Vyrus returns with the 202-horsepower, Ducati-powered Alyen motorcycle
Boutique motorcycle builder Vyrus has always loved its hub-steered super-naked motorcycles, and its latest 202-horsepower Ducati-powered beast is probably its most aesthetically challenging to date. Meet the Alyen 988, fresh out of Rimini, Italy.
This one starts out with a Ducati Superquadro engine, a 1,285cc, 90-degree v-twin with Ducati's trademark desmodromic valves. But from there, like everything Vyrus has made, things get real wacky, real quick. As with all Vyrus bikes, it runs two swingarms for suspension, front and rear. The front wheel, of course, needs to be able to steer the bike, so the front axle and wheel, along with the brakes, are set to pivot via a "hydraulic wired" steering system that connects to the handlebars.
The benefits are said to include an almost supernatural separation of braking and steering forces, with as much or as little brake dive as you care to dial in. Thus, you can brake super late and deep into corners without affecting your steering geometry, helping the bike feel super planted and consistent. The drawbacks are generally said to be a slightly indirect feeling at the handlebars and a wide turning circle without as much side-to-side steering lock as you're used to.
Where regular bikes with forks for suspension have frames that build towards a main pivot at the steering head, hub-center-steered bikes tend to use a hump-shaped frame, and the Alyen uses a magnesium frame in a "double omega" shape that fits the bill.
Its composite upper bodywork – and there sure is a lot of it – sits on top. The whole thing is small-series and finely detailed, more exclusive than even a Bimota, from the sexy carbon rims to the wild, flared underseat exhausts, which look as evil as all hell. This thing will certainly be a head-turner. Just perhaps not for the right reasons.
Like Bimota's recent Tesi H2, the Alyen struggles with some truly hideous looks. Where previous hub-steered Vyrus bikes like the 987 C3 4V have been technical but lightweight-looking designs, the Alyen is super front-heavy, with a barrel-chested set of fairings and barkbusters that almost look like a Hypermotard has been stretched sideways. There's a lot going on here, but it just doesn't look very good to us.
Seeing this new bike made us wonder what happened to the Moto2 contender the company was threatening to build back in 2011. The Vyrus 982 M2 Factory was a slim and purposeful race bike built around the Honda CBR600RR engine, which was then the homologation motor for Moto2. Weighing bang on 135 kg (298 lb), it was the first unforked bike we'd seen throw its hat in the top-level racing ring in many years. Well, according to Odd Bike, the Vyrus team couldn't find anyone willing to buy the things and go racing, so the prototypes were sold off and the program scrapped. A pity, because that thing looked like a weapon and we'd have loved to see where it made up and lost time against a field full of telescopic forks.
There's no pricing available for the Vyrus Alyen, but previous bikes have come in around the US$90k mark and this looks no less extravagant.