Motorcycles have been a staple of the Technic range since 1979, ranging in size from the 27-piece 2544 Motorcycle to the new 603-piece 42063 BMW R 1200 GS Adventure, the first one to be based on a real bike.
The large ones are released on a roughly two year schedule, with the last one being 42036 Street Motorcycle that I reviewed in January 2015. Recently LEGO has alternated between road bikes and off-road, with 42007 Moto Cross Bike being the last of the latter, which was also the subject of a review here, in January 2013.
So, let's see what this latest one, a model of a hybrid on-/off-road machine, has to offer...
Before looking the LEGO version, let's familiarise ourselves with the real bike. It's a beast, with a 1200 cc 2-cylinder engine and shaft driven rear wheel, attached by a single swing-arm, capable of 200Km/h.
This is pretty much the the version LEGO has modelled, with knobbly tyres, panniers and a top box.
Here's a blue one, without the luggage:
Parts are packed in un-numbered bags and building begins with the engine and shaft drive, which is a fairly complex mechanism.
Standard LEGO cylinder parts have been used but because they are not large enough the heads have been extended out by 4 units, leaving a gap between them and that of the cylinder part. I don't think I like it much but at least it gives the impression that you can see inside the cylinder.
The bike's frame is then added, including a spring for the front suspension. Unlike many bikes, this one uses a telelever rather than conventional front forks incorporating the suspension so its positioning here is accurate.
Front and rear bodywork...
Once the fuel tank sides and fairing have been added the bike is complete. All that's left is the luggage.
The completed model
From certain angles, the bike looks fantastic. The general appearance matches that of the real bike well although although there are a few aspects I don't like.
The main issue with the appearance is the unsightly gap under the seat that's evident when viewing it side-on. It's typical to have a large void there on trail bikes but not this one, as you can see from the image at the top of the review.
On the model it has to be there to accommodate the 15mm or so of travel in the rear suspension which, when extrapolated up to the size of the prototype, is way too much.
One thing that's definitely an improvement on this model compared to other Technic bikes is the shaft drive. Normally a chain drive is modelled and it never looks right but there's no such problem here.
The lid of the top-box can be lifted for helmet storage, if one was provided.
The other thing that does not look right at all is the front tip of the fairing. Compare it below with that on the real bike above which ends, as you would expect, in a aerodynamic point. I can't think of a better solution using Technic parts but perhaps judicial use of a few System parts would have provided one.
Compared to 42036 Street Motorcycle
It's bigger and chunkier but it's about the same scale.
The alternative model is odd, some sort of futuristic flying machine. I suppose it looks cool but not cool enough to warrant buying another set so you can build the two simultaneously.
Perhaps in an attempt to try and explain what it is the manual offers this concept art:
Ever since purchasing 8422 Circuit Shock Racer fresh out of my dark ages in 1995 I've had a soft spot for Technic bikes and generally speaking each iteration has been an improvement on its predecessors. There's no disputing that this latest one is an impressive model, one which raises the bar for Technic bikes.
The design and, importantly, the technical features of the real bike have been modelled accurately although, as pointed out above, there are a few cosmetic issues with the fairing and under-seat area but these are not sufficient to detract from what is otherwise an excellent model that would look fantastic sitting on anyone's desk or workshop as a display piece.
I think it's a set that'll definitely appeal to Technic fans, and perhaps it will draw a few BMW Mororrad fans into their fold, too.
From shop.LEGO.com it's £54.99 in the UK and €49.99 in Germany and France, which really illustrates the effects of Brexit on LEGO prices. In this instance I think those of us in the UK would be better off buying from BrickLink where it can be had for about £38 from German sellers.
I imagine it'll be released in North America in March.