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Ariel moves from Atoms to motorbikes in 2012

Wed, 27 Jul 2011

Ariel - famous to motorists for its skeletal Atom sports car - will start making motorbikes again in 2012.

CAR's sister publication biking bible MCN today publishes the full story of the new Ariel superbike, likely to be priced around £20,000.

Owner Simon Saunders told MCN Ariel would build the new bikes in the UK, but they would use Honda engines like the Atom sports car.

Up to 200 Ariel bikes could be built in a year. 'What we want to do is build a motorcycle that follows the principles of the cars we already build,' said Saunders. 'High performance, fun to ride and bespoke.'

Ariel: the background

Saunders bought the Ariel motorbike company in 1991, but attention switched to cars in 2001 when he set up Ariel Cars Ltd. It now employs 17 staff in Somerset.

The first Ariel bike was built in 1898 and the company went from strength to strength until it was sold to BSA in 1951. Production dwindled and was then suspended in 1967.

Saunders, however, is a fan of two wheels as much as four and has been riding since he was 16.

By Tim Pollard