Ariel Ace of Diamonds
17th November 2018
Special Edition | 1,237cc V4 Unicam | £20k
◄PREVIOUS STORY NEXT STORY►
Just 10 of these motorcycles are going to be built. That's the promise from the Ariel Motor Company which has just thrown the wraps off its new Ace of Diamonds model. Powered by a Honda's 1,237cc V4 Unicam engine producing 175hp at 10,000rpm, the torque output is rated at a more-than-adequate 97lb-ft @ 8,750rpm.
Driving through a six-speed manual sequential gearbox, Ariel reckon you'll accelerate from 0-60mph in just 2.9 seconds, which probably feels like a hand grenade detonating. And if you fully wind open the throttle whilst in top on a straight enough stretch of road, you'll have your urges capped at a whopping 165mph top speed.
Impressed? We're not. Yes, we can see the appeal in many quarters of the biking market. But as with many—if not most—fashion statement superbikes these days, this feels like muscle & power for muscle & power's sake.
So what's wrong with that? You tell us. Regardless, this is clearly a sophisticated and finely engineering piece of motorcycling hardware and has already lifted a lot of very happy looking eyebrows.
The trellis frame, we're told, is machined from a solid chunk of aluminium courtesy of the latest CNC equipment. That's not exactly new for Ariel. But this time, the company has apparently taken its self-declared manufacturing obsession one stage further and refined the process by skimming off a few thousands of an inch here, and maybe a few microns there in any effort to shave the errant machining marks and present a more polished product.
Nice if you like that kind of thing, but we prefer to see a few tooling marks here and there if only to remind us that it's a piece of engineering rather than a lump of whatever organically grown in a lab (and there are various processes around the world now that do exactly that). In fact, we'd like it better still if Ariel told us that the frame was hand-beaten by Bill the Blacksmith from the engine block of an old Rover or something. But we're obviously living in the wrong era, and we're doing what we can to get over that.
Meanwhile, other details include a Showa front fork, the swinging arm and shaft drive from Honda's VFR, Nissin brakes, composite fuel tank, belly pan, radiator shrouds and mudguards, an LCD dash, LED lights, an optional pillion perch and a 23.5 degree steering angle—as if any buyers are seriously interested in knowing that. Then again, maybe some buyers really are interested, and they can have that figure altered to address whatever number fits their predisposition. Just keep in mind that unless you've tried a few bikes with differing steering set-ups and varying geometry, you're not going to know which angle best suits.
The price for this muscle bike is just shy of £20k. We're also hearing a lot of loose talk about how AMAZING that is for a limited edition machine. But keep in mind that to create such a limit edition run, you don't really need to do more than switch a few components around and stick a numbered plaque on the tank or frame somewhere.
But hey! Have we overdosed on cynicism lately, or what? Well maybe. A little. However, we like to pretend that our remit is to cut through the hype and look at the bigger picture, and in this case we see this bike as a bold, stylish, well-executed but slightly overblown hot rod that has a place on the market, but doesn't appeal to us. And yes it's got a limited production run, but ultimately everything is.
That said, we hope Ariel sells shedloads—except that, being a short run venture, the firm will have to pull the plug at ten. Still, you can always create another limited edition run of ten or twenty or— [Okay, guys. That's enough of that—Ed].
Meanwhile, we'll give the last words to Ariel's Production Head, Tom Siebert who's been quoted as saying: "The Ace of Diamonds is a celebration of both our and our customers’ journey. With the Ace of Diamonds we have put together a package which gives a unique, hand-built motorcycle but at an affordable price."
Amen to that. Buy British whenever you can. Expect these sometime around March 2019.
Ariel Ace launched: Sump Magazine June 2014
◄PREVIOUS STORY NEXT STORY►