the mad boxer is a subaru WRX powered custom motorcycle
the mad boxer is a subaru WRX powered custom motorcycle the mad boxer is a subaru WRX powered custom motorcycle
oct 10, 2017

the mad boxer is a subaru WRX powered custom motorcycle

the ‘mad boxer’ takes a subaru ‘WRX’ engine and pairs it with a kawasaki fuel tank, packing its ferocity in a bespoke shell. created marcel van hooijdonk, a new zealander toolmaker by trade, he has spent over five years blurring the genres between vehicles and has produced one of the most outrageous custom motorcycles.

all images © lindsay gibb



the idea for the ‘mad boxer’ stemmed from a challenge that marcel received from a friend, who had found an artist’s impression of a subaru-powered motorcycle concept. to get the project underway, marcel took a motor case and some tires, spaced them out, stepped back and grabbed himself a beer. after eyeballing it and forming a plan, a clear decision was made. the car engine is key to this build, and he had a few options to choose from. one of the most readily available subaru engines in new zealand is the ‘EJ’ series, with capacities ranging from 1.5 to 2.5 liters, and could be found in most of its automobiles since 1989.



marcel started with some autocad, sketching a CAD drawing, and had it signed-off from the regulatory body that covers all modified vehicles in NZ — the low volume vehicle technical associationonce he had the motor block and wheels in place, making renderings of the center steer hub, swing arms and the main chassis sides. the drawings were also used for programming the CNC milling center and lathe, which carved out the bespoke pieces of the bike ready for assembly. this wasn’t an easy job however, and took a few attempts for the bike to have everything perfectly composed. he also had to work out a steering system that met the certification panel’s approval.



the ‘mad boxer’ was then fitted with wheels sourced off the NZ ebay-equivalent trademe, a kawasaki fuel tank, and a smaller twin-turbo from a subaru ‘legacy’ replacing the huge ‘WRX’ turbo. the result is an engine that runs very smoothly, even though it has no real flywheel. marcel has chosen a modified japanese two-speed automatic transmission, the makes use of a chain drive to help power the rear wheel. there’s no gear lever on the foot pegs as such, just a button on the handlebars to change gears. braking is just like a scooter, with a bar-mounted lever for the buell-sourced brakes. with torque levels that most bikes can but only dream of, the ‘madboxer’ is certain to fly down the block when ridden.

  • All that technology and it’s ugly, the rear fender is off centre and it probably dosent ride nice. 20 years ago a pal of mine would have built that in two weeks without a cad drawing just a pipe bender an imagination and a tig welder. Mr Knibbs now resides in New Zealand, this guy could learn a lot.

    Anthony Price says:
  • Great build, You are the now, and no the past. A Subie engine, fantastic!

    Fernando says:
  • It is so easy to disparage others.
    While Mr. Knibbs MIGHT be able to create his own in two weeks, Marcel van Hooijdonk, the creator of this “odd-looking ‘monstrosity’ created “his dream motorcycle”, unlike others who is putting down Marcel van Hooijdonk.

    Eric the White Beard says:
  • Seems every week there’s yet another custom made motorcycle … to what end I ask?

    Leonardo Sideri says:
  • @Anthony – you just don’t understand. This bike took a lot of work and the attention to detail is outstanding. Did you notice this has no front fork? It took an army of engineers at Honda to pull off the fork-less front swing arm. It’s complex to engineer and this artist made it brutalist-beautiful. This is a fine work of art, probably too intricate for mass production. But Jay Leno would drool and so would several famous motorcycle enthusiasts (Keanu Reeves, Brad Pitt).

    Thorium says:
  • This looks awesome – like something out of a Mad Max film!

    Robert Fletcher says:

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