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Ariel Square Four

Ariel Square Four 1950s British classic motorcycle

The Ariel Square Four was designed by Edward Turner. He would go on to oversee Triumph - in its Sixties glory days. But the Square Four was released back in '28 - when 'Bonnevilles' and 'Tridents' were but a blur on motorcycling's horizon.

In effect, the Square Four's 1,000cc engine was two sets of parallel twins - one in front of the other. The upside of that layout was that plenty of power was produced. The '58 version of the Square Four was good for 105mph. Slightly more than enough, then, to satisfy the 'ton-up boys' - the legendary Rockers, to whom Turner and Triumph would in due time cater. The downside of the 'fore and aft' configuration was that, while the front brace of cylinders enjoyed lots of cooling air - the rear two did not. That could make them a tad cantankerous - especially on a hot day! Saying that, given its ton-plus top speed, the Square Four's performance did not suffer too much. What made the top speed stat still more impressive was the Square Four's weight. Certainly, 465lb needed careful guidance through fast corners.

The 'Squariel' - as it was affectionately dubbed - was a solid-looking motorcycle. In the sense of pleasingly robust, that is. Its telescopic front - and plunger rear - suspension units complemented each other nicely. The four-header exhaust set-up sat neatly between the two. So, all in all, the Ariel Square Four can hold its head high. Even in the lofty company of the mythical machines toward which Edward Turner was inexorably moving.

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