Friday, January 15, 2016

Praëm SP3 shows what a Honda RC51 can become with a bit of French engineering

A Praëm SP3 6A Praëm SP3 9G Praëm SP3 1G Praëm SP3 2wG Praëm SP3 3wG Praëm SP3 4wG Praëm SP3 5wG Praëm SP3 6G Praëm SP3 9T Praëm SP3 3
Based on the Honda VTR1000 RC51 SP2, The Praëm SP3 is a work of art and could fetch as much as €145,000 when it goes up for auction in Paris later this year

Based in Saint-Rémy-lès-Chevreuse (about 40km from Paris), Praëm was set up in 2014 by two brothers, Sylvain, a former BMW Motorrad designer, and Florent, a prototypist and former aeronautical mechanic in the French army. With Praëm, the brothers aim to create hand-built motorcycles using chassis and engines from legendary sportsbikes of the past, but with styling updates and extensive technical and mechanical improvements. Their first project is the Praëm SP3, which is based on a Honda VTR1000 RC51 SP2, the bike with which Colin Edwards won the World Superbikes championship back in the year 2000.

'All the HRC expertise is there, but as a stock bike, the RC51 SP2 had downsides compared to the factory racebike. The brakes and suspension were not as good as the rest of the machine, and with the fuel tank covering the rear cylinder, there were overheating problems,' say Sylvain and Florent. 'The Praëm philosophy requires to not damage the original performances of the machine, therefore we kept the stock RC51's racing geometry and improved everything around it. In order to solve braking and suspension problems, the SP3 powertrain has been assembled from the best parts available on the market, like ultra-light carbon wheels, radial brakes with carbon-ceramic discs, as well as the best Öhlins suspension,' they add.

The brothers Praëm wanted to make a high-performance GT out of the RC51 and the SP3 has been designed accordingly. 'The goal is not to make a pure race bike or a confortable touring bike, but a vehicle that can live in between this two worlds. It could be an Aston Martin DB9 for example, fast and powerful, but timeless and elegant as well,' the brothers say. 'Each surface is treated depending on its type of use, and all the mechanical and structural elements are blacked out. Brushed aluminium or stainless steel define the ergonomic and aerodynamic surfaces, whereas the coloured bits are ornamental features. Unlike its RC51 SP2 ancestor, the cutout in the SP3 tank prevents the rear cylinder from overheating,' they add.

The Praëm SP3's stainless steel wired fairings are inspired by the sculptures of the Brooklyn-based Korean artist, Seung Mo Park, and serve a functional purpose. By varying the density of the wires, fresh air can go through the ram-air inlet at the front, and hot air can be extracted from the lateral cooling system at the back. Also, a cool little feature is a Tag Heuer Monaco Calibre 11 watch, that's been fully integrated into the SP3 fuel tank. 'We have deliberately chosen to integrate the complete watch, with its strap, to keep it wearable when the pilot is not on the machine,' the brothers say.

The SP3 project kicked off in January last year and the brothers say that about 4,000 hours of labour have gone into creating the bike. With the RC51's V-twin engine fully rebuilt, it now produces 165bhp and 125Nm of torque, and the SP3 weighs 180kg dry. The bike rides on 17-inch carbonfibre wheels, shod with Pirelli SC2 tyres. At the front, twin 320mm carbon-ceramic discs, with Brembo 4-piston radial-mount calipers handle the braking duties. Fully adjustable Öhlins FGR300 fork and TTX36 shock are used, and all the bolts on the bike, as well as the custom-built exhaust system, are made of Titanium.

The Praëm SP3 will be put up for sale at Bonhams at Le Grand Palais, Paris, on February 4th 2016. Visit Praëm for more information.

Some pics of the original SP2. Not too bad, eh? :-)

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