Voxan motorcycles

Voxan motorcycles
In two weeks, the assets of French boutique motorcycle maker Voxan will go under the hammer in Clermont-Ferrand. It’s one of the sadder stories of the Global Financial Crisis, because Voxan was one of the last true independents in the motorcycling world.

My favorite Voxan motorcycle is ironically one that never made it into full production: the Super Naked XV café racer. It was to have a 140 bhp, 1200 cc version of the proprietary Voxan motor, and was full of lovely design touches such as a slim rectangle of a brake light inset into the rear seat, an offset filler cap and a very avant-garde instrument display. Fittingly, this motorcycle was to be sold direct to buyers via the internet.

The designer was Philippe Starck, who cut his motorcycling teeth on the Aprilia Moto 6.5. Starck gave an interview to the French magazine Café Racer while he was designing the Super Naked:

“To create a motorcycle is to deliver an engine … and then build the bike around it. We’re certainly not designers: we are not drawing. We put in the engine, and then try to add only the minimum—that which is functional. The bike then draws itself over the basics. With this approach we have more engineers than designers.”

“We are currently working on a roadster for Voxan: ultra-radical, absolutely amazing. A motorcycle that’s ultra-light, ultra-naked, and full of new solutions … There are plenty of things to invent, and technical innovations to develop.”

Unfortunately, it was never to be: Voxan went into liquidation six months ago. On 5 May, the production facilities will be auctioned off. And on 6 May, the remaining stock of motorcycles will be sold. The prototype Starck bike will be one of them, a fitting footnote to a closed chapter in French motorcycling history. [See more images on the cafe-racer.fr website.]

PS: Bike EXIF is the latest contributor to the ‘Favourite Five’ feature on the French motorcycle culture blog Southsiders-MC. Hit the link to see my personal top 5 selection of classic motorcycles.

Voxan motorcycles