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.”

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