Wednesday, November 26, 2008

In conversation with Gerald Kiska

Gerald Kiska has some interesting opinions to express, and he doesn't mince words!
Pics: Motociclismo

Based in Austria, Gerald Kiska has a Bachelor’s degree in Industrial design, has worked with various design agencies in Austria and Germany and is the founder-owner of Kiska, an industrial design company.

Gerald has worked with bike manufacturers like KTM, Aprilia, Piaggio and Moto Guzzi and is generally well respected in the two-wheeler world for his designing capabilities. Motociclismo recently had the opportunity to do an interview with him in Milan. Here are some excerpts from what Gerald had to say:

On the ‘sharp’ designs he uses for KTM

"That is a choice designed especially for KTM, to somehow express the marque’s soul and heart. I find it perfect KTM’s hard-edged machines, and we’ll continue to develop this design language for them. The rest also seem to believe this idea has been successful. Honda, Yamaha, Kawasaki and Aprilia designs have gained more edges over the last few years – just compare the first RSV to the current model."

On working in groups

"Yes, there are people behind the curtains. Certainly, I work in groups, but I also work a lot in the group. There are at least 15 other people who work on KTM designs, though the results must always be kept consistent. Personally, I am a fan of the traditional way of doing things – with clay. I want to touch the motorcycles I sculpt…"

On design being brought in-house by motorcycle companies

"Claudio Castiglioni was the first to hire professionals - Galluzzi and Terblanche - and bring design within his company. Before that, most companies relied on consulting firms like mine."

On how he managed to succeed

"People. My people are carefully selected and they work hard. Quality is everything. Design is a difficult environment, a bit like being in Formula One. Everyone wants to win, and for that, apart from being good, you must also have the right car…!"

On working for KTM

"Yes, they were my first customers. We have always done everything for them – their bikes’ styling, the KTM apparel, advertising campaigns… The SuperDuke was a major turning point, the first bike for which our design was really acknowledged and appreciated."

On his favourite motorcycles

"The Ducati 916 is a unique, timeless masterpiece. Then, I also like the Benelli TNT."

On Ducati designs

"After Terblanche, Ducati is getting consistent. It’s interesting that three designers created three different bikes, but consistent with each other – the Monster (Galluzzi), the 916 (Tamburini) and Supermoto (Terblanche). But the first rule of industrial design is that it’s the company that should count, not you. You respect historical continuity. Terblanche was too self-centred."

On future KTMs

"We are still considering various options. For example, we’re still not sure if a naked 160bhp bike is the right thing to do. In the future, I believe the market will be divided into two – one for more or less utilitarian machines that would be used for commuting, and the other for sportsbikes for people who really want to ride. For the latter, we’ll need to see what can be the best solution for our customers…"

On the KTM RC8’s styling

"We were inspired by the Stealth Fighter, the most technically advanced aircraft in the world. We started with lines in the middle, the top was much less important and the tail is painted black to make it 'disappear'. With KTM, we can make a niche product – there is no need to please everybody."

On working with Chinese two-wheeler manufacturers

"In China, at the moment, I do not see any style or any brand emerging. Chinese culture seems to be completely different to the Japanese – it’s not about improving the product, but only about selling more units and making money."

Also see:
Honda 2025 Racer Concept unveiled...
Nitin Design: The Dacoit roams the streets...
When Lamborghini decided to build a motorcycle...
Classic: 1964 Bianchi Bicilindrica 500cc GP racer...
Pendolauto: Franco Sbarro's four-wheeled motorcycle concept...
Pierre Terblanche leaves Ducati... to do boats!
Blast from the past: The mighty Britten V1000
Giordano Loi’s Ducati Desmo Infinito...

Elsewhere today:
Gerald Kiska talks about design...
The bike for people with just too much money...!
Harley-Davidson XR1200 launched in the US...
The coolest, fastest taxi ever...

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