Ariel Gets Back Into Bikes with Customizable Ace Motorcycle
26 June 2014 - Autoblog
You may know the name Ariel as the producer of the bonkers, bare-bones Atom track toy, but the name has a longer history associated with motorbikes. In fact, Ariel Motorcycles was in business from 1902 to 1970 before it was folded into BSA.
And while the Atom may be as close to a motorcycle with four wheels as you're likely to find, the modern firm founded by Simon Saunders is getting back to its roots with the launch of the two-wheeler seen here.
Called the Ariel Ace, it's a highly customizable bike that buyers can outfit more as a cruiser or a naked sport bike. Like the Atom, it's powered by a Honda engine: in this case a 1237cc V4 producing 175 horsepower and 97 pound-feet of torque – sufficient to power the Ace to 100 km/h in a quoted 3.4 seconds and on to a top speed of 265 km/h. Customers will also be able to choose between a six-speed manual or dual-clutch gearbox, two suspension setups, three fuel-tank sizes, three seat heights and three wheelbase lengths, combining to provide a staggering array of choices instead of conforming to one type of ride or another.
Around the engine, Ariel has built a tubular aluminum frame that draws obvious inspiration from the Atom and is cloaked, where necessary, in carbon-composite bodywork. The bike is set to debut at the Goodwood Festival of Speed this weekend, with production slated to start next year at a rate of 100-150 units per year. It won't come cheap, though, as Ariel sets the starting price at £20,000, which comes out to about $34k but also includes the UK's 20 percent VAT rate.