Endangered Species List - The weird and wonderful from the past.

Years ago, when we weren't treated to to the plethora of refinement and mind boggling technology we have available today, there were some trail blazers throughout the years that helped forge the path for the tech and evolution of the bikes we ride today. These guys were not content with making standard, tried and true equipment, they wanted to push the boundaries of what was possible. Many of these innovators became the backbone of the boutique race bike industry and have created many of the treasures sitting in garages today. 

In the year 1988 Husqvarna motorcycles was acquired by Cagiva, a large Italian manufacturer. This move disgruntled many of the Husqvarna faithful and began a non favourable era in the companies history. One of the major contributing forces behind the big H was a man named Thomas Gustavsson, Thomas and a few of his co workers decided they didn't want to make the move to Italy, instead electing to stay in Sweden and begin a new brand where their ideas and innovations could be un bridled. They created Husaberg, These guys wanted to build race bikes and didn't want to have to deal with the politics of doing it on a major scale. It meant that wild ideas could find there way onto production motorcycles. It also translated to the bikes being highly un reliable but magical when working right. There was two other engineers involved who felt even Husaberg was too tame for them, they left and began another brand to take things to an ever higher level. The Vertimatti brothers. 



VOR, which actually stands for Vertemati Offroad Racing, is an Italian motorcycle manufacturer, mostly based on off-road, enduro and cross bikes. The company was founded in 1998 and was headquartered in Ronco Briantino, Milan. Although VOR was mostly focused on off-road motorcycles, the company migrated to street bikes in 2002, the same year when it changed its name to Motorcycles VOR.

Getting back to the history of the company, VOR was founded by Alvaro and Guido, two brothers who mostly gained off-road experience by working for other companies. For instance, Vertemati previously worked with Husaberg, a Swedish manufacturer of off-road motorcycles. However, due to unknown reasons, the collaboration between Husaberg and Vertamati has been ended and the Italian company started to develop its own prototypes.

VOR didn't produce too many models, the most popular motorcycle being the MX 450 which was especially addressed to cross competitions. The bike came with a liquid cooled, single cylinder, 4-stroke engine with a Keihin FC 39 fuel system and electronic ignitions. Moreover, it was equipped with chain final drive and with kick starting system. 

What's interesting is that this motorcycle comes with a brand new Ohlin suspension system and with a completely redesigned aluminum swingarm that could represent important advantages for consumers looking for an off-road bike.

VOR was also exploring a lot of the same concepts as found on the radical Cannonale we covered in the last article. You can see in the photograph below, the use of a reverse facing cylinder and also a slanted back angle relationship between the cylinder and crankcase which is also identical to what the latest Yamahas have today.


The Italian manufacturer recorded pretty important results in multiple competitions, including the Six-Day Enduro and even the Enduro World Championships.

The Vertimatti brothers are still involved in design on a small level and may re emerge after the collapse of the company in 2005. Below is a design concept of a new Vertimatti bike which may one day reach production. As you can see, they are still light years ahead of their time.