Oberdan Bezzi is best known for his digital renderings of motorcycles, which over the last decade have become increasingly internet-famous. While Bezzi’s online creations are done, as he says, “without order from company or customer”, he has helped design IRL models that have seen production. For legal/contractual reasons Bezzi can’t  comment (or confirm or deny) on what models he’s worked on, though he did assure me “there are many”.  Bezzi’s work isn’t limited to any particular genre or type of motorcycle, and the designer has digitally sketched models from just about every brand (some no longer in existence) in just about every style under the sun, from choppers, to ADV machines, to café racers, and so on.

The man himself, looking pensive. [Oberdan Bezzi]
Bezzi has a life-long interest in motorcycles, and hails from a region in Italy that’s home to a number of iconic Italian auto and moto manufacturers. “The passion for engines is part of people’s DNA here”, stated Bezzi. The digital prototype purveyor says he’s been penning
motorcycles “practically since he was born,” and explained that as a kid in school, if a subject didn’t have any bearing on bikes, Bezzi had no interest in the subject. “Then over time I started presenting my drawings to the magazines of the (motorcycle) sector and I came to know the managers of the Style Centers (i.e. design departments) of various (motorcycle) companies, where I started to collaborate in design. I was an internal designer for a few years, and then became a freelancer, as I am today. In total it’s been just under forty years.”

A recent cafe racer
design for the Royal Enfield twin, called the 707 Gentleman Racer [Oberdan Bezzi]
When asked about his design process, Bezzi explained he tries to put himself in the shoes of the customer who’d buy the bike. “As a designer, my mission is to meet the expectations of the motorcyclist, this often contrasts with the inputs given by the manufacturers, which, for obvious commercial reasons, try to keep costs down, so it’s always a struggle between the designer’s ideas and those trying to rein in expenses.” Despite motorcycles being industrial products with objective specs and performance targets, Bezzi still thoroughly believes our emotional connections to aesthetic designs is the strongest factor in determining a model’s success. “Motorcycles are products that are born to be sold and like all products — especially for those that must satisfy our ego — if they are ‘ugly’, they sell little and poorly. It’s impossible to satisfy everyone’s needs and tastes, so I believe good design is correctly responding to the desires of the many, but not everyone.”

“The motorcycle doesn’t re-invent itself every time”

When asked where Bezzi looks for inspiration after nearly four decades of penning two-wheelers, the designer explained it all comes down to knowledge. “If you know the history of the motorcycle and the history of a brand you’re developing a project for, you can always find the answers. The motorcycle doesn’t re-invent itself every time, it’s a continuous process of refinement, of trial and error. Today’s motorcycle is technically very different from the first motorized bicycles, but in the end, it always has two-wheels with an engine in the middle surmounted by a tank and a saddle. The motorcyclist is intrinsically traditionalist and doesn’t want to change that.”

A proposal to revitalize the defunct Italian brand Cimatti with a modern, universal 450cc motor, with styling based on the 1974 Sagittarius. [Oberdan Bezzi]
Inquiring about his favorite prototype or production models, it became clear that Mr. Bezzi has “a bit of a thing” for sportbikes and race hardware. “Among the bikes currently in production, my favorite is Ducati’s (L) twin-cylinder Panigale as it just perfectly embodies the Italian spirit. Though of my all-time favorites, there’s probably Honda’s oval-piston NR750, and above all else, their 2007 RC212 V MotoGP mount.” In Bezzi’s lifetime, he’s had a front row seat for a myriad of legendary motorcycle designers, and when asked which designers’ work he personally enjoys Bezzi, told us he’s always greatly admired the work of long-time Honda designer (and creator of the 2013 CB1100), Mitsuyohi Kohama.

A suggestion for revitalizing the Bimota brand, with an 1125 supersports motor, called the Bagarre. [Oberdan Bezzi]
There’s a bit of an irony to Bezzi’s online popularity. The Italian grew up amidst what he describes as “a generation that expressed its ideas with pencils and markers by hand.” Despite his aversion to the digital medium, the designer is no dinosaur, and recognizes the
need to embrace modern day technology in his line of work. “Unfortunately, the need to quickly share information and to change details forced me to use the PC (which I hate) and the normal commercial drawing and retouching programs.”  He may hate the computer, but it’s done a good job making him Insta-famous.

Working in the Brat Style for Big Sur Motorcycles. Bezzi says: “the Brat Style motorbike, whether it is road or off-road, makes refinement and good taste its weapon, precisely because the maximum sobriety of its technical equipment does not allow for “special effects” that technologically more advanced vehicles can boast. It’s the pure essence of a motorcycle, therefore, where the few indispensable “ingredients” must be finely calibrated to obtain a satisfying result.” [Oberdan Bezzi]
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