Nod To Formula One Racing. The New Hesketh 24 Motorcycle With Fuel Tank Below Engine.

HeskethMost of you never heard of Hesketh Motorcycles. So, a little bit of history. In the 70’s, Hesleth Racing was a Formula 1 team with famous British pilot James Hunt at the wheel. Strong of his F1 racing experience, team owner Lord Hesketh decided to cross over to motorcycling to create a new high end all British motorcycle. The first factory model was born in 1981 under the name Hesketh V1000 followed by the Vampire in 1983. Both bikes were the first British bikes to be fitted with 4 valves per cylinder and twin overhead camshafts.

A very modest success and a a European declining motorcycle market silenced the brand. But the name remained alive thanks to the dedication of original test rider and development engineer Mick Broom who continued to offer expert support to all Hesketh owners until 2010. Then the brand was bought by Paul Sleeman who designed and created the Kingswood V1000 and now the brand new Hesketh 24.

The number 24 makes reference to the Formula 1 car number of racing legend James Hunt. The 1950 cc 56-degree v-twinengine is stated to produce about 120 bhp with overhead air intakes inside the tank above, the fuel tank being placed below the engine. Front and rear suspension (track and road) is provided by Ohlins Suspension, brakes by Beheinger, fiber carbon wheels by Brock’s. Only 24 Hesketh 24 will be produced and available in February 2014. Hesketh Motorcycles UK.

9 Responses to “Nod To Formula One Racing. The New Hesketh 24 Motorcycle With Fuel Tank Below Engine.”

  1. 1 Lyle Landstrom Dec 18th, 2013 at 9:54 am

    I didn’t know they were still around…..

  2. 2 Rodent Dec 18th, 2013 at 10:43 am

    James Hunt and Niki Lauda were the subjects of the fabulous movie about F1 racing “RUSH”.

  3. 3 James just another Crazy Kiwi Dec 18th, 2013 at 12:19 pm

    I have seen one, and they were a nice bike and went well.. But from memory they had gear box problems.
    I have a book that is the pictorial history of Triumph
    there is a picture of a Hesketh with triumph badges on out side the Meriden Triumph factory.

    Apparently as Triumph was crumbling thought was given to this and many other odd and eccentric ideas.

  4. 4 Terence Tory Dec 18th, 2013 at 1:53 pm

    I’d like to know how the underslung tank is constructed.They were about one of the dumbest ideas that Jap engineers ever fitted to a race bike.They caused all sorts of issues and handling problems.

  5. 5 Septic the Sceptic Dec 18th, 2013 at 3:56 pm


  6. 6 Boomer Dec 19th, 2013 at 7:20 am

    “I’d like to know how the underslung tank is constructed.They were about one of the dumbest ideas that Jap engineers ever fitted to a race bike.They caused all sorts of issues and handling problems.”

    I would think it would handle better with the low slung weight.

  7. 7 Jim Gianatsis / Dec 23rd, 2013 at 3:10 pm

    Elf racing motorcycles championed under engine fuel tanks back in the 1990s, along with center hub steering. And they had a lot of success in World Endurance Racing.

    It seems like a good idea to place the fuel weight low for better balance and less weight transfer under braking, acceleration and cornering, and as the fuel load changes, but it never caught on for whatever reason. I suspect the underside of the engine is needed for exhaust system volume and routing.

    Today MotoGP and Superbikes have much of their fuel centralized low in the bike, in the rear portion of the “mock” fuel tank and under the rider’s seat. Most of the front/upper portion of these mock fuel tanks are taken up my large volume ram air airboxes for feeding the engine’s induction system.

  8. 8 Terence Tory Dec 23rd, 2013 at 9:36 pm

    Jim Gianatsis /,Honda France/Elf spent millions on underslung tank endurance racers and GP bikes and got about nowhere fast.The hub center steered front wheels lacked feel and riders fell off.The only real benefit on the endurance racetrack was the single sided nature of the front and rear ends allowed “car-type” fast wheel changes during long races.The only direct production result of ELF’s efforts was Honda’s original and later Ducati’s single sided rear swingarms.The 916 Ducati was almost a direct copy of Honda’s NR750 V-4 road bike but with a big bore watercooled Pantah based L-twin motor.

    Low C of G’s on bikes generally produce high speed instability.A tank under the riders butt has a different weight bias than an under motor tank.Low C of G is good for cars and has little relevance to motorcycles.Low C of G gas tanks work well on maxi scooters and GoldWings.

    On a sport bike the problems caused by under motor gas tanks add up to about zero benefits.Weird weight transfers of fuel load during throttle and braking that are compounded when the tank goes from full to near empty.Think of doing a wheelie with a swinging cannonball between your boots and you will get some idea of what goes on.

    A guy I know raced a underslung tank Honda race bike that was a complete abortion the day it rolled out of the HRC works.

    Like I said before:I’d like to know how the underslung tank is constructed.

  9. 9 B. D. Howard Dec 26th, 2013 at 7:46 pm

    The problem with tanks mounted up high or down low is that the weight and handling change as the tank goes from full to near empty. This is why Erik Buell’s fuel-in-frame design is so brilliant, the weight is centralized and the handling is not really affected by the amount of fuel in the tank.

    I still love my now fairly old 1125R…

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Cyril Huze