FIRST RIDES

New Brough-su­pe­rior in it’s-not-pants shock, and a Husky on a round­about.

BIKE (UK) - - CONTENTS - Words Hugo Wil­son Pho­tog­ra­phy Chippy Wood

THERE’S A SLIGHT de­lay be­fore we can be­gin our ride on the new Brough-su­pe­rior SS100. Down in the firm’s fab­ri­ca­tion shop they’re mak­ing a new stain­less steel heat shield for the ex­haust. From scratch. This re­ally is an ar­ti­san made mo­tor­cy­cle. But un­like most lim­ited pro­duc­tion hand fin­ished hot rods this one works. Press the but­ton on the dinky switchgear and the 88° V-twin booms into life. The clutch ac­tion is light and pro­gres­sive, the short snick down into first gear is pos­i­tive and crisp, and when you dial in some revs and pull away there’s no hes­i­ta­tion. I wasn’t ex­pect­ing it to be this re­fined. The Brough-su­pe­rior re­vival project was re­vealed at the Mi­lan mo­tor­cy­cle show in 2013 when a styling ex­er­cise was shown. We pho­tographed that ma­chine for Bike’s Fe­bru­ary 2014 edi­tion. Ten run­ning pro­to­types have been built since. They’ve re­mained true to the orig­i­nal con­cept, but have grad­u­ally be­come closer to the pro­duc­tion ver­sions that’ll be as­sem­bled at a rate of one a day in Brough-su­pe­rior’s base in Toulouse from this au­tumn. The bike that we’re rid­ing is chas­sis num­ber 10. It’s the fac­tory’s test mule that has cov­ered over 50,000 kilo­me­ters. There will be de­tail changes to the pro­duc­tion bikes – re­vised rout­ing of coolant tubes, a con­cealed header tank, dif­fer­ent shock, re­vised wir­ing loom – but they’re close. The de­tail­ing is very neat, but the over­all con­cept is clever too. There’s no real chas­sis, just a ti­ta­nium bridge car­ry­ing the steer­ing head that is bolted to the top of the en­gine and a tubu­lar ti­ta­nium sub­frame to sup­port the suede cov­ered seat and the alu­minium tailpiece. Front forks are Fior gird­ers of a sim­i­lar style to those used on the BMW K1600. Front brakes are quadru­ple discs fit­ted to 18-spoke ally wheels. The over­all pack­age is stun­ning, partly be­cause it’s beau­ti­fully ex­e­cuted and partly be­cause, for a 21st cen­tury mo­tor­cy­cle, it’s unique. Noth­ing else looks re­motely like this. Noth­ing rides like it ei­ther… You sit astride the slim SS100 like you are rid­ing a tor­pedo. It feels long (wheel­base is 1540mm) and there’s not much give in the sus­pen­sion, but the rid­ing po­si­tion is re­laxed and nat­u­ral. Fat hand­grips are

fit­ted to one inch han­dle­bars and there’s ac­tu­ally some steer­ing lock (an­other thing miss­ing from most crafts­man built bikes). Ahead there’s a big speedo that reads to 180mph/290kph and in­cludes a dig­i­tal rev counter. This is one of the few Bri­tish made com­po­nents on the bike (along with the ti­ta­nium fas­ten­ers) so it’s em­bar­rass­ing that it’s the one thing that doesn’t work prop­erly. ‘It will be fixed for the pro­duc­tion bikes,’ re­as­sures Brough-su­pe­rior spokesman Al­bert Cas­taigne. Tyre sizes are an un­fash­ion­able 120/70 18 front, 160/60 18 rear and the SS100 turns re­ally nicely on Miche­lin Pilot Road tyres. It’s got low in­put, but sta­ble steer­ing, so you can flick it about and do U-turns with ease. Com­bined with the nat­u­ral for­ward stance rid­ing po­si­tion and the Brough has re­laxed, old fash­ioned steer­ing. But with more get up and go than any clas­sic bike. In Euro3 com­pli­ant spec­i­fi­ca­tion Brough claim the bike puts out around 100bhp at 9500rpm. Ours was fit­ted with loud ex­hausts so 105-110bhp seems re­al­is­tic. There’s a Sport kit with an ECU and dif­fer­ent air fil­ters that makes 130bhp at lower revs. The rev lim­iter cuts in at 10,500rpm. In this form it’s sweet. Crisp and revvy, but with enough midrange grunt to save on gear chang­ing ef­fort. With­out a trust­wor­thy speedo and rev counter it’s hard to guess at per­for­mance. It feels brisk rather than bal­lis­tic, but its urge matches the at­ti­tude. I mean, if you’re go­ing too fast peo­ple won’t see the bike. To that end the brakes are stu­pen­dous. Al­bert Cas­taigne ad­mits the choice was aes­thetic; they needed small di­am­e­ter discs to get the right look. But the four disc set-up re­ally works. Made by Ber­ringer and de­vel­oped for aero­planes the sys­tem was re­fined in en­durance rac­ing. A ben­e­fit of the Fior fork and long wheel­base is there’s min­i­mal sus­pen­sion dive and real sta­bil­ity un­der sav­age brak­ing, though it’s amus­ing to have the fork mounted screen mov­ing with the firm sus­pen­sion. That beau­ti­ful fuel tank also cov­ers the air­box, so petrol ca­pac­ity is lim­ited, but a sec­ond un­der seat tank takes ca­pac­ity up to 15 litres which should be good for well over 120 miles. So what’s the catch? There are two. Brough are only plan­ning to make a bike a day, and they’ll cost the thick end of £50,000 each. If you’ve got the money this’d be a good way to spend it. 300 of the Euro3 com­pli­ant Mk1 mod­els will be made be­fore 2018 and half of th­ese are al­ready pre-sold. When they’re com­pleted pro­duc­tion will switch to a Euro4 com­pli­ant Mk2 with ABS and fur­ther emis­sion con­trols. The Mk2 is al­ready un­der de­vel­op­ment.

Im­prac­ti­cal, un­comfy and ut­terly ex­cel­lent

Along with the name one of the few things on the Brough that’s Bri­tish 120 miles fully fu­elled. That’ll do

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