The Ancient Problem
So long as there have been armed and armored men willing to fight, they have faced the problem of men on foot not being the fastest. 20th Century warfare was dominated by combat mobility and airpower. In the Cosmic Era, mobility remains a factor as there are vast tracts of land to be crossed, and in many instances the first to arrive will be the victor. A problem faced by the ubiquitous power armor wearing infantryman is that the flaw of ponderous speed has been inherited by the power armor suit. The average suit is limited to the speed of the man inside it. Even those with enhanced mobility are only superior in short bursts, and moving overland are no faster than their mundane counterparts. There are entire arsenals devoted to the art of putting armored men in the wrong place at the right time.
The Mongol, the Mayan, and the Demon
Three vehicles were produced, in three different locations. Fundamentally they were the same thing, a demonstration of convergent evolution. The Mongol was a scrap built motorcycle using retrotech salvaged from centuries old battlefields and scrapyard across Eurasia. The motorcycle used almost any combustible fuel, and was able to carry a single power armor soldier almost anywhere he wanted to go at speeds approaching fifty miles an hour. The Mayan was a similar retrobuild using antique tech, and was commonly used across the Democraft Federation of Mexico, and into the EUdAS, and parts of the AmeroZone of the Atlantic Federation. This motorcycle was large, armored, and somewhat faster than the Mongol. The Demon was a relic, made from centuries old motorcycles upgraded and reinforced to carry cyborgs and and the like across the DMZ between the Federation and the Pacific Rim Coalition.
All three of these bikes had flaws, and merits, and none were going to be the long term solution. Powers like the Atlantic Federation had the resources to put their power armor in flying craft, large Power Armor APCs, and even things as patently ludicrous as the KD 7.5/13 Kolibri a suit of flight capable power armor to carry another single suit of armor. The more efficient solution was embraced by the Eurasian Alliance when after years of fighting Wasteland scrappers in junk armor riding junk bikes, adopted one of them.
The D-2500 Mongol
The D-2500 is a large frame power cycle that uses electric motors and a high density power pack to achieve speeds up to 125 MPH while carrying armor plating, a front mounted weapon, and a man in full power armor. The armor is military grade plate, and it is commonly armed with infantry support grade weapons like squad support machine guns, grenade launchers, or whatever an innovative trooper can fit to his front frame mount. It can travel up to 350 miles on it's power cell, depending on terrain, and most suits can tap into the power cell on the bike to save their own internal power cell, and likewise, can use their power cell to run a dead bike.
There are a few variants of the D-2500
The D-2500i has a communications suite mounted on the rear of the bike and is commonly used by biker squad commanders.
The D-2500b is configured for extreme cold environments
The D-2500S and S2 have sidecars mounted for a second trooper to ride in. The model removes the front weapon mount and moves it to the sidecar, allowing for the sidecar trooper to have a twin weapon mount. Most units don't keep twin machine guns long before replacing them with stolen, looted, or otherwise ill-gotten heavy weapons. A favorite among the infamous Chernobyl Brigade is to mounth looted wastelander THASER weaponry for their sidecars and trusting in their armor to protect them from the blowback heat.
The D-3500 gives the bike a three wheel layout, and a large cargo compartment in the rear. The first D-3500s were equipped with regenerative power sources that could be used to recharge the power cells other bikes used, and the majority in service are still used for this. THe D-3500 ended up getting a mobile medical variant, an enhanced communications variant, a drone launcher model, and a favorite among biker troops, a mobile artillery version. The D-3500 Polianitsa is beloved by it's riders, and feared for the six tube guided missile launcher it carries.
The Mongol, as the D-2500 became more commonly known as, started as a Neo-Soviet weapon. The nature of the Silk Road and the ingenuity of the Wastelanders saw the blueprints of the machine scattered across the globe, and it became a popular machine. Easy to build, easy to maintain, and incredibly useful for power armor users who lacked the industrial might to build landing craft.
As the design proliferated, even national forces started using it. Of course these designs were fancied up, and given fit and finish to suit the users. It doesn't change the fact that under the fenders and gadgets, the Pacific Rim's Ranger, the Federation's Ironhead, Gopher, and Grendel, and the SAUR's Jackal are all nothing more than copies of the D-2500 Mongol.
Why Use Armored Motorcycles?
Isn't this idea dumb? Does the rule of cool really cover guys in power armor riding motorcycles?
The idea is superficially dumb, yes. But when things like cost, support, and logistics start coming into play, the Mongol stops being goofy and starts being useful. The men and women who ride these bikes are functionally dragoons. They use the bikes to travel quickly, the armor protects them from glancing shots, and lets them get away from everything except fast light mecha, and flight capable assets. The bikes are cheap, they offer high mobility with minimal support, and a useful tool is a useful tool.
These oversized bikes are useful for cyborgs, genetic augments who are oversized themselves, and if a guy in armor can ride it, three normal people can ride it in relative comfort.
AFTER THE FACT ADDITIONS
The Brotherhood and other wastelander factions have found another use for the armored motorcycle, as a suicide craft. The simple version of this is to pack a sidecar with explosives and then ride the bike into a target. Sometimes the rider can jump off in time, most of the time they can't. Such attempts are poor at best. A more effective version puts a mobile mine robot on the bike. The robot rides the bike into the target and explodes. A mobile mine bot riding a bike with a weaponized sidecar can carry an impressive amount of explosives.
The War-Trike is a heavily armed version of the D-3500, and uses the space offered by the cargo compartment to support multiple weapon mounts on the front of the bike. The War-trike has the ability to mount three weapon systems. The effectiveness of this is questionable as the weapons mounted tend to lack accuracy. On the other hand, the amount of firepower they can lay down is often deterrent enough for most users.
Some units in more extreme environments found the wheeled chassis of the D-2500 unsuitable to their environments. The fostered the Frankensteinian creation of the D-2500t. The t model replaced the rear wheel and drive assembly with a tracked unit, similar to a snow mobile. This unit saw use in extreme cold environments and rough terrain where wheels tend to fail.
The Atlantic Federation spent more money on their ventures into alternate frames and produced the Banshee, what amounted to a D-2500 type frame that replaced the power cell and wheels with a pocket reactor and a pair of a-pods. The resultant machine was loud and brutally fast, and had to be limited to 150 mph, but some jailbroken models were able to reach 250 to 300 mph. Most armored troopers couldn't control vehicles at this speed and most armor suits couldn't protect a grunt from a 300 mph rotational fall.
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