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.
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.
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.
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