Kestrel Falcon from Falcon Motorcycles

Kestrel Falcon from Falcon Motorcycles

Kestrel Falcon from Falcon Motorcycles

Falcon Motorcycles unveiled the second installment in their Concept 10 series, the Kestrel Falcon, at the Quail Motorcycle Gathering in Carmel, California. Like their first, the Bullet Falcon, it started life from broken remains, in this case, an engine with a damaged gearbox from a 1970 Triumph Bonneville plus ten inches of the original headstock and down tube. Everything else is fabricated by hand. They're committed to not using and thereby destroying complete existing motorcycles, instead they begin with derelict engines around which they complete their vision.

Work started with the 750cc twin cylinders, machined in-house, using a 5-axis CNC machine and a solid block of 7075 aerospace grade 6061 T-651 extruded aluminum (see comment below) which was designed to taper the round fins at the bottom to the original Triumph diamond-shaped heads.

Kestrel Falcon aluminum cylinders

Kestrel Falcon aluminum cylinders machined from scratch

Ian Barry cut the unit construction engine in half, removed the damaged gear box and completely re-engineered it to fit and function perfectly with a BSA A-10 transmission. The engine was then carefully reshaped with new contours and aluminum-welded together to various pieces of his new design, using a jig that he made for the engine case.

Overall, it took more than 2,000 hours of hand-machining, stretching, hammering, rolling and hand-carving to create the rest of the motorcycle. The gas and oil tanks started as hammered sheets of metal hand-formed around wooden molds, the exhausts, handlebars, levers, seat, fender...even the bolts were created from scratch from blocks, sheets and rods of steel, brass, aluminum.

Whilst Falcon Motorcycles are not intended as touring bikes or daily drivers, the function and engineering of the motorcycle is Ian's primary focus when building his motorcycles, which have been likened to works of art, due to their high levels of craftsmanship. "The biggest challenge, and the thing that ultimately drives me is assuring reliability, and safe engineering, whilst figuring out new ways to engineer flowing, classic lines that draw attention from the pure functionality of the bike. It's not easy to do, and often a lot of ideas have to be flushed out before getting to the point where form and function actually do meet." - Ian said.

Kestrel Falcon front brake

Kestrel Falcon front brake

I've noticed comments elsewhere criticizing this build for being high priced art in contrast to meeting some definition of what a "real" motorcycle should be and when examining the individual components they do seem to fit the image, but is there some law that states functional motorcycles can't be finished to this degree? Though custom motorcycles have recently passed through an era of "style first, function maybe," this bike seems to exhibit a much higher build quality than a great many that fell into that category and the builder was intent on retaining sufficient functionality to allow the owner to ride it whenever he wishes, though it will likely see limited street duty. Any 2000+ hour build to this level of hand crafted quality will necessarily command a high price and few will have the opportunity to own one. Criticizing this one off machine because the owner may choose not to ride it frequently seems to miss the mark.

Kestrel Falcon primary

Kestrel Falcon primary

In a recent interview, Ian Barry made reference to the Brough Superior as an example of a no compromise name still highly treasured today, similar to the concept behind Falcon. Will Falcon Motorcycles rise to that level? Only the passage of many years will answer the question. Lofty goals alone are certainly not enough, even years of painstaking work and dedication offer no guarantee, but one thing is certain, there's no other way.

Link: Falcon Motorcycles

Kestrel Falcon rear view

Kestrel Falcon rear view

Comments

  1. Davidw says

    is an aluminum jug a good idea on a solid lifter motor.?….iron expands less. the bike is gorgeous.

  2. says

    Given the limited amount of mileage this bike would likely rack up I wouldn’t see an issue, just means more valve clearance when cold.

  3. pabsyboots says

    stunning
    with such talent why expend it on a one off ?, 2,000 hours can never be recouped in the retail price
    why not use this talent in an area where more people can benefit and is more profitable

    its fantastic that such work can be undertaken and i’m not saying its a bad thing at all im curious as to the motivation however and even the economics that allow the luxury of such a build

  4. Walt says

    I’ve long thought these tidy Triumph hardtail bobbers are among the most attractive customs around. This is one of the best: beautifully styled and finished. But where’s the innovation?

  5. Tin Man 2 says

    Hard to listen to talk of function with a Ridgid frame and no Front fender… However this is a beautyfull piece of work and built to a very high level, the cylinders alone are gorgeous. The long and low style appears to be the new chopper.

  6. FREEMAN says

    Beautiful build. I wouldn’t care what others call it. Art or “real” motorcycle? To the builder and motorcyclist: no explanation is necessary. To the critic: no answer would be enough.

  7. kneeslider says

    @Walt: “where’s the innovation?”

    It might be in their efforts to peg the build quality meter more than once.

  8. todd says

    Great work, no doubt. I wonder what sort of personal life this person has to be able to spend that much time on this – unless this is his job.

    The A-10 BSA transmission is a nice touch as it allows a number of different ratios and clutches for racing (Gold Star). This thing should be competitive now that the standard Trump tranny is no longer holding it back…

    -todd

  9. Steve says

    This is a labour of love. I suspect the 2000 hours that were spent on it were pure enoyment. The level of detail is from another era. Personally I am glad that there are still people that are willing to do this. Besides, its better than building something like a ship in a bottle, or some other hobby that eats up the hours!

  10. says

    I know what you mean pabsyboots, I don’t know how they make it worth their time making 1 bike a year! STill, I loved the Bullet, it was my favorite bike till now, so I’m SO GLAD that Mr. Barry does decide to make these bikes – I’ll take 1 per year better than none! The Kestrel looks like a total stunner, really, I cannot wait to see it with my own eyes…if I’m ever lucky enough that is! There’s a good story behind the unveiling of the Kestrel at this site – lot of good pics too…

    http://lostinasupermarket.com/2010/05/falcon-kestrel-motorcycle-finally-unveiled/

  11. Marvin says

    Average television viewing hours in the UK and US are 28 per person per week. This means in 72 weeks of no TV you have got those 2000 hours in just 4 hours per day. How many compliments have you ever had about how much better you have got with the remote? How many compliments will these guys get, I hope it’s an awful lot because that is some very nice work.

  12. steve w says

    Way to sum it up Marvin. I watch little tv but spend a lot of time on projects. Now that I have retired I have spent many 80 hours weeks in the shop and then again some weeks where I am seldom in there. It’s about you passion.

  13. '37 Indian says

    From 30 feet away this looks like a drag bike made up from a bunch of old pre-unit Triumph parts, and I have a feeling that’s the impression the builder was going for. Actually, you COULD build one similar to this from old Triumph parts. However, the closer you look you begin to see that’s not exactly what you have here. It’s a mixture of old production and newly made parts, the new pieces being jewel-like in quality. It’s interesting how the machinist tried to make the parts LOOK like old Triumph parts. One would like to look at this bike very closely, to see the work that went into it. I wouldn’t say that the overall style of this bike is anything particularly new, but it’s nice to see something that’s not a copycat of so many current customs with big inch S&S motors on them. Cool.

  14. Cameron Nicol says

    I’m glad to see true craftmanship is not dead even while using a 5 axis milling machine. This is what should be done with dead bikes: resurrect them. Leave the old “Norton in a crate” in the crate, buy a junker and give it life.

  15. Scotduke says

    It’s very pretty and beautifully made. It’s certainly not a daily rider. I remember the drums on my T100 weren’t bad for drums and a huge step up from the brakes on the Tigercub I’d had earlier but fitting even the best drums these days is form over function. Ok for a hardtail I suppose, you’re own rear end would be complaining after a few miles on that seat anyway.

  16. Sportster Mike says

    Yes, very nice bike. Won’t be able to see it in the flesh as I live in England
    Love the new barrels – hopefully won’t be leaking like my old T140V
    Seriously though.. 2000 hours work and it’s a labour of love and if he wanted to build 10, 20 or a 100 a year the quality would go downhill and compromises would have to be made.
    And I love the fact that no old bike has died to build this one but rather that part of a wreck that no one looked at twice has been re-born
    And isn’t aircraft alloy east to keep clean?

    Ride safe guys

  17. says

    I knew this would pop up on the The Kneeslider.

    It’s an incredibly beautiful bike with painstaking attention to detail and amazing craftsmanship. And yes, it does look like an old drag bike.

    However, I have to say…is anyone else sick of this trend of hardtails? I like my bikes to have actual suspensions, thanks. That’s my only real criticism.

  18. rafe03 says

    I don’t know if I’d wipe it down or lick it clean it’s nice enough to eat!! What a great job of rescueing a classic!!

    Regarding drum brakes, I had an Atlas once. Went racing. Brakes were the s**ts. On knowlegeable advise, I carefully mounted the front brakes from a Honda CB72 into the 8″ Norton drum. AM4 linings, a good set-up (trued on a lathe), an air scoop, very careful cable adjustment & I could out-brake the CB750 Honda’s in my class. Goes to show how expert advise & help from experienced old timers boosted a newby’s progress. (Of course, it didn’t help improve my miniscule quotum of riding skill or make up for the lack of HP vs the CB’s)

  19. says

    Truly a spectacular piece of craftsmanship. Out of Ian and Amaryllis’ relentless pursuit of style, quality and perfection has come one of the most iconic motorcycles of our time. It is a pleasure to work with a small group of highly talented craftsmen dedicated to excellence…Thanks.

  20. powermatic says

    @Phoebe-

    My thoughts exactly re. the hardtail aspect of the bike-this much work and no rear suspension? At any rate, incredible workmanship and I am even more enthusiastic about the builder’s commitment to keep intact bikes intact. Well done.

  21. Emmet says

    I like the recreation of the motorcycle from his perspective. It does resemble a Brough Superior as mentioned, with almost everything polished and worked over by hand. I have a deep respect for Ian but I disagree with the complete level of cleanliness, such as polished drum brake linkage arms and the foot controls which will end up scuffed. It seems that the detail work proposes it as a static artwork, and not a motorcycle that will be ridden. If that is the case, it says that Ian’s idea of the motorcycle is something meant to be looked at and ridden around on the fair grounds, but never to see the open road. Then this would be the antithesis of motorcycling.

  22. Thom says

    The reason for building a hardtail is to increase your connection to the machine, and the road. You become very aware of your surroundings when every pothole puts a jolt directly to your spine. I respect the desire for suspension, but it IS the choice of the builder to do what THEY want. That said, this machine is utterly stunning. A piece of art you can ride.

  23. JGJs says

    does that mean that you disagree with harley, bmw, roland sands, triumph, norton, dodge, big dog, lexus, confederate, west coast choppers, ford, shinya kimura, mercedes and all other motorcycle and car brands and their designers for making shiny polished motorcycles and cars that look clean on tehir websites, because it mean they propose their vehicles as static works meant to be looked at and ridden around on fairgrounds only? if you stop to think about it, it’s not weird that the photos were taken when the bike was new. it’s kooky to assume that because it’s metal that will get skuffed instead of sleeved plastic or rubber it makes this bike the antithesis of motorcycling though. it’s like any new thing you almost got to skuff it up when you get it so you don’t have to ride around being all paranoid

  24. says

    My back-handed compliment is that the engine is NOT an S&S V-Twin. I’d like to see a video of the CNC mill carving out those jugs. Definitely adults-only viewing….
    NVUH

  25. Aerion says

    Although I greatly admire the skill and effort invested, the choice of 7075 aluminum alloy for the cylinders is not the greatest. 7075 is a high strength alloy but it suffers from stress-corrosion cracking problems and has among the worst ratings for such failure modes. In aircraft design it is typically used for structurally elements that are loaded in compression only so that the applied loads tend to close any cracks that may appear during the life of the aircraft. Justifying its use under more complex loadings is a costly exercise in analysis and full scale testing. The 7075-T73 temper does have better resistance to stress-corrosion cracking, but the heat of combustion will eliminate the original temper within a few rides.

    Much of the after-market industry has latched on to the high strength properties of 7000-series aluminum alloys, but I am unconvinced that much thought is given to material stiffness, fatigue resistance, damage tolerance, and corrosion resistance and their resulting influence on the part’s reliability and longevity.

    Keep an eye on those cylinders.

  26. says

    MAP and others have spent 15 years and huge investment developing and testing aluminum CNC produced cylinders. 6061 and 7000 series has been used for cylinders for over a decade with no big issues as of yet. “Alloy billet extrusion is similar to a forging because is compressed and formed under extreme pressure for correct grain alignment and considerable increase in strength over normal billet extrusions and especially when compared to 356 castings,” like the regular triumph cylinders. I’ve been running a Bonneville with 7000 series billet cylinders for almost five years, riding relitively hard about 3-4 times a week. So far, they’ve run great. I’m going to have to have them re-sleeved soon that’s the only thing i’d critisize, from research I’ve done nikasil would be the way to go, aluminum butting up against aluminum, instead of iron sleeves. The Falcon cylinder looks beautiful, I can’t imagine the bikes going to be run anywhere close to hard enough that the cylinders could be a problem. MAPs been running theirs in bikes for years.

  27. Aerion says

    I can understand the use of 6061 as it has good strength, stiffness, and better resistance to fatigue and corrosion. Those are among the reasons it is so widely used for so many applications. I am curious as to the reasons for going to the greater expense of a 7000-series alloy. Are the cylinder wall thickness and cooling fin pitch decreased? Do the 7000-series cylinders use slightly less material, enough to offset the slightly greater density relative to 6000-series and give a lighter cylinder?

  28. says

    STUNNING! Wonderful example of Ian’s passion, talent and pursuit of excellence along with Amaryllis first class vision of delivering nothing less than Excellent!
    El Mirage baby! See ya there!

  29. Obi-dan says

    Ok, you guys, there seems to be a bit of confusion here concerning metals. Originally, Team Falcon had thought of using 7075 for its strength but figured the added expense and physical properties were not the best for this situation. This notion seems to have trickled down the media slide as truth. The cylinders are, in fact, 6061 T-651 extruded Aluminum. With the grain going side to side. Don’t worry, everything is fine.

  30. MCSpares says

    A fine looking bike. I don’t like things being over restored, as in polished were they were not polished or chromed where they were not chromed. But this is not a restoration, it’s a creation….and a fine job… done well with the end product in view every inch of the way. Or so it looks now. Alloy barrels were used on Tiger 100’s with no troubles. The amount of miles this beast will do it will be just fine. Some people try too hard to find problems. If it was being raced on the Isle of Man it might be a problem.