Dodge Tomahawk – The 1st fastest concept motorcycle.

Dodge Tomahawk

The Dodge Tomahawk was a non-street legal concept vehicle introduced by dodge at the 2003 north American international auto show in Detroit with Chrysler going off of the map and sticking a v10 into a motorcycle although experts did argue over whether this is a true motorcycle. The motorcycle idea started with two lower level Chrysler group employees bob schrader who was a design office modeller and a motorcycle rider and Dave Chitz a vehicle builder and drag racer.

So they got together and asked the question what if we had a viper engine and champion chassis something like a boss. These were some pretty big ambitions as the boss houses built around a chevy 5.7 litre v8 but it was only available in limited quantities the largest displacement mass-produced motorcycle at the time was the 2.3 litre triumph rocket 3. The engineers took it to senior vp of design Trevor creed who shot it down saying we don’t build bikes but he did allow some sketches to be created and they were mind-blowing enough to get the idea rolling.


The spring of 2002 Walters had drawn a massive sketch on a 20-foot wall and had a viper engine resting on wheels as a visual aid Walters presented everything to Chrysler group ceo wolf gang Bernard and ceo Dieter Zaichi and they immediately approved. So the tomahawk was in business so those two executives approved the full running and working concept to be created outsourcing the engineering and fabrication to rm motorsports in wixom Michigan which was a specialty shop.

Kurt Bennett was the main man therewith the goal to turn Walters sketch into a real-life machine. It’s a beautiful looking bike with a mono caulk construction and all the body pieces are custom milled from a block of aluminium but of course the main appeal is the engine with five cylinders resting on each side and it’s literally between your legs.

Body Style – Single-seat Viper-powered motorcycle concept vehicle
Overall Length: 102 inches
Overall Width: 27.7 inches
Overall Height: 36.9 inches
Wheelbase: 76 inches
Seat Height: 29 inches
Curb Weight: 1,500 lbs.
Track, Front: 8.75 inches
Track, Rear: 10 inches
Weight Dist., % F/R 49/51
Ground Clearance: 3 inches
Fuel Tank Capacity: 3.25 gallons 

Suspension and Brakes Specifications

A rear of Dodge Tomahawk lockable recirculating hydraulic parking stand so the bike can stand on its own. The engine was put as low to the ground as possible creating a very low centre of gravity for better control at higher speeds. There were a few downsides to the suspension setup like a very small lock to lock steering range with the handle bars with only about 18 degrees per side so that means a very large turning radius where sharp turns are physically impossible.

Computer images also showed the suspension allowed for a 45 degree lean with all four wheels touching the pavement before a swing arm would hit the ground but in reality and during testing it was proved that there were actually huge stability issues with testers claiming that it quote rides like two motorcycles riding in ultra close formation coupled with the weight of three and the horsepower of four.

Wheels, Tires, & Brakes
Tires: Dunlop custom-made symmetrical
Size, Front (2): P120/60R-20
Size, Rear (2): P150/50R-20
-Wheels: Billet aluminum discs, asymmetrical
Size, Front (2): 20×4
Size, Rear (2): 20×5
Front Brakes: 20-inch perimeter-mounted drilled machined stainless steel rotors, one per wheel. Two four-
piston fixed aluminum calipers per wheel (16 pistons total), custom designed. Blue anodized caliper
finish. Hand-activated.
Rear Brakes: 20-inch perimeter-mounted drilled cast-iron rotors, one per wheel. One four-piston fixed aluminum
caliper per wheel (8 pistons total), custom designed. Blue anodized caliper finish.

Engine Specification 

The 8.3 litre viper v10 engine was used giving the bike a whopping 500 horsepower and 525 pound-feet of torque. It’s a 90 degree engine liquid cooled and 505 cubic inches. The v10 did need some changes to fit in this application as the lubrication system was chained from a wet sump to a dry sump and the single radiator in front of the engine was changed as two smaller ones that fit into the v-shaped space above the engine.

The engine was paired with a two-speed manual transmission that was foot shifted dodge was back and forth with their performance claims with his Dodge Tomahawk and the various press releases about the motorcycle dodge kept claiming two different theoretical top speeds sometimes they said 420 miles per hour which is 680 kilometres per hour and other times they said 300 miles per hour which is 480 kilometres per hour not once did they answer how they calculated those figures. Dodge even said

If a 3,400 pound viper goes 190 this will go 400 easy.


While the Chrysler designer that we talked about earlier Mark Walters said that

he believes if they geared the bike for top speed then 250 miles per hour would be in reach it’s also worth noting that the curb weight is just 1500 pounds.

Mark Walters


Many of them like the motorcycle and many of them hated it. Their was tons of negative criticism spreader about this Dodge Tomahawk. The designers and engineers were underwhelmed by the challenge and the negative criticism. The reasons were a small gas tank as the tomahawk could only travel 50 miles on a full tank and had the uncomfortable design and ergonomics of a dragster motorcycle.

All that negative criticism was totally ridiculous and this motorcycle created a ton of positive takeaways for Chrysler I do believe that they achieved their goal of making an outrageous and unexpected concept celebrating the viper engine showing that Chrysler was willing to do anything.

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