Motorcycles

Vanguard Roadster: All-new American motorcycle to debut in NYC

Vanguard Roadster: All-new Ame...
The Roadster is the first of three cycles planned by Vanguard Motorcycles that will include a sportsbike and cruiser
The Roadster is the first of three cycles planned by Vanguard Motorcycles that will include a sportsbike and cruiser
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Vanguard Roadster: subframe mounts directly off the structural engine
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Vanguard Roadster: subframe mounts directly off the structural engine
Vanguard Roadster: if it's not metal, can we make it metal?
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Vanguard Roadster: if it's not metal, can we make it metal?
Vanguard Roadster: tablet-sized digital dash serves as a mirror as well, thanks to the rear view camera
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Vanguard Roadster: tablet-sized digital dash serves as a mirror as well, thanks to the rear view camera
Vanguard Roadster: tail unit with integrated rear view camera
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Vanguard Roadster: tail unit with integrated rear view camera
Vanguard Roadster: 240-section rear tyre
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Vanguard Roadster: 240-section rear tyre
Vanguard Roadster: packs some badonkadonk for an otherwise slim body shape
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Vanguard Roadster: packs some badonkadonk for an otherwise slim body shape
Vanguard Roadster: seat is basic
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Vanguard Roadster: seat is basic
Vanguard Roadster: metallic tail unit
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Vanguard Roadster: metallic tail unit
Vanguard Roadster: tail unit starts looking a bit like the Starship Enterprise when you look too close
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Vanguard Roadster: tail unit starts looking a bit like the Starship Enterprise when you look too close
Vanguard Roadster: Kirk and Spock sit within the tail unit, going where no man has gone before, except you. You've just been there.
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Vanguard Roadster: Kirk and Spock sit within the tail unit, going where no man has gone before, except you. You've just been there.
Vanguard Roadster: 117 cubic inch S&S V-Twin
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Vanguard Roadster: 117 cubic inch S&S V-Twin
Vanguard Roadster: massive single sided swingarm
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Vanguard Roadster: massive single sided swingarm
Vanguard Roadster: shades of Confederate in this design
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Vanguard Roadster: shades of Confederate in this design
Vanguard Roadster: should be entertaining to watch at idle
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Vanguard Roadster: should be entertaining to watch at idle
Vanguard Roadster: rear shock is isolated from road grime in a giant metal box
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Vanguard Roadster: rear shock is isolated from road grime in a giant metal box
1917cc S&S X-Wedge motor will provide 110 pound-feet of torque
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1917cc S&S X-Wedge motor will provide 110 pound-feet of torque
Vanguard Roadster: exposed belt drives for the cams 
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Vanguard Roadster: exposed belt drives for the cams 
Vanguard Roadster: unmistakeably American
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Vanguard Roadster: unmistakeably American
Vanguard Roadster: 48mm Ohlins forks
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Vanguard Roadster: 48mm Ohlins forks
Vanguard Roadster: built like a brick outhouse
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Vanguard Roadster: built like a brick outhouse
Vanguard Roadster: clear headlight unit
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Vanguard Roadster: clear headlight unit
Vanguard Roadster: headlights are completely flat to the fork lines
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Vanguard Roadster: headlights are completely flat to the fork lines
Vanguard Roadster: Brembo clutch lever
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Vanguard Roadster: Brembo clutch lever
The Roadster is the first of three cycles planned by Vanguard Motorcycles that will include a sportsbike and cruiser
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The Roadster is the first of three cycles planned by Vanguard Motorcycles that will include a sportsbike and cruiser
Vanguard Roadster: to be unveiled at the New York Motorcycle Show
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Vanguard Roadster: to be unveiled at the New York Motorcycle Show
Vanguard Roadster: the frame of the motorcycle is built into the engine
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Vanguard Roadster: the frame of the motorcycle is built into the engine
Vanguard Roadster: the chunkiest footpeg we've seen in a while
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Vanguard Roadster: the chunkiest footpeg we've seen in a while
Vanguard Roadster: 56-degree Vee
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Vanguard Roadster: 56-degree Vee
Vanguard Roadster: as metal as it gets
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Vanguard Roadster: as metal as it gets
Vanguard Roadster: a unique and unmistakeable design
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Vanguard Roadster: a unique and unmistakeable design
Vanguard Roadster: awkward side profile
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Vanguard Roadster: awkward side profile
Vanguard Roadster: metal tail unit includes an integrated exhaust
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Vanguard Roadster: metal tail unit includes an integrated exhaust
View gallery - 32 images

There's a new American motorcycle company on the block. Based in New York and preparing to unleash three new models based around a gigantic, 117 cubic inch (1917cc) S&S v-twin motor, Vanguard Motorcycles is unveiling its first bike at this weekend's New York Motorcycle Show. The Roadster is a massive, frameless nakedbike built around and upon a giant 1917cc v-twin engine. To put it mildly, you're not going to mistake it for anything else.

If the Vanguard Roadster has a theme to its design, that theme is metal. Metal just about everywhere. You get the sense that if the designers thought they could get away with using aircraft grade aluminum for the tires, they would have. The only more egregious use of aluminum I've seen was on the Confederate P120 Fighter Combat back in 2009.

That's no coincidence. If you look at this thing and get a Confederate kind of vibe, that'd be because Vanguard CTO Edward Jacobs was Director of Design for Confederate between 2005 and 2011. In fact Jacobs' partner in Vanguard, CEO Francois-Xavier Terny, was a board member at Confederate for many years, as well. These two gentlemen would appear to have a proud fetish for machined metal, and I'm not ashamed to admit I might share it.

Vanguard Roadster: 117 cubic inch S&S V-Twin
Vanguard Roadster: 117 cubic inch S&S V-Twin

There's a feeling of massive, sturdy overengineering throughout the Roadster, from the giant triple clamps back to the monstrous single-sided swingarm and curved aluminum disc that serves as the 240-section rear wheel.

The motor is a modified S&S X-Wedge, a 56-degree v-twin that has been built around as the central structural unit of the bike. The cylinders themselves form a kind of cradle frame, and that whopping swingarm/shaft drive bolts right on behind the rear cylinder.

Vanguard Roadster: awkward side profile
Vanguard Roadster: awkward side profile

The upper half of the bike sits firmly on top of the cylinder heads, with the lower line of the seat and carbon tank forming a flat aluminum platform. And while each part individually looks great, from the tail unit to the slim 21-liter tank, I find the proportions pretty awkward in concert. Mind you, the details are good enough to save it; the closer you look, the more pornographic the machining becomes.

Vanguard Roadster: metal tail unit includes an integrated exhaust
Vanguard Roadster: metal tail unit includes an integrated exhaust

The single-seat tail unit is almost impossibly thin, with minimal seat padding, and from beneath it starts to look like the Starship Enterprise. You can imagine Kirk and Spock peeping out the back, going where no man has gone before. Except you, because you've just been there.

The exhaust is fully integrated, exiting from an anonymous slot at the bottom of the bike. Other interesting touches include the dash, which is a tablet-sized color screen that also serves as a mirror thanks to a rear-facing camera integrated in the tail unit.

Vanguard Roadster: rear shock is isolated from road grime in a giant metal box
Vanguard Roadster: rear shock is isolated from road grime in a giant metal box

Then there's the rear shock – suspension is black Ohlins gear at either end – which is entirely contained within the swingarm/shaft drive assembly, effectively isolated from road grime in a chunky metal box with a viewing window at the top.

The headlights are barely there, six tiny units (perhaps LED based – the spec sheets don't specify) housed in transparent shards between the front forks. This is the flattest front end I've ever seen on a bike that didn't have a race plate on it.

Vanguard Roadster: 48mm Ohlins forks
Vanguard Roadster: 48mm Ohlins forks

And like many bikes that use that giant, gorgeous S&S X-Wedge motor, the Roadster uses a clear cover over the cam drive belts so you can watch 'em spinning as you idle at the lights.

The overall target weight for the bike is 550 lb (250 kg), which is about 110 lb (50 kg) overweight compared to most naked bikes, but still surprisingly light given that it looks like it's built to survive a head-on with an 18-wheeler. And while no horsepower figures are provided, that giant 117 ci v-twin will smash out more than enough torque to make this a true tarmac-ripper.

1917cc S&S X-Wedge motor will provide 110 pound-feet of torque
1917cc S&S X-Wedge motor will provide 110 pound-feet of torque

At US$29,995, with production slated for 2018, the Vanguard Roadster is at the premium end of the market, certainly – but another way to look at it might be that it offers Confederate-level presence at a much cheaper price point. It's less than half the price of a Keanu motorbike, too.

The company says this first motorcycle will soon be joined by two more models built on the same platform – a cruiser and a sportsbike. It'll be very interesting to see how this chunky metal machine translates to the sportsbike, in particular.

We look forward to seeing a lot more of Vanguard in the coming years, with the Roadster set to enter production in 2018. You can catch the working prototype in the flesh next weekend, December 9-11 at the Javits Center in Manhattan.

Source: Vanguard Motorcycles

View gallery - 32 images
19 comments
CarlosEpp
I'd like to have one of those with a smaller displacement in the sub 150 kilo range. maybe with more normal features like a round headlight for example.
JoonilPark
The exhaust exits under the engine, not in the subframe as you guessed. I have seen the prototype in person. It's pretty sick.
Lardo
Cool looking? Sure. But, I predict, a maintenance nightmare. Very niche. I just don't see it selling all that well.
LordInsidious
Awesome looking but it seems short sighted to build new ICE vehicles.
keith14
What a beautiful piece of American engineering. A fair price for a bespoke machine. It will get cheaper when in full production one would imagine. Not to keen on the belt driven cams though. Would sooner see meshing gears or at least chain driven. I hope that Vanguard has the seat sorted what with the exhaust sitting by the looks about an inch below your ass. This bike is guaranteed to turn heads. One thing puzzles me though where is the rear brake? 10/10 for presentation.
VincentWolf
That looks about as comfortable as riding a saw horse.....
Joe Blough
Needs a seatbelt when you crank the throttle.
Steven Livingston
So, after 40 years of proving that a water-cooled 4-cylinder engine is the most efficient way to make durable horsepower in the lightest package possible, we get bleeding edge technology in the form of...an air-cooled pushrod v-twin. At least it's lighter than a Harley.
SarahMartin
It's an interesting design for certain, very innovative, and some very unique features. However, it's powered by an internal combustion engine, and that makes it obsolete as far as I'm concerned, both as a concerned champion of the environment, and in opposition to the reliance on gasoline and Big Oil. If it was powered by an electric engine, then it would really catch my attention! Engineers, should stop designing in redundancy!
Milton
So slick looking, but as another viewer mentioned: ICE just doesn't scream future any more.