RogueMoto Kickboxer Concept Combines AWD and Diesel…in a Motorcycle
By and large, motorcycle design is a pretty orthodox, regimented business. Granted, this is not surprising given that pretty much all you have to work with are two wheels, an engine, a frame in which to house it and handlebars. But once in a while, you do come across a designer who is willing to go off the reservation and push the technical and/or aesthetic envelopes.
Ian McElroy is one of these rogue bike designers (he even named his company RogueMoto), and a couple years ago, he came up with a proposal for a radical-looking superbike powered by a Subaru WRX turbocharged flat-four engine called the Kickboxer. Unfortunately, no investors were forthcoming, so the bike never made it past the computer rendering stage. But McElroy’s gone back and made a couple big changes that will either make you scratch your head or shower him with praise.
For starters, there’s the powerplant. The gas-burning turbo engine from the WRX has been replaced with the flat-four turbodiesel that’s available in many European market Subarus. Yes, there are already diesel motorcycles being built, but none of them utilize a large-displacement turbocharged diesel designed for passenger cars. If built, the diesel Kickboxer would be a fairly thrifty road-rocket, assuming you could put all that torque to the tarmac.
Ah, but you would be able to, because McElroy’s third revision of the Kickboxer concept (the blue bike in these pictures; the rear-drive model is rendered in orange) deals with the issue of traction by way of all-wheel-drive. We know what you’re thinking: “An AWD motorcycle?! What brand of sorcery is this!?!” Turns out it’s a fairly straightforward arrangement comprised of an additional chain, a jackshaft, an idler sprocket and a front drive axle with a universal joint to allow for steering and suspension articulation. Even with all the drive hardware for the front wheel, the whole package is quite clean, with swingarm suspension front and rear, as well as an underseat radiator and front-mounted intercooler.
Will either of these new versions do what their predecessor could not and make it past the concept stage? Well, McElroy is known for obsessing over details and making sure every bit and piece is production-feasible in the real world. He also has the CAD files for all his designs ready and waiting to go. Both of those factors should be reassuring to potential sugar daddies (or sugar mamas; we’re betting he doesn’t discriminate), though we won’t hold our breath in anticipation of seeing this radical reimagining of the superbike genre hitting the road or track any time soon. As the old Japanese saying goes, “The nail that sticks up gets hammered down.”