Motorcycle News

While this is nothing new, it was new to me, and it may be to you also. In 2014, 100 of these drop-dead gorgeous Lotus C-01's were built at a price of $137,000 new, with 200 horsepower and weighing in at just 398 pounds. They were designed by Daniel Simon, the same guy who created the Lightcycles in the "Tron" movies. This particular bike ran through the Mecum Auction in Las Vegas, in January 2017, bid to $110,000, but failed to meet the seller's reserve. Get the whole story of the futuristic Lotus C-01.


Mahindra is the world's #1 tractor company, a true industrial giant in their own right. And the Indian company is not just big in tractors. Mahindra & Mahindra makes cars, trucks, electric vehicles, military vehicles and equipment, electrical generators, scooters and now motorcycles. They recently purchased 51% of Peugeot Scooters then moved aggressively into the scooter business, now also producing a full line of Mahindra scooters for the Indian home market and other import markets. From there, they evolved into building light motorcycles, the largest of which is the 300cc Mahindra Mojo. Obviously, these bikes are cheap, and meant to fill the pressing need for basic transportation in the Asian subcontinent.
ABOVE: The 300cc Mahindra Mojo.

It's no secret that Mahindra has been itching to break into the motorcycle business. They've launched their own Moto3 team, and have cultivated partnerships and other close relationships with BMW and KTM. British brands are huge in India and always have been, perhaps a remnant of Imperial rule. How the tables have turned. Once-proud British brands Land Rover and Jaguar are now owned by Indian car maker, Tata Motors. Madras Motors bought Royal Enfield back in 1970 and has been producing Royal Enfield Bullet 500 singles ever since. Mahindra has wanted to buy a prestigious British motorcycle brand for some time now, and was in negotiations to purchase Norton, but backed away from the deal when BSA became available. Mahindra is rumored to have paid £3.4 million ($4.1 million) for the rights to the name, having purchased it through their subsidiary Classic Legends PTY, LTD.
ABOVE: Mahindra has a full line of cars, light trucks and SUVs. This is the Mahindra TUV300.

Again, British brands of anything are highly desired in the Indian home market and surrounding export markets. But a British prestige brand could also have appeal in Europe and America. Rather than start from scratch with a new name, they wisely chose to buy a top-shelf brand with a premium image and reputation. Norton would have filled that role nicely, but Mahindra felt that BSA would be even better. BSA of course, had a brilliant reputation for building great bikes like the Gold Star, the 650cc A10 twin, the unit-construction A65 650 twin, and the Rocket 3 triple that spanned decades. At one time, BSA was THE largest producer of motorcycles in the world, and actually owned Triumph, Ariel, and Sunbeam. They also produced cars, trucks, agricultural equipment, military vehicles, power stations, heavy trucks and more. (Scroll up to the top of this article as read the description of modern-day Mahindra. It sounds strikingly similar to BSA's resume in 1960.) All of this conspires to make BSA perhaps the biggest motorcycle brand that could be purchased. Mahindra's plans have not been fully revealed as of yet. But they are expected to engineer a full line of totally new, modern motorcycles, both street and off-road/dual-sport, to serve both the European and American markets. Some may be retro-styled to look like classic BSAs (although they were never known for their stunning looks), very much like the new Hinkley Triumph Bonneville. Perhaps Mahindra sees themselves as sort of the Ducati of classic British brands, fairly low-volume, very prestigious, and commanding premium prices. Of course, they plan will probably not involve building the bikes in the high-wage, union-friendly UK. They will almost certainly build them in India, where labor is cheap, and they are well-established industrially. Either way, unless they totally blow the design, engineering and/or production of the bikes, this all adds up to very good news for classic British motorcycle fans everywhere. Stay tuned as this story develops.

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Last updated 2/7/17

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