Why the Dugally Somma isn’t ugly

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Ok, we know what you’re thinking. We can practically hear your knuckles crack as you prepare to head into comments and type something along the lines of “I just threw up a little in my mouth” or “Nuke it from space, it’s the only way to be sure.” But, if you put down the haterade for a second, you might actually be surprised by this custom Aprilia Futura.

“I call it the ‘rhinocerotic aesthetic,’” says Mark Dugally. “Mean and stalky and ready to charge.”

“The inspiration for this project came from a trip to Naples, Italy,” continues Mark. “There, I hiked the rim of Mt. Vesuvius and the proceeded to the lost city of Pompeii.”

“Mt. Somma is the small bump on the side of Mt. Vesuvius. It was an active volcano thousands of years ago and, when it erupted, the lava flowed and collected to one side of it to create a new and higher mound. The volcanic core then redirected itself through the new mound (now called Vesuvius) to become an active volcano, it still is today. In AD 79, Vesuvius erupted with a 20-mile-tall plum of volcanic ash that cooled in the air and laid straight down upon the city of Pompeii. The ashen cover was 25 to 30 feet thick and covered everything in an airtight tomb, to be lost for centuries.”

“For me, this was really an exercise in breaking the boundaries of what we are all force fed to accept as motorcycle design.”

“The Somma has all custom bodywork finished off with a custom Dupont color infused LINE-X. All of the golden rust areas are actually bronze patinas. The seat is a translucent silicon gel that glows red when it’s angry. It has palm wood grips (no pun intended). High beams ride on top of the tank and the cyclops low beam is a creature of its own. It has a custom built belly crash cage. The license plate is integrated into the taillight. Top of the tank houses the electronics, talking alarm, cooling fans and high beams.”

To appreciate why the Somma isn’t ugly, you have to look at it with Mark on it. As you can see here, the very tall shape that looks awkward on its own, actually fits very well into the man/machine relationship. The two headlights and the human torso look like spokes arraying from the same hub. The organic, animal-influenced forms may look odd too, but click through a few photos and you can see that they dramatically change shape as you look at them from different angles. We also like details like the negative spaces on the tank, the tough handguards and the mirror stalks originating between the forks. The bedliner and bronze bodywork add a sense of permanence to parts that are usually paper thin plastic.

It’s also worth noting the unconventional lighting which gives the bike a sense of animation. The gel seat glows red, as does the license plate.

The Somma might not fit the conventional idea of what a motorcycle should be, but if you’ve ever had the notion that your bike’s character resembled some sort of animal, then you can probably appreciate where Mark’s coming from.

Dugally MADercycles

  • robotribe

    It looks like an robot rhino humping a robot hippo. If that floats someone’s boat, then hey, who am I to stand in their way?

    • http://www.facebook.com/beastincarnate BeastIncarnate

      Hard to miss the humping going on there. I believe that’s a quality of this bike. It oozes sexuality.

      • slowtire

        Well, it definitely oozes something. But as they say, to each his own.

    • Kyle

      It looked like a sandperson from star wars riding that thing

      • dirtridingBil

        yeah, a tusken raider humping a jawa on a stolen speeder.

  • Frosty_spl

    Is it meant to be an art piece? If so, it’s kinda cool.

    • Denzel

      George Barris lives..

  • AHA

    Now THAT’S new and different. In fact, it’s genius.

    Shame Ducati couldn’t have been as bold and original when they did the current Multistrada. I guess they were still hurting from the reaction to the 999 and the first Multistrada.

    • Chris Davis

      It is often thought that to be a genius you must be insane. While that may be the case, it doesn’t make the inverse true.

  • carter

    I applaud the madness of this and that it is as far as possible from any “typical” custom. It has a real pleistocene charm. Usually when someone goes this far off the map, it’s some kind of rat bike, but this is not that at all — it seems very well executed and has a seriously considered aesthetic. The glowing seat is the perfect final touch.

  • EdB

    I just threw up a little in my mouth. Nuke it from space, it’s the only way to be sure.

  • markbvt

    Is that the exhaust pipe leading up the front right part of the “tank”? If so, it must make riding this bike really pleasant. I guess it would at least help keep you warm in the winter…

  • http://www.brammofan.com Brammofan

    I’m diggin’ that glowing seat. +1 if it’s heated – could extend the riding season by a few weeks. I’m not sure I ‘get’ the belly crash cage. In the second picture down, it kind of looks like it’s housing a rhino penis. But it’s a cool fantasy bike. I like it.

  • Deltablues

    Kinda dig the seat and the paint. Don’t like the cage at the bottom of the bike…first pothole/speedbump would take this bike down like a tranquilized rhino. I do like that it actually looks better with a rider on board.

  • http://greatjoballweek.blogspot.com/ Case

    Wait, what? Is this a joke? That thing is hideous. A lot of effort went into the hideousness, but it’s still hideous.

    Inspired by a volcano? You should throw it into the volcano.

    • http://www.pedalgents.com holdingfast

      haha well said

  • Devin

    I have never seen a bike that looks so much better / different with a rider on it. I like the seat light too.

    Any idea on how much this beast weighs? Also, I hate the mirrors you pointed out. I think having stems that long makes them look stupid.

  • ike6116

    I dunno man, If something needs a explanation as to why it’s NOT ugly… it’s probably pretty ugly.

  • Turf

    Lost me At Futura, I despise that bike, everytime someone would bring one in I’d have a mild stroke. They’re a pain in the ass to work on and when you do decide what parts you need you check the fische and fairings only come in one color, so you call aprilia and the person deny’s that aprilia ever made it….that bike can suck cocks in hell. /rant

    • ontheroad

      I second that. As such, anything to make a Futura less Futura-like is an improvement! Aesthetically this is interesting, I agree it looks much more complete with a rider in place. Functionally? Meh. I don’t suppose that functionality is the central idea here though. All in all: fuck the Futura, hooray for wacko customs.

    • Barry

      I’ll third that opinion. The Futura could only be MORE of a pita to work on if it followed you back from the field you threw it in and demanded you change the oil. That said, at least this thing’s trying to do something different. I don’t like it, but you can’t know unless you try. Here’s to trying…and failing. But it’s not MUCH uglier than an as-delivered Futura.

      • Turf

        Awesome, a HFL Anti-futura club.

  • http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=305107 stickfigure

    I can’t wait to see what comic-book-inspired movie this bike is going to appear in. At the very least it’s guaranteed to get this guy laid at burning man.

    • adrenalnjunky

      aren’t fossil-fueled powerplants the most effective form of birth control @ burning man?

      • ontheroad

        I dunno, this thing is bitchingly Mad Max enough that it might sway a few unshaven ladies… convert it to biodiesel and you’d be fightin’ em off.

  • slowestGSXRever

    It’s, ehhh, not too bad looking. The main thing that irks me is that it’s just too tall. Something about a bikes, they should be streamlined, they go through the air at high speed after all. Being so tall and clunky just doesn’t make sense. That said, as art, I do like it.

  • Greg

    Nuke it… sorry but ugly is ugly in my book.

    • Devin

      It’s ok. I think Wes is just trolling to see how many people he can get to agree that it isn’t ugly.

  • http://www.damiengaudet.blogspot.com damien

    Would look a lot better if the headlights were a bit more integrated.

  • David

    Mmmm…no, thanks.

  • http://www.thisblueheaven.com Mark D

    It’s ugly, but it’s cool. Like Steve Buscemi.

    • Mr.Paynter


  • Todd

    Hmmm, buried under 30 feet of volcanic ash sounds like a pretty (errr, perhaps that’s a bad choice of words) good idea for this bike.

    Just awful. What an atrocious waste of an otherwise good bike.

    Dugally?? Is the “D” supposed to be silent?

  • miles_prower

    Aesthetically, it would work well with some of the machinery in the Miyazaki film Laputa (Castle in the Sky). Perhaps one of the robots from Laputa would want to ride this motorcycle.

  • 2ndderivative

    I liked the first Multistrada. The new one is just another generic beakmobile.

  • James

    It looks like it has a parasitic twin, a stillborn fetus-Futura, vanishing into a conjoined overweight twin.

    That, or a snail…

    Neither is good.

  • seanslides

    I’ll give it one thing: This bike is extremely photogenic. Kind of like how Keira Knightly is crazy hot on film, but she often looks really awkward in still shots.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      I used to live down the street from her in London, she’s pretty damn hot in person too.

      • seanslides

        I don’t doubt that for a second. The hotness probably does something funny to the sensors of digital cameras and makes her look wonky.

  • stephan

    I watched “the Human Centipede” last night for the first time. My eyes have had a really tough 24 hours.

  • stephan

    you know what though? if the teenage mutant ninja turtles needed a motorbike….

  • Dan

    OCC builds a sportbike?

    Sorry but nuke it from space was already taken. Twice.

    That wireform thing under the bike is potentially dangerous to the operator. The mirror stalks are an excersize in eccess. I know nothing about maint proceedures on this brand but this bike does not look friendly for maint. How much does this bike weigh?
    At least the gel seat would keep the monkey butt powder folks in business.

  • Zane H

    Nothing particularly new here… That’s exactly the same shape I found this morning after the foot of snow piled up on my bike’s gas tank last night

  • Johndo

    Creative yes, but oh SO FUGLY…

  • Philip

    “There, I hiked the rim of Mt. Vesuvius and the proceeded to the lost city of Pompeii.”

    Wait, wasn’t that line from Friends? If so, that just explained the whole project.

    I would also like to know what M (Michael Uhlarik) thinks about this “design”

  • dux

    Well, if that’s a gas tank it should get a decent fuel range!

  • James Dean Meyer

    I want my $2 back.

  • Bart

    I thought your supposed to lower the center of gravity.
    Doesn’t form follow function?
    It’s so fugly it almost has a living quality. Unique, very very unique.

  • carcanal

    poor futura :(

  • Noah

    No way.

  • http://www.firstgenerationmotors.blogspot.com Emmet

    All I can imagine is how painful it would be to nut yourself on that… gas tank?