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Ariel Ace: The massively configurable motorcycle platform


It looks absolutely stunning, and it can be specified as anything from a cruiser, to a nakedbike, to a fully faired supersports machine – and altered endlessly after purchase. A fascinating concept, and the execution looks peerless.

If ever there was a car company that was really born to make motorcycles, you'd have to nominate Ariel. After all, before it was acquired and slapped on the Atom race car, the British brand was best known for its bikes, particularly the Square Four that was produced between the early 1930s and the late 1950s.

The Atom, pictured below, is basically a motorcycle at heart – and a bloody fast one at that. There's no roof, no windscreen, no heater or radio or beverage holders; it's designed to go around racetracks at a zillion miles an hour, and has mirrors and indicators tacked on so that you can drive it to the track. When you get there, it lays waste to just about anything else, blitzing most supercars thanks to its ridiculously light weight and Lotus-tuned handling, despite having the price tag of a family sedan.

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