Inspiration is a beautiful thing that has a tendency to pass on from one individual to the other. The word itself comes from the latin word inspirare, which means “to breath into”. While our entire world is a culture based on inspirations that keeps building better and higher than before, it takes intelligence and high levels of creativity to take an inspiration, form one’s opinion around it and then build around it with one’s own idea. While that idea is an inspiration, it is still unique and something unheard of before. This applies quite deeply to the Neil Blomkamp Chappie.
It all started in the mind of Neil Blomkamp who created Chappie, a robot that becomes conscious and starts to understand the world around him in a very peculiar way. The movie was a mental overhaul into how artificial intelligence could be taught to gain consciousness and find its own identity amongst humans. The Blomkamp Chappie had a thoughtful impact on the creative mind of Jakusa Design’s Tamás Jakus who took inspiration from the character to imagine Chappie in the body of a Triumph Tiger Explorer, and it was a brilliant take on how a motorcycle could be related to another machine.
As it goes with inspiration, Jakusa’s design came to the notice of yet another creator; Anubhav Arya, a 29-year old furniture designer from Silvassa, India saw Jakus’ Chappie. Coming from a background of automotive journalism and filmmaking, he imagined the possibility of a real-world motorcycle that could be based on Blomkamp’s AI robot. Being a motorcyclist himself who owned a KTM Duke 200 at that time, Anubhav soon found himself completely consumed by the idea of bringing Chappie to life. Thankfully for him, one of his own friends had recently started his very own design studio in the nearby town of Pune.
Anubhav approached Mukul Nanda, who had recently started Autologue Design after finishing his training at DC Design. Mukul brought his combined experience of being trained at India’s largest/oldest design house and his previous study in automotive design to brainstorm ideas with Anubhav about how to bring Chappie to life. They discussed if even such a project could be made possible, considering the compact dimensions of the KTM Duke 200. Another challenge while designing was to implement the correct flow of lines, since Chappie was based on a boxy design that would not translate well when put on a motorcycle. Anubhav and Mukul once again referred to Jakusa’s Triumph Tiger Explorer-based Chappie to get better understanding of how to get a continuous flow on the body panels from the front towards the back of the motorcycle. They realised that the build would look more proportional if the ears were moved ahead to the headlight instead of the tail to give the build a skeuomorphic resemblance of the movie character.
Post designing and conceptualisation, Autologue Design had to go though unexplored territory to ensure that their KTM Chappie came out the same way they had intended to. The transparent acrylic panelling on the rear seat cowl bends at the top, for which the team had to explore the process of vacuum forming. The transparent panels at the rear and at the tank house LED lights below them, giving the KTM Chappie a more lively character.
Autologue Design has a big advantage when working with KTM motorcycles, specially the smaller Dukes and RC machines, as the Indian design atelier already creates KTM Duke 200 accessories along with parts for the Duke/RC 390. This enabled Autologue to go out of the way to invest their time in developing more advance body panels for the KTM. They even went through the trouble of creating special 3D printed glow-in-the-dark badges that could stand out no matter night or day. While the Blomkamp Chappie sports a fairly industrial look, Autologue din’t feel that the same paint scheme would make their build stand out. To ensure that their version of Chappie retains its industrial feel, but at the same time doesn’t look too dull, Autologue experimented with a three-colour paint strategy where they used a black base with multiple layers of blue and grey on top. Finally a satisfactory finish was achieved after the multi-layered-multi-coloured paint was covered with 3 layers of generous lacquer.
The Blomkamp Chappie was designed to be rugged in a very urban sort of way. To re-create a similar outcome, Autologue equipped Chappie with Ralco Speedbuster dual sport tyres so that I could be ridden over any terrain. While initially they planned to go with the Pirellis or Michelins that were available for motorcycles like the Triumph Tiger or the Ducati Scrambler, however, the oversize tyres would have created problems and would have hampered the overall functionality of their KTM chappie.
What makes Autologue Design’s version of the Blomkamp Chappie so unique is their decision to not alter any elements of the KTM Duke 200’s original frame. That means, just like all the other KTM Duke 200 accessories that Autologue makes, the Chappie custom motorcycle kit can be easily bolted on to any KTM Duke 200 or Duke 390 without any major alteration to the chassis of the motorcycle. As far as any KTM custom motorcycle goes, the Autologue Design Chappie is by far one of the most unique builds that I have come across till date.
Images by Ishaan Bhataiya, Anmol Singh and ColumnM