Posted: 26 Nov 2013
Given all the new models that have recently been launched by the major factories demanding column inches in the motorcycle press, it is not surprising that one new bike has not enjoyed the coverage it truly deserves – the brand new Brough Superior. The new SS100 is the first new model from the company that closed its doors in 1940 and laid dormant until the rights were bought by businessman Mark Upham in 2008.
Since then there has been a lot of activity with original bikes establishing new world records at Bonneville and some brand promotion. Amongst this activity has been the odd rumour of a new bike and three months ago Upham promised one would appear in the near future and so it did at the recent EICMA show in Italy.
The jaw dropping machine appears to have followed on from the original marketing slogan of the brand being the "Rolls-Royce of Motorcycles" after it was dubbed that by H. D. Teague of ‘The Motor Cycle’ newspaper. Many of the brands unique styling cues have been used on the new machine definitely made for the 21st Century, even if it has its heritage in the last one.
Examination shows that it certainly exhibits the high quality craftsmanship that the company was famous for and enabled it to charge a premium price. The new machine uses high-end components and materials that will allow it to compete in the modern day world and justify its expected price tag of £50,000.
The bike will not appear until 2015 so there is plenty of time for people to arrange the relevant funds, but given that original machines now are fetching well over double that, the bike will certainly hold its money as it will be only sold in limited quantities like its forebears. Just to put the price in perspective, in the 1920’s and ‘30’s,prices ranged from £130 to £180, with the average weekly salary being around £3 per week!
Despite the high prices, approximately 3,048 examples of the 19 models Brough made in the 21 years he was in business were sold and it is estimated around 1/3 of the bikes still exist as well as some of the cars he also made at the Nottingham, factory. Despite George Broughbeing a racer, designer, and showman, it was a certaincelebrity owner in the shape of T. E. Lawrence or "Lawrence of Arabia" who really put the firm on the map with his exploits on the machines, eventually ending his life on one after a crash on the last of the seven he owned.
However, the new bike is not the work of just one man as before, but collaboration between Upham, engine design specialists Akira and the French firm Boxer Design. The latter is headed by engineering genius Thierry Henriette who has been responsible for bikes like the Lamborghini bike as well as motorcycles bearing their own brand name.
Powering the new Brough Superior SS100 is a liquid-cooled 88-degree, 997cc V-Twin with four valves per cylinder. It mirrors the original power plants which were mainly JAP V-twins, but now the power output will range from 100 to 140 horsepower, depending on ECU settings, which will be set by the factory according to the owner’s preference when it is built. The double overhead cam engine features a 94mm bore and a 71.8mm stroke.
The all-new engine serves as the main structural component of the chassis with a Titanium sub-frame and aluminium/magnesium swinging bolted to it.The latter is connected to an Ohlins shock, the progressive link system being fully adjustable.
At the front end, a double wishbone arrangement based on MotoGP engineering called the Fior concept is used, the wishbones looking very period. (In this system the double triangle fork disassociates braking and steering.) It also uses an Ohlins shock with preload capabilities.
Staying with the retro look and appeal, the front brakes whilst looking period, are in fact twin 230mm double discs looking almost like a drum, but gripped by French Beringercalipers. The discs are made of an aluminium-ceramic composite to reduce gyroscopic effort and weight.
Brough claim the quad-disc system increases power by 20% over a single 320mm cast iron disc, thereby reducing braking distance. The gyroscopic inertia of the four-disc arrangement is said to be three times less than that of a 320mm disc as well! A similar disc is also used at the rear as you would expect.
The whole plot rolls along on 18- inch wheels shod with modern rubber and only weighs a claimed 395 pounds dry.As far as the quality of all other components is concerned, the SS100 exhibits the extremely high quality craftsmanship, plus high end components and materials you would expect given the heritage and neo classical styling.
The SS100 has apparently been designed as a limited production model and will be followed by a whole series of models in the future. Upham claims he wants Brough to be the second largest motorcycle manufacturer in the UK in the next 5 years –let’s hope they produce some cheaper models without diluting the quality!