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The Hyanide All Terrain 'Mutant' Dirt Bike / Motorcycle

By Cliff Montgomery,

You are looking at the ultimate machine for offroad sports --

Click here to see pictures of the Hyanide

Every guy alive is familiar with dirt motorcycles, enduro motorcycles, and trail bikes. Most also know that each one has a rather specific, fairly specialized function; these bikes just aren't designed for highly variable conditions. There are ATV's, and they are versatile--but like the others, they can't go everywhere. What hasn't yet existed is a true off-road, ultimate all terrain motorcycle.

That is, until now.

Such a vehicle design was entered in Michelin Challenge Design 2006 by two German designers: Oliver Keller, a 24 year old native from Nurnberg, Germany; and Tilmann Schlootz, 26, from Frankfurt, Germany.

The designers' plan was to create a personal vehicle capable of performing the combined tasks of a dirt bike, a snowmobile and a four-wheeler. The result was their Hyanide ATV concept motorcycle.

The Hyanide - Mutant Motorcyle

The Hyanide is designed as an everyday use vehicle for those areas of the world with harder climatic and geographic conditions such as Alaska, Greenland, desert areas or mountainous regions like the Himalayas. It can carry two people, and provides a good deal of space to transport small to mid-size goods.

Named for its supposed resemblance to a crouching hyena, the Hyanide is designed to run on a flexible rubber tread that spans the entire underside of this innovative machine. The theory is that if any part of this tread is touching the ground, the Hyanide should be able to move--no matter how deep the quagmire or rough the terrain.

The secret lay in the Hyanide's tank-like tread. This consists of 77 identical segments--each made from hard plastic covered with tire rubber--which are bound together by Kevlar rope. Each segment moves independently, like the tread found on the modern tank. The tread is therefore much more limber than the relatively rigid components found on most other ground vehicles. This greatly increases the Hyanide's traction and cornering abilities.

The Hyanide's design requires it be steered by both the rider's hands and feet; the bike bends into turns, which makes turning sharp corners or climbing hills much easier, to say the least. You wouldn't have to worry about a foot losing its place as you drive the vehicle, either; you'd wear special shoes that snap onto the pedals, like on a racing bicycle or the bike at your local gym.

So to turn left, for example, you'd push the right side of the handlebar forward, which points the front of the tread left--the same basic motion as on any motorcycle. But at the same time you'd also push back on the right pedal, to angle the rear of the tread into the turn as well. This combined action would twist the tread into a crescent shape and whip the Hyanide around the tightest turns.

Also, since the construction and materials are built to adapt to changing ground conditions, the bike does not need adjustable suspensions or complicated sensor systems.

"If You Build It, They Will Come"


There are not yet any immediate plans to convert the Hyanide prototype into a full production model, but Keller and Schlootz have thought ahead for possible future design specs. Their initial plans leave a good amount of space for various motor sizes, and the frame construction also allows the use of numerous engine concepts, from conventional fossil fuel engines to newer fuel cell systems.

The display models, which were 1:5 scale prototypes, used mass-produced 500 cc ATV motors.

Will it become a mass-produced motorcycle? Right now, no one can say. But according to a number of reports, Hyanide's unique drivetrain impressed a lot of automotive-industry heavy hitters at Michelin's Challenge Design.

Hyanide Specs:
Purpose: To dependably move riders over any terrain
Capacity: Two riders
Prototype Engine: 60hp 500cc liquid-cooled single-cylinder
Dimensions: 40 (h) x 36 (w) x 90 (l) in.
Weight: 450""650 lbs. (est.)
Top speed: 75"85 mph (est.)

Designer Biographies from Michelin Challenge Design 2006:

Tilmann Schlootz

"Tilmann Schlootz, 26, was born in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. Since 2002 he has been studying product design at the Academy of Art and Design Offenbach, Germany. He also studied machine engineering at the Technische Universitaet Darmstadt from 2002-2002.

"In 2001, he took 6th place in the International Design Contest 2001 with his robot design Doublefighter. He took first place in two categories of the IVM Intermot Motorcycle Design Award 2004. He also participated in the 2003 motorcycle design project OFX in cooperation with Honda, as well as the 2005 automotive design project Moton for GM autonomy platform in cooperation with Opel.

"Tilmann has displayed his works at the following: Intermot 2004, Munich; Euromold 2004, Frankfurt; Hannovermesse 2005, Hannover; Gwangju Design Biannale 2005, Gwangju, South-Korea and Euromold 2005, Frankfurt."

Oliver Keller

"Oliver Keller, 24, was born in Nurnberg, Germany. He is currently studying product design at HFG Offenbach in Germany. He recently finished a six-month internship at Puma footwear. Other work experiences include civil services at DSZ Coburg and an internship at Werkbund Werkstatt Nurnberg."

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