The Motorcycle: Honouring our past by celebrating our future

 

If you’re a lover of all things motorcycles, escape to ‘The Motorcycle: Design, Art, Desire‘ exhibition at Brisbane’s Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) until 26 Apr 2021. We look to the future with the Fuller Moto ‘2029’, while honouring the past, an eclectic tribute to a century old classic, the Majestic c.1929. The exhibition looks at 150 years of ground-breaking design that shaped one of the most iconic objects the world has ever seen and flaunts the future of these road machines.

DELVE DEEPER: Dip into the full list of Motorcycles in the exhibition: From humble origins to cutting-edge prototypes

Watch as we install ‘The Motorcycle’ exhibition

Get tickets to ‘The Motorcycle’ exhibition

1929 Majestic

‘The Motorcycle: Design, Art, Desire’, Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA), Brisbane / Photograph: Natasha Harth © QAGOMA

The Majestic is perhaps the greatest of all French motorcycle designs, although it had little impact upon its release. Designer Georges Roy was inspired by Art Deco to create the motorcycle’s flowing lines, and its curvaceous pressed-steel bodywork enclosing the entire frame and engine, standard in car manufacturing, was unheard of in motorcycle design at that time.

The Majestic’s design embodies a sense of speed, modernity and luxury emblematic of the 1920s. Its chassis is enclosed in riveted pressed-steel panels, which allowed sophisticated riders to travel without getting messy, unlike other dirty, loud motorcycles of the era. When all motorcycles were black, Roy also offered the Majestic in several bespoke colour schemes.

The motorcycle is not only an aesthetic marvel but also a technical triumph. The hub-centre steering is an example of Roy’s mechanical prowess — looking forward, as it does, to modern-day Yamaha, Bimota and BMW steering and suspension designs.

All of this bravura thinking was expensive to produce, and the Majestic failed to sell in significant numbers. Today, we look at it with a sense of wonder.

RELATED: Read more about the bikes in ‘THE MOTORCYCLE’ exhibition

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Majestic c.1929 / Collection: Bobby Haas and Haas Moto Museum / © Haas Moto Galleries LLC / Photograph: Grant Schwingle
A clipping from the 1930 Majestic catalogue / Image source: The Vintagent

Specifications

Country: France
Power:
11 hp

Engine: 500 cc OHV single
Designer: Georges Roy
Production: 1930-33

Interesting facts

  • Manufactured in several colours, including an ‘alligator’ finish handpainted by the best artisans of the French Guild of Decorative Painters.
  • Inspired by the Ner-a-Car, the Majestic is an early example of a motorcycle wit hub-centered steering – a now common type of front-end suspension.
  • The interwar period of the late 1920s was a time of great optimism and opulence. In France, this period of rich social, artistic and cultural activity was termed Les Années folles (the crazy years). However, following the 1929 Wall Street Crash, the Great Depression reached Paris in 1931.
  • Produced from 1929 to 1933, with a very limited number surviving today.

Music to ride

Françoise Hardy — Le temps de l’amour

Françoise Hardy — ‘Le temps de l’amour’ featured on the 1962 album ‘Tous les garçons et les filles’

2019 Fuller Moto ‘2029’

‘The Motorcycle: Design, Art, Desire’, Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA), Brisbane / Photograph: Natasha Harth © QAGOMA

Commissioned by Bobby Haas to explore possible new directions for custom motorcycles, Bryan Fuller looked to the past while designing and fabricating for the future. This motorcycle was built in anticipation of the 100-year anniversary of the classic 1929 Majestic. Just like the Majestic, the streamlined torpedo shape recalls the Art Deco style of the 1920s.

While the external streamlined shape of the Fuller Moto 2029’s aluminium body mirrors that of the Majestic of 90 years ago, its heart is an electric motorcycle of the twenty-first century with clear polycarbonate wheels and titanium parts produced by Computer Aided Design (CAD) and 3D printing technology.

Like the Majestic, it has the unusual, but innovative, hub-centre steering shared by only a few motorcycles over the years, due to its complexity. However, unseen under the bodywork is the electric motor and battery of a Zero electric motorcycle, a company only in existence since 2006, flipped upside down to work with the low profile of this machine.

The Fuller Moto 2029 looks backwards in order to look to the future of customs. 

Fuller Moto ‘2029’, 2019 / Collection: Bobby Haas and Haas Moto Museum / © Haas Moto Galleries LLC / Photographs: Grant Schwingle

Specifications

Country: USA
Power:
20 kW (27 hp)

Engine: Electric motor with 3.2 kWh battery
Designer: Brian Fuller
Production: Custom

Interesting facts

  • The powertrain for this motorcycle was adapted from a Zero Motorcycles FXS
  • Many components were made from 3D-printed titanium while the panels are hand formed
  • Renowned artist and designer Nick Pugh – who has worked on concept art for the Start Wars and Wolverine film franchises – contributed to the Fuller Moto’s futuristic design
  • The Fuller Moto 2029 was commissioned as a piece of ‘rolling art’ by Bobby Haas, owner of the Haas Moto Museum and Sculpture Gallery in Dallas, Texas. This one-of-a-kind bike focuses on form as much as function, with stylish clear polycarbonate wheels designed to reach speeds of around 145 km/h.

Music to ride

The Art Of Noise — Moments In Love

The Art Of Noise — ‘Moments In Love’ featured on their 1983 album ‘Into Battle with the Art of Noise’

Watch: Motorcycles on Screen

In association with ‘The Motorcycle: Design, Art, Desire’, the Australian Cinémathèque at the Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) presents the free program ‘Motorcycles on Screen’, which explores the rich history of the vehicle in cinema, from the silent era to today. ‘Motorcycles on Screen’ runs until 25 April 2021.

Buy: ‘The Motorcycle’ publication

With over 320 pages and 400 colour illustrations, The Motorcycle: Design, Art, Desire showcases 100 superb examples of motorcycle design from the late 19th century to the present day and beyond to the technological innovations of the future. Beautifully illustrated with newly commissioned photography and archival ephemera, this visually arresting survey of the motorcycle’s influence in realms as diverse as film, fashion, sport, advertising, and technology will prove compulsive reading to design lovers and motorcycle fans alike. Available at the QAGOMA Store and online

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