Suzuki unveils concepts for Tokyo Show

Suzuki Motor Corp.'s planned exhibit for the 40th Tokyo Motor Show includes two concept motorcycles, the sleek V4-powered Biplane and the fuel-cell-equipped Crosscage.

How important are concept bikes? Remember the B-King? Suzuki unveiled it in concept form at the 2001 Tokyo Motor Show and introduced it as a production model six years later.

The Biplane's front-heavy lines borrow from other recently revealed concepts, and beg the question: Is this a design trend likely to make it into future production?

Suzuki says the model was made to communicate the joy of two-wheel mobility through a design that was uniquely inspired by the feeling of flying or piloting an airplane. Looking at the concept makes that statement easier to understand.

The bike's riding position would have the pilot stretched out atop a canopy-like fuel tank; mirroring the narrow tail of a plane, the modern swingarm holds a rear wheel covered only by a low-profile fender; and the lower bodywork, shrouding the under-engine exhaust, is reminiscent of an aircraft's underbelly.

Of course you'll also notice the five-spoke sportbike wheels, perimeter front brake rotors, radical Hossack/Fior style front suspension, and the solo seat suspended above a lay-down rear shock.

What's the problem with alternative energy vehicles? Quite a few people would say "the look." Suzuki says it understands that, and says it's rolling out the Crosscage to show that environmentally friendly motorcycles can look just as sporty as its other bikes.

Visually most obvious on the Crosscage is the unique cross-beam frame that helps support the powerplant, the single-sided front suspension and swingarm, the solo seat and the low-profile and rear-swept handlebar position. But, with help from Britain?s Intelligent Energy, the Crosscage offers lower fuel consumption than its brethren through the use of an air-cooled fuel-cell system mated to a lithium-ion battery.