The US$96,000 Carbon Fiber Renard GT
Estonia is not a country known for motorcycles, but the reemergence of a pre-WW2 motorcycle brandname could change all that. Tallinn-based Renard Motorcycles will begin production of its GT next year. The bike's carbon-fiber and Kevlar monocoque chassis weighs just 11 kg and incorporates the airbox and fuel tank while the metal components, other than the Moto Guzzi 1200cc Quattrovalvole v-twin engine, are all CNC milled from a solid aircraft quality aluminum. The carbon parallelogram front suspension and design are reminiscent of a Confederate Wraith, as is the limited edition, stellar price (EUR75,000), craftsmanship and beauty.
Let's hope they've done their homework, as carbon fiber frames on motorcycles have proven problematic for many manufacturers in the past – for all their lustrous beauty, engineering all the handling properties you require in a carbon fiber chassis has proven immensely difficult. If carbon is so good, why aren't there more such frames on the MotoGP grid? Whatsmore, MotoGP bikes only need to be good handling and make no concessions to rider comfort, so the rigidity of this wonder substance might cause even more headaches on a road bike.
The suspension units themselves are top class – a two-way adjustable Öhlins S36DR1L controls the movement of the carbon fiber Hossack/BMW Duolever type layout at the front up while a three-way adjustable Öhlins TTX36 handles the rear. Both wheels are carbon fiber, while the Grand Tourer's lightweight aircraft aluminum components are designed and modeled in 3D, then milled from a solid block by CNC machines.
The Renard’s 1200cc engine produces approximately 130 hp at 8000 rpm while peak torque of 120 Nm happens at 6000 rpm. The Moto Guzzi 90° V2 donk is no horsepower king, but remembering this is a roadbike, it's usable midrange and extremely light weight (190 kg dry) will no doubt contribute to what Renard's press material dubs a “surgeon’s blade on two wheels.”
The styling, price and carbon fiber will certainly set you apart from the crowd – if being the center of attention is what you crave, this machine will do it for you.