Retro re­vival

Af­ter a 30-year hia­tus, Swiss bike builder bounces back with Xjr1300-pow­ered cus­tom

Motorcycle News (UK) - - THIS WEEK IN MCN - By Jor­dan Gib­bons SE­NIOR RE­PORTER

Egli make great come­back

In a sleepy town in Switzer­land, not too far from Zurich, is a rab­bit-war­ren of work­shops built in­side an old farm­house. From the out­side, there’s noth­ing go­ing on, but in­side there’s over 100 years of frame build­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.

Fritz Egli made a name for him­self in the 1960s when he stormed to vic­tory in the Swiss Na­tional Cham­pi­onships aboard a Vin­cent 1000cc that sported a frame of his own de­sign. Egli said it was not by his skill, but be­cause his bike was so much bet­ter than the oth­ers. From this vic­tory, Egli carved a 20-year ca­reer pro­duc­ing frames, in­clud­ing his spe­cial­ity CB750S and turbo Kawasakis.

Even­tu­ally, the Ja­panese frames caught up with the en­gines and Fritz’s cre­ations fell un­der tighter and tighter reg­u­la­tion, so he hung up his gloves in 1988 and just sold pro­duc­tion bikes.

Even­tu­ally he sold the busi­ness to Alexan­der Frei, a Le Mans 24hr vet­eran, who wanted to see the Egli name re­turn to frame build­ing.

“When I had the chance to buy the com­pany from Fritz, be­fore I even looked into the fi­nances, I said to my­self if I buy this com­pany the first thing we will do is make a new bike. I knew it would be small and we’d never do a big num­ber of bikes, but I wanted to re­turn to qual­ity, hand­made mo­tor­cyles.”

Last chance sa­loon

The Egli Fritz W.1300 started life as an XJR1300 but only the en­gine, ex­haust and rear shocks re­main. The frame is steel, with the sig­na­ture Egli oil tank in the top tube and although the en­gine has been lifted by 3cm, the steer­ing head an­gle and wheel­base re­main vir­tu­ally the same. De­spite their ex­per­tise in tun­ing, the en­gine is un­touched.

“Egli orig­i­nally spe­cialised in in­line­four air-cooled bikes and with Euro 4 on the hori­zon we knew this would be our last chance to do this kind of en­gine. Even though the en­gine is stock, we had to go through the whole ho­molo­ga­tion process, which was dif­fi­cult and ex­pen­sive.”

The frame was de­signed by Oth­mar Bacher, Head of Con­struc­tion, and Juerg Lin­den­mann, Head Me­chanic, who worked on the last Egli to roll off the pro­duc­tion line in the late 80s. The front forks are now courtesy of Öh­lins but they stuck with right-way-up units.

The head­light, clip-ons and foot con­trols are by LSL. A Mo­to­gad­get M: unit takes care of the bulk of the wiring headaches. Mo­to­gad­get also sup­ply the switches, speedo and in­di­ca­tors. The bike used Ki­neo wheels and it has Beringer brakes – six-pis­ton up front, twin at the rear.

Com­plet­ing the look is the hand­made aluminium tank, with ally seat and mud­guard. All this means the bike is now just 208kg fully fu­elled, so it’s lost 32kg com­pared to the stock Yamaha. Mind you it’s gained £32k as it costs a hefty £40,000.

“We’re only pro­duc­ing six for now,” says Frei. “But we’d like to pro­duce some­thing else next year. This time maybe 12 bikes or so, but with a more mod­ern, twin-cylin­der wa­ter­cooled en­gine.”

‘I wanted Egli to re­turn to qual­ity, hand­made bikes’

Buy an Egli and you’re pay­ing for craft Egli is de­signed to han­dle far bet­ter than XJR donor bike A stun­ning­ly­crafted Egli un­der con­struc­tion

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