Futuristic New Motorcycle Design Is Wild Enough to Work

Ex-Formula One driver Tarso Marques has turned his talents into building the most interesting looking motorcycle of all time.

Tarso Marques’ TMC Dumont or Batman’s latest toy? (Image courtesy of Tarso Marques.)

Tarso Marques’ TMC Dumont or Batman’s latest toy? (Image courtesy of Tarso Marques.)

It goes without saying that Formula One drivers appreciate things that move fast. Retired competitor Tarso Marques, however, might be even more speed obsessed than most. Having recently turned his talents to design, Marques has been out to push the boundaries of what’s possible in the automotive world. His latest project is a vehicle that looks more like a spaceship than a street-legal vehicle.

The TMC Dumont is a motorcycle built around a 300-horsepower Rolls-Royce Continental V6 engine repurposed from a 1960s-era helicopter. The designer had to more or less reconfigure the entire motor from scratch to get the vehicle running, not to mention looking snazzy enough to show off. If that particular piece of ingenuity wasn’t enough to win Daytona Bike Week’s “Best in Show” award, Marques reasoned, the 36-inch hubless wheels would surely be the icing on the cake. The final product looks like something out of an action movie—the Batmobile or a Transformer would both be apt comparisons.

Long Time Coming

Marques says he has been working on the concept for at least 15 years. It took an especially long time because of the external technological investment—an obvious requirement on a project this inspired. A native Brazilian, Marques wanted to keep the entire manufacturing and assembly process domestic, which also proved a limiting factor when it came to speed.

Watch: Marques and a team member assemble the entire vehicle.

The tires, which according to Marques are the largest to ever be used on a motorcycle, were designed and manufactured in-house by TMC exclusively for the Dumont project. Because they’re fixed on a plane beneath the engine and chassis, the presentation gives observers the distinct illusion that the bike is floating.

Coming to a Stoplight Near You?

With a massive engine that the fits much less comfortably beneath the rider than with a traditional motorcycle and outlandish wheels, many observers who first saw the vehicle assumed it was art—fun to look at, but worthless in function. Interestingly, however, one of the qualifications required for participation in Bike Week’s design competition is usability. It’s not something anyone would want to drive every day, but it’s more than capable of handling a few (very stylish) rides here and there. The realized version of Marques’ audacious design might not look practical to ride, but he made a point of demonstrating that it is—he showed up to the Daytona event riding the vehicle.