The Ecureuil 1000 ERS was a unique motorcycle which competed in the Paris-Dakar Rally between 1987 and 1989 as an initiative by journalist and Dakar rider Pierre-Marie Poli, designed by Joël Guilet. The Ecureuil 1000 ERS was unique by way of its construction, boasting a modular setup consisting of three main elements which could be quickly disassembled, where removing the engine and transmission only took six minutes. These modular elements were the hull, the engine-transmission-rear wheel assembly and front suspension.
This allowed the geometry of the front could be changed for the consistently changing terrain at the Paris-Dakar Rally, and changing the mounting points of the mechanism also allowed for the wheelbase of the bike to be altered with ease. Another benefit of this flexibility was the easily variable weight distribution. The motorcycle was powered by a 1020cc BMW air-cooled twin that produced 80 hp at 6500 rpm and was mated to a 5 speed gearbox. The ERS’ chassis, called the “hull” was an extremely lightweight at 6 kg, thanks to its carbon-Kevlar construction. It was further reinforced with a rubber-foam type bladder filled to prevent fuel movement.
This tech was effective to some extent, with the Ecureuil 1000 ERS coming close to victory on a few occasions, but it was unfortunately never victorious at any of the Paris-Dakar rallies that it partook in. A commendable result given the complex and demanding nature of the event. Photos via parisdakar.it
Watch the video below to see how the Ecureuil 1000 ERS body could come apart in less than 2 minutes for a quick mid-rally service and repair job. If you aren’t French, then please turn on English subtitles (auto translate).