RADD Motorcycle Designer James Parker Dead At 76

Press Release
by Press Release

Innovative chassis designer dies from injuries after getting struck by a car.

James Parker, a pioneer in the world of motorcycling, has died. He was 76. More information of his passing is found in the release below. We at Motorcycle.com wish to extend our condolences to Parker's family, friends, and loved ones.

Begin press release:

James Parker, the maverick designer who spent a lifetime reimagining the motorcycle, has died at the age of 76. He was struck by a vehicle while walking near his Santa Fe, New Mexico home on July 1st and passed away on July 11th.

After spending his early years in California and India, Parker graduated from Claremont Men's College and then earned his BA in Design at Stanford University. He joined the Peace Corps, returning to live and work in India, and ultimately settled in Santa Fe upon his return. Beginning in the 1970s, Parker partnered in a custom architectural design and construction firm, creating numerous unique homes in and around Santa Fe.

Parker was a lifetime motorcyclist and ultimately became an influential player in the industry over the course of the last four decades. He founded his company, Rationally Advanced Design Development (RADD), in the early 1980's to develop and market a revolutionary swingarm front suspension system that reached production in the 1993 Yamaha GTS1000 sport-tourer.

Parker's design work spanned an impressive range, from a classic heavyweight American cruiser with an all-new engine design, to the chassis and powertrain layout for the Mission R electric road racer that dominated the 2011 TTXGP/FIM electric motorcycle race at Laguna Seca.

Several of Parker's prototype machines are on display at the Advanced Design Center at the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum in Birmingham, Alabama. When not devoting his time to all things motorcycle, Parker was an avid hiker and outdoorsman who knew the Sangre de Cristo Mountains surrounding Santa Fe better than anyone else in town. James Parker is survived by his sister Cynthia, his nephew, and three nieces.

Become a Motorcycle.com insider. Get the latest motorcycle news first by subscribing to our newsletter here.

Press Release
Press Release

More by Press Release

Join the conversation
  • Mad4TheCrest Mad4TheCrest on Jul 21, 2023

    I was fortunate enough to test ride a Mission R equipped for the road, and the chassis felt amazing and gave that heavy electric bike confidence inspiring handling. Parker was a brilliant designer. R.I.P.

  • Arrow Arrow on Jul 23, 2023

    Such sad news and such a big loss. His RADD bike was the stuff of dreams in the 80s, and Yamaha messed it up by not listening to him when they released the GTS in the 90s (still a good bike though). I always kept hope that one of the major motorcycle companies would employ his ideas, the alternative front-end GSX-R looked great and had real good performance. Godspeed sir…