A corporation commissioning a custom motorcycle is always doing it for marketing purpose. And the result can only be a theme bike whose main staging area is almost never the road, but the print and digital pages of magazines, the headquarter lobby of said corporation and the display floor of a few dealer shows. From the perspective of the motorcycle industry, of builders and of bikers, nothing wrong with this marketing approach if the bike is beautiful, demonstrates skills from the builder and is not advertised… as an every day rider.
That you like or not theme bikes let’s judge this one as what it is. A corporate concept motorcycle trying to convey a certain image for a brand and its products. Bell & Ross is a relatively young watch maker company in search of more international notoriety to boost brand awareness of its B-Rocket neo-retro aviation style chronographs. Bell & Ross define its watches as “uncompromising designs, built with a very strict criteria in terms of the materials and resistance of the components, sophisticated engineering, pure aesthetic quality, accurate information and lastly the non-negotiable requirement for high-performance, even under what may be considered extreme conditions.” Nothing less than all this…
A big challenge for British builder Shaw Harley-Davidson commissioned for the second time by Bell & Ross to create a new powerful marketing tool. Briefing was short and clear: “design a concept bike with a sleek and powerful look evoking the extreme modernity of the 1960s and of the very first American jet aircraft. An evocation of of the heyday of aeronautics in a motorcycle reminiscent of the future…”
To reach this objective, Bell & Ross and Shaw Harley Davidson worked side by side for over a year on the design of this B-Rocket. Yes, it looks like a dream airplane-motorcycle designed to break records in Bonneville (of course, no chance it will be not try a Land Speed Record on the salts of Utah.) Does it rides fast? Does it fly? At least, illusion is given by the bike stance, the low position of the rider, a body shaped to cut through the air with minimum friction, a striking conical jet nose, a pair of propulsion turbines, a stabilizing tail and even a pair of adjustable fins on the forks designed to resemble small wings to increase or reduce contact with the ground…
Regarding bodywork, I learned from Shaw Harley-Davidson that the rear section of the B-Rocket is made of of 30 different sections of steel. That the solid, fixed aluminum wheel covers conceals 10-inch brake discs. Also, notice the almost invisible plexiglass sections around the rear wheel revealing the sprocket chain and brake calipers and also the impressive brass grills allowing hot air to escape. All the 1960s experimental aeronautic visual codes are there. Illusion, illusion. And because you will not find out if I don’t tell you, the B-Rocket is based on a Harley-Davidson Softail Blackline (engine fitted with Knucklehead style rocker boxes to confuse you and to look almost period correct)
You can’t buy this B-Rocket concept motorcycle. But you can buy one of the B-Rocket limited edition chronograph models (total of 500 pieces) designed and produced by Bell & Ross. About $4500 euros or around 6100 US dollars. And for this price, I list below the watch 2 version tech sheets.
BR 01 B-ROCKET Chronograph.
Movement: mechanical automatic. Functions: hours, minutes and econds. Date. Tachymeter scale. Chronograph: Three-counter (60 seconds, 30 minutes and 12 hours accumulators). Case: diameter 46 mm. Satin-polished steel. The red push-button is made from steel with a polycarbonate-ABS protective cover. Dial: matte black. Skeletonised metallic hours and minutes hands filled with superluminova. Crystal: antireflective sapphire. Water-resistance: 100 meters Strap: padded black leather, edged in red and black heavy-duty canvas. Buckle: pin buckle. Satin-polished steel.
BR 03 B-ROCKET Chronograph
Movement: mechanical automatic. Functions: hours, minutes and seconds. Big date at 12 o’clock. Power reserve indicator. Case: diameter 42 mm. Satin-polished steel. Dial: matte black. Skeletonised metallic hours and minutes hands filled with superluminova. Crystal: antireflective sapphire. Water-resistance: 100 m. Strap: added black leather, edged in red and black heavy-duty canvas. Buckle: pin buckle. Satin-polished steel.