When Ariel dropped its cop-spec Atom, no one seemed to mention the bigger news: Ariel is finally going to build its long-rumored motorcycle in a return to its two-wheeled roots.
Rumors of a Honda-powered, Ariel-built motorcycle have been circulating since 2008, with the company promising a bike in 2011, and later, 2012. Since then, we haven't heard much. But Ariel's director, Simon Saunders, said at this week's event that, "We're just about to launch an all new Ariel motorcycle."
Before Ariel was in the business of making insane, tube frame track machines, it made bikes. From 1902 through 1970, it produced a handful of motorcycles before it was bought by BSA and later rolled in Triumph.
According to sources, the new bike will be powered by the 1,237cc, 76-degree V4 currently fitted to the Honda VFR1200F (pictured above). The engine puts out 170 hp at 10,000 rpm and 95 lb-ft of torque in stock form, but knowing Ariel, it'll be thoroughly worked over to get closer to 200 hp.
Visor Down reports that Ariel will keep the Pro Arm single-side swingarm, possibly with the standard shaft drive. They'll likely ditch the rest, as the VFR is a bit more of a sports-tourer than hardened corner-carver. But the real question is whether they'll opt to stick with the shift-your-own six-speed gearbox or go with the dual-clutch tranny with "paddle" shifters Honda offers as an option on the VFR. That might be antithetical to Ariel's raw, purist nature, but then again, they like to push the game forward.