A canopy for the Suzuki Nuda

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Concept renders are a dime-a-dozen, but this Crossbow is weird enough that we thought it merited coverage. Based on one of the most famous motorcycle concepts of all time, designer Phil Pauley imagines a hinged canopy, shielding the rider from the elements and enhancing aerodynamics. Weird, wonderful or just plain silly?

Unveiled at the Tokyo Motor Show in 1986, the Suzuki Nuda stunned the world with styling that remains futuristic today. Under all that plastic is just a GSX-R750, but one with single-sided front and rear suspension. It looks more like something rocketmen will one day ride on the moon than the conglomeration of parts that make up modern motorcycles. It allegedly had two-wheel drive through shafts to the front and rear wheel and was claimed to run, but no images or video or tales of it running have ever emerged.

The Suzuki Nuda.

Fast forward to 2012, with convenience and economy now more important than performance in hearts and minds. Enclosed motorcycles such as the Peraves Monotracer promise to resolve an area where bikes have fallen way behind cars — aerodynamics — while enhancing both safety and weather protection. That Monotracer, for instance, can hit 155mph and return an average fuel economy of 65mpg. In comparison, the Suzuki V-Strom 650 will only do about 120mph and returns something like 45mpg on the highway.

That Monotracer protects its occupants inside an all-enclosing body with a roll cage, seating them car-style with seatbelts. The Crossbow retains the Nuda’s sportsbike riding position and exposed legs and doesn’t evidence any restraint system. That canopy will work great at enhancing top speed, fuel economy and weather protection, but do little for safety or perhaps even reduce it. Being thrown clear during an accident is sometimes advantageous.

“The automatic canopy has been beautifully styled around the riding position allowing the riders legs to keep stability and full control at low speeds and maximizing aerodynamics for high-speed engagement,” explains the Crossbow’s Designer Phil Pauley. “To enter and exit The Crossbow, users simply lift the canopy up from the rear. An intelligent pivot locking system will lock the canopy in place when down or when lifted to full height, but will not release upon impact, keeping the rider safe during a crash.”

  • http://www.brammofan.com Brammofan

    Commence “If I wanted a roof, I’d drive a car” in 3…2…1…

    • http://www.twitter.com/wessilerfanclub Sean (the other one)

      it’s an interesting idea actually. i have been considering buying a commuter bike for a while to keep miles off my other one and i wouldnt mind a little more protection from the weather.

      i wonder how much harder it would be to lane split (for those of us in CA). if this means i can lane split, not have to spend 15 minutes layering up in the am, and save even more gas it could be kinda awesome.

  • http://www.muthalovin.com the_doctor

    1986?! Goddamn!

    • Sean Smith

      Motorcycle design hasn’t really moved forward all that much.

      • http://www.amarokconsultants.com michael uhlarik

        That’s because you (the public) don’t want it to. Motorcyclists are among the most introverted, introspective, conservative and unchallenging consumers in the world.

        I know because I am proof of this. I have pushed clients for a decade and a half to produce new things, and designed some pretty out there bikes, but I chose to own a ’73 Laverda with my own money, because it is a “proper” motorcycle.

        The truth hurts.

    • Campisi

      My thought exactly.

  • nick2ny

    I want that, though I like sitting up a little bit straighter. Would have been awesome on the 200 mile, 32′ ride I suffered through on Sunday. Hippo Hands? Hippo Bike! What’re they gonna call it, the Suzuki Nurda?

    (I know, Hippo Body is the logical equivalent)

  • JVictor75

    Paint it red! Paint it red!

    “Twin ceramic rotor drives on each wheel! And these look like computer controlled anti-lock brakes! Wow, 200 horses at 12,000 RPM.”

    • http://twitter.com/metabomber Jesse

      This is exactly here my brain went, too.
      Thank you.

    • smoke4ndmears
      • JVictor75

        Looking at it again, I’m going to stick with my original assessment. It still looks like Tetsuo’s bike from ‘Akira’, the BlueBlade.

        The red bike from ‘Akira’ was Kaneda’s.

        Yes, I have a girlfriend, a good job, and normal friends. Why do you ask?

        I also think that the Nuda looks like the granddaddy of the original lightcycles from Tron.

    • robotribe



      • Miles Prower [690 Duke, MTS 1200]



          Oh man, there’s a shell for sale for some scooter or other on battlescooter that turns the bike into Kaneda’s bike. No canopy.

          Canopy looks neat, but the bike is kinda lame without it.

      • AHA

        Akira (the movie.) For anyone that doesn’t get it. (No-one in this office did apart from me. What’s the matter with them???)

  • Sam

    Looks like a xenomorph.

  • nymoto

    When you crash can foam shoot out in all directions like in demolition man? Please? That would be rad.

    • BigRooster

      ..and make it sound like the Fisker Karma, (if electric) which sounds like a sci-fi space ship.

      • nymoto


    • Robert M

      There is no foam… it is only yourself.

      Actually looks like a great idea. I would have loved it today in mixed rain and snow for two hours.

      I like the idea of being able to get my legs above bumper level if needed. This might inhibit that option without an ejection seat to go with the canopy.

  • BigRooster

    Forget sitting up at a stop light.

    • nick2ny

      It’s got a hinge.

  • Ed

    Rainfall averages 110 inches a year where I live. This would make my 45 mile commute to work so much more fun in the winter.

  • Johndo

    I think there’s already something like this out there. They call it prison :)

  • Chris

    I still pine for the Nuda. I’d love to see it released someday, exactly like it was in the concept. Such a hot bike.

  • oldblue

    Finally, a bike designed for the same sort of folks who drive people movers.

  • Denzel

    I like it, especially compared to the dorkiest of all “bikes”: the vespa looking thing with the arching roof…for which there is a dealer here in Seattle… where it rains a little bit…

  • donniedarko

    They should call it the crosswind… thing will act like a sail if there is any.

    • nick2ny

      Think of it as a spinnaker in case you run out of gas.

  • Deltablues

    I want one for my Hayabusa. I can see the merit of this.

    • Deltablues

      The only downside is this canopy would have to be incredibly light. That much weight pivoting around the headstock would make it too easy to topple over at slow speed.

    • nick2ny
      • Deltablues

        Funny, my Hayabusa is also an ’06 Limited in the same colors.

        • nymoto

          Haha, that pick is taken next to the citigroup building in tribeca. So many odd bikes next to that building – but hey at least they ride.

  • RSassi

    When do any of us NOT imagine we’re in Akira?

    • Campisi

      I sometimes hear the opening music from Zeta Gundam when I turn the key and see the gauge cluster sci-fi itself to life.

      • JVictor75

        Well, the whine from the fuel pump priming on the RC51 does sound surprisingly similiar to the “EEEEEEEEEEE” sound from the Akira opening titles. So I have that.

  • http://www.lgdm.fr stempere

    Anyone noticed how the Nuda in the canopy’s redner lost it’s front single-sidedness in favor of a more modern braking system?
    Not a bad idea with all that weight…

  • Ben

    One up on the mono tracer in that you can still ride it like a motorcycle.

    Does anyone remember the old Nintendo 64 game called “Extreme G”? All the bikes in it looked like this. Rad game.

  • AHA

    Why did they retain the Nuda’s windscreen? They might have a tank bag-sized storage area there instead – put a bit more weight on the front wheel etc.
    Nice looking concept though. Still think these canopy concepts should have two tilting front wheels like a Piaggio MP3 which lock upright at rest.


    forgot to put the sidestand down? $5000

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/Adeysworld adeysworld

    I don’t need to see all the pics to know if it’s a good concept or not. There’s a reason why we let go of the bike when we crash. Imagine being trapped inside that thing during a lowside or highside when the bike starts tumbling thru the air and cartwheeling thru the dirt. Yeh the rider is real safe. LOL

    • http://www.twitter.com/wessilerfanclub Sean (the other one)

      probably actually is safer in a low side….but how often do people crash with just a low side unless theyre out trying to ride twisties?

      it’s the getting tagged by a car and boucing around inside like a pinball that would freak me out.

      • http://www.youtube.com/user/Adeysworld adeysworld

        It’s not safe in any situation.

  • NickK

    So no sitting up to relieve back pressure? Love the Nuda concept, though. Awesome styling. Never saw that before.

  • Christopher

    “It looks more like something rocketmen will one day ride on the moon than the conglomeration of parts that make up modern motorcycles.”

    WHY would the author feel compelled to commit this to digital print? What is the problem with modern sportbike designs, except that we’re not riding them yet? That bike is TWENTY SIX YEARS OLD. If that’s futuristic to you, dear reader (and author), I suggest you go buy a Harley and get it overwith.

    I could rant for hours (again). The Yamaha GTS-1000: binned because not enough people wanted modern and safe design.

    Nothing really new has been created and put on the street in the motorcycle world in 30 years.
    Want proof? Go read a bike magazine from the early 90′s. You’ll notice a similarity between that and today’s – “Ridiculously fast motorcycle! Surgical precision cornering”
    Only the speeds and horsepower change. boooooooooooring.

    If they built this bike, I’d buy it tomorrow.