New Bikes

Francis-Barnett is back

But this time the British name is on a customised Chinese bike

FRANCIS-Barnett joins the growing list of historic British motorcycle marques to be revived – but this time the badge is on a customised Chinese 125.

Originally founded by Gordon Inglesby Francis and Arthur Barnett, the Coventry-based marque produced motorcycles from 1919 until 1966, most famously two-strokes with bolt-together frame tubes for ease of repair. The motorcycles were nicknamed ‘Fanny-Bs’.

Now there are two new Fanny-Bs, the Kestrel and trials-style Merlin, both based on Herald Motor Company’s Classic 125, which makes 11hp from a 124cc single.

The machines have been customised by Mutt Motorcycles using ‘as many British parts as possible’ according to Frances-Barnett owner Andy Longfield.

New parts include the wheels, seats, tyres, lights, shocks, handlebars and mudguards, while the Merlin’s frame has also been modified, Longfield said.

They cost £3,495 for the Kestrel or £4,495 for the Merlin (compared to £1,650 for a Herald Classic 125).

Longfield said: ‘Everything is hand-made and these are starting prices. If we get an order of 10 in we should be able to bring the prices down.’   

The firm is also launching Francis-Barnett-branded electric bicycles.

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