Ten unique motorcycles built up from salvaged frames and engines: this is what Los Angeles-based company Falcon Motorcycles is offering, but only to select clientele. The very special creations are in hot demand in Hollywood but not every customer is accepted…
Ian Barry and Amaryllis Knight are fanatical about post-War British motorbikes. Yet the joint founders of Falcon Motorcycles spent long years searching for ‘the perfect motorcycle’ without success. So, in April 2008, they decided to create their own from the parts of classic British bikes from the 1930s to 1960s, and sell each unique motorcycle only to customers who – in their opinion – appreciate the aesthetics and heritage of the product. If not, then the customer is turned down flat. Simple.
The first of the 10 has already been created: the Bullet is a custom Triumph motorcycle that started as the frame and engine of a 1950 pre-unit Triumph Thunderbird. Currently in the process of being built is another Triumph (and the last of that marque in the series of 10), while future Falcon motorcycles will be built up from Norton, Velocette, Ariel, BSA, Matchless, Royal Enfield, Brough Superior and Vincent.
Incidentally, every salvaged bike comes from a non-functioning wreck – ‘forgotten skeletons left to rust, derelict engines and far-thrown parts’. The company sees the dismembering of a working bike as taboo.
Once the frame has been identified, almost every part is remade, refurbished, customised and altered, while the engine is re-machined, polished, lightened, ported, re-engineered and fitted with modern upgrades. No wonder, then, that the build process can take around 900 hours. But the final product is not simply a restored classic bike. “Sure, you will know it’s a Norton immediately,” we’re told, “but there’s something unfamiliar. You recognise it, but you’ve never seen it before. Like digging through a dusty chest in your attic and finding a never-before-seen photo of your mom when she was young.”