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AJP HISTORY LESSON | Manufacture News | News

A little-known Portuguese brand plugs a gaping hole in the adventure bike market with a rally raid-inspired marvel

AJP might be unknown to many, but the brand has been around for three decades. It was founded in 1987 as a motorcycle repair workshop in Portugal by seven-time Portuguese enduro champion António J Pinto – the brand name is derived from his initials – and his brother Jorge.

They produced their first motorcycle in 1990 – the Ariana 125, which was equipped with a two-stroke Casal engine – and a year later unveiled a 50cc two-stroke enduro dubbed the Galp. AJP also entered into a long-term partnership with Portuguese oil and gas brand Petrogal to develop a range of synthetic oils for two-stroke motors.

A turning point for AJP came in 2001, when it unveiled the PR4 125cc four-stroke off-road bike, which featured an under-seat fuel tank. It was sold in export markets across Europe and was upgraded in 2004 with a 200cc motor. In 2007 a PR3 200cc motocrosser was introduced, which featured an aluminium twin-spar frame.

Private equity company Bicep Capital Group bought into AJP in 2009, upgrading production facilities and setting a target of 3000 units per year. The 250cc PR5 thumper with fuel-injected motor was unveiled in 2010, and in 2013 the PR3, PR4 and PR5 were all heavily updated, with a new liquid-cooled motor going into the PR5.

The PR7 was previewed in 2014, but took almost three years to hit markets around the world. As the PR7 finds its feet, the PR3, PR4 and PR5 models continue as the backbone of the AJP range, some of which feature Aussie compliance.

First blood relative

The PR7 made its global debut in late 2014 at the biennial Intermot trade show in Germany, where it was fitted with the Italian-made Minarelli engine (which has long been at the heart of Yamaha’s XT660R, X and Z Tenere models). This prototype bike also featured a Marzocchi fork, Öhlins shock, and a fuel filler cap for the under-seat tank located at the rear of the seat.

Since then the bike has been tweaked and tuned before finally going into production this year. It is now fitted with a six-speed SWM engine (the five-speed Minarelli does not meet global emissions requirements), Sachs suspension and a lockable fuel filler cap at the front of the seat where access will not be fouled by luggage loads.

In its production Euro 4-compliant and LAMS-approved state, the PR7 delivers a claimed 36.5kW but feels like it could punch out more. AJP offers an optional Power Up kit priced at $1500 that includes a freer-breathing airbox lid, remapped ECU and less restrictive muffler, which is already proving popular with Aussie customers.