Based in Birmingham (and later, Coventry…) in the UK, Ariel used to make bicycles, motorcycles and cars. The company was actually formed way back in 1847 but went through some bust-revival-bust-again cycles. They made their first powered tricycle in the year 1898, and started making motorcycles in 1901, the first being fitted with a 211cc single-cylinder Minerva engine.
While Ariel did go on to make many other motorcycles – the Ariel Square Four, Red Hunter, Arrow, Fieldmaster and Huntmaster are some of their better-known models – it seems the company never really managed to do very well, and finally went closed shop for good in 1967. For those who are interested, the Ariel saga is on Wikipedia here. But what could be interesting for some Brit bike fans is that the Ariel name might actually be revived in some time.
According to a report on MCN, Ariel may be looking at making a comeback under the guidance of Simon Saunders, the man responsible for the Ariel Atom sportscar. Mr Saunders is thinking of reviving the Ariel name with a naked/streetfighter-style bike that may be powered by the Honda Fireblade engine, and which would feature Ariel’s own chassis and styling. Other possibilities include a battery-powered electric sportsbike and a lightweight machine that would be powered by a supercharged single-cylinder engine.
We don’t know about the Fireblade-powered streetfighter and the electric bike, but the supercharged single-cylinder sportsbike idea seems appealing to us. Do it, Mr Saunders!
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