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Aston Martin goes from four wheels to two with AMB 001 motorcycle

Aston Martin is known for sports cars, but the automaker’s latest project has two wheels, not four. Aston is launching its first motorcycle with help from another storied British firm — Brough Superior (pronounced “bruff”). Revealed at the EICMA motorcycle show in Milan, the bike is for track use only, and production will be limited to just 100 copies, according to Aston.

An Aston press release said the partnership with Brough Superior came about because chief creative officer Marek Reichman is a motorcycle enthusiast.

“This is a fascinating and very popular project for myself and my team,” Reichman said in a statement. “The opportunity to collaborate with Brough Superior has given us the chance to bring our unique views on how beauty and engineering can combine to create a highly emotive piece of vehicle design.”

Reichman’s influence is visible in the AMB 001’s design. In contrast to the blunt look of Brough’s current bikes, the AMB 001 has a streamlined design, with most of the mechanical bits encased in carbon fiber bodywork. The shape of the front bodywork was designed to reference Aston Martin sports cars, but also provides aerodynamic downforce, according to Aston.

Aston Martin’s cars currently use turbocharged engines, and so does the AMB-001. The bike’s turbo V-Twin produces 180 horsepower. The engine’s exhaust manifold is made from Inconel, the same heat-resistant superalloy used for the skin of the North American X-15 rocket plane. The engine is a load-bearing part of the chassis, which adds stiffness and saves weight. A six-speed gearbox transfers power to the rear wheel.

The AMB 001 will be built not at an Aston Martin factory, but at Brough Superior’s factory in Toulouse, France. In Europe, the bike is priced at 108,000 euros (about $120,000 at current exchange rates). Deliveries will begin in the fourth quarter of 2020, according to Aston Martin.

Founded in 1919 by George Brough, Brough Superior built some of the earliest performance motorcycles. Despite winning over the likes of T.E. Lawrence, the company gradually faded from existence. The bikes remained popular with collectors, including Jay Leno, and the company was resurrected by British motorcycle enthusiast Mark Upham in 2012.

A company building vehicles with both two wheels and four isn’t unprecedented. Triumph once made both cars and motorcycles, while Ducati is currently part of the sprawling Volkswagen Group. But an automaker and a motorcycle maker teaming up for a specific project is a bit unusual. Mercedes-AMG previously partnered with Ducati and MV Agusta on some special-edition bikes, but these were AMG-themed versions of existing models, not clean-sheet designs.

Aston Martin is ticking off several firsts. In addition to the motorcycle, Aston is preparing to launch its first SUV and its first electric car. Brough Superior isn’t Aston’s only vehicle development partner, either. The automaker is working with Red Bull Racing — the energy drink giant’s Formula One team — on a hybrid hypercar called the Valkyrie.

Updated on November 5, 2019: Added photos and details.

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Stephen Edelstein
Stephen is a freelance automotive journalist covering all things cars. He likes anything with four wheels, from classic cars…
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