VFR1200-powered Ariel motorcycle to debut at Goodwood

Think more performance cruiser than race rep

BRITISH car manufacturer Ariel plans to unveil its new Honda VFR1200F-powered motorcycle at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in three weeks’ time, the firm has told Visordown.

The new machine, which also uses a VFR1200 single-sided shaft-drive swing-arm, will also ride up the hill at the motor sport festival, according to Simon Saunders, director of Ariel, which makes the 245bhp Atom car.

He said the firm was on a tight schedule but planned to have a 'mule bike' ready for the Goodwood hill climb, which showcases historic race cars and motorcycles. 'It's just a matter of bringing everything together,' he said.

Saunders said the production version would come in a range of guises, each bespoke to an individual customer, and revealed one option would be a performance cruiser with a 'quite upright seating position'.

'That's one end of the spectrum,' he said. 'What we're trying to do is offer a bike that will suit either end of the spectrum.

'But at the other end we're not making a race rep, which will possibly surprise some people.

'We looked at this and decided you can already go out and buy a bike that you could win the TT on, so building a faster bike seemed academic.

'Every single one of our cars is totally made for a customer and the bikes will be the same. We've got three different seats, two or three different tanks, different front ends, different wheels. It will be a bit like getting a suit made.'

He said the 170bhp VFR engine also meant the bike could be offered with Honda's Dual Clutch Transmission, which combines automatic and semi-automatic modes with a six-speed box.  

'It gives us the option of a DCT box, so for someone who wants a cruiser, you can have that.' he said. 

The Goodwood Festival of Speed will be held from June 26-29 at Goodwood House in West Sussex.