The all-new Ariel Ace is powered by a 173bhp, 1200cc Honda V4, and is fully customisable. The bike is priced at £20,000 and just 100-150 units will be produced each year
Exactly a month ago, we told you that Ariel are ready to launch their new motorcycle. And now, they have. It's the first all-new Ariel motorcycle in more than 50 years, it's called the Ace and starting early next year, it will be produced in low volumes (only about 100-150 units per year) at the Ariel factory near Crewkerne, Somerset, in the UK.
The new Ariel Ace is powered by the Honda VFR1200's 1,237cc V4, uses the VFR's shaft drive system and even has the VFR's dual-clutch automatic (DCT) transmission available as an option. However, the Ace uses a bespoke, machined-aluminium perimeter-type chassis and has been designed to be fully customisable - depending on how you want your motorcycle to look and feel, the Ace can be made into a low-riding cruiser, naked streetfighter or supersports machine. Adjustable footrests, brake and gear levers, and different seat heights and handlebar configurations allow the Ace to be personally fitted for each rider, to provide the perfect riding position for each individual. And not just that, buyers will even be able to choose from variants of the front and rear suspension, different sizes of fuel tank, wheels, exhaust systems, bodywork and more.
"The usual route is to buy a standard bike and then add various aftermarket components to change the bike into what they want. However, with the Ace, the uniqueness is built in as the bike is produced and each one will be as individual as its owner," says Ariel's Director, Simon Saunders. "The first photos show just two different possibilities of specification for the bike, but the combinations are nearly endless and we plan to continue to add further options in the future. At Ariel once we understand what a customer wants, whatever it is, we can build the bike they need," he adds.
As used in the Ariel Ace, the Honda 1,237cc V4 retains its 173bhp and 131Nm power and torque outputs, but uses different fuel-injection mapping. Ariel claim that the bike goes from zero to 96kph in 3.4 seconds and is able to hit a top speed of 265kph, which seems entirely believable. One notably unique feature on the Ariel Ace is the optional girder front end, which is beautifully machined from aluminium and, according to Ariel, provides better handling, feel and sensitivity, and reduced stiction. "Although it is an entirely new and unconventional system, it feels reassuringly familiar to a rider used to telescopic forks. Featuring the latest Ohlins TTX dampers and springs, which offer separate rebound and compression damping, the Ariel girder system can be set up by owners to provide the exact level of response for their own particular needs and riding style," says a press note from Ariel.
The bike is fitted with Honda's ProLink rear suspension setup, with shaft drive, single-sided cast aluminium swingarm and fully adjustable Ohlins spring. Twin 320mm brake discs with 6-piston calipers (front) and single 276mm brake disc (rear) with 2-piston calipers handle braking duties, and while these are Nissing units, higher-spec Brembo brakes will also be available as an optional extra. ABS and switchable traction control are also fitted as standard on the Ace. Five- and seven-spoke 17-inch alloy wheels are offered as standard options, while the truly committed can get BST carbonfibre wheels for reduced unsprung weight. Tyre sizes are 120/70 at the front and 190/55 at the rear.
Instrumentation on the Ariel Ace is via a Race Technologies LCD dash, which can also be found on the Ariel Atom supercar. The instruments feature programmable gearshift lights plus multi-screen information that can be set up and scrolled through by the rider. Readouts for engine RPM, speed, oil pressure, water temperature, voltage, ambient temperature and fuel with additional warning lights for ABS, traction, indicator, low fuel, main beam and neutral plus a master alarm system give the rider information covering all aspects of the bike. A further option is the addition of a data logger that can show real time performance, as well as log to an in built SD card. The Honda HISS (Honda Ignition Security System) is also used on the Ace, together with a key activated steering lock. All lighting on the Ace is LED, with a 140mm headlight featuring cutting edge optics.
At £20,000 (including VAT @ 20%), the Ariel Ace seems to be competitively priced and Ariel shouldn't find it hard to sell the 100-150 units that they produce every year. Yes, it seems to be one hell of a comeback for Ariel Motorcycles. Brilliant!