The Cyclone is definitely the most innovative design in multiform mecha since the renovation of the SDF-1. The Cyclone is a tough, durable piece of hardware that maximizes the versatility, survivability, and lethality of an individual soldier. The weapons systems are modular, accurate, and flexible, and the motorcycle mode is unmatched in its role. In all, one can expect to see more mecha like this in the future.
In vehicle mode, the various models of Cyclone resemble mundane if slightly futuristic motorcycles, but with a flick of a switch the Cyclone unfolds and attaches to the rider's CVR-3 armor, or Riding Suit in Mospeada, and combines to encase the wearer in powered armor, providing greatly increased protection, agility and firepower on such a small scale as to be previously unheard of in the Robotech Wars.
An already small vehicle, the Cyclone can fold into a boxed shape configuration for storage purposes, and in this shape it small enough to be carried aboard the VFA-6 Alpha Fighter in a compartment behind the cockpit as emergency vehicle for downed pilots.
Apart from the internal missile racks of the VR-041 Saber and auto cannon on the Shadow Dancer, all Cyclone weaponry is attached externally either on hardpoints on its forearms or wielded by the pilot. This means all Cyclone weaponry are interchangeable and usable on any model, excluding specialized weapons exclusive to the Devastator and Shadow Dancer.
While not directly intended as such, the Cyclone was the perfect mecha for the post-Invid invaded Earth. The Cyclone's success can be appreciated in the fact that the CVR-3 armor required in its use has become the pilot suit and infantry armor for the REF forces.
Gaiken made very famous toy versions of the Cyclone which are fragile and rare. Starting in 2007, Toynami will make Masterpiece versions of all four Cyclone models similar to their Valkyries and Alphas.
VR-038 Bartley: A lighter model of Cyclone primarily in intended for reconnaissance use, the Bartley increases the normal Cyclone's speed and agility in exchange for decreased armor.
The VR-038L variant carries a rocket launcher, carrying six rounds in a top-mounted magazine. A shoulder-fired weapon for normal infantry, when used by a Cyclone its clamped to the right forearm plate and can be fired one-handed.
The Bartley is used by Houquet en Rose in Mospeada and her Robotech counterpart Rook Bartley. The name of the mecha appears to have influenced the character's name during translation. The mecha is also seen in use by Sue Graham in Robotech, armed with a video camera instead of a weapon and featuring the black paint job used by the Jupiter Group forces.
VR-041 Saber: A special ops mobile suit, the Saber was equipped with retractable vibroblades in the arm mounted CAD's. For extra firepower the front of the cyclone (sholders in soldier mode) mount 6 mini-missiles each.
The Saber is used by Yellow Belmont (Mospeada)/Lancer (Robotech). The VR-041 is known as the in Mospeada, a homage to the classic English Brough Superior ("Brough" pronounced like "rough") motorcycles.
VR-052 Battler: The Battler serves a dual role as a model issued to infantry forces as well as emergency vehicle for use by downed pilots, both features ensuring it is the most commonly available model. The default color scheme is bare gray metal, though the Jupiter Group sported their preferred dark gray/black paint job. Lacking the Saber's internal missile racks but featuring more armor than the Bartley, the Battler is the standard model of Cyclone.
The standard issue intended for infantry use is armed with a large beam rifle. Without a Cyclone the rifle is a heavy squad support weapon, but when used by the mecha it can be wielded like a rifle or even fired one handed.
VR-055 Devastator: Intended as a portable heavy weapon variant of the Cyclone concept, the Devastator carries a large double-barreled rapid fire pulse particle gun mounted on its shoulder, a trio of GR-10 rockets on each lower leg, a triple mini-missile rack on the right forearm plate with a double-barreled pulse beam gun mounted on the left forearm plate.
All these weapons make the Devastator as powerful as a squad normal Battlers, but comes at the expense of the Cyclone's famed agility and speed. The Devastator also requires the operator to be wearing the modified heavier CVR-4 armor to use it.
Originally only existing as an unrealized design published in the ARTMIC Design Works book, and having never appeared in either Robotech or Mospeada, the VR-055 became an official design with its inclusion in the Robotech: Invasion video game, even if the video game version only vaguely resembles the original. The fact it was designed by the creators of original series has meant the Devastator is less looked down upon than equally overly armed designs the fan-created Shadow Dancer, but many fans refuse to still consider it a true design because it never appeared in the TV series.
VR-101P Shadow Dancer: The newest Cyclone design's main claim to fame is the inclusion of a Shadow cloaking device, making it undetectable by the Invid. The Shadow Dancer is armed with modified CAD saber forearm plates that integrate the twin forearm mini-missile Launchers of the VR-052F, as well as a reflex auto-cannon mounted interally on right-hand side of torso.
Originally a fan-design created for use in the Robotech Role-Playing Game and published in Protoculture Addicts back in their Robotech fanzine days, the Shadow Dancer has become an official design or near enough to it with its appearance in the Robotech: Invasion video game. The inclusion of a Shadow cloaking device on such a small mecha along with all its weaponry meant many Robotech fans consider it to be perfect example of a munchkin design, and many fans still refuse to acknowledge a design that hasn't appeared in the series.
Other Variants There have been quick appearances of other Cyclone models in various comics, with enough differences to be considered new models such as the Jupter Base Cyclone seen in Robotech: Class Reunion. Also Prelude to the Shadow Chronicles and early images from the Shadow Chronicles seem to imply both new weaponry and at least one new model of Cyclone.