ARCH KRGT-1 (2019 - on) Review
- First Arch model for sale in UK
- Surprisingly good to ride
- Exquisitely finished
At a glance
Overall ratingNext up: Ride & brakes
The list of £90,000 production bikes is short enough before you start adding any other stipulations into the mix. And if the first of them is to deliver a ride that doesn’t leave you spending the same sum again at the sadistic whims of your local osteopath, then the list gets shorter still. But there is at least one choice.
The Arch KRGT-1 may have been cracking asphalt Stateside since 2014, but the newest incarnation is now available on UK soil – and if the shock of the price tag hasn’t already given you palpitations, then riding it will.
Preconceptions have a funny way of proving themselves accurate – but not this time. You might expect it to suffer surging fuelling woes, a soggy chassis and spine-compressing suspension. But it doesn’t. £90k custom bikes are usually rolling art installations that are torturous in motion – but the Arch combines bling with an unexpectedly accomplished ride.
Yes, it’s got faults. No, it’s not really ‘worth’ £90k (although you try building a clone cheaper) – but it is imbued with an intangible specialness that deserves to get the super-rich reaching for the build options list.
Ride quality & brakesNext up: Engine
Not only is the fuelling oddly excellent for such a huge capacity air-cooled Vee, but the gearchange is crisp and positive, and the cumulative effect almost Diavel-esque in its penchant for egging you on to ride it harder. The gear lever is badly set on our test bike though, meaning that your natural foot position is at odds with its plane of action on upshifts - making toe-bleedingly hard work of what should be effortless.
A quick glance at the Motogadget dash reveals that it’s really rather ineffective, but also that speed builds fast, and three figures arrive on the red-out-of-black dot matrix screen with ease. What the occasionally active green dots mean is anyone’s guess, but you’ll only bother looking at the dash before speed cameras.
But, attractive as it is, it’s the riding that impresses most – and much of that is down to the brand-definiing arch of the frame, and the crucially well set-up Öhlins hardware.
How Arch have it all dialled-in to deliver stiff, sporty composure, while allowing a ride quality that’s astoundingly cosseting over bumpy British B-road imperfections, is extraordinary. This really is a cruiser that can hustle – hard.
It takes positive bar pressure to hold it on a line though, and with no traction control or rider modes, you do have to treat the super-fat 240/40 rear Michelin Commander II with some caution.
Its flat profile puts you on the narrow shoulder at even the slightest of lean angles and with so much torque on tap it would be easy to get bitten. But feel and feedback are communicated clearly, and even the 19/18in rim combo doesn’t dull that. I’d like a wider span handlebar, but you could spec that when you order.
That deep scalloped seat is oddly comfortable too, the bum-stop supporting your spine to eradicate the backache that usually plagues the second hour of any cruiser ride.
It’s not without fault, but it’s an endearing chameleon. Trickle through town and it’s smooth, loud and effortless. Grab it by the scruff of its neck and it’s just the same. Just don’t ever idle at traffic lights if you like your retina attached.
EngineNext up: Reliability
A sense of self-indulgence sweeps over you from the moment you thumb the starter and wake the enormous bespoke tuned S&S T124 45-degree V-twin. The churning mechanical effort of ignition is palpable, and once thumping out its idle tune, you’ll immediately want to kick a gear into place and get moving; partly to revel in the aural assault of the 2032cc Vee’s heavy breathing, and partly to make the appalling tickover shuddering stop.
Providing you can pull away before your fillings work their way out through your ears, you’ll be rewarded with a tide of smooth, addictive thrust. The throttle metes out the stomp with genuine precision, and from the moment you’re rolling there’s a creamy tsunami of grunt. That tide builds towards peak power across a rev range short enough that you’ll crave a quickshifter to help slice through the robust Baker 6-speed ’box.
Reliability & build qualityNext up: Value
One of the great beauties of the Arch is that there’s not much to go wrong – and that the rafts of high-end parts it uses mean that – while they may be assembled in a fresh order – they’re all well tested.
S&S engines are bullet-proof, as are BST wheels, ISR braking components and Öhlins suspension. The rest is beautifully packaged and resolved, and there are no obvious cautionary areas of concern.
Value vs rivalsNext up: Equipment
There’s no way to put this delicately. The Arch KRGT-1 is bloody expensive. At £90,000 it’s dramatically outside most rider’s remit, and even pre-owned ones are unlikely to be much cheaper. A ‘used’ bike has never sold in the UK, so no-one really knows what price tag one would command.
Are the costs unfair? No – not really. When you understand the cost, quality and craftsmanship that goes into one, it all adds up.
Cost of ownership shouldn’t be any worse than a £20k bike, but spare availability will be more of a struggle, as parts will all have to come from the States – and some may need to be built to order.
The Arch is dripping with enough jewellery that you’ll be as happy sitting in the garage on a rainy day revelling in its parts pornography as you will be to find a flowing B-road when the sun comes out.
Finishes depend on your choices at build – but the detailing on the engine cases, Swedish ISR braking hardware and bespoke spec’d Öhlins, expansive BST carbon fibre wheels, stunning billet single-piece seat unit, billet tank (yes, really), and opulent LED headlamp all reveal new secrets the more you sit and stare at them.
But while it will come with ABS in the UK, that’s where the electronic rider aids end. There’s no traction control, slide control, cornering ABS, braking control, launch control, or any other sort of control other than that exercised by your brain and limbs. And that’s rather refreshing, isn’t it?
|Engine type||Air-cooled S&S T124 45-degree V-twin|
|Frame type||Tubular steel and billet aluminium|
|Fuel capacity||18.9 litres|
|Front suspension||Arch 48mm Öhlins FGRT fully-adjustable fork|
|Rear suspension||Arch-spec fully-adjustable Öhlins monoshock|
|Front brake||2 x 320mm front discs with six-piston radial ISR monobloc calipers, now with ABS for 2019|
|Rear brake||Single 240mm discs with four-piston radial ISR monobloc caliper, with ABS for 2019|
|Front tyre size||120/70 x 19|
|Rear tyre size||240/40 x 18|
Mpg, costs & insurance
|Average fuel consumption||-|
|Annual road tax||£96|
|Annual service cost||-|
How much to insure?
|Warranty term||Two years|
Top speed & performance
|Max power||94 bhp|
|Max torque||115.3 ft-lb|
|1/4 mile acceleration||-|
Model history & versions
2014: First-generation KRGT-1 launched in the USA
A key choice you have to make with the Arch is whether you go for feet-forward, or mid-position, footpegs. Having ridden both, it’s a clear win for frame-mounted feet-forward option.
While the gear change is easier on the mid-peg model (it’s fixable on the feet-forward), the big negatives are an awkwardly contorted riding position, and vibration through the engine-mounted right peg that’s akin to strapping your foot to a Kango concrete breaker on its maximum setting.
Owners' reviews for the ARCH KRGT-1 (2019 - on)
No owners have yet reviewed the ARCH KRGT-1 (2019 - on).