My favorite aspect of superbike design is the uncompromising emphasis on functionality. It is simply on another level compared with what we see in sports cars. Sure, a GT3 looks legit with a huge rear wing and fat chin spoiler, but the fact remains that the car’s design is largely based on aesthetic merit. Not to pick on Porsche, this is true for most brands. How many production cars look like LeMans prototypes?
While cars are fully draped in frivolously contoured sheet metal, the motorcycle is relatively naked. There’s a minimalistic approach to the bodywork. Much of the motorcycle eschews covering, and the panels that are in place, feel almost shrink-wrapped to the underlying chassis. F1 design follows the same philosophy with body panels wrapped tight across the hard points of the car.
Contemporary car design occupies the opposite end of the spectrum. Huge sculpted sheets of metal cover the chassis, and that’s fine. The requirements of a passenger sedan simply do not align with those of a superbike. However, the fact that this philosophy hasn’t really caught on with sports car manufacturers is puzzling as there is an industrywide push for lightweight solutions. If you look beyond the mainstream brands, this approach has already driven one brand to prominence.
Looking closer to a motorcycle than a conventional car, the BAC Mono wholeheartedly embraces the minimalistic approach. The car revels in its lack of aesthetic compromise; sharing it’s mechanical guts with the outside world. Beyond the fact that it merely looks the business, by shedding unnecessary body panels (and everything else) in the name of performance, it is terrifyingly fast with a sub 1,200lb curb weight and 285hp.
There is so much visual drama that is missing when cars are fully clothed in metal. The exposed componentry adds to the car’s sense of purpose. The underlying engineering that goes into developing a car is nothing short of incredible. No reason to keep it hidden.