UPDATE 19 August 2010: Icon has revised the styling of the Sheene. The latest images are on the Icon website.
By guest writer Tom Stewart. Looking for the world’s most powerful and expensive production road bike? Well look no further, because according to the newly formed, Nottinghamshire-based manufacturer Icon Motorcycles, it’s £107,000 tribute to Barry Sheene: the +250bhp Icon Sheene.
First revealed at the recent Goodwood pre-season media day, this arresting machine is British businessman Andrew Morris’ vision, now a running reality, of the ultimate road-going motorbike and a tribute to his boyhood hero. Endorsed by Barry Sheene’s widow Stephanie and by ex-team mate and best mate Steve Parrish, just 52 Icon Sheenes are planned to be built—one for each year of Barry’s life.
When it was put to chief Icon test rider Parrish that £107,000 (US$160,000) was ‘quite a lot’, even for a 200 mph motorcycle, he replied, “If you look closely then you can see the value”. So, let’s look closely. The engine is a hand-built, Garrett turbocharged Suzuki GSX1400 air-cooled lump (because it looks like an engine) with Carrillo rods, Wiseco pistons and other competition-spec internals. 250bhp with 133lb/ft is claimed at the rear wheel, even in lowest (0.4bar) boost mode. This is wrapped in an all-aluminum, purpose-built Spondon tubular frame complemented by an aluminum Fabrication Techniques swing-arm with Bitubo rear suspension and usd forks.
With carbon-fiber race wheels, ISR calipers, discs and levers, hand-laid carbon-fiber bodywork, a handmade aluminum tank, twin hand-crafted aluminum oil coolers, a handmade stainless exhaust, Bosch Motronic engine management (with custom mapping and datalogging), digital instrumentation, keyless starting and F1-spec wiring throughout, this is obviously no bargain basement machine.
The Icon also flaunts detailing to further woo wealthy buyers such as etched and engraved plaques and yokes, a hand-painted 1940s style pin-up girl and Barry Sheene’s lucky no.7 embroidered into the heart-shaped alcantara bum-stop.
So: powerful, fast and expensive it undeniably is. But could this Icon also be a gauche, mildly exploitative, over-priced white elephant, much of which—frame, engine and styling—wouldn’t have been cutting-edge twenty years ago? You decide.