John Metcalfe was CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, covering climate change and the science of cities.
This aggressive, jet-black motorcycle was inspired by the Japanese legend of the 47 ronin.
So the Ronin motorcycle lacks front-mounted cannons and grappling hooks. But say that Bruce Wayne went belly-up during the financial crisis: This ferocious, gleaming-ebony cycle would definitely be his next choice to ride while whipping bad-guy tail.
Despite first appearances, this futuristic-looking motorbike wasn't hammered together by Japan's nutso street-racer gearheads; astute observers will notice it's built on the body of a Buell, a now-defunct Harley-Davidson brand. The makers of the cycle, Denver's Ronin Motorworks, wanted to pay a tribute to the Buell's iconoclastic design, so they bought up a bunch of 1125 models and took them into the garage. What emerged was a trimmed-down bike that rides fast and, with a sleek, muscular body, looks like a leopard in mid-pounce.
The motorworks folks plan to release 47 of these vicious rides as a tribute to the Japanese legend of the 47 ronin. "Taken from the Japanese word for a Samurai who lost his master," they say, "the name 'Ronin' was chosen to signify Buell motorcycles that will continue on after the demise of the company." Fittingly, each bike is engraved with a different ronin's name ("Horibe Takeyasu," for instance) and comes with its own bamboo toolbox. Check it out:
And while this video treats the bike with the unintentionally humorous gravitas of a late-career Keanu Reeves, it provides a nice look into how it was actually made:
H/t Design Collector