Tuesday, February 16, 2010

In conversation with Oberdan Bezzi

Oberdan Bezzi (above, second from left), with a team of designers...

As a motorcycle designer, he’s worked with companies like Ducati, Cagiva, Aprilia, Benelli and Moto Guzzi. And you can tell by his sketches – which you are likely to have seen on various motorcycle websites – that he quite loves bikes. So, of course, we caught up with Oberdan Bezzi for a quick chat. Here are some excerpts from what he has to say:

On how he got started with motorcycle design

I was born with a passion for motorcycles. In the area of Italy where I live (North East), the love for motorcycles and cars is widespread. I attended technical schools and at the same time I honed my skills in design. Then I met with Massimo Tamburini and I started working with him. Afterwards, for many years I worked as a consultant and as an internal designer in various Style Centers for Italian and international companies.

On working with Ducati, Cagiva, Aprilia, Benelli and Moto Guzzi

Having worked with these companies as an external consultant, for contractual reasons, I cannot mention the models to which I contributed [but] I can say that some of those bikes went into regular production. In all these factories, I found a lot of passion and professionalism, and I got in touch with some of the best technicians in the world. It’s amazing how the best people in the field of two-wheelers are so kind and modest.

Oberdan aboard Randy Mamola's Cagiva 500 GP racer (above) two decades ago...

On his own favourite motorcycles

I like several bikes, but for me, some of the milestones in motorcycle design are the Manx Norton, Honda NR750, Honda RC211V and RC212V. I also like the first Honda CB750, the 1970s Kawasaki Mach 1, the Kawasaki GPZ and the Ducati 916.

On European vs Japanese motorcycle design

The approach to motorcycle design is very different, although in both cases it leads to excellent results. Europeans (especially Italians) follow the intuition of a single person who expresses his ideas, which then are shared by engineers to form the development team. The Japanese design is more ‘scientific,’ there is a thorough preliminary study in order to have a product that meets public expectations. It’s striking, however, that often the approach of the ‘heart’ and ‘head’ will lead to very close results...

On the future of hybrid and electric motorcycles

I believe in electric and hybrid two-wheelers, but the brands currently ignore aesthetics in favour of the technological aspect. This is not conducive to the spread of such vehicles. People buy a bike especially for the aesthetic pleasure. That it will also work fine is automatically implied.

On his own dream bike

The bike I would design would be an extreme sportsbike. Technology from a MotoGP bike, lighter, more powerful and very, very aggressive. It will be beautiful!

We thank Oberdan for his time and wish him all the best. And we definitely hope he gets to design that dream bike of his someday! To see more of Oberdan’s sketches, visit his website here


Anonymous said...

Of all the bikes here, the Katana-inspired Suzuki and the naked S1000RR are by far the best. Hope Bezzi Boy's designs actually go into production someday... ;-)

Jason M said...

A few years ago it was beginning to look like the Japs were catching up with the Euros when it comes to bike design. But they again seem to have lost the plot a bit.

The latest GSX-R1000 looks like a pregnant duck, the new R1 is awkward, the ZX-10R is old hat and the Fireblade is an alien bug. Compared with these machines, the 10 year old MV Agusta F4 and the Ducati 1198 are just sublime.

Maybe the Jap designers should dump the noodles and the sushi and start eating more pasta and steaks?


Majid said...

I think this whole europe vs japan thing is over rated. japs also make some terrific looking bikes these days. the F4 is ancient and the 1198 is a heated up 916. what's so special about that?

HeavyDuty said...

Majid: If you have to ask what is so special about the F4 and the 1198, well ... you just don't get it. I don't disagree that the Japs have built some well designed bikes but outside of the Suzuki Katana, (which was farmed out and designed by German Hans Muth, ex-BMW), most of their bikes are their own versions of other companies motorcycles. The Japs aren't revolutionary designers but they're good at knocking-off other people. The Italians are the best IMO.

Carbon Canyon said...

How cliche. Italians knock off too. For example, the 916 owes a lot to the Honda NR.

There's nothing "revolutionary" about the design of the 1198. It's very pleasant to look at, that's all. If anything it's an evolutionary design; it's "a heated up 916" like Majid said. And to be quite honest, it looks a bit like the old Fireblade.

It's like you guys are forgetting the design abortions the Italians have made like the 999 or the previous Multistrada. Or the new Multistrada's front fender.

The previous R1 is in my mind one of the best looking bikes ever. I like the current R6 as well. But I realize it's all opinion. When I read elitist bullshit like "you just don't get it", it becomes painfully obvious that you've bought into the hype. Don't let the country of origin affect whether or not you like a bike's design.



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