The ‘Rolls-Royce Of Motorcycles’ Is Back in Business

70-year-old gentleman’s brand Brough just got a lifeline

August 26, 2016 9:00 am
The ‘Rolls-Royce Of Motorcycles’ Is Back in Business
eric corlay

Three years have passed since the revived Brough Superior Generation SS100 motorcycle was unveiled at the Milan Bike Show.

It had been some 70 years since the manufacturer met its sad end with the outbreak of WWII when a former Ducati dealer with a dream and a whole lot of determination vowed to breathe life back into the brand.

And now, that dream is finally a reality. The revived Brough Superior is officially taking orders.

When George Brough founded the Nottingham-based marque in 1919, he called its first build “the Rolls-Royce of Motorcycles” — with the car manufacturer’s consent, no less. The bikes were meticulously assembled with low production numbers; just around 3,000 (over a 20-year production timeline) ever saw the streets, and each unit was built according to individual customer desires and assembled by white-gloved workers. They were single-passenger rides, promising then-unthinkable 100 MPH top speeds. Every edition was signed by Brough himself before leaving the lot.

Notable devotees included T.E. Lawrence, who met his end crashing a SS100.

Mark Upham, responsible for the revival, was previously restoring SS100s to their original state when, in 2008, he decided to buy the rights to the Brough Superior name. The new manufacturer — based out of Toulouse, France — will work with Boxer Design for the first batches of production.

They’ll certainly break necks once they get off the lot, with that classic polished aluminum petrol tank atop a heft V-twin engine still intact. Under the seat, the new SS100’s will equip a DOHC, liquid-cooled 88-degree V-twin from Akira, an engineering firm known primarily for Kawasaki competition engines.

The bespoke SS100’s will hit showrooms this October at the rate of one a day and come in traditional polished, black or titanium finishes. On the distant horizon you can expect a 350 and some turbocharged models. Plan to pay a pretty penny: the models will start at around $66,000. Apparently that’s not a deterrent — half of this year’s run of 60 bikes are already spoken for. Expect prices to remain high and production levels to be low.

“We build bikes for gentlemen,” Upham told the Telegraph. “We want to produce other models, but we won’t devalue their product or flood the market.”

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