Vilner Design HouseSituated on the eastern edge of Europe, just across the Black Sea from Asia, Bulgaria is an important location in the development of human civilization. Indeed, Bulgaria’s Kozarnika cave contains evidence of man dating back 1.6 million years. However, its reputation for building startling custom motorcycles is in its infancy.Vilner Design House, located in the Romanian capital of Sofia – a city heavily invested in by large multinational computing corporations – got its start in 1996, seven years after the country’s first free elections since the end of communist rule.Owned by Atanas Bogdanov Vilner, the company began as self-described “interior tuning specialists” for automobiles. Just over a year ago, Vilner Design House expanded into custom motorcycles when a friend wanted Vilner to help modify his bike.One of the most striking results of the company’s new direction is the Vilner Aprilia Stingray – a bike based on the effective, but visually challenged V-twin Aprilia Tuono 1000 R. Fiercely proud of his country, Vilner tells us that being based in Bulgaria “makes me more creative!” He is inspired by all around him, crediting “form, spirit, color, and mood.”“As one can see from the pictures,” Vilner says, “there is nothing similar with the original model, which, in fact, was the initial aim of the team. The Vilner Aprilia Stingray now looks more exquisite than ever with its aggressive and futuristic stance.”Vilner explains that the inspiration for the name and design came from “the perfect forms of a 1976 Corvette Stingray that we have restored.” Copper was chosen as the bike’s color, which Vilner describes as “absolutely outrageous.”Beginning at the front, Vilner gave the Stingray a striking, angular front fender, a design motif that extends to the rear of the motorcycle. The bikini fairing was replaced, with the stock flyscreen falling by the wayside and a large pyramid shape separating the headlights and minimizing the windblast hitting the rider.Graceful spoilers run from the lower triple clamp to below the engine sidecases, moving heated air away from the engine and around rider. This look is repeated on the fuel tank, unifying the Stingray’s distinctive appearance. Vilner shared with Ultimate MotorCycling that these features were the most difficult to design and manufacture.Although the aluminum frame was left untouched, the subframe is now matte black to “contribute to the visual separation of the front and rear parts,” according to Vilner. The license plate holder was cleaned up, of course, while the tinted rear lights and black mufflers further slim down the rear end. Galaxy Custom extended the swingarm by nearly six inches, an unusual modification for an Aprilia.Vilner has expansive plans for his company. “I see Vilner as one of the established brands on the market. With the development of the design and technologies, the bikes could be personalized – made perfect.”The main focus of Vilner Design House has been on sport bikes, though they do have something new on the horizon. “We have a Ducati Diavel in our garage,” Vilner reveals. “This is my latest dream that has come true,” he says, with an eager eye to the future.This story is featured in the Mar/Apr 2013 issue of Ultimate MotorCycling magazine—available on newsstands and good bookstores everywhere. The issue is also available free to readers on Apple Newsstand (for iOS devices) and Google Play (Android). To subscribe to the print edition please visit our Subscriber Services page.
This week, Senior Editor Nic de Sena rides the all new Ducati Monster. Big changes have been made by Ducati–has the company ruined the considerable heritage of the iconic Monster–or are the changes worth it? In the second part of the show, we chat with Nick Ienatsch, Founder and Head Instructor at the Yamaha Champions Riding School. He says: “We aim to change your riding life by introducing you to Champions Habits: The techniques, approaches, skills, and the mindsets of the best riders in the world. These Champions Habits are the foundation of safety and consistency to whatever speed you ride, in any venue on any bike. Street riders, this is just as much for you as track riders. The best way to make safe riders is to make good riders.“ We hope you enjoy this episode!