This 48 Cylinder Motorcycle Is One of the Craziest Things You’ll Ever See

Known as the Whitelock Tinker Toy, this insane 48-cylinder motorcycle holds the record for the functional vehicle with the most number of cylinders.

English motorcycle enthusiast Simon Whitelock is the “madman” responsible for the existence of this outrageous contraption. It is based on the Kawasaki 250 S1, a relatively small bike equipped with a 3-cylinder 250 cc engine capable of putting out 31 hp, but you couldn’t really tell by looking at it. That’s because this souped-up Kawasaki features six rows of eight original S1 cylinders, stripped off of 16 S1 motorcycle engines. All cylinders are connected to a common transmission, borrowed from a BMW motorcycle, and require more than the regular electric starter motor to start…

“The 48 cylinder lump is slightly harder to start than your conventional motorcycle engine, so instead of an electronic starter motor, we decided to use what we call a ‘donkey engine’- a little sub-50cc engine, which is started, and in turn that starts the 48 cylinder engine,” Simon Whitelock explained when he first unveiled his creation, in 2003.


So, essentially, the Whitelock Tinker Toy has 16 in-line engines, plus a 17th one that acts as a starter. Talk about overkill…


But this outrageous Kawasaki was never built with practicality, efficiency or even basic functionality in mind. Looking at the distance between the handlebars and the front edge of the seat, it’s hard to believe anyone can ride this for more than a few minutes at a motorcycle exhibition.


Not to mention the amount of fuel it needs to function, or the oil required to keep all those engines running optimally. This is more of a concept of what can be achieved when motorcycle fanatics put their mind to it, even though it is totally road-legal.


Originally built for the 2004 Triples Rally, Simon Whitelock’s 4,200cc two-wheeled monster has developed somewhat of a cult following among biking enthusiasts and is still a big hit at motorcycles conventions around the world.


For more outrageous riders, check out these roadworthy motorcycles made out of cardboard.