Weighing just 57kg dry and powered by an 85cc engine, Project M85 is set to turn the off-road motorcycle world on its head. For some perspective, that’s 12kgs lighter than Dougie Lampkin’s championship-winning trials bike. Project M85 won’t fit into any established racing formula, and ultimately won’t be as capable as a trials bike, but as a general purpose off-road toy it could have the formula for success.
Conceived and built as an Industrial Design degree thesis project by Dustin Griffith and Grady Barfoot, two students in Colorado, the M85 is a fully functioning prototype, a rarity among student designs. By combining the best parts of a mountain bike with motorcycle parts capable of handling the performance, they’re aiming to combine the functionality of both machines, creating an entirely new class of bike.
The low weight and trials tires should open up trails and riding areas hitherto inaccessible to Enduro and Motocross bikes, while being easier to ride and more accessible to new riders than any bike before. Low speeds and light weight should also ameliorate some risk of injury, or at least perceived risk, another obstacle to attracting people who have never ridden before.
There’s a great thread on Aprilia Forum detailing the project. If the M85 ever reaches production — and we hope it does — it could herald a new era of fun, easy-to-ride, enjoyable dirt bikes ridden by tens of thousands of teenagers and non-risk adverse adults the world over. A video of the M85 in action follows the jump.