A Visionary Lunar Motorcycle To Premiere At The Petersen Museum
Motorcycle think tank Hookie has developed a drivable prototype from the fictional concept of a lunar exploration vehicle, blurring the boundaries between earth and moon, between dream and reality. Thus, Hookie’s TARDIGRADE has become a projection surface for utopian desires that reach far beyond our known world—a challenge for both, man and machine.
Radically different mindset
The digital design by Russian artist Andrew Fabishevskiy had inspired the dreams of Hookie founders Sylvia and Nico Müller back in 2020. The idea of a two-wheeled moon rover kept floating in their minds. After the designer’s approval, and with international supporters ready to take the challenge, Hookie decided to put the idea into practice. “Because Hookie stands for courage, community and inspiration. We love to take routes off the beaten track”, says Nico. And this time, the sky was not the limit…
In the spirit of former space pioneers, the crew from Dresden set to work. Over the course of nine months, the playful thought experiment turned into a highly innovative vehicle, leaving even NASA speechless. It is the world’s first concept of a space bike. But because its template was just a virtual idea—without function or scale—Hookie had to start from scratch. The electric drivetrain was kindly provided from Swedish company Cake. However, the periphery of this unique motorcycle is breaking completely new ground.
Vision with hurdles
Each component was drawn in-house—“That was an incredible amount of work, and even for us, this was quite special”, adds Sylvia. The result was an invisible frame made of ten millimeter thin, laser-cut aluminum. A robust exoskeleton made of tubing was wrapped around it. Spacious single-sided swing arms and the axles were also made of ultra-light metal. The textile Kevlar cover with aluminum coating, which protects the sensitive drive in space from cold, radiation or impacts, comes from NASA supplier DuPont. A space motorcycle suit created by Karsten Merz follow this idea as well, and is also made of high-tech materials such as Kevlar and Nomex. Bell supplied a matching helmet.
Mudguards, panels and the inlays of the rims were 3D-printed from UV-resistant thermoplastics. Small parts were sintered from nylon using laser beams. Because modern manufacturing processes like these are a real fetish of the creative Saxons. But the biggest challenge was the construction of two highly innovative balloon wheels. Ultimately, the ultra-light, 24 x 7 inch alloy wheels were made in several parts. They consist of five millimeter thin, star-shaped spokes and carry the overall weight of about 140 kilograms with ease.
Innovation is the answer
In developing custom bikes and innovations such as the TARDIGRADE e-bike, goals often go beyond practical limits. Developing the air-less tires proved to be quite a challenge—but once again the Hookie team saw it as an opportunity for even greater innovation. Since Hookie could not find a provider to develop the tires according to the demanding specifications, the Hookie team jumped in again.
Hookie took the innovative approach to 3D-print 12 polyurethane tread modules for each wheel, which could be directly secured to the rims. This not only met the needs for the TARDIGRADE, it enabled a new tire system that allows damaged parts of tire to be replaced—instead of the whole tire itself—adding yet another layer of sustainability in the TARDIGRADE concept.
E-Lubrication: Sustainability and innovation from PURAGLOBE
Designing an out-of-this-world lunar bike is one thing. Making it actually work and perform is another. To realize a project of this scale you need likeminded visionary partners to support the crew and accelerate the idea. This is when PURAGLOBE recognized the momentum, shared the vision, and joined the project as a sponsor. PURAGLOBE provided its SYNTAINICS® E-Lubricants: sustainable lubricants specifically formulated for electric vehicles such as the TARDIGRADE. Hookie and PURAGLOBE soon realized that sharing the idea of integrating sustainability and innovation was an idea worth sharing in the motorcycle world—but also a bigger idea and source of motivation toward helping to save our planet as well.
The idea and vision of the TARDIGRADE project caught the attention of Andreas Schüppel, the President and CEO of PURAGLOBE. Schüppel explained, “Developing our cutting-edge technology to transform used oil into new sustainable motor oils has taken decades of meticulous research and engineering. So, we know a thing or two about persistence and vision. It’s something we can appreciate. And it’s just one of the reasons that we’re proud to be a partner of Hookie’s visionary TARDIGRADE project.”
Dr. Soenke Moehr, the head of global sales and marketing for PURAGLOBE explained that “At PURAGLOBE, looking forward is part of our mission. If we didn’t look ahead to the future, we wouldn’t have the patented technology we have today to make oil more sustainable while reducing emissions by almost 90%.” Dr. Moehr also stated that “For us, vision is one thing—making it a reality is another. It takes passion for innovation, for technology, and looking beyond the limits of the present day. Which by the way, are just a few of the affinities we see in Hookie’s creativity and determination that made the TARDIGRADE Moon Motorcycle a reality.” When asked about the development of The TARDIGRADE, Dr. Moehr also explained how “the TARDIGRADE concept has proven to be the perfect vehicle to demonstrate how our advanced sustainable SYNTAINICS® E-Lubricants and machining fluids can be used for both building an innovative e-bike and ensuring it runs smoothly no matter where it may go.”
Off to new horizons
Hookie’s TARDIGRADE—named after microscopic animals that survive in outer space even under the most adverse conditions—is not a crazy custom bike. It the result of collaboration, technology, and sustainability following the spirit of adventure and innovation.
For Hookie, TARDIGRADE is also a symbol for empowerment. The entire project ignores given borders—those of countries, continents or stereotypes. Daring to question the status quo, the small but highly motivated team has created something truly unique. Thanks to the imagination of Hookie, the TARDIGRADE brings us much closer to a cosmic driving experience between lunar craters and space stations—and that’s something everyone can be proud of in this world and beyond.
The world premiere of Hookie’s TARDIGRADE will take place in mid-October as part of the ADV:Overland exhibition in the Petersen Museum (California).
PURAGLOBE Media Relations