Yikes! First photos of the road-legal Vyrus 986 M2

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These are the first photos of the road-legal version of the Vyrus 986 M2. Originally designed to compete in Moto2, the hub-center-steered bike fits a Honda CBR600RR motor in a prototype, omega-frame chassis. If that’s not weird enough, the rear shock is mounted transverse. Yours for 40 large.

What’s hub-center steering?

Conventional telescopic forks dominate motorcycle design because they’re easy to set up, cheap to make and everyone’s used to them. But that doesn’t mean they’re an ideal solution. Because the forks compress and extend under braking and acceleration respectively, the steering geometry changes too. Steering becomes quicker, sometimes nervous even, under braking and slower and vaguer under acceleration. The compression under braking also makes the suspension less able to cope with bumps. With the wheel necessarily mounted a long way from the head stock, forks are also subject to flex. But, because telescopic forks are so pervasive, most of these issues have been reduced to mere trivialities. That still doesn’t mean it’s an ideal solution.

In addition to separating braking, acceleration and steering forces, hub-center steering can reduce unsprung weight — meaning the suspension is better able to react quickly as the components below the spring have less inertia. Overall weight can be reduced as well. Check out how tiny the Vyrus’s omega frame is. The front swingarm bolts to the frame just ahead of the engine, eliminating the need for a frame that runs all the way to the top of the bike.

So, if hub-center steering is so great, why doesn’t every bike use it? Well, the complex system of linkages has traditionally removed rider feedback in the form of steering feel and proved immensely difficult to dial in to the right settings, enabling the bike to benefit from the theoretical advantages. This is where Vyrus’s expertise comes in. Its founder, Ascanio Rodorigo worked for Bimota developing the hub-center steered Tesi series of bikes and so has more experience with the technology than anyone else in the world. Reports of the company’s exotic road-going superbikes indicate that he’s found a way around all those problems.

The steering function takes place through an hydraulic ram which actuates rods on the left side of the 986 M2’s front wheel. This ram doubles as a steering damper, further reducing parts count.

Wait, the radiator is in front of the engine?

On the Moto2 Prototype, the radiator is housed under the engine. On this road-going model, it’s stuck in front of the engine as per convention.

I’m shocked!

Us too! Not only is the rear shock mounted horizontally, but it sits at 90-degrees to the bike’s direction of travel and the typical shock orientation. It’s actuated through the rocker arm you can see below it. Unlike the race bike, this road going version is wearing a tradition, oil-damped shock with mechanical spring, the race bike uses a whacky air-shock.

Mounting the shock sideways brings packaging benefits. Typically, designers have to account for both the height and length of a vertical or diagonal shock while packaging the components, so this could lead to a shorter wheelbase. The distance between Vyrus’s wheels is just 1325mm, comparing favorably to competition like the FTR Moto2 racer, which has a 1390mm wheelbase.

Anything else crazy going on?

Well, the tank and front fairing are a single, self-supporting unit made from carbon fiber. The advantages of this arrangement are, again, a lower weight and reduced parts count, but we’d worry about the cost of replacing the whole damn thing after a crash. The seat, too, looks to be a self-supporting carbon fiber unit.

The lack of a conventional steering head means’s Vyrus can easily achieve a straight path for the air intake from the point of highest pressure — front and center — to the airbox without resorting to crazy stemless steering heads like Bottpower had to do.

The frame is incredibly sexy — milled from billet aluminum — but also incredibly simple, effective serving as connecting points for the two swingarms.


Number of cylinders 4 in line 4 stroke
Bore: 67 mm
Stroke: 42.5 mm
Displacement: 599 cc
Rap. Compression: 12,2:1
Lubrication: Forced with pump
Cooling: Liquid Air Vacuum System VAS, CDR Racing Radiator
Power: 125 hp at 13000 rpm Maximum torque 66Nm at 11,250 rpm
Distribution: DOHC Double overhead camshaft axis
Clutch: multiple disk in oil bath
Transmission: 6 speed
Supply: electronic fuel injection EFI E4
Exhaust system: Zard Titanium silencer Vyrus

Front suspension: double rocker thrust
Rear Suspension: rocker double boost
Shock: Double Air System – Ohlins TTX46 (optional)
Chassis: Double Omega inverted structure
Steering: 18 ° to 24 ° hydraulic piston controlled by VSS Vyrus Steering System
Trail: 80 mm to 105 mm
Front brake: 310 mm double disc with T-Drive Brembo calipers 4-piston Brembo GP4RR
Postereriore brake: 210 mm single disc with twin-piston caliper Brembo opposed Racing
Front tire. 125 75 zr 17 – mt 3.75 Dunlop NTEC
Front wheel: 10 spoke Marchesini forged magnesium
Rear tire 195 75 zr 17 – j 6:00 Dunlop NTEC
Rear wheel: 10 spoke Marchesini forged magnesium

Dimensions and weights
Weight: 155 kg
Wheelbase: 1325 mm
Seat height: 830 mm
Fuel tank capacity: 16 liters
Maximum speed: NA

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  • coredump

    I’m surprised the path the steering takes from the handlebars to the front hubs is not a straighter path. I would love to see an animation to see the steering path in motion.

  • Adam

    Oof… Looks like a Skeksi from the Dark Crystal. And, by the look of that gas tank, it’s a Skeksi that hates your nuts.

  • Coreyvwc

    Make world’s coolest sportbike, use world’s most boring sportbike engine. Very Italian.

    • Archer

      Boring as in 125 hp from 600 cc? Boring as in unlikely to grenade? Boring as in, probably has a 16K service interval?

      The 600RR motor has proven to be one of the most bulletproof, sweet packages ever. If it’s boring, it’s in a good way.

      • Coreyvwc

        Yes, the 600RR Honda engine is the embodiment of mechanical perfection, it will last forever. That doesn’t change the fact that it is FUCKING BORING. No one dreams of a 40K bike with an engine that’s “kinda” like a moto2 engine.

        • rohorn

          I’ve never overheard anyone at the track say “Yeah, it is costing me 3 seconds a lap, but I just love that exciting engine!!!”.

        • Dylan

          Agreed. The 600RR may be incredibly reliable but it has the most uninspiring power delivery of any 600 ive ridden. My 92 CBR600 F2 had a better powerband and more “fun” per rev then the new 600RR

    • cookey

      “Originally designed to compete in Moto2″ so it had to use the CBR6 engine.

      Vyrus has been building bikes like this using Ducati engines for years now, from the 984 using a 1000cc air cooled 2v to the 987 using a 1098r engine… which can also be specified to have a supercharger, produce 210+ hp and weigh just 339lbs.

      • David

        Exactly – seriously doubt they’re throwing a bone stock (and therefore boring) 600RR engine in there. Then again, even if they did, if you’re dropping 40k on a 600cc sportbike, you can afford to get a motor tuned…

    • http://www.postpixel.com.au mugget

      Probably the majority of people buying this bike will be interested in one thing – going fast. An ‘exciting’ engine is the least of their priorities.

      Besides, I always find going fast to be very, very exciting…

  • Alex

    Oh my god.

    I want it so much.

    It is so terrifingly ugly but it’s such an orgy of overdesigned, overengineered, grin-inducing glory that it is beautiful in its very own way.

    • http://www.postpixel.com.au mugget

      Over-engineered goodness. Just what the doctor ordered!

  • Edward

    So are they going to race it? I’m curious if it will be successful or not.

  • filly-fuzz

    i has big chubbs for that bike

  • dux [87 CBR600, 95 XR600R]

    I love it! Can we have a turbo version next?

  • Caleb

    The tank is, in fact, a nut saver as it’s actually a gut buster

    • Miles Prower [690 Duke, MTS 1200]


  • Vincent

    That is one of the best looking sportsbikes I have ever seen. My jaw is on the floor. Thanks for the share!

  • Adam

    Everyone who thinks this bike is attractive, please upload a picture of your couch to the HFL Facebook page. We are going to get to the bottom of this.

    • Slothrop

      There will be Power Ranger action figures lost behind the cushions…

  • Kevin

    U should drop a liter into that brah 600s are for girls

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


  • oldblue

    I get 8 times as excited over something like this as I do over all the electric bikes combined.

    • Miles Prower [690 Duke, MTS 1200]

      What if this was electric?

  • Johndo

    Thinking outside the box. Wish I could afford one, looks awesome!

  • Miles Prower [690 Duke, MTS 1200]

    About as mass-centralized as you can get!

  • Eric

    Interesting. They moved away from the linkages of the Tesi style. They have a vertical fork connected by a knee linkage to the handlebars for steering.
    Did they mention the change/reasons in any of their releases?

    • David

      IIRC vagueness. Did the same thing with the 987 – you can read all about it.

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


  • Dylan

    I haven’t been able to follow Moto2. Did this bike ever race yet? I was really looking forward to seeing it compete against conventionally suspended bikes

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      It’s racing occasionally in some obscure German series. Follow the links in the article for details.

  • EricP

    See, now this I can understand someone picking up for $40k. A homely sport tourer with no ABS? Nosir.

  • http://www.postpixel.com.au mugget

    Looks like the road bike won’t have the above-swingarm/below rear shock exhaust exit. Are they still making that available at a later date as a kit part?

    I always wonder about the comments saying that riders don’t get enough feel from this setup. I wonder if it’s more accurate to say that riders don’t get the feedback/feel that they’re typically used to? (Same question applies to the Ducati MotoGP bike with the carbon fibre frame.)

    • Gene

      Well, one more specific comment I heard about the Tesi was that with all the ball joints, there was a lot of slop & play by the time it got to the bars.

      • Philip

        Not true. This might have been the case with the older 1Ds and maybe even the 2Ds (which I doubt), but my 3D rides fine. OK, maybe not as direct as forks, but not as weird as one might think either.

        The point regarding feedback is valid though – you don’t get the same feedback/feel as you do with forks. It’s incredibly stable under braking and going in / exiting corners, but it rides differently from forks and you just have to put faith in it (easier said than done with a very expensive repair bill looming at the back of my mind!).

  • Tony

    One thing I cannot figure out with the steering system is counter steering and low speed ‘normal’ steering. Meaning below a certain speed (i.e slow) you do actually steering into the direction you want to go, but above a certain speed you are counter steering. How does this work on this bike?

    • Scott-jay

      Front wheel motion VS rest of machine remains relatively the same as conventional telescopic forks; only those physical connections are different.

  • Mugello Fire

    Vyrus looks like a small boutique kind of manufacturer.

    What is really interesting is their location, Rimini. The region is called “Emilia-Romagna”. This is a place as large as greater LA and its like the holy grail of motor engineering. You have Ducati, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati, Massimo Tamburinis CRC, Bimota, Moto Morini, Benelli (very close by), TM and so on.

    If you look for the silicon valley of motor engineering, this is the place.

    And there is also Imola, Misano and the very best of all: Mugello within the area or close by.

    What an incredible place!

  • Jens

    Looks like Homer Simpsons bike!

  • Gene

    So let’s see… omega frame and forkless front suspension… like the ’93 Yamaha GTS-1000 amirite?

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

      Nothing like a GTS. Other than not having a telescopic fork, absolutely nothing.

      Look up RADD, Parker suspension.


  • http://www.racetrackstyle.com Racetrack Style

    nice write-up.

    Don’t mean to change topics, but the protruding headlight and cf fairing made me think of EBR. In your discussions with Erik Buell has alternative front-end design ever come up? (he’s re-engineered the frame/gas tank, exhaust, wheels)

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      Yeah, he’s a designer, not a stylist, I seem to remember him saying something along the lines of that 1190RS being what the race bike needed (low frontal section, central intake) and then he thought dual projectors would look kinda nice stuck on there.

      • http://www.racetrackstyle.com Racetrack Style

        clarifying…I wasn’t making any comparisons to the Vyrus & 1190RS other than the Vyrus’ projector made me think of the 1190; which then prompted the question as to whether or not Erik tried to tackle the shortcomings of the tele. fork.

    • rohorn

      I think we need to see both bikes side by side in the same garage in order to study this issue some more.

      Erik has at least one alt.fr.end patent…