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Hesketh enters a new era with 450cc Heresy

Has written for dozens of magazines and websites, including most of the world’s biggest bike titles, as well as dabbling in car and technology journalism.



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If ever a motorcycle brand epitomised the opposite of ‘mainstream’ it would be Hesketh, which was founded 40 years ago and is marking the anniversary by launching the new Hesketh Heresy – the first single-cylinder machine to wear the badge.

Hesketh’s history since being incorporated in 1982 by Lord Hesketh, the famous playboy millionaire who launched James Hunt into the public eye a few years earlier with his eponymous F1 racing team, has been an eventful one. The original iteration of the brand went under within months after making just 139 examples of the Hesketh V1000. It was revived by Lord Hesketh again the following year and later passing on to Broom Development Engineering, with a tiny number of V1000s being made in the following years. After changing hands again in 2010, when Paul Sleeman bought the company, the £35,000 Hesketh 24 was launched in 2014 with an S&S V-twin. Since then, Hesketh has been relatively quiet, but for its 40th anniversary comes a completely new bike.

With the Heresy, Hesketh is having a change of pace and style, using a 450cc single – less than half the size of any bike to wear the name before.



The engine is an oil-cooled, overhead-cam single that appears similar to an older Honda design. There’s no claim for power, but it’s not likely to be a lot. It’s mounted in a chrome-moly steel trellis frame, with a triangulated swingarm and direct-action Ktech rear shock. Upside down Fastace forks and 17-inch cast alloy wheels show that despite a retro look and relatively low performance, the bike is intended to have sporty handling – the head angle is a steep 24 degrees, with 59.7mm of trail, and there are dual four-pot radial brakes at the front.

At 165kg dry the Heresy isn’t as light as we might have hoped but it’s no heavyweight and the materials and build look to be top notch. You’d hope so, as Hesketh is pricing it at £14,000. The first examples are due to be delivered in March 2023, but as with every other bike to carry the Hesketh badge, the high price means they’re guaranteed to be a rare sight.


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