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Like the Atom, it's designed to be fast. But like the Atom, it's also designed to be fun. Ariel founder Simon Saunders says the company did consider a hardcore sports bike, ready to topple Hondas, Suzukis, Ducatis and the like, but reasoned most riders can't really extract their full potential. With a 1,200-cc Honda V-4 engine wedged inside the frame the Ace will always be fast, but it's designed to be easy to ride too--letting owners get the most from their purchase.
That V-4 develops 175 horsepower and powers the Ace to a 165 mph top speed. Acceleration times will almost certainly be enough to match--and possibly beat--the company's insane lightweight road cars, and the whole bike has been designed for adaptability—letting customers design bikes as diverse as a conventional naked bike and a "low riding cruiser" from the same skeletal chassis.
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The frame itself is the work of 70 hours of machining, according to Ariel, and is formed from six main pieces of billet section aluminum. Linkage or tube-type forks can be selected and Ohlins dampers are standard. That all goes some way to justifying the Ace's hefty list price—it starts at £20,000 (approximately $34,000), and those customizable features probably won't be cheap either. But at just 100-150 units per year it won't be common either. If you've already got an Atom sitting in the garage, it could be an essential companion...