April 17, 2019


Words Ajinkya Nair

Disbelief. That’s your first thought. Spectacles like these don’t come often. But this is more than just a spectacle (even if it looks like one). The TMC Dumont is a one-off concept motorcycle by Tarso Marques, an ex-Formula 1 driver who has taken to building custom motorcycles post-retirement, under the moniker of TMC. Right from the first look, it gets you thinking, ‘does it even work?’ The name Dumont is a tip of the hat to Alberto Santos-Dumont who is hailead as a national hero in Brazil and a pioneer in aviation. He’s one of few people to have contributed significantly to the development of both ‘lighter-than-air’ and ‘heavier-than-air’ aircrafts. Brazilians believe that Dumont got an airplane aloft before America’s Wright Brothers.

All this talk about airplanes isn’t meant to go in vain. Because at the heart of this motorcycle lies an aircraft engine – a monstrous Continental flat six lifted from a 60s-era plane, manufactured by Rolls-Royce. The engine puts out 300 horses, which is a lot for a motorcycle. But what’s even crazier are those mad 36-inch hubless wheels that sit high enough to block the rider’s view, and connect to underslung swingarms by the flimsiest of connections. The reason for going hubless was simple. It lends a sense of levitation to the motorcycle and helps the overall design’s flying-machine motif. Directly transferring that much power to those flimsy looking wheels was properly risky. Which is why a continuously variable transmission (CVT) was developed from scratch for the TMC Dumont.

This is a wildly impractical and ambitious concept. But unlike many concepts we tend to come across, this one actually runs. Imagine finding one next to you at a red light. Chances are rare though, since this is a one-off. The TMC Dumont looks like an amalgamation of the future and the past. Future, for those insane wheels (you can actually sit inside those) and past for the old engine. Impractical it may be, but our world needs a shot of crazy in between, or else things tend to become mundane. And for his imagination and hardwork, Tarso Marques deserves a pat on his back.

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