If you’ve been a regular here at Faster and Faster, you’ve probably read some of our earlier posts on Wakan, some of whose bikes we quite liked – especially the S&S 50th Anniversary Track Racer Special. Well, that was back then. Now, the ‘Wakan’ name is no more – the French company was bought over by one Cedric Klein (who’s now the CEO) and continues to produce motorcycles, but under the ‘Avinton’ brand. The one thing that hasn’t changed is the fact that their bikes are still very cool. So, we caught up with Cedric for a quick chat about the bikes that his company builds. Here’s what he had to say about Avinton motorcycles:
On Wakan, and the subsequent birth of Avinton Motorcycles
Avinton was born in January 2012 – this is a young company! I've worked as an engineer in heavy industries and was thermo-dynamic systems supplier for the French army. I’ve been keen on road bikes since I was a young boy and when I discovered Wakan motorcycles, I just fell in love with their incredible musclebike. Later, when I came to know that Wakan was about to go out of existence, I refused to accept that – I decided to sell my thermo-dynamics systems company, to buy Wakan and give it another chance of success.
I decided to change ‘Wakan’ to ‘Avinton’ because this new brand is easier to export outside of France. Our factory is located in the South of France, in Sommières (a beautiful place located between Nîmes et Montpellier) and 80% of our production is for the export market. This year, we hope to sell a total of about 100-120 bikes.
On how Avinton bikes are different from others in the market
The Avinton concept is very simple – we don't sell you a bike, we create YOUR bike. All the Wakan bikes were similar, but each Avinton motorcycle is totally unique. Our bike is available in three versions (‘GT,’ ‘Race,’ and ‘Roadster,’ all with different riding positions), six editions (‘Collector,’ ‘Vintage,’ ‘Deluxe,’ ‘Grand Sport,’ ‘Super Snake,’ and ‘Cult’), more than 60 optional parts and 16 million colours!
On the markets where Avinton motorcycles are sold, and the ‘typical’ Avinton customer
Most of our bikes are currently sold in France, of course. But this year, we will also start selling in Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Great Britain, the Netherlands, U.A.E., Qatar, the United States, Canada and the Asia Pacific area.
Our customer is everybody who wants an exclusive musclebike and who’s got 33,900 euros in his bank account! But more seriously, our customers are always gentlemen. They can be CEOs, lawyers, doctors, architects or from the showbiz. The common thing is, they want to find “the bike of their life.” All our customers tell me that they will keep their Avinton forever. In short, they have the same kind of relationship with the bike that British guys have with their Jaguar – they buy it when they are 35 years old and still drive it when they are 80 years old…
On the S&S engines that power Avinton bikes and whether the company has any plans of building their own engine
No, we don't want to develop our own engine. It costs too much money and takes too much time, especially when you’re a small scale manufacturer. We quite prefer to work with S&S, which is a real institution in the US. Their engine totally fits our concept, which is the same as Carroll Shelby's, with the legendary AC Cobra – a light and elegant body powered with a big, big block engine with lots of torque.
On the unique challenges of running a small-scale motorcycle manufacturing/assembly outfit
You know, today, everything is more difficult when you are a small company. But sometimes, it's better to be small, particularly when you want to create some very high quality products. With our musclebike, we want to show that the French can excel not just with wine, food and fashion, but also motorcycles.
We don't want to become a large scale bikes manufacturer, because it's quite impossible to match big quantities with high quality. And we deeply prefer to give priority to quality. I think we like our little ‘niche’!
On the man responsible for designing the Avinton musclebike and the design brief he worked with
The man responsible for the bike’s design is Kevin Laigle. The design brief was very simple; “Design an AC Cobra on two wheels, with the same quality, the same spirit, the same performance, the same elegance, the same bestiality… and the same emotion!”
We thank Cedric for taking the time to speak to Faster and Faster and wish him all the very best for Avinton Motorcycles. For more details on Avinton bikes, visit their official website