We ride the Ariel Ace at Goodwood

By Michael Neeves -

First rides & tests

 09 July 2014 10:42

It’s hard to believe the Ariel Ace cruiser really is a new bike. It’s seemingly come out of nowhere, is made by a car firm, and yet it’s already better than many established production bikes.

The Ariel Ace cruiser is impressive during my quick blast up and down the famous Goodwood hillclimb. It rides beautifully and, crucially, doesn’t try to be too clever with ride-by-wire electronics and a gazillion riding modes at this early stage in its life.

You can’t go far wrong when you start with a Honda VFR1200 engine and electronics, so it’s no surprise the Ace’s lump is a peach, developing linear power, with glitch-free fuelling, and a nice kick at the top end.

Fitted with a titanium race exhaust the V4 sounds fantastic, and it’s nice to see this engine in something a little funkier than its usual home. Prices start from £20k depending on the chosen spec.

Ride quality is plush, and thanks to its carbon wheels and girder front end the steering is light and direct, even when braking for some of Goodwood’s more nadgery corners.

The ‘fork’ does dive, too – so the front end feels completely normal. It’s mesmerising to watch the top linkage bob up and down when you’re going along.

It’s similar to the Ducati Diavel in spirit, but it’s smoother and less brutal. There’s also a naked sports Ariel, which will have even faster-steering, and be more of a wheeile monster.

What’s even more impressive than the way it performs, and its immense braking power, is the build quality and attention to detail. As well as all the billet aluminium, the race dash and Öhlins, it still runs the VFR’s shaft drive, C-ABS and traction control.

Ariel produces exciting, well-sorted, critically-acclaimed cars and now it’s done exactly the same with two wheels. This is a really well thought out motorcycle, and for a first release, it’s incredible, and was a real highlight of this year’s Goodwood.