Horex to bounce back to life with new VR6 motorcycle
German motorcycle manufacturer Horex has revealed plans to restart production in coming months, promising to have a new model in time for the EICMA show in Italy next November. The company's new owner, 3C Carbon Group, is already in the process of developing an updated version of the VR6 six-cylinder bike.
Here's a quick Horex primer for those unfamiliar with the name. Horex was founded in 1920 by the Rex glassware company. In pre-war years it produced high-end singles and twins, although it was post-war models, the Regina and Imperator, that helped the company ascend to legendary status. Production was terminated in 1960, after the company was bought by Daimler-Benz and in 2009 the Horex name and logo were bought by German company Entwicklungs GmbH.
The following year, a prototype VR6 motorcycle was presented at Intermot. Developed in co-operation with another German company, Weber Motor, the VR6 engine was based on an earlier design by car manufacturer Volkwagen. Unique in the motorcycle world, it featured six cylinders in a very narrow angled (15 degrees) V-configuration and required little more than the space of an inline-four in the frame. The initial prototype also featured a Rotrex compressor, escorted by some impressive performance figures in the range of 200 hp (149 kW). The VR6 Roadster production model finally arrived in 2012, having lost the supercharger and settled in a perfectly satisfying output of 160 hp, with the top speed electronically limited to 250 km/h (155 mph). A Classic model followed, this time detuned to 126 hp (94 kW), featuring a two-tone paint scheme and beautiful Kineo spoked rims that allow for tubeless tires.
In 2014 Horex unveiled a new limited production model, a VR6 Café Racer 33 with Ohlins suspension and a variety of LSL aftermarket ergal parts. A limited run of 33 Cafe Racers were supposed to be produced, but then the shocking news that the motorcycle-maker had filed for bankruptcy and laid off all its staff last brought all plans to a halt.
Now another revival is at hand.
German 3C Carbon Group (3CC) bought Horex in February and the new owner immediately stated its intention to restart the company. In April Horex announced that it would be able to continue supplying its dealer network with spare parts for the two VR6 models sold since 2012.
The latest news to come from 3CC’s headquarters in Landsberg am Lech, Germany, is that an extensively updated VR6 motorcycle is planned for production as soon as November – just in time for a formal presentation at Milan’s EICMA show.
The motorcycle will use the same 1,215 cc six cylinder engine that powered the company's Roadster and Classic models, pushing out 160 hp (119 kW) as per the higher state of tune used in the Roadster variation. This engine will get a new exhaust and a new manifold system in order to beef up its performance curves, as well as an updated drive train.
The team in charge of this project is also looking to shave off a considerable amount of weight in an effort to deliver better handling. Given 3CC’s extensive expertise in carbon manufacturing for the automotive industry, including German superbike racing teams, we can expect to see plenty of carbon fiber parts on the VR6. The latest announcement also reports several undisclosed changes in an effort to optimize the motorcycle’s ergonomics.
A first sketch of the new motorcycle was released by Horex exclusively to the German Motorrad magazine, showing a model based on the VR6 Classic (below) with the spoked wheels and several visual changes to the headlight and tail design.
The Horex VR6 Classic was the second and last model to be sold before the company went bankrupt in December 2014
Horex says we can expect some surprises. “The debut models have a series of interesting technical and conceptual features,” says Karsten Jerschke, 3CC’s managing director. “The new Horex are going to be better than ever before." Notice that this statement suggests there may be more than one model available. Whichever the case, the new VR6 is expected to retain its limited production, exclusive pricing character. The first generation VR6 cost around €25,000 (US$27,500) in Germany.
See below for an animation explaining the V6 engine structure, along with a clip of the VR6 Classic in action.