Exclusive. The Falcon Krestrel Custom Motorcycle By Ian Barry.

As I announced a few days ago on May 6, Ian Barry and Amaryllis Knight, founders of Falcon Motorcycles, went last weekend to Carmel, CA to unveil their new creation at the Quail Motorcycle Gathering. The event is a world class international motor sport event building on the success of its Automobile Gathering counterpart. It’s an exceptional exhibition of vintage/classic/present/tomorrow’s sport and racing bikes from significant marques. On Saturday evening, Ian’s new bike called “The Krestel” (after a species of falcon that hunts in the open plains) won the Best Of Custom Motorcycles Award. And as promised, I can now publish in exclusivity this bike first official studio pictures.

The Krestel Falcon is the second motorcycle of a “Falcon Series Of Ten Motorcycles” all designed around the engines of iconic pre and post World War II British motorcycles. The first one was The Bullet Falcon, a gorgeous Board Tracker based on a 1950 Triumph Thunderbird built in 2008 for actor Jason Lee. If it took 2 years for Ian Barry to complete The Krestel it’s because after creating The Bullet he lost his workshop and was able to restart working only in 2009 after finding a new one in the form of a welding factory downtown Los Angeles. Add to this unfortunate event the fact that it took Ian more than 2000 hours to give a new beautiful life to the 1970 Triumph Bonneville used as the platform for his new project.

The Kestrel Falcon is Ian Barry’s final bow to a decade of building custom Triumph twins. Notice that the bike is photographed in “Racing Trim” (i.e. has no headlight. tail light or license plate) , ready to be raced at El Mirage, California, at the end of May. I remind you that Ian builds all his one-of-a-kind custom motorcycles from raw derelict frames and engines.  On this project, because engine and gearbox were damaged, Ian opted to cut off the transmission and redesigned the full engine, building the frame around the new drive line setup now including a BSA A-10 transmission. This engine was carefully reshaped with new contours and aluminum-welded together to various pieces of his new design, using a jig that he made for the engine case. The 750cc twin cylinders were designed to taper the round fins at the bottom to the original Triumph diamond-shaped heads, and was machined in-house, using a 5-axis CNC machine and a solid block of 7000-series aircraft grade aluminum.

The girder front end was built from scratch and matched to fit a heavily modified and reshaped Triumph hub. Gas and oil tanks started as hammered sheets of metal hand-formed around wooden molds. The exhaust system, handlebars, levers, seat, fender…even the bolts were created from scratch from blocks, sheets and rods of steel, of brass and aluminum. And sometimes it took Barry & crew to fabricate in-house the tools to accomplish these jobs.  Sketches of the new parts are designed by Ian himself, detail machining being done at the shop by his 2 skilled collaborators Scott Jones and Troy Morris.

Ian has never seen motorcycles as a mere form of transportation. Whilst he has gone many years of his life with a motorcycle as his only form of transport, and has refused to build bikes for people who he felt weren’t going to appreciate them or ride them. His underlying belief is that motorcycles are about the experience and not just a way to get from A to B. “It would be great if all those loving  motorcycles were able to build their own expressions of what the ultimate Triumph, Velocette or Norton or whatever brand could have been if the limiting factors of the industrial revolution hadn’t constrained design and possibility” says Ian. “People that buy my bikes use them to go off for a solo ride on weekends or in the evening, a way to escape the mundane, the current fads and fashions, the plastic cookie cutter world we often live in. With guts, speed, reliability, and personal, unique but timeless style.”

The function and engineering of the motorcycle is definitely Ian’s primary focus when building his motorcycles. “In my eyes, there’s no point in building a motorcycle that is purely an art piece. Unless it functions safely and handles beautifully, it will not let it leave my shop.  I am really lucky to have customers that truly love motorcycles, and are willing to pay for one of my motorcycles what people with money would normally pay for a collector’s painting or a sculpture.” adds Ian. Production bikes have to be produced by shaving cents off the dollar wherever possible, and it means that the purest aesthetic of the motorcycle, or of what it could be, will most likely never be discovered.”

Personally I always repeat that custom motorcycles, in addition of being functional for the purpose which they serve (and the range is very wide), should be appreciated for their emotional value, soul and merit. Beauty strikes the sight and merit wins the soul. I hope that you will agree with me that Ian Barry’s creations have all these qualities. Next project: The Black Falcon based on a 1951 Vincent Black Shadow to be unveiled in raw metal in August. Falcon Motorcycles. (Krestel studio pictures, copyright Noah Schultz. Ian Barry pictures, copyright Paul d’Orleans)

27 Responses to “Exclusive. The Falcon Krestrel Custom Motorcycle By Ian Barry.”

  1. 1 Charlie Lecach May 10th, 2010 at 7:25 am

    Fantastic looking bike. Makes you understand that it’s not necessary to bolt on tons of useless stuff on a motorcycle to make it look good !

  2. 2 TodT May 10th, 2010 at 7:31 am

    That is a beautiful piece of workmanship…..

  3. 3 Patrick Messmer May 10th, 2010 at 7:32 am

    Wow! But how do you make a living doing this?

  4. 4 busfreak May 10th, 2010 at 7:44 am

    Now thats a bike not your average catalog piece.

  5. 5 Jesse Montell May 10th, 2010 at 8:04 am

    A masterpiece born from love.

  6. 6 Jeremy May 10th, 2010 at 9:13 am

    What not to like?

  7. 7 Paul d'Orleans May 10th, 2010 at 10:01 am

    Such a pleasure taking first real Kestrel ride on Saturday; I asked for a spin on the grass, and kept going! Ride it like you stole it, as they say, but I only borrowed it for a few extra miles.

    I can report (with a writeup on The Vintagent shortly) that the Kestrel functions beautifully as a motorcycle. Everything works smoothly – shifting, clutch, brakes, forks, throttle, even a sprung saddle – and after riding around corners on a rising throttle (all the way to wide open), I found the Kestrel handles! It may be a ‘custom’ but it attacks the bends like a vintage racer, and sounds fantastic. I was impressed; this after stepping off 100 miles on a pre-production Ducati ST1100 Multistrada with 140hp, and my own ’28 Sunbeam TT90 (with considerably less hp, but a massive fun factor).

    The Kestrel is a ‘third look’ bike. It’s so seamless, the magnitude of Falcon’s achievement doesn’t sink in until you really stop to consider what is before you – a phenomenon more common when looking at art actually. Every detail, and a lot you won’t see until your fifth viewing, is considered and beautifully executed. Even on the third day of viewing, I was surprised to discover more details I’d missed… it’s that kind of bike.

    The Kestrel is Ian Barry’s masterpiece.

  8. 8 Patrick R. May 10th, 2010 at 10:05 am

    Cyril. Thank you for featuring this bikel. You publish only what we need to know or be aware of. It’s the reason why I love your blog. No easter egg bikes, no trash parts. Best. Patrick.

  9. 9 John Snell May 10th, 2010 at 10:15 am

    Let’s see. At a very low rate of $100 per hour for such expertise, 2000 hours work time, cost is $200,000 + parts, equipment, rent, etc. So, this bike is worth $250,000 minimum. Since it will probably not sell at this price, Ian Barry needs to get $250,000 of free advertising (features) in the medias to make his investment work as intended. Maybe it will work. Anyway, superb machine.

  10. 10 Dr. Dave May 10th, 2010 at 10:54 am

    Beautiful, The Kestrel proves again that less is more.

  11. 11 JZ May 10th, 2010 at 11:15 am

    The Kestrel is truly the perfect melding of form and function – art and performance, beauty and practicality.

    In response to Paul d’Orleans’ comment: Thank you for the firsthand review. I’m jealous.

    In response to John Snell’s comment: All of Falcon’s bikes are pre-sold. Since they are truly custom-made and bespoke to the buyer, construction doesn’t begin until the future owner is “fitted” and consulted. I don’t believe they cost what you suggest they should – and I agree – which means the owner gets astonishing value.

    Very impressive machine, Ian and Amaryllis.


  12. 12 Andy Carter May 10th, 2010 at 12:46 pm

    What a great write up… And the photographs are astonishing. I have been following the building of this bike for a while now, its great to finally get to see it in some great shots. I feel like the porportions of this bike are dead on! In my eyes the kestral is the more mature brother of the bullet, a progression of passion and skill. Its great to see ian and crew getting the oportunity to build bikes with a zero sacrifice attitude, hats off to falcons clients for allowing these artists to do there thing. Keep up the great work you guys

  13. 13 David May 10th, 2010 at 5:40 pm

    Wow it’s easy to build stuff when you dont have to worry about all the stuff it takes to make it legal. Like lights and brakes and turn signals but then I guess this is just a off-road bike. Although it mihgt be short on suspension for off-road maybe the salt flats. Or maybe it was just built to set in some rich guys den, office or living room but then of course it wouldnt have to run at all……

    SSDD; David

  14. 14 David May 10th, 2010 at 5:41 pm

    It really is pretty though !!

    SSDD; David

  15. 15 A May 10th, 2010 at 6:12 pm

    David, read Cyril above: “Notice that the bike is photographed in “Racing Trim” (i.e. has no headlight. tail light or license plate) , ready to be raced at El Mirage, California, at the end of May.”

    I assume this means that either it’s a race bike that will stay a race bike, or that it will be made street legal after it’s been raced.

  16. 16 nicker May 10th, 2010 at 9:05 pm

    Better & better………. Poetry in metal……… 🙂

    “… Wow! But how do you make a living doing this?…”

    Very “selectively.”


  17. 17 jack1340 May 11th, 2010 at 4:09 am

    magnifique!!!! good work; good look; pure et beau une tres belle machine.

  18. 18 baddad May 11th, 2010 at 6:10 am

    Very nice bike, but I am a bit tired of this retrograde principle. Where is 21.st century custom bike?Cyril, maybe this could be a nice theme for discussion. 😉

  19. 19 Johnny G. May 11th, 2010 at 7:15 am

    A time and place for 21st century and a time and place for Timeless, this bike falls into the latter, beautiful, thanks Cyril.

  20. 20 krazy kym May 11th, 2010 at 3:50 pm

    Hey Paul – I just read a story where they talk about you “hijacking” the bike! Did you really take it? Hilarious!


    I loved the Bullet, it was really my favorite bike till now. The Kestrel looks like a total stunner tho, I cannot wait to see it with my own eyes…if I’m ever lucky enough that is! Keep up the good work Mr. Barry!

  21. 21 maroco May 12th, 2010 at 7:20 am

    Good work special the engine, good luck to the company.

  22. 22 TMarkus May 12th, 2010 at 3:36 pm

    Truly a spectacular piece of craftsmanship. Out of Ian and Amaryllis’ relentless pursuit of style, quality and perfection has come one of the most iconic motorcycles of our time. It is a pleasure to work with a small group of highly talented craftsmen dedicated to excellence…Thanks.

  23. 23 David May 12th, 2010 at 6:14 pm

    A…..I digress.

    SSDD; David

  24. 24 Brenda Fox May 16th, 2010 at 3:38 pm

    STUNNING! Wonderful example of Ian’s passion, talent and pursuit of excellence along with Amaryllis first class vision of delivering nothing less than Excellent!
    El Mirage baby! See ya there!

  25. 25 Fernando Pernas May 18th, 2010 at 3:52 pm

    Amazing bike, i would intall a head light, a tail light and ride it every day!!

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