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Dodge's Four-Wheel Motorcycle! (The Tomahawk)
Popular Science ^ | April 2003 | by Dick Teresi

Posted on 03/26/2003 4:52:18 PM PST by vannrox



500-300-200. That's horsepower, miles per hour and thousands of dollars: the oversize numbers for Dodge's 4-wheel Tomahawk "motorcycle" prototype (named for the cruise missile), which the company says it may bring to market.

Dodge's Four-Wheel Motorcycle! (The Tomahawk)


by Dick Teresi

The biggest news out of DaimlerChrysler this spring is not a sport-utility vehicle or a sports car. It's a motorcycle. A big, weird motorcycle.

The Dodge Tomahawk is auto erotica for the customizer and power freak. An enormous 500-horsepower V10 Viper engine sits on a billet aluminum body, each part a one-off custom design, machined to order. The exhaust note reminds us of a light aircraft's, with enough crackle to rattle windows.

A noticeable departure is the four wheels. OK, a four-wheeled motorcycle is an oxymoron, but in this case the wheels are closely paired, giving the vehicle a motorcycle appearance if you squint hard. Dodge sees the four wheels as an advantage, noting that the bike stands up on its own. (Customers willing to shell out $200,000 should be happy to learn that they won't need to buy a kickstand as well.)

So what happens to this 4-wheeler when you lean into a turn? Similar designs have rolled up on just two tires when banking, then dropped back onto all four when the bike straightens out, sometimes with uncomfortable results. Thanks to an inventive suspension, all four of the Tomahawk's tires remain in contact with the road even when the bike is cornering. Yet it's no car. You lean and counter-steer, just like on a bike.



The bike's name was inspired by the Tomahawk cruise missile, and it may be equally ridable. Dodge first announced a top speed of 420 mph, then dropped that to "300+." DaimlerChrysler spokespeople proved unable to illuminate us further. Can we ride the bike to check the speed? we asked. "No." Can we talk to one of your company riders? "No." Can you give us some riding impressions? "No." Can we use your bathroom? "No."

Desperate for expertise, I called my brother, Joe Teresi, whose Easyriders Streamliner bike holds the world speed record: 322 mph on the Bonneville Salt Flats, set in 1990. Looking at photos of the Tomahawk, Joe was dubious. Dodge computed the Tomahawk's theoretical top speed only from horsepower and final drive ratio. Joe says this ignores other critical factors, such as frontal area and drag and the coefficient of tire friction to the ground. Joe offered Dodge the use of his Dyno-Drag, a motorcycle dynamometer/simulator, to ascertain the Tomahawk's top speed. When I relayed the offer to Dodge spokesman David Elshoff, he said, and I quote, "No." Elshoff did say Dodge would someday take the Tomahawk for a run at Bonneville.

Dave Campos, who was onboard the Easyriders Streamliner for the world record, predicted the Tomahawk wouldn't do well in the real world -- and that the rider would do worse. The Teresi/Campos bike was powered by two 91-cubic-inch Harley Shovelhead engines and enclosed in a fairing. The Tomahawk Viper engine is 505 cubic inches; the rider is exposed. Campos said he would be foiled by air resistance. At high speeds, "your back acts as a wing. It'll lift you right off the bike." Campos was also skeptical about the four-wheel steering, and said he doubted the bike would hit 200 mph. Still, he wishes the Tomahawk team luck at Bonneville. "Let nothing but fear stand in your way," he said.

Many bikes today are built for show, not go, and even if the Tomahawk never breaks 55, there are a lot of guys who'd like to trailer it to Sturgis or Daytona during Bike Week just to fire up that motor and drown out the Harley crowd. Or, as my brother says, "It's a nice engine stand for your Viper V10."


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Extended News; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: autoshop; business; motorcycle; new; ride; technology; tomahawk; unusual
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Cool.
1 posted on 03/26/2003 4:52:18 PM PST by vannrox
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To: vannrox
I suppose it's okay, but I always hate to see wasted space. LOL
2 posted on 03/26/2003 4:53:57 PM PST by DoughtyOne
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To: vannrox
got the motorcyclist pics on it
way better pics too...stone cold awesome

I want one.....No, two !!
3 posted on 03/26/2003 4:54:06 PM PST by cactusSharp (( if pc skills named us,I'd be backspace delete))
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To: vannrox
Looks like something from Blade Runner.
4 posted on 03/26/2003 4:54:22 PM PST by Paul Atreides
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To: 68 grunt; A Navy Vet; angry elephant; archy; Askel5; baddog1; basil; beowolf; BikerNYC; ...
It takes a secure man to ride a fuschia bike. FReeper Motorcycle Hooligan
Send FReepmail if you want on/off FMH list

5 posted on 03/26/2003 4:54:36 PM PST by martin_fierro (Mr. Avuncular)
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To: vannrox
Puts a whole new meaning on the term "Crotch Rocket"
6 posted on 03/26/2003 4:55:28 PM PST by TADSLOS (Sua Sponte)
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To: vannrox
Cool - it's like a motorcycle with permanent training wheels. I like it.
7 posted on 03/26/2003 4:56:38 PM PST by CheneyChick (Lock & Load)
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To: vannrox
As with the S&W .500 magnum revolver - I say you have to be slightly off kilter to actually fire this sucker up. I've always found the raw power of a 400cc dirtbike to be quite shocking. This....nutty.
8 posted on 03/26/2003 4:59:17 PM PST by OOPisforLiberals
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To: vannrox

It's been done. First, it was Hollywood that can't come out with anything original and now Detroit is ripping off classic anime....
9 posted on 03/26/2003 4:59:36 PM PST by Brian Mosely
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To: vannrox
A teeny, tiny little word like "Awesome" doesn't seem to do it justice !
10 posted on 03/26/2003 5:01:11 PM PST by SENTINEL (Active participant in the animating contest of freedom !)
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To: vannrox
this is not your dads seugway
11 posted on 03/26/2003 5:02:00 PM PST by al baby
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To: vannrox
Save yourself some money and just put a hand grenade in your pants! :-O
12 posted on 03/26/2003 5:02:07 PM PST by Milwaukee_Guy (Having France in NATO, is like taking an accordion deer hunting.......)
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To: Paul Atreides
More like Tron!
13 posted on 03/26/2003 5:02:50 PM PST by steveyp
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To: vannrox
So, the only function of the 4 wheels is that you don't need a kickstand? And that's worth $200,000? I'm reminded of the words of Frank Loyd Wright... "form follows function." This is gonna fail big time.
14 posted on 03/26/2003 5:03:38 PM PST by Deb8
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To: martin_fierro
Let me on it for about two minutes...

...get it up to about 4000 RPM and then pop the clutch. Wonder how much rubber I'd leave on the road...

15 posted on 03/26/2003 5:05:08 PM PST by sit-rep
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To: vannrox
They stole that idea from Tron and Shania Twain music video..shame on them! :-)
16 posted on 03/26/2003 5:07:11 PM PST by cyborg
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To: vannrox
I told my son I would make the down payment on one but he wants a KTM Dual Sport...
17 posted on 03/26/2003 5:11:36 PM PST by tubebender (?)
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To: *Auto Shop
http://www.freerepublic.com/perl/bump-list
18 posted on 03/26/2003 5:12:04 PM PST by Libertarianize the GOP (Ideas have consequences)
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To: vannrox

Ready for a run??

Fat chicks need wheelie bars.

19 posted on 03/26/2003 5:15:24 PM PST by JoeSixPack1 (POW/MIA - Bring 'em home, or send us back! Semper Fi)
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To: Deb8
....This is gonna fail big time

Naw. It wouldn't fail, because its never going to get beyond the "concept" stage. My husband is a Dodge salesman and pointed out why:

1) It is too expensive.

2) The target-market for it is way too small to justify the expense of production.

3) It is in essense a toy, and nothing more. You're not going to ride this thing to work, or take junior to soft ball practice.

4) Insurance for this thing-- esp. against theft-- will be impossible to find.

5) If you thought the SUV was a moving target, this thing is a lawyer's dream come true.

20 posted on 03/26/2003 5:15:31 PM PST by yankeedame ("Oh, I can take it, but I'd much rather dish it out.")
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To: vannrox
I wish I had it.
Then I could sell it and buy myself a Wide glide, a VMax, a Warrior, another Harley, and put a bunch in the bank.
21 posted on 03/26/2003 5:16:02 PM PST by philetus (Keep doing what you always do and you'll keep getting what you always get)
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To: vannrox
But doesn't calling this bike "The Tomahawk" offend somebody or other?
22 posted on 03/26/2003 5:18:02 PM PST by 3catsanadog (When anything goes, everything will.)
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To: Brian Mosely
Heh heh, I'd love to have a bike like Kaneda's. I sure don't want to pay $200,000 for one, though.
23 posted on 03/26/2003 5:18:27 PM PST by Future Snake Eater
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To: 3catsanadog
"He who dares not offend cannot be honest". Thomas Paine
24 posted on 03/26/2003 5:19:30 PM PST by JoeSixPack1 (POW/MIA - Bring 'em home, or send us back! Semper Fi)
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To: sit-rep
Wonder how much rubber I'd leave on the road

All of it.

25 posted on 03/26/2003 5:21:28 PM PST by RightWhale (Theorems link concepts: Proofs establish links)
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To: vannrox
Instead of wasting time on phallic indulgences like this thing, I would think some motorcyle manufacturer could strike gold if they developed a commuter vehicle that used motorcycle components but had none of the (perceived) drawbacks of a motorcycle. Sure, it would be nothing but a very small car, but you could probably sell a lot of them to green weenies, soccer moms, and bikers who couldn't hold up the big iron anymore. Mileage would be great, parking a breeze, and the zip of a 1,000 cc engine on the right frame and with a lightweight composite shell would be sporty enough to entice performance addicts.

This thing is just some engineer's testosterone-fueled wet dream. It's as practical as plate glass underwear.

26 posted on 03/26/2003 5:30:46 PM PST by IronJack
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To: vannrox
If it's not a Harley-Davidson, I'm not interested. :-)
27 posted on 03/26/2003 5:31:54 PM PST by GOP_Lady
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To: vannrox
Very Cool machine.

It should be noted however, that motorcycles have two in-line wheels. Sorry, they'll have to call it something else.

28 posted on 03/26/2003 5:32:08 PM PST by AFreeBird (God Bless, God Speed and safe return of our troops, and may God's love be with the fallen and family)
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To: IronJack

You referring to this?

29 posted on 03/26/2003 5:33:01 PM PST by JoeSixPack1 (POW/MIA - Bring 'em home, or send us back! Semper Fi)
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To: vannrox
To hell with it, it is made by a comppany that is owned by the Germans. Stick with a Harley!
30 posted on 03/26/2003 5:33:45 PM PST by The South Texan
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To: vannrox
The production model will have a complete Velcro suit and matching Velcro tank pad. The rider will wear special gloves designed to be lashed to the handlebars. The foot pedals will include special ski bindings to keep the feet in place.

The marketing pitch will be:

"The two of you will become one....'til death do you part."

31 posted on 03/26/2003 5:34:13 PM PST by NoControllingLegalAuthority
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To: Brian Mosely
I think it looks more like Tron's lightcycles. Pretty cool either way.
32 posted on 03/26/2003 5:36:54 PM PST by discostu (I have not yet begun to drink)
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To: NoControllingLegalAuthority
This is a typical Chrysler: great looking piece of horse dung.
33 posted on 03/26/2003 5:40:38 PM PST by old3030
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To: Future Snake Eater
Somebody's been working on it...
34 posted on 03/26/2003 5:48:01 PM PST by Brian Mosely
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To: vannrox
This thing can't go on the public streets and was never intended to. It has 3" clearance without a rider.
35 posted on 03/26/2003 5:48:18 PM PST by Abcdefg
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To: martin_fierro
Mine's faster.
36 posted on 03/26/2003 5:55:18 PM PST by Hank Rearden (Dick Gephardt. Before he dicks you.)
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To: vannrox
I'll stick with something that can actually corner. :)


37 posted on 03/26/2003 6:04:44 PM PST by killjoy
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To: IronJack
"Instead of wasting time on phallic indulgences like this thing, I would think some motorcyle manufacturer could strike gold if they developed a commuter vehicle that used motorcycle components but had none of the (perceived) drawbacks of a motorcycle. Sure, it would be nothing but a very small car, but you could probably sell a lot of them to green weenies, soccer moms, and bikers who couldn't hold up the big iron anymore. Mileage would be great, parking a breeze, and the zip of a 1,000 cc engine on the right frame and with a lightweight composite shell would be sporty enough to entice performance addicts."

The third world is filled with such scooters/mopeds. They're inherently unsafe, and uncomfortably exposed to the elements. Maybe they would be a hit in Hawaii.

38 posted on 03/26/2003 6:06:46 PM PST by Atlas Sneezed
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To: Beelzebubba
The third world is filled with such scooters/mopeds. They're inherently unsafe, and uncomfortably exposed to the elements. Maybe they would be a hit in Hawaii.

BMW has already one upped the scooter/moped:


39 posted on 03/26/2003 6:11:57 PM PST by killjoy
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To: Bear_in_RoseBear
Pingpingping!
40 posted on 03/26/2003 6:46:21 PM PST by Rose in RoseBear (HHD [... zoom-zoom! ...])
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To: vannrox
I briefly saw a shot of a motorcycle with a very unusual front wheel. The wheel was stationary and the tire ran in some sort of track around the periphery of the 'wheel'. I saw this in a 'flash' on one of those Discovery channel ads and never saw the actual show. Wish I could find out more about it.

I am aware of experimental vehicles consisting of a single wheel in which the driver sits; I've seen a couple of concepts. This idea appears to adapt the rolling rim to a cycle (the one I saw, that is)...

--Boris

41 posted on 03/26/2003 6:51:56 PM PST by boris (Education is always painful; pain is always educational)
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To: TADSLOS
At 200 grand, how much will the insurance be?
42 posted on 03/26/2003 6:53:35 PM PST by plusone
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To: IronJack
I would think some motorcyle manufacturer could strike gold if they developed a commuter vehicle that used motorcycle components but had none of the (perceived) drawbacks of a motorcycle.

Maybe a modernized version of the funky little ultra-mini car that was sold in Europe back in the sixties and seventies. I'm pretty sure BMW sold one. I've seen one but can't remember the name of the thing I'm talking about. The front opens up on the thing and you back into it to sit down. I'd love to have one. There's also the weird enclosed motor-trike that Domino's pizza had designed to deliver pizza in. They couldn't get affordable insurance for 'em and the idea fell apart. I've seen one of them too.

MM

43 posted on 03/26/2003 6:57:02 PM PST by MississippiMan
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To: plusone
If you have to ask, you can't afford it.
44 posted on 03/26/2003 6:57:50 PM PST by TADSLOS (Sua Sponte)
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To: vannrox
A great way to get from one gas station to the next..
45 posted on 03/26/2003 7:01:50 PM PST by Jhoffa_ (Hi, I'm Johnny Knoxville, and this is "Freepin for Zot!")
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To: martin_fierro
I knew I shouldn't have ripped up my CIA credit card. Bummer!
46 posted on 03/26/2003 7:02:21 PM PST by Eastbound
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To: DoughtyOne
Very cool but for us old guys, a Kauwy 500 triple with chambers and a little porting will kill you just as fast. And I believe in getting value for my money.

47 posted on 03/26/2003 7:05:40 PM PST by Lx (So it's now, Duct tape and cover?)
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To: Lx

You're refering to a old Suzuki "water buffalo" here, aren't you?

48 posted on 03/26/2003 7:08:02 PM PST by Jhoffa_ (Hi, I'm Johnny Knoxville, and this is "Freepin for Zot!")
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To: Jhoffa_
No, although those Suzuki triples were nice. I'm talking about a 500cc Kawasaki triple two stroke, I think it was an H1, the one that had a distributor. I rode one and it must have felt like what those guys catapulting off of ships feel. I've ridden bigger and supposedly faster bikes but the scream, vibration and the fact that your front wheel is in the air for the first three gears is quite a rush.

With the correct mods, it would outrun a 750 triple. The downside was that it couldn't corner worth a damn.


49 posted on 03/26/2003 7:15:01 PM PST by Lx (So it's now, Duct tape and cover?)
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To: Lx
One of the fastest older Kaw's I ever saw was the Z1. Guy up the road had one.

Never encountered a triple other than the two stroke, water cooled Suzuki.

50 posted on 03/26/2003 7:17:19 PM PST by Jhoffa_ (Hi, I'm Johnny Knoxville, and this is "Freepin for Zot!")
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