The Ariel Atom, thanks to its nudie styling and
face-stretching speed, is perhaps the closest you’ll get to riding a motorbike
without actually riding a motorbike. In fact, if you were to chop it in half,
you would probably end up with something resembling the Somerset firm’s newest
creation. A motorbike.
It’s called the Ace and, like the Atom, it’s
skimpy clothes are built around bomb-proof Honda parts, including a 1237cc
four-cylinder engine paired with either a manual or dual-clutch ’box. So it
pumps out a rather generous 170bhp, top speed is 164mph and 0-62mph takes 3.4
seconds. In bike terms that’s fairly healthy, although not completely bonkers.
And though we’re sure it’ll do just fine in the hands of knee-scraping loonies, it’s supposed to appeal more to the average rider. More importantly, the idea is to build the bike around the owner, so it fits like a nicely tailored suit. You can choose from low seats, high seats, different handlebars, various types of bodywork, plus many forks and pegs. Which will come in handy when eating spaghetti or hanging out the washing.
The first Aces should hit the road next year, each costing somewhere around £20,000 depending on spec. This is good news for bikeists, and caps a decent week or so for British bikes, in which Hesketh also whipped the sheets of its new machine – the James Hunt-inspired 24. It’s almost enough to tempt us back into our squeaky-tight leathers…