‘Baby’ Hesketh on the way: All-new 450cc roadster set for official launch next month

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These are the first images of Hesketh’s all-new, 450cc single-cylinder roadster, which is set for its official unveiling next month. Called the Heresy, it’s the British marque’s first all-new bike since the brand was revived in 2014 with the £35,000, 2000cc V-twin ‘24’. 

With that bike now consigned to history as it no longer meets emissions regs, Hesketh owner Paul Sleeman has changed direction to create a more accessible machine – although there are still plans for a 200bhp supercharged triple. 

Sleeman, who has owned the brand since 2010, told MCN the Heresy was conceived during Covid-19 lockdown as a more affordable but still fun, lightweight. Going up against other British built, small-volume concerns such as the Langen Two Stroke and single-cylinder CCM Spitfire range, it could see Hesketh return to significant production. 

Close up of Hesketh logo on the Heresy

“We were building the big V-twins but that all ceased in the middle of the pandemic,” Sleeman told MCN. “The idea was: ‘Can we build a Hesketh where we might do 100 a year?’ To bring out something new that’s affordable, hopefully, and attractive to people.” 

As such it’s based around an updated, enlarged, fuel-injected version of Honda’s XR400 enduro twin exhaust port single, complete with balancer shaft held in Hesketh’s hand-crafted, tubular steel frame with quality cycle parts.  

Rear suspension is retro-style twin shocks, again similar to the Langen, and developed with K-tech. The forks are beefy, multi-adjustable USDs, with braking seen to via twin discs and radially-mounted calipers.  

Close up on the Hesketh Heresy cylinders

These should be more than sufficient on such a lightweight machine, with other features including LED lights and minimal bodywork on this roadster version, plus a flyscreen and belly pan. 

This is all finished in Hesketh black with some parts in carbon fibre. A scrambler version based on the same concept is planned. 

“There’s going to be two models: one to be unveiled soon and, on the same platform, we’ll make a scrambler. They’re lightweight bikes, not a ton of horsepower as you would expect from a 450, but it is a Euro5-compliant engine, has ABS and all the bells and whistles you need to have today.  

Close up on Hesketh Heresy

Sleeman added that the bike will be rapid enough to make it fun, although it’s never going to break any speed records. 

“We’re trying to pitch it in a place where people might be able to afford a Hesketh for once because the one thing I’ve heard for years now is: ‘I love it but I can’t afford it’. It’s what everybody says. The retail for this bike, hopefully, by the time you’ve added the dealer margin, is about £14,000.” 

So why the name? “It’s called Heresy because the definition of heresy is to literally go in a completely different direction – from the whole high cost thing. Everything I’ve built previously sits in someone’s house or garage and you never see them, and as a motorcycle manufacturer you want to see the things…” 

Close up of Hesketh Heresy

Another difference is that the bikes will be sold through dealers rather than from the factory with participating dealers set to be announced shortly.