorbike scene – and as a lot of a life-style model as they’re a motorbike model – it was a pure resolution to incorporate an instance of certainly one of their creations. The issue was which to decide on. As Deus’s output has been so prolific, narrowing the choices all the way down to only one was troublesome. In the end, the curators had been drawn to the sense of escape and really “Australian” life-style represented by the ‘Drover’s Canine’ with its customized surfboard service.

Based mostly on a Yamaha SR500, the Drover’s Canine was constructed by Jeremy Tagand in 2009, however the bike and surfboard (created by Paul McNeil) grew to become separated a while afterward, resulting in a alternative board being commissioned. It is going to be reunited with the bike on the exhibition.

Supply: Joseph Mildren / Deus Ex Machina, Sydney

Photograph: Deus Ex Machina

2015 KTM 450 Rally

Though some competitors bikes function on this exhibition, it’s about design, not Australian racing historical past, so don’t anticipate to see the likes of Gardner, Stoner or Doohan GP bikes. That’d be a 100+ bike exhibition in itself! This KTM 450 Rally is an exception, although.

The machine on which Toby Value received the Dakar in 2016, this racing KTM is working a 450cc single, however that engine sits in a body that’s truly primarily based on a bigger 690 mannequin to make entry and elimination simpler.

Being constructed for competitors, each ingredient of the bike’s design has a goal, which made it fascinating from a design perspective.

Value apparently nonetheless rides and assessments on this machine, which was gifted to him by KTM after his breakthrough Dakar win.

Supply: Toby Value Assortment

Photograph: Future7Media and KTM Group

2016 Bandit9 ‘Eve MkII’

Whereas some customized bikes are constructed to trip, others are constructed to have a look at and the ‘Eve MkII’ from Bandit9 in Ho Chi Minh Metropolis, Vietnam positively falls into the latter class. That being mentioned, Bandit9 do produce copies of their designs to order, a few of which little question see some motion on the highway.

Smooth, streamlined bodywork and customized swingarms are an indicator of Bandit9’s creations, most of that are primarily based on the type of Honda 50cc, 90cc and 125cc mopeds and scooters which might be prodigious in Vietnam, so there’s no scarcity of base materials to work from.

The instance on this exhibition is certainly one of 13 late-model customized bikes that got here from the Haas Motor Museum in Texas.

Supply: Bobby Haas and the Haas Moto Museum

Photograph: Grant Schwingle

2016 Max Hazan Motorworks ‘The Black Knight’

Arguably one of the vital authentic creators within the up to date customized motorbike scene, Max Hazan is a builder whose bikes are nearer to sculpture than engineering in most situations.

Trying like a land velocity file bike from days passed by, ‘The Black Knight’ is predicated on a 1949 BSA 500 single engine, however nearly every thing connected to it was constructed from scratch. Standout styling options embrace the fully-enclosed rear wheel, girder fork-style entrance finish and glass oil bottle, to call a number of. Apparently, that cup tank was settled on after brass and aluminium tanks had been made, however deemed to be unsuitable aesthetically.

This specific bike was constructed particularly for Bobby Haas and is certainly one of greater than 200 bikes in his museum.

Supply: Bobby Haas and the Haas Moto Museum

Photograph: Grant Schwingle

2018 Craig Rodsmith ‘Corps Leger’

The standard BSA Bantam by no means appeared like this! Whereas the 150cc engine is identical at that which powered lots of of 1000’s of Bantam commuters, postie bikes and farm bikes within the early post-WWII years, every thing else is bespoke and from the artistic thoughts of Craig Rodsmith.

Just like the Max Hazan bike, Rodsmith’s ‘Corps Leger’ (‘mild physique’ in French) was created for Bobby Haas and adopted Haas’s buy of one other Rodsmith creation.

The title got here from the in depth use of light-weight aluminium for the physique and disc wheel covers, whereas the Bantam engine is connected to a totally bespoke body and suspension. Even the wheels had been scratch constructed.

Whereas the hand-beaten physique provides Corps Leger a futuristic, Jetsons-style twist, the white rubber tyres evoke veteran board monitor racers.

Supply: Bobby Haas and the Haas Moto Museum

Photograph: Grant Schwingle

2019 Cake Kalk OR

Electrical bikes are a selected focus of this exhibition, with the Swedish-built Cake Kalk OR representing the way forward for motorcycling.

With so many electrical motorbike firms coming and going, selecting which electrical bikes to show may have pulled the curators in a dozen other ways, however being a design exhibition, the Cake received out for its brutally easy (and dare we are saying, very Scandinavian) aesthetic and monochrome palette.

Seen inside the Kalk OR’s 6061 aluminium body and carbon fibre physique is an 11kW electrical motor, powered by a 2.6kWh battery, which will be fitted singly or as certainly one of a pair for prolonged vary. Being Cake’s off-road mannequin, the Kalk OR has 300mm floor clearance, knobby tyres and MX-spec Öhlins suspension, which supply 204mm entrance and 205mm rear journey.

Supply: Cake

Photograph: Cake

2020 Savic Alpha

A brand new participant within the business, Savic is bringing a brand new vitality to the electrical motorbike scene, too. This Australian-made bike completes the circle of native motorbike manufacturing that began with the Spencer greater than a century in the past.

The unit to be displayed in Brisbane is the premium C-Collection ‘Alpha’ with 60kW and 180Nm output from its 3-phase electrical motor and a 200km vary from its 11kWh battery pack. To this, Savic provides a spine body and single-side swingarm, whereas the bodywork has shades of café racer within the tank and tail therapy.

At time of writing, greater than half of the 49-unit run of C-Collection founder’s editions had been accounted for, which reveals this Aussie startup has hit the right combination of know-how, efficiency and magnificence that electrical motorbike adopters are searching for.

Supply: Savic Bikes

Photograph: Jason Lau

The Bike: Design, Artwork, Need – opening quickly!

If this preview has whetted your urge for food, and if COVID restrictions in your space enable, ensure you get to this exhibition when it opens at Brisbane’s Gallery of Fashionable Artwork on 28 November.

The possibility to see greater than 100 bikes representing the historical past and future of motorbike design can’t be seen anyplace else in Australia apart from GOMA in Brisbane – the exhibition won’t journey to different Australian cities.

Even if you happen to’re not an avid motorcyclist, there’s an abundance to see and expertise at this exhibition, together with:

  • a cinema programme that explores depictions of bikes in motion pictures from around the globe, from classics like Simple Rider and The Wild One, to anime, arthouse movies and even the Finke Desert Race!
  • Interactive actions, together with digital rides on a Fifties Vespa, Sixties grime bike and electrical ‘future bike’
  • Bike helmets individualized by fifteen cutting-edge Australian artists within the ‘Full Face: Artists’ Helmets’ show

The exhibition has a COVID-SAFE plan in place, together with restricted entry numbers and call tracing, each on arrival at GOMA and on the exhibition ticket desk.

A high-quality, 320-page hardcover e book – written by Charles M. Falco and Ultan Guilfoyle, with 400 color photographs and that includes all of the bikes from the exhibition – has been compiled and is at present accessible to pre-order forward of publication in November.

Tickets for The Bike: Design, Artwork, Need at the moment are accessible for pre-purchase, with costs beginning at $25.00 for adults, $20.00 concession, $10.00 kids (5-12yo) and $60.00 for a household. Reductions can be found for QAGOMA members.

To buy tickets, go to:

For extra exhibition data, together with updates and extra particulars on GOMA’s COVID-SAFE plan, go to:

The Bike: Design, Artwork, Need

28 Nov, 2020 – 26 Apr, 2021

Queensland Gallery of Fashionable Artwork

Stanley Place, South Brisbane