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BROUGH SUPERIOR 2018 – Onwards and Upwards | BIKE TESTS

Historic British marque Brough Superior launched an array of new models at this year’s 75th EICMA Milan Show, as the Anglo-French company gears up to begin series production in 2018 of its SS100, which debuted at the 2013 Milan Show as a concept bike, with the first running prototype taking to the roads two years later.

“We’ve delivered 90 examples of our SS100 to customers so far,” says Brough CEO Mark Upham, “but have orders for several hundred more. We’ve held back on deliveries while we homologate the bike for Euro 4 compliance, but we’re nearly there, and have only ABS to complete in partnership with Continental.” Brough plans to start production next March in its Toulouse factory of the SS100 Mk2 Euro 4 model introduced in Milan. It will build 250 such bikes in 2018 retailing at a price of  $97,000 (Euro 62,900), and will increase the current 15-strong workforce there to 20 people to drive this uplift in production. “Obtaining Euro 4 will also allow us to sell bikes to the USA for the first time,” says Upham. “We plan to launch there in 2019, to mark Brough Superior’s 100th birthday.”

But Upham’s partner in the enterprise, Thierry Henriette, whose Boxer Design company created the sleekly-styled model that’s put Brough Superior back in business for the first time since WW2, complete with its own 8-valve dohc 88º V-twin engine built in France by Akira, who maintain the factory Kawasaki engines which have so far taken Johnny Rea to a trio of World Superbike titles, has also conceived two further variants of the SS100 unveiled at Milan. Subtly different one than another, these both carry the Pendine name, after the Welsh beach which was Britain’s Daytona in the 1920s, hosting many Land Speed Record attempts – including by George Brough himself, who from 1928 on gave the Pendine name to all his racing models.

The two new bikes bearing it today are based on the same basic platform as the SS100, with a machined titanium frame and Fior-type wishbone front suspension, but are fitted with a billet swingarm that’s likewise CNC-machined out of solid aluminium, rather than cast alloy as on the standard bike. Like this, it pivots in the engine’s crankcases, but its Öhlins monoshock is offset to the right and operated directly by the swingarm, rather than centrally positioned and via a progressive rate link, as on the SS100. Wheel travel is unchanged at 130mm, as is the stretched 1540mm wheelbase

Other detail differences include a taller handlebar delivering a more upright riding stance, a 19-inch front wheel and 17-inch rear rather that the SS100’s pair of 18-inchers, and a glorious-looking pair of stacked slash-cut megaphone exhausts carried on the left side of the bike, whereas the stock SS100 has two standapart pipes running down the right side. The seat and tank blend into one another, running to a pointed tail in a modern take on svelte period streamlining. The two variants are called the Pendine S – as in Sand Racer or Sport Racer (take your pick, says Mark Upham!) or the Pendine D, as in Desert, But rather remarkably, these great-looking pieces of two-wheeled eye-candy are priced quite a bit less costly than the SS100, and will retail for Euro 59,930 incl. 20% VAT when production begins next April. And, yes – customers who’ve already booked a place in the Brough Superior waiting list will be able to swap their SS100 order to a Pendine, if desired, says Mark Upham.

Upham also reveals that production of three more new models is already planned, with development of these well under way in Toulouse in anticipation of the approaching centenary in 1919 of the Brough Superior brand. Plans are also being laid for the company to return to the Bonneville Salt Flats in that year with a turbocharged version of the SS100’s 997cc V-twin motor which Thierry Henriette has been working on for the past two years, with its first dyno run planned for January. “We’d love to mark Brough Superior’s 100th birthday by breaking the 200mph barrier with a Brough for the first time,” says Upham. Watch this space….

By Alan Cathcart

Photo credit: Brough Superior Motorcycles