Tuesday, May 4, 2010


Falcon Motorcycles have just completed their latest impressive creation, the Kestrel, built around a highly modified 1970 Triumph Bonneville engine.  I'll have much more to say about this machine after its début at the Quail Motorcycle Gathering next weekend, when I see it complete and in the metal.

There will be some very impressive machinery and a great lineup of guests at the Quail, and I strongly encourage anyone who's on the fence to get off and hie down to Carmel Valley on May 8th. I'll be a guest speaker at the Friday night banquet, and emcee during the show on Saturday.
Larry Bowman (last years Best of Show with his Big Tank Crocker) is bringing a 1937 Harley El Knucklehead, 1949 Vincent Black Lightning, and 1974 Ducati 750SS. Herb Harris will show his Vincent Black Shadow built around the spare engine used in setting 8 world records at Monthlery, France in 1952, and his Works Series 'C' Black Shadow cutaway engine on a pedestal (the only one known). Danny Sullivan, the 1985 Indy 500 winner will make an appearance, the newly completed Mert Lawwill Street Tracker motorcycle will be on display, John Stein will be riding his 1961 Norton Manx on the Friday tour, as well as displaying it on the field (that's just proper), as will William Weiner on his 1959 Moto Guzzi Falcone Sport. Stewart Ingram will display his little Maserati gems; a '56 Maserati 125 L/2T and '57 Maserati 125 GTS, and Virgil Elings will trump just about everyone with his 1995 Britten V1000. A bike I can never get enough of!

Organizer Gordon McCall writes:
"Looks like we'll have 130 plus bikes on the field, and the additional Bonhams bikes up in the Ballroom, and on the balcony. Safe to say over 200 bikes all together. Looks like the 'customs' are shaping up as well, I just noticed Shinya's [Kimura] '74 Ducati, can't wait to see it!  Kenny Roberts just committed to be there, along with Wayne Rainey....still waiting on Eddie Lawson's final schedule, as well as Kevin Schwantz."

And the teaser for the Kestrel Falcon:
Image 1. The Kestrel Falcon originated with the engine of a 1970 Triumph Bonneville, which had a damaged gearbox.  Ian Barry cut this off!

Image 2. Over 2000 hours of artful machining, stretching, hammering, rolling and hand-carving have been labored into the Kestrel, intended by Barry as his swan song to a decade of building custom Triumph-specific twins. The result is a bespoke, a one-of-a-kind motorcycle; truly functional art.

Image 3. Ian hand-filed the various parts of his fabricated engine timing cover, to make sure they all fit together perfectly.

Image 4. The Kestrel gas tank was designed by Ian and then made from scratch in-house from sheets of steel.  A four-inch round circle was 'saved' front the front of the badly rusted original Triumph tank, and incoporated into the design, in order to allow the soul of the original tank to carry on.

Image 5. Falcon silver soldered every section of the the frame and girder front forks, in order to assure the strongest construction and cleanest joints.

Image 6. Apart from a few original lugs, the girder forks were made from scratch on a custom made cast iron jig table. Seen here with the front brake.

Image 7. The brake is a heavily modified and reshaped Triumph item, mated to a modified BSA brake drum.

Image 8.The oil tank was made entirely out of aluminum, and shaped around a carved wooden mould, to mirror the curve of the back wheel.

Image 9. Half of the final gas tank, shaped on an 'English Wheel' which Barry made from a salvaged piece of industrial equipment.

The Kestrel is the second of Falcon’s Concept Ten, a series of custom motorcycles designed around the engines of iconic pre- and post-War British motorcycles. The third, the Black Falcon, is already under construction with its 1951 Vincent Black Shadow engine with distinguished California racing history. Next in line is a 1967 Velocette Thruxton, one of only seven very special “Squish Head” engines made by Veloce Ltd, which led from start to finish and won the 60th anniversary Diamond Jubilee Isle of Man Production TT race. After that will come Falcon versions of a 1936 Ariel Square Four with Over-Head Cams, a BSA, a Rudge, a Norton Cammy, and a Brough Superior.

For Falcon, the Kestrel is an evolutionary leap from the Bullet, with the level of sophistication and build quality elevated to an entirely new level. Ian Barry has outgrown the customization of existing vintage motorcycles and is now designing and fabricating motorcycles from start to finish, with only a few parts not made from scratch."