Affluent Page Magazine Presents THE RIDE

Nothing screams exotic like carbon fiber, and a boutique motorcycle manufacturer in a tiny corner of northern Europe is bringing a sleek bike to marketplace next year made primarily from the space-age material. Trimmed in all black with a splash of gold, the sleek Renard Grand Tourer incorporates a retro feel into a motorcycle that features distinctive styling and cutting-edge technology.

If the Renard brand is unfamiliar to you, the name, which is French for “fox,” was resurrected from a pre–World War II motorized bicycle manufacturer in Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, a tiny nation tucked between Russia and Latvia on the Baltic Sea. Its factory was destroyed throughout the war, but a group of enterprising Estonians who love racing revived the brand in 2008. The GT made its debut earlier this year.

Originally, Renard bikes supplied a utilitarian indicates of transport, made from pipe frames and propelled by meager engines that displaced less than 100 cc. The new GT boasts an Italian-bred V2 Moto Guzzi engine that cranks out 125 horsepower from a 1,151-ccdisplacement. The company’s goal was to build a sporty power cruiser that benefits from reduced rotational mass and a low center of gravity for extremely precise handling.

“Our concept was to create some thing distinct,” explained co-founder Andres Uibomäe. Although the carbon fiber and Kevlar construction employed on the GT is stronger and lighter than steel—even the wheels are made of carbon fiber—Uibomäe joked that the company chose the material simply because “we can’t weld”—important in building conventional bikes. The ultralight unibody construction incorporates several elements of the bike into a single load-bearing structure that includes the frame, fuel tank, and air-box. Not only does this make the monocoque assembly very light-weight (26 lbs), but it also contributes to the bike’s distinctive look. The bike could be referred to as “a surgeon’s blade on two wheels.”

The unique treatment of the front suspension, the absence of a fairing, and the seat make for noticeable design features. The expertly designed front suspension is composed of hardened aluminum and precision-cut from a solid block of metal. Virtually suspended in the air from the top of the bike, the seat holds only 1 rider. “It’s old-school driving pleasure,” explained Uibomäe. “You and the bike—that’s it.”

With a cost tag of 2,000 and production limited to a handful of units each year, the Renard Grand Tourer certainly scores points for exclusivity, if not for performance. Its horsepower and 145-mph top speed fall short of the Kawasaki Ninja and Suzuki Hayabusa, but the uniqueness of the motorcycle will appeal to buyers who want a product sure to garner attention in any crowd of bike lovers.

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