It seems like every time we turn around these days, manufacturers are releasing new motorcycles, or a new motorcycle manufacturer pops into existence. With each new bike, riders want a faster, lighter ride.
Those of us of a Certain Age (or aviation fanatics) are familiar with the Wankel engine. Mazda once stuffed a rotary into one of their sporty cars, and Suzuki’s RE5 is near legendary. You may also remember that Norton ran a rotary engine in their race bike. And that, dear friends, is where the Crighton was born.
You say you want big power and low weight? That rotary engine is going to deliver, and this is what has been driving Brian Crighton for the last dozen years.
Now, he has unveiled the eponymous Crighton CR700W, a Wankel-engine track-only motorcycle that has some really impressive numbers. Don’t get too excited yet, though. The old adage proves true yet again, and that is “Fast, lightweight, cheap: pick two.” The bike is fast, and it is light, but it is not cheap.
There is a whole lot of information packed into this short video. It explains the basics of the motorcycle’s deign. Keep an eye on the exploded view, and pay attention to that exhaust design. It is stunning in its simplicity.
The internal-combustion, normally-aspirated, twin-rotor, liquid-cooled, 690cc rotary engine in the bike weighs only 53 pounds. If the website is to be believed (and there’s no reason not to), this thing puts out 220hp and 105ft/lb. It achieves peak horsepower at only 10,500RPM. Did I mention it’s a 690cc engine?
The entire, assembled motorcycle weighs only 285 1/2 lbs. Now, granted, that’s in track trim, so there is no headlight or turn signals, or any of that garbage.
But Brian Crighton himself will hand-build only 85 of these machines in the UK. Currently the price of the bike starts at £85,000 each (that’s $116,349.70 USD, in case you’re ready to write a check). There will be a “road ready” version of the bike available, but there’s no mention of the price for that one. I am reminded of another truism: “if you have to ask, you can’t afford it.” We can drool from afar, though, can’t we?