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Hesketh V1000 VAMPIRE Classic Motorbike Review

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Hesketh V1000 motorcycle review - Riding
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MCN overall verdict rating is 3

Believe it or not, but you can still buy an 80s classic Hesketh V1000 motorcycle, brand new, made in small numbers by Broom Engineering. The original Hesketh V1000 was hailed as the saviour of the British industry back in 1981, but this heavy, rather touring orientated V-twin motorcycle was - and still is - an acquired taste. From 2004 onwards, the Hesketh V1000 was increased to 1200cc (becoming the Hesketh V1200) in engine capacity, and features an uprated gearbox, improved suspension and new wheels.

Engine

MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 3

Many people see the Hesketh V1000 as an 80s version of the Vincent twin and the engine has a classic simplicity about it, featuring air/oil cooling, a modest 86bhp delivered at just 6500rpm and five speed gearbox. So long as you understand that you're buying a handbuilt, relatively sedate, classic British motorcycle, you're not likely to be disappointed with the performance of the Hesketh V1000. 

Ride and Handling

MCN rating rating is 3
Owners' rating rating is 4

For its time, the Hesketh V1000's Reynolds tubed frame, which lets the motor hang from its swingarm pivot and front downtubes, is a clever piece of engineering. The 2004 onwards Hesketh V1200 models also get fully adjustable suspension front and rear, plus new alloy rimmed spoked wheels. But this is still an old design at heart and anyone expecting the Hesketh V1000 to out-corner an EXUP will be disappointed. 

Equipment

MCN rating rating is 2
Owners' rating rating is 4.5

Considering the Hesketh V1000's £12,000 price tag, it doesn't have especially great equipment fitted. The front brakes have just 2 piston calipers as standard - 6 pots are optional extras. Other details like the mirrors and rear shocks look a bit low budget. Should a centre-stand be an optional extra on a classic motorcycle like the Hesketh V1000? Arguably not.

Hesketh V1000 (1982-current)

Detail Value
New price £12,060
Engine size 1192 cc
Power 86 bhp
Top speed 125 mph
Insurance group 15 of 17
  MCN ratings Owners' ratings
Overall rating is 3 rating is 4
Engine rating is 4 rating is 3
Ride & Handling rating is 3 rating is 4
Equipment rating is 2 rating is 4.5
Quality & Reliability rating is 4 rating is 4
Value rating is 2 rating is 3.5

Quality and Reliability

MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 4

The overall reliability and a succession of gearbox problems, eventually sank Lord Hesketh's V-twin folly in the 80s, but the modern day motorcycles are built to the owner's spec, and painstakingly manufactured, so there shouldn't be any major problems. To be fair, the Hesketh V1000 isn't a motorcycle you would ride daily, so most owners would probably accept doing regular maintenance to keep the motorcycle fit for very occasional use.

Value

MCN rating rating is 2
Owners' rating rating is 3.5

Let's be clear, twelve grand doesn't buy you a Vincent, but it does buy a decent BSA Gold Star 500 and a `Goldie' is far more likely to retain its value in the long run than a Hesketh V1000, if British classic motorcycles are your thing. Compared to exclusive/rare modern motorcycles, the Hesketh lacks the sheer voluptuous beauty of something like an Bimota DB5R and isn't as much fun to ride as a Voxan Cafe Racer V-twin either. Find a Hesketh V1000 for sale.

Insurance

Insurance group: 15 of 17

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Model History

1981: Hesketh V1000 launched.
1982: Hesketh goes into receivership.
1992: Hesketh Vortan Streetfighter appears, costing 20K.
2004: Hesketh V1200 launched; gearbox tweaks, new wheels, suspension, carbon fibre body parts.

Other Versions

Hesketh Vampyre 1000: Touring based varsion of original Hesketh V1000.
Hesketh Vortan: Strange looking long wheelbase Streetfighter.
Hesketh V1200: Modern interpretation of original Hesketh V1000.

Specifications

Top speed 125 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 12.3 secs
Max power 86 bhp
Max torque 67 ft-lb
Weight 240 kg
Seat height 838 mm
Fuel capacity 25.3 litres
Average fuel consumption 40 mpg
Tank range 220 miles
Annual road tax
Insurance group 15 of 17
Engine size 1192 cc
Engine specification 8v, V-twin, 5 gears
Frame Steel tubular duplex
Front suspension adjustment Preload, rebound
Rear suspension adjustment Preload, rebound
Front brakes Twin 305mm discs
Rear brake 260mm disc
Front tyre size 110/90 x 18
Rear tyre size 150/70 x 17

Owners' Overall Rating rating is 3.5(2 reviews)

  • Ride and Handling

    Miti

    Average rating rating is 3.5

    Show Details

    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    With Marzocchi's and Brembo's at both ends, the suspension was "state of the art" in the early '80s. I find the handling stable and predictable, often finding myself travelling much faster than I had at first thought... The bike's handling fosters very confident, if not "spirited" riding and I'm rarely at the back of the group when out and about.

    25 November 2012

  • Overall

    Miti

    Average rating rating is 3.5

    Show Details

    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    The V1000 is probably the most "organic" iding experience I've ever had. After over 30 years of reliable, but fairly sterile, Japanese machines, I fulfilled a life-long dream by buying this bike. Everything about the bike says "quality" and riding it gives me more of a thrill than any other bike I've owned or ridden. I'm smitten!

    25 November 2012

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