Wednesday, 29 August 2018

Ariel Red Hunter

Ariel Red Hunter

Ariel were based in Selly Oak - the Midlands, England. One of the original motorcycle manufacturers, by the 1930s, Ariel was big business! As a result, it was able to attract design talent of the calibre of Edward Turner, Val Page and Bert Hopwood. They would go on to become three legendary figures in the history of British bike building. Turner, in particular - he would prove to be pivotal in the success of Triumph.

Ariel produced a steady stream of stylish, but practical machines. One of the best was the 'Red Hunter'. It was one of a batch of successful single-cylinder four-strokes. These machines were a godsend to Ariel. Financial woes had forced the factory to close. Jack Sangster took over Ariel - from his father Charles, the firm's founder. Sangster turned to Val Page - and asked him to come up with something. The Red Hunter soon had the ailing firm back on its feet!

The Red Hunter's top speed - 82mph - was darned quick in '37! Especially, from a 497cc motor. To extract the stat from just 26bhp was testament to the quality of the engineering. Sadly, the suspension of the time was not quite in the same league. Girder forks, at the front - and a rigid rear end! Notwithstanding, the Red Hunter's handling was quite acceptable. And the sprung seat was a comfort ... of sorts. What with its push-rod single-pot motor, the bike was always going to be a bone-shaker! Back in the day, though, it was a luxury product. Certainly, it looked the part - resplendent in its 'red robin' plumage. A classic bike, if ever there was one, Ariel's Red Hunter was refined, respectable ... and could shift a bit, too!

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