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Hesketh returns with 450cc single

BSA, Norton, Triumph, CCM, Brough Superior – the roll call of revived British bike marques has yet another new member, with news that Hesketh is about to launch a new motorcycle.

Unlike the big V-twins formerly associated with the brand, the new Hesketh will be a 450cc single, based on an enlarged and updated version of Honda’s venerable air-cooled XR400 motor, now with extra cubes and fuel injection. Although the enduro single isn’t the newest, the changes see it meet the latest Euro 5 standards. It will be housed in Hesketh’s own tubular steel frame with canted-forward twin rear shocks, adjustable USD forks and twin front discs with radial calipers.

Two versions are planned, with the basic roadster – due for launch later this month – followed by a scrambler based on the same platform.

Quoted in MCN, Hesketh owner Paul Sleeman said: “The idea was, can we build a Hesketh where we might do 100 a year?

We’re trying to pitch it in a place where people might be able to afford a Hesketh for once because the one thing I’ve heard for years now is: ‘I love it but I can’t afford it’. It’s what everybody says. The retail for this bike, hopefully, by the time you’ve added the dealer margin, is about £14,000.”

He added that the bike will the named the Heresy, thanks to its radical difference from previous bikes with the Hesketh badge.

The first Hesketh, the V1000, was launched in a hail of publicity back in 1980, only to go bust less than two years later. Production continued intermittently on a small scale for a few years, and Paul Sleeman bought the name in 2010, launching the S&S-engined 2000cc Hesketh 24, production of which ended when it could no longer meet emissions legislation.

“An interesting project, whether an XR400 based single will appeal to the ‘I love it but can’t afford it’ buyer thinking of a large 1000cc V-Twin, is an open question. However, with a target of 100 sales per year, even at £14,000, there may be a niche there.” said BMF Chair Jim Freeman.

Written by Peter Henshaw

Top image courtesy of MCN

In article image courtesy of Hesketh