Lightweight Heavyweight – Ariel Ace R
Every motor enthusiast remembers the episode of Top Gear where Clarkson test drove the Ariel Atom for the first time. During that episode (season 5 episode 9) Clarkson sat in the V-tec powered, bare bones, Ariel and pushed the accelerator hard to the floor. As the Atom rocketed off we saw his face transformed into what he described himself as an alien. He went on to say the Atom was one of the fastest and craziest vehicles he’d ever driven.
It’s been 13 years since that episode aired and Ariel are still going strong. They now have two 4 wheeled vehicles in the range (soon to be 3) and have added one rather interesting 2 wheeled one named the Ariel Ace.
The development of the Ace marked the British companies return to motorcycle production, the place where their 115-year-old roots lie. The Ace first appeared in the Ariel lined up in 2014 and, like the Atom, was powered by a Honda motor, but in this instance, it was the V4 engine from Honda’s VFR1200. Since then Ariel has built around 50 Ace motorcycles for their customers and now 3 years on they have decided to add a special edition to the range they call the Ace R.
The Ariel Ace R can be distinguished from the standard Ace by its high-end carbon fibre bodywork, black pearlescent frame, gold anodised details and R badge tucked beneath the seat. While the new styling certainly looks great there’s much more to this special edition R than looks alone. Ariel has increased the power output of the Ace by over 15% taking it from 173bhp up to 201bhp and pushing the torque up to 143Nm, a figure that positions it the realm of the BMW S1000RR or Yamaha’s R1. To do this they’ve reworked many of the V4’s internals including the camshaft and heads and lightened things drastically. To get the bike from 0-100 as fast as possible the R also features a special Translogic Quickshifter similar to those found on MotoGP bikes.
The black pearlescent, milled aluminum frame of the Ace R has also been tweaked to reduce its overall weight and to improve steering response. Along with the weight saving benefits of the carbon bodywork, which is reportedly 65% lighter on the R, Ariel has opted for aluminum and titanium fasteners in an attempt to keep the bike as light as possible. The cast wheels of the Ace have also been upgraded to carbon items that weigh 50% less and wear Dunlop Sportmax GP tires. Other handling improvements include top of the range Ohlins suspension, ABS and traction control and a pair of 6 piston Nissin calipers up front.
With production numbers set to be a mere 10 examples, you’re probably thinking the Ariel Ace R isn’t going to be cheap, and you thought right. The price starts at a whopping £49,995 plus tax ($66,000 USD) but that’s what you have to expect for such a rare commodity. On the flip side though you get a 200bhp, 0-60 in under 3 seconds, 165mph+ beast that’s as rare as hen’s teeth and bears the same name as the car that blew Clarkson’s mind.
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