Somerset-based Ariel, maker of the super-fast Atom sports car, is launching a premium motorcycle called the Ace for production in 2015 — and plans to demonstrate it this weekend at the Goodwood Festival of Speed.
The bike, whose basis is a skeletal frame reminiscent of the Atom but machined entirely from an aluminium alloy billet, will cost around £20,000 and can be configured as a sports bike or a cruiser — or practically everything in-between. Like the Atom it is based on Honda components.
The new Ariel bike will offer a level of bespoke design and equipment not seen before, according to Ariel boss, Simon Saunders. “The possibilities are almost endless,” he says. “Each Ace will be as individualistic as its owner. Once we understand what an owner wants, whatever it is, we can build the bike he or she requires."
The basic engine is a 1237cc water-cooled V4 from Honda’s 173bhp VFR1200 sports-tourer. Ariel has designed its own engine management, which governs the engine’s riding characteristics. Outright performance figures aren’t yet available, but Ariel estimates a 165mph top speed and a 0-60mph sprint time of around 3.4 seconds.
Ariel will offer a range of seats, handlebars, exhausts, brakes, tank sizes and styles, and will even offer two completely different front-ends — a radical-looking girder fork, or a more conventional twin-tube layout.
The Somerset-based company plans to make 100 to 150 bikes a year, beginning next January, and will use the same bespoke build techniques as it does for the Atom, whereby one technician builds each bike from beginning to end – ands signs the finished article.
“Our motto is Serious Fun,” says Saunders, “and those two words absolutely encapsulate what the Ace is all about.”