KAlex AV1 Prototype Motorcycle by Kalex Engineering

KAlex AV1 by Kalex Engineering

Alex Baumgartel and Klaus Hirsekorn decided to build a motorcycle to compete in the 2008 European Sound of Thunder race series. The rules for this series seem quite open and encourage the development of one off race bikes, there's no need for any production based racer. Alex and Klaus, who both work for a the German racecar tuning consultancy, Holzer, doing fabrication and computer assisted design, thought they might be able to come up with something and they did, it's called the KAlex AV1.

The KAlex AV1 was almost completely designed in the computer, the kind of thing you would expect from a high end racing team in MotoGP, not something for a much less prestigious series like Sound of Thunder but very indicative of the kinds of folks racing can attract.

They chose the V-twin engine from an Aprilia RSV-R which in standard form makes 127 horsepower. Their plans are for about 160 horsepower in racing trim. The body is all carbon fiber covering a steel trellis frame. It weighs 363 pounds ready to race, 341 pounds dry.

The bike took thousands of hours to design, build and test but during testing, a crash destroyed the bike completely, well, that and the fire, but, since the whole thing was in the computer, it took only 6 weeks to build another one. Pretty handy having those files. Of course, they can build one for you, too, but at about 80,000 Euros, ($116,000) there may not be too many buyers running up but you never know. Very nice bike and one more sign of how the capabilities of current computer software puts the potential for great design into the hands of many more builders. Interesting.

The December issue of Performance Bikes has a complete article.

Link: Kalex Engineering via Performance Bikes


  1. chappy says

    It will be interesting to see how it performs as it looks well-designed (at first glance anyway). I will be suprised if it actually out performs a actual Aprillia though (I would love to see it happen though).

    It is also very good looking, actually I kinda think if a certain other bike that shall remain nameless looked more like this instead of an awkward looking copy of another bikes styling it might have have a better chance if the price point of it could be made to match the nameless bike’s.

  2. greer says

    Even the best superbike team doesn’t have make their own carbon fiber body work…

    I am very interested in the tank/tailsection on this bike, it looks like its all one piece and does not require a subframe. Obviously they are doing it for weight purposes but it also just looks cool.

  3. says

    Depending on the crash, a frame probably wasn’t the only thing in need of replacing/re-building. Carbon bodywork might have had to been replaced….parts ordered (e.g. new forks).

    All the while holding down their day jobs & other daily living, 6 weeks goes by fast.

  4. PigIron says

    New forks? You can’t realistically expect to be able to race without spares. Fork tubes are frequently damaged. Perhaps their “computerized” inventory system needs to stock some.

    While this hopped-up Aprilia is apparently very nice, I fail to see how it is in any way exceptional. There are plenty of race winners in super twins level racing that have less than $116k in their bikes. Let’s see it win a few races first.

  5. prayas says

    Hi from Berlin,

    i read about that bike two month ago in a german bike mag. They invited the builders over to an anual event called tuner grand prix. During a morning practice session the bike crashed and the tank broke resulting in a fire that destroyed most parts of the first bike. They did rebuild it in 6 weeks. I think for two people on their spare time thats pretty big.


  6. kneeslider says

    PigIron, this is no “hopped up Aprilia,” that just happens to be the engine they used, most everything here is their own design. This isn’t a “superbike team,” these are two fellows with day jobs who decided to build a bike of their own design. The crash and fire destroyed the first bike, custom frame, custom stamped parts, custom carbon fiber bodywork, everything. So they rebuilt it, with some improvements, in 6 weeks of spare time work. That may not impress you but it impresses most everyone else.

    “Let’s see it win a few races first.” … before what?

    Obviously, you have the design and fabricating skills and experience to make these rather harsh judgements of this bike and its shortcomings, could you show us an example of your work for comparison purposes? I would be happy to highlight it here on The Kneeslider.

  7. Alex says

    This should just make everybody understand how important documentation is.
    As an engineer building less complicated (however much bigger) machinery I am highly impressed about those 6 weeks.

  8. christopher says

    how jaded must we be to completely overlook the determined and focused creativity of two people simply because it hasn’t won a race? if you read the article it doesn’t even seem like they’re interested in selling bikes. more like it’s just something that’s possible. these two people have done something amazing. something i’m sure a lot of us who frequent this site wish we could do. results on the track and money spent DON’T matter. they built what they wanted to. and built it well. may we forgive them for being the least bit proud of that accomplishment.

  9. aaron says

    price out an NCR millonia – volume production and ducati support, 100ish horsepower and the price is in the same ballpark.

    many people don’t take into account that a top end ohlins setup costs more than a production gixxer. fancy-schmantzy wheels can go for $3K-$4K each, and a good brembo system at each end will add a few thousand more.

    before comparing a race bike to the prices of production machines, it’s worth keeping in mind what a race version of the aforementioned production bike would cost. I had a chance to sit on haga’s R7 racebike at brands hatch when he was forced to sit out that round – the yamaha tech babysitting the bike mentioned that it was worth over one hundred thousand pounds. at today’s exchange rates, that’s around $200,000 US for a production based racebike.

    makes $116K look like it’s nearly affordable!

  10. says

    PigIron: “New forks? You can’t realistically expect to be able to race without spares. Fork tubes are frequently damaged.”

    Yes, one CAN realistically expect 2 dudes to not have another set of Ohlins forks lying around. Superbike “Teams” as you keep mentioning would be expected to have more spare parts, but depending on the level of racing, said “team” might not have the dough for sets of forks, either. Ever read about Kevin Cameron’s early race years? Same “starving racers” are around today. Majority of people that go racing don’t have the umbrella girl luxuries.

    Pig Iron: “Perhaps their “computerized” inventory system needs to stock some.”

    So, you have a problem with computer-aided design, too?

    Pig Iron: “There are plenty of race winners in super twins level racing that have less than $116k in their bikes.”

    Who said these guys have $116k in their bike? That is the selling price if someone were to approach them….

    which is dangerously close to the Roehr discussion from last week – don’t confuse mass production from a company with huge resources such as HRC with a “company” of 2 (count them: 1,2) guys working on the side. If that is what they can get for their “production” due to limited resources and numbers, then so be it.

    There is mass production and then limited-edition production from companies who either choose to not go big or are not in a position to go big. It is not hard math.

  11. Earl says

    I read a story on these guys and this bike in a local mag today. They built this thing! I can’t believe some of you guys can seriously compare it to a Gixxer. It’s a custom machine, and it looks great, more power to ’em.

  12. Clive Makinson-Sanders says

    Tell ya what would be really cool… if they extended that swingarm and chromed every visible part. Then put neon underneath it and some speakers in the bodywork. that would be sweet.

    Can you put hydraulics on bikes? If you can, they should. How about some kickass valve stem caps? hell yeah.

    Seriously though, thats one of the nicest looking bikes ive seen in a while. Why on earth would you put them down for building it?

  13. says

    PigIron’s “shock” criticism reminds me of the Czysz attacks last year on kneeslider. In fear of this becoming the “Nay-slider” (sorry paul), I’d like to point out that the world has far more critics than doers. It happens in print – even Parker tore apart Czysz in Motorcyclist – but it’s far more brutal online. Google “cyber bullying”.

    Unfortunately, I can’t meet Pigiron out in the playground at 3:00pm. So while we’re online in this evolutionary age of open-forum progression, try to be courteous to the efforts of men who still build tangible things in the real world.

  14. Sean says

    Wow, now that thing looks cool. I can’t believe they built it themselves, I’m rebuilding a VT250 and that’s hard enough without needing to build a new frame, press new CF sheets, front up the cash for a new set of Ohlins, the list goes on. Fantastic job for a couple of guys.