Every now and again along comes a design in auto transport that really sets itself apart from the run of the mill stuff that is around at the time. The Bond Bug did this in 1970, The Mercedes Life Jet will- when or if its finally put into production and towards the late seventies a totally radical bike hit the streets- The Quasar. 

This was no ordinary motorcycle- it featured a feet forward driving position an enclosed fiberglass cockpit that you sat within plus an engine many a  Bond Bug owner will all be familiar with- the Reliant 850.

As the bike featured the Reliant engine and the styling is very much in the vein of what came out of the Ogle studios I felt Bug owners may like to read an article on the Machine. My thanks to Chris Powell for reminding me of it. Alan Turley for the supplier of some archive material and to Mark Crowson for letting me pinch bits from his Quasar Project Site-


The machine was the dream of Malcolm Newell and Ken Leaman. Malcolm produced the basic design while Ken developed the frame work that carried the 4 cylinder shaft drive Reliant lump. The controls were conventional motorcycle- twist grip throttle, Clutch on the left, front brake on the right with a Right foot rear brake. The gear change used 2 pedals the upper pedal to change up the lower to change down The seating arrangement was unlike any motorcycle at the time, you sat inside the cockpit with your legs feet forward. After you had positioned yourself with feet on the ground  you could then retract prop stands and once you were moving tuck your legs inside the bike. The suspension had a swinging arm at the rear while the front end used a leading link system. Twin headlights gave excellent illumination while a large single rear light lit up the rear end. The use of disk brakes rather then the old type drums really took of in the 70s and these were used on the Quasar- 2 disks on the front with 1 at the rear. This made the breaking pretty outstanding but was probably needed as the Reliant engine could propel the motorcycle to over 100 MPH with the engine revving up to 5.500 rpm. qsradsm.jpg (170413 bytes)

The thumb nail image on the right is the Bikes publicity flyer

So What did Road testers say off the bike at the time?- Here's a few quotes taken from motorcycling monthly.. 


On the negative side.. 

Because of the extremely long wheel base of the Quasar, the turning circle was large and this restricted the maneuverability of the vehicle at low speeds. Also the handle bars were too far away from the rider in reclining position, and full lock turns were difficult with one or the other of the riders arms at full stretch when turning left or right.

Coming to a standstill was also quite a task. With feet up in the air on the running boards it was rather difficult to drop them at the precise moment of stopping.

On the positive side

Where the Quasar really does come into its own is as a high-speed, economical GT  motorcycle On the high speed test track the bike was marvelous.

High speed stability appeared to be very good and even with crosswinds the Quasar maintained its line.

The general finish of the Quasar is excellent. It looks extremely professional and has none of the usual lash up appearance of a one of special.

Acceleration from standstill (solo)

mph 0-20  1.83
mph 0-30  2.98
mph 0-40  5.00
mph 0-50   7.59
mph 0-60  10.17
mph0-70  14.73

So what ever happened to the Quasar ?

Well despite the favorable reviews and a lot of press interest at the time the bike never took off with only 22 being produced. The surprising thing is that of these 22 bikes -21 are still around and the Quasar project are hoping the lost one will turn up sometime. Having spoken to various mates over the last few weeks the Bike is still remembered. I wouldn't mind a photo of a Quasar together with a Bond Bug so If  your a Quasar Rider why not attend a Micro car rally -(I'll buy the first round).