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HomeYAMAHAYamaha's Ill-Fated Morpho Motorcycle Concepts Were Designed To Be Ergonomic

Yamaha’s Ill-Fated Morpho Motorcycle Concepts Were Designed To Be Ergonomic

The Yamaha Morpho debuted at the 1989 Tokyo Motor Show. Gearheads took notice. In addition to superbike stats of 110 horsepower and a top speed of 190 miles per hour, the Morpho made major changes to some of the basics of bike design. Designer James Parker employed Rotationally Advanced Design Development, christening it with the ’80s-appropriate acronym RADD, to open up new possibilities in form and function.
Fundamentally, RADD decoupled Morpho’s suspension from its steering, allowing two separate axes of potential customization. The result was a ride where the handlebars, foot pegs, and even the seat could be easily altered, even by mechanically inexperienced riders. Adding that to neon flourishes in the bodywork and a low center of gravity, the Morpho seemed like a success in the making.
Instead, Yamaha never even put the bike into production — the same fate as many motorbike concepts from that era. Customer tastes had shifted and Yamaha went with them. The company took one more swing with the Morpho II in the early ’90s, but customers were no more enthusiastic. In the end, the company stripped out all the Morpho’s ideas in favor of implementing them in different marques and times: RADD reappeared on the GTS1000 tourer and the Morpho’s quick-change rear wheel has turned up on Yamaha racing bikes (via Motorcyclist).

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