Ariel is a name now synonymous with the Atom – a two-seater sports car that is so ferocious, it has the ability to physically deform faces when the accelerator is pinned to the floor.
But now the British marque, which is based in Somerset, has revealed that it is to resurrect its once famous motorcycle badge and create an all-new performance bike for the modern market.
Ariel actually began making motorcycles in 1870 when it was the first company to patent spoked wheels on one of its petrol-powered bicycles. Things have come a long way since then as the new machine, dubbed the Ariel Ace, features a Honda 1237cc V4 engine that is mated to completely bespoke operating parts.
The Ariel Ace will be built in extremely low volumes and that is because every bike will be tailored exactly to the customer's needs and demands. Adjustable footrests, brake and gear lever plus different seat heights and handlebar configurations allow the Ace to be personally fitted for each rider, meaning the buyer can determine the overall shape and look of the finished product.
Performance is said to be aimed at "the average rider being able to extract comfortable and consistently attainable performance from the bike". But don't think the Ace is a slouch; it can reach a top speed of 165mph and complete the 0-60mph dash in just 3.4 seconds – plenty enough to bother a whole host of supercars.
Each bike will be hand-built by just one Ariel engineer, allowing customers to develop a close relationship with the builder. The bike will also be 'upgradeable' during its lifetime, meaning owners can return their motorcycles to Ariel to be fitted with a number of advancements.
Prices for the Ace start at around £20,000, including tax in the UK, with a comprehensive option list to allow each bike to be tailored to order.
Simon Saunders, director of Ariel, said: "Motorcyclists have a real passion for their machines. They like them to be individual and they want them to be their bike, not just another bike identical to hundreds or thousands of others.
"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."