Chevrolet’s concept truck for motorcycling
This new truck is a joint marketing effort between Fox Racing and Chevrolet to create a concept vehicle that appeals to motorcycle enthusiasts. It has special features that enhance a motorcyclist’s use of a truck.
Using extensive input from Fox Racing and the Team Kawasaki, design team members, led by Clay Dean, worked to create unique functional enhancements and cosmetic additions that would appeal to the always passionate moto crowd.
These features drew a lot of attention from the AMA group in attendance as it was clear that the truck was designed by enthusiasts for enthusiasts.
For starters, looking at the truck from the side one gets the immediate feeling of size and stability. With a base chassis from the 2500 HD family and wheels reminiscent of the Hummer, the truck exudes power and strength.
Although the wheels shown may not make it into a production version, they drew positive comments from almost everyone who saw the truck that night.
With the 2″ lift added to the normal 4×4 stance the truck is high, but not difficult to work with. Having to get bikes in and out of the bed would make that an unworkable characteristic. The bed is full of excellent functional additions that support the weekend rider and the racer alike. The ramps, stored inside hollowed sections of the bed, pull out for easy loading. The ramps make use of an extender section which also tucks nicely into the center bed floor in its own slide out storage bay. To use the ramps, one must lower the tail section, and it eventually lowers to an angle below horizontal to accommodate the ramps. On the current concept the tailgate has no locking mechanism to allow it to be locked at the horizontal.
The tailgate has two slots cut into it to allow for protruding motorcycle wheels, meaning you won’t have to search under the seats for that ball of rope you saved from the trash just to tie your tailgate up against the wheels of your bike. This is an excellent feature and with the dirtbike loaded into the bed it was clear it made a big difference in usability for bike hauling. One thing left for Chevy to test is the width of the slots. Road racing motorcycles often use tires that can be as wide as 180 or 190mm, much wider that the typical motocross tire sizes. Comments on the ramps were also focused on the size and strength, possibly over-engineered for motocross bikes. But given that some buyers may want to truck a Harley, weighing 3 times what a dirt bike weighs, to their Daytona digs in March, a sturdy ramp may be just what the doctor ordered.
In addition to the ramp design, the bed contains useful additions for cargo. The motorcycles can be pulled up to the front of the bed to twin locking mechanisms that help hold the bike in place. The mechanisms are not movable from side-to-side but the Chevy team is looking at how to make this possible. There are plenty of tie-down points and it is easy to make a bike secure with the space and hooks available.
Speaking of tie-downs, there is an excellent addition to the side-mounted cargo box in the bed. Drawers, accessible once the tailgate is down, pull out to reveal at least 15″ of storage, large enough to hold a torque wrench, and, of course, your preferred set of tie-downs. The front section of the cargo box opens from the side of the bed, and has enough space to hold almost all your gear including boots, gloves, clothing, spare parts, extra mirrors, handlebars, and footpegs.
The front section of the cargo box also opens from the side of the bed, and it has a great deal of storage space too.
In addition to the cargo box, an innovative “bed-door” has been installed that makes it easy to climb in and out of the bed to assist in bike loading and unloading. The door is activated by a latch in the glove box. Given that the security of the bed door is not an issue with a pickup, the latch could probably be located outside in the bed, or on the back cab wall so that door usage would be simplified.
A handle for climbing in and out of the bed-door would also be a good addition and the design team was already working on some alternatives. Just inside the door is a small well area that allows for placing your foot on the bed without sliding across the bed floor if it is covered with water or dirt. Smart. The bed itself is covered with a durable liner material that looks sharp.
Fox Racing provided some unique shocks for the truck. The appearance of the shocks, with remote reservoirs, reinforced the biking theme. An on board 5000 watt generator is part of the concept. The generator has the armature mounted on a belt in the engine compartment and the rest of the electronics and fans mounted under the bed in a spot normally taken by a spare tire. The bed has two accessory jacks mounted just under the bed rail on the passenger side. Thought was given to mounting a compressor but that didn’t get acted on in time for the first showings of the truck. With the need to inflate and deflate tires at the track, or on the trail, this would be a welcome addition.
The mirrors on both sides have blinker inserts that keep you aware of your signaling habits, or lack of! The interior drew positive oohs and aahs from everyone with only one critical comment about the steering wheel. Everyone liked the seat material, a combination of brown leather and black synthetic material that resembles the material used in the manufacture of MX clothing.
The match was noticed by quite a few of the riders who looked at the truck, and everyone thought it was a “top-class” look. Several people thought the steering wheel was more suited to a luxury car than to a power truck such as this. The Chevy team agreed and was already looking at possible options.
The current cab concept has two sunroofs, pop-up type, and thought is being given to an electric version of the roof, possibly one that covered more of the top with just one opening. Even a canvas rollback was considered!
John Farris, the Silverado Assistant Brand Manager for Marketing, was on hand for the unveiling. John is a moto enthusiast himself and his family rides too. His enthusiasm for the truck is evident. We asked the team about market cross-over with the Avalanche, soon to be available. Clearly there is some overlap, but with the market fragmenting more and more into niche vehicles, Chevy is testing the waters with key niche markets to determine the direction, support, and attractiveness their products need to have to win customers. The truck will be shown at the LA Auto Show. Clearly the reception the truck has gotten from its two showings so far has been strong.
Kawasaki’s reigning 250 National Champion Ricky Carmichael was very impressed with the truck and hopped in to check it out while we were there! Ricky’s got his sights set on Supercross in 2001 and we think he would look great pulling up to the SuperDome in the Silverado/Fox truck!
Most agreed that this would be a great status symbol for the guys at the track on weekends. With a supercharged engine creating 429 HP, this would be more than a strong fashion statement.
Chevy is well aware of the niche trends that are moving through the industry. With ideas swirling around about a “contractor” vehicle, a possible vehicle reminiscent of the K5, and more focus on the build-to-order trend in car manufacturing, Chevy could be taking the right steps to be the “make-of-choice” in the coming years.
We think Chevy should build this truck, and use it as part of its new marketing partnership with the AMA. You can let them know what you think by checking out http://www.chevrolet.com/sil verado/foxracing and providing your feedback.
Special thanks to John Gillies, Chevrolet and PickUpTruck.com