Britten V1000

Britten V1000 GP racing motorbike

At top velocity, the Britten V1000 was a glorious sight. Race bikes are not normally considered style classics. As the name suggests, they are built to win races - not design awards!

The Britten, though, was an exception to that rule. Pop Art on wheels, its sleek curves were dual-purpose. Visually stunning, they also cut cleanly through air. Top speed was 185mph.

The Britten's technical virtuosity went beyond aerodynamics. Its fuel-injected engine was highly innovative. Take, for example, its computerised management system. Heady stuff, in '95. All this racing research and development was by New Zealander John Britten - and his small team of mechanical engineers. Tragically, Britten lost his battle with cancer at the age of just 45. Bike racing will never know what further visions - and composite materials - he would have dreamed up. The Britten V1000, at least, stands as testament to his avant-garde skills.

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