Carles Solsona, a designer of Spanish origin, is not a new face in our world. From his pencil, highly successful motorcycles were born, appreciated for their clean lines. He worked for several years in Ducati (among his creations, the second generation Hypermotard, with the Hyperstrada, as well as the concept of the third generation Multistrada), then moved to MV Agusta, where he designed the latest 3-cylinder Brutale and the Dragster . In 2016 he founded Modena 40, which is based in Rimini (initially in via Modena at number 40, hence the name) and since 2017 has been involved in developing projects for CFMOTO.
What is the role of Modena 40 in CFMOTO?
“Modena 40 has the role of research and development center in the EU and is responsible for various types of activities for the design and engineering of new two-wheeled products. We also carry out product planning activities for new projects and define new product-level strategies. Our goal is to expand the brand worldwide and spread our unique products globally. At M40 we mainly work on products intended for advanced countries, such as the USA and the EU, but also for Asia. M40 works daily and directly with the HQ and my role as director of design (for all 2-wheelers) refers directly to the top management of the company”.
A close collaboration, for which you also have a person, Martina, dedicated to this relationship with the headquarters in China, which is a daily exchange of information and ideas.
“Of meetings, calls, quarrels, everything. As normal”.
We directly asked Martina Grilli, Project Manager, to tell us what it’s like to interface with a Chinese giant that however seems very reactive and quick in making decisions.
“They are a very large, very structured company, but working in it you don’t perceive it. What you see is great dynamism and speed of response. But it is a medal that has two sides, because obviously this also leads to many requests, every day. And they require the same speed from us. Curating and organizing this speed is an important part of my job.”
Carles, the collaboration with CFMOTO began in 2017 and among the first projects there was also that of police motorcycles in China. A maxi. Can you tell us?
“Of course, they are large-displacement bikes, 1,290 cc derived from KTM, a great engine that needs to be managed in the layout of the bike. We worked on integrating some technologies, such as the headlights, the whole part of the dashboard, it was almost like making the interior of a car”.
Did you work on other projects then?
“Virtually the entire CFMOTO range has been through us and we’ve been working on it, some projects more than others”.
Modena 40 began as a design studio then a technical office also grew and today it is the European R&D of CFMOTO. Can you tell us how you are structuring yourself?
“We started with the idea of making beautiful bikes, of doing a job where the technical part is also necessary, because we don’t do styling but design and the integration of the technical area is important. We have grown, we have learned and today our engineering department is both a technical support for the designers and a technical support for the CFMOTO Headquarters in Hangzhou”.
What is the relationship between CFMOTO and KTM? Do you also hold meetings in Mattighofen?
“The relationship is that of a strong joint venture. CFMOTO produces for KTM and there is a good partnership. We are in direct contact with Salzburg, where our EU sales vice president (Markus Ferch) is located, but also with CFMOTO North America and of course Hangzhou, where the headquarters are. We discuss and plan new products with them: it’s a company, a global network, and we at M40 on two wheels play an important role”.
What is the philosophy behind the 800NK?
“The project stems from the experience of MT which in turn stems from the KTM base. With NK we have followed a different approach from Duke, which provides the technical basis, trying to give it its own identity, which I allow myself to say is not trivial, and then in terms of technical content we have made the most of what the platform offers us offered”.