Image 1: Project MX-1 design sketch (1:5) showing the sports version of a modular monocoque concept, a project triggered by a 1983 UK law change for learner riders. Two London entrepeneurs asked Target Design UK to design a 125cc motorcycle for a new market created after the change restricted learners to 125cc. Previously learners could ride up to 250cc. By making the concept modular on a monocoque chassis it was possible to produce a range of motorcycles more cheaply using Rotax engines. The pressed steel monocoque panels came in two halves, which were spot and seam welded together, this was much cheaper and stiffer than conventional tubed frames and ideal for high volume production.
Image 2: The full-sized model of the base version. There were also plans for touring and off-road versions. By using Rotax engines from 125cc up to 500cc with a modular system of bodywork trim it was possible to have a range of 16 or more different models all using the same monocoque chassis. This was potentially very cost effective as the chassis was the most expensive component and it meant that designs could be continually updated whilst still retaining the base monocoque. The model also used Astralite wheels, which like the monocoque were stamped and pressed in two halves and then riveted together.
Image 3: Cotton International bought the rights to the design and a Liverpool development grant enabled a running prototype to be built. The 1984 prototype (above) was successfully ridden and tested and featured on the BBC TV 'Money program' presented by Valerie Singeton. It received much publicity in the motorcycling press but later Cotton International seemed to run into problems after looking into building their own British engines for the bike. Below the monocoque frame shown in one issue of the UK 'Design' magazine.