At the risk of a sweeping generalisation, I think motorcyclists have in-built fascination with both engineering and curious creations. And so, if you’re like me, the curious engineering of the ELF race bikes is a wondrous joy. Their alternative approach to bike design was a highlight of 1980s Grand Prix paddocks, and we’ve got the full inside story including a test of Ron Haslam’s NSR500-powered exotica.
Inspired by these racers, I’ve been to see a Quantum 2 – a ‘funny front end’ road bike powered by a Suzuki GSX1100 engine. The big GSX motor makes another appearance in our road test of the ground-breaking Katana (p32), and I’ve also been fortunate enough to ride Team Classic Suzuki’s Katana racer.
Not quite as fortunate as Alan Cathcart, though, who’s been on the brand-new Mike Hailwood Replica – read his test of the Ducati 900 in this issue.
There’s more ace spanner work in perhaps what is most people’s perfect special. Vincent’s V-twin in a Manx Norton frame? Just wonderful. And it doesn’t end there, as we’ve got the little-known story of epic British engineering with the aspirational inline four created by Vauxhall. Yes, as in Viva and Cavalier.
Enjoy the issue.
mike armitage, executive editor
The sharpest cut
Named after a samurai sword, Suzuki’s Katana looked like nothing else in 1981. Almost four decades later it’s lost none of its edge…
The power of three
Believe it or not, this is the third special John Newson has created using this Manx frame. And it’s probably his finest yet
Breaking the mould
Thirty years after they withdrew from sport, we celebrate the ELF racers – the most adventurous bikes on any grid