Built as a celebration of the ‘Black Ariels’, the motorcycles produced in the period from 1926 to 1930 when Ariel modernised and re-invented their bikes as ‘The Modern Motorcycle’, the latest model Ariel Ace has been named the ‘Iron Horse’.
Originally coined by Vic Mole, Ariel Sales Manager, the Iron Horse legend was given to Ariel motorcycles from the mid 1920’s onwards. Responsible for feats such as riding 10,000 miles without stopping, climbing Mount Snowdon and crossing the English Channel, all on an Ariel motorcycle, Vic Mole was influential in the design and modernisation of the Ariel brand.
With the appointment of the legendary engineer and designer Val Page in 1926, who designed new engines, brought new production techniques and modernised the factory, Ariel saw a staggering rate of development between 1926 and 1929 which revitalised the Ariel brand.
The new Ariel Ace Iron Horse commemorates the bikes and people from that period and also demonstrates the unique way that Ariel now build their vehicles and the capability to tailor them to individual customer requirements. ‘No two vehicles we build are the same,’ said Simon Saunders, Director of Ariel, ‘and it’s very important to us that every Ariel that goes out of the factory is exactly right for each customer. Building bikes and cars in this way is something that we excel at as a small company which just wouldn’t be possible in mass production. When you take delivery of an Ariel it is very much your Ariel, particular to you and not simply just another vehicle from a production line. We have been called the Savile Row of the automotive industry and an Ariel is fitted to you much like a hand made suit.’
Central to the bike, as with other Aces, is the CNC machined, hand welded aluminium frame. Taking some 70 hours to machine and made up of 7 individual pieces of machined, aircraft grade aluminium, it highlights the combination of modern technology and traditional craftsmanship which is core to Ariel philosophy. On the Iron Horse however this has been taken one stage further, and painstakingly mirror polished by hand. ‘It is a labour of love from start to finish,’ said Tom Siebert, Manager of the motorcycle side of Ariel, ’but motorcyclists understand and appreciate the level of care that goes into creating Ariel motorcycles.’
As with all Ariel vehicles each Ace is built by one technician from start to finish and only when he is happy will his name be put on the frame. Steve King, who built this Iron Horse said, ‘There’s no timescale to build a bike but it has to be perfect. Each bike I build is very much mine until the customer takes delivery of it, but seeing their pleasure on handover is a big part of why I love my job.’
Powered by a 1237cc 76 degree V4 Honda engine producing 173bhp, 129Nm of torque and featuring a Unicam system, coupled phase-shift crankshaft, slipper clutch and throttle by wire, the Iron Horse accelerates to 60mph in 3 seconds and has a top speed of 170mph
A carbon fibre fuel tank, sat between the main rails of the fuel tank and carbon bodywork are fitted to the Ace, being the 21st century ‘black’ to echo the black enamel of the 1920’s bikes. The carbon fibre is echoed in the hand trimmed single seat with a matching directional weave, running at the same angle to the tank. It is this scrupulous attention to detail that sets Ariel aside from other manufacturers.
The Iron Horse is fitted with the unique Ariel girder forks, also polished, and a specifically built Ohlins TTX damper providing individual compression and rebound adjustment together with spring preload. With a nod to the girder forks found on the 1920’s Black Ariels, the advanced design give less stiction and flex than telescopic forks giving better road feel and sensitivity. Eccentric bearings are used to tune the head angle from 21.8 to 28.4 degrees dependant on customer use. The Pro Link rear suspension is via another Ohlins damper/spring unit operating on the single sided aluminium swing arm shaft drive assembly, again with compression, rebound and preload adjustment.
The alloy wheels are mirror polished also and fitted with Dunlop tyres. ‘We could polish everything on the bike,’ said Tom Siebert, ’but where we start and stop is entirely up to the customer. This is just an example of what we can do.’ A chrome carrier is fitted behind the seat, which can be replaced by an additional dual seat, with polished aluminium handlebars and end weights of different heights to suit each customer.
Adjustable footrests, adjustable brake and gear lever, titanium heel guards and mounting brackets, full LED lighting throughout, LCD instrumentation, coupled brakes, 6 piston front callipers, ABS and traction control complete the features of the Ace Iron Horse. Although made in ultra-low volume the Ace is still very much the ‘Modern Motorcycle’.
The Iron Horse is £29,686.00 including VAT on the road and can be seen at Motorcycle Live, NEC Birmingham from 16 November 2019.
For further details please contact Tom Siebert
Ariel Motor Company
Crewkerne, Somerset TA18 7NR
Tel: 01460 78817 Fax:01460 72935