Motorcycles fascinate, simply put. From earliest and most primitive incarnations of the single-track vehicle, mankind has always been drawn to these machines. In modernity, the allure hasn’t been lost.As we progress as a society, socially and technologically, the yearning for advancement is always there, almost as a collective thought. Perhaps that’s the kind of thinking that enthralls onlookers, inspires the designers and engineers to persevere, and led CEO Francois-Xavier Terny and designer/CTO Edward Jacobs to develop FXE Industries’ radical Vanguard brand.
Vanguard is just that—a manifestation of potential. Jacobs and Terny set out to create a motorcycle with exquisite attention to detail, evidenced in the painstaking level of machine work done throughout the build. Foreboding and masculine, Vanguard invokes its namesake in both the metaphorical and physical sense.FXE Industries envisions three different Vanguard models—Roadster (shown), Cruiser, and Racer. The starting price of $29,995 for such a sophisticated motorcycle is perhaps the most audacious goal of all. Building them at the Brooklyn Navy Yard only enhances our respect for the brand.The centerpiece of the Vanguard motorcycles is an S&S Cycle 117ci 56-degree V-twin motor, based on the iconic X-Wedge powerplant. While the motor staple in the custom bike world, what Vanguard has done with their S&S block isn’t ordinary, not in the least.Providing roughly 110 ft/lbs of torque, the S&S engine serves more than one purpose. It is not only the heart, also the core in the monocoque design. The idea of Vanguard extends from that point.Every case and cover has been meticulously milled and machined in order to show a raw sophistication; it’s deceptively simplistic, until the onlooker begins to fathom the time and effort that went into creating this.The component mating perfectly—visually and functionally—the 2018 Vanguard Roadster exudes a level of craftsmanship that is not often matched. This is fully represented in the enclosed, underslung exhaust. Plexiglas viewports allow us to watch mechanical intricacies at work, from the clutch and timing belts to the suspension, the Vanguard Roadster mesmerizes.Moving to the right side of the bike, a large shaft drive demands attention, as it is a departure from the expected belt or chain. When we consider the typical V-twin custom build, this only adds to the individuality that the designers have seized upon. Its housing angular, leading directly into a dished alloy rear wheel. The single-sided swingarm is controlled by an Öhlins shock that is visible through yet another viewport.The Vanguard Roadster’s traditional, upright riding position, leaning towards the aggressive side. A long, carbon fiber tank leads directly into a svelte, textured seat. But from end-to-end, we can tell that every aspect of this bike has been agonized over by the builders. The striking array of headlights sits in a beautifully machined triple clamp assembly, a Plexiglas cover pulling it all together. Propping up the front end are 48mm Öhlins 48mm inverted forks in black, rather than the typical gold.Controls made to match—knurled, machine grips adorn clip-on style handlebars. With a seat height of 32 inches, one must fight the urge to become enthralled with the mechanical nature of the Vanguard before pressing the ignition button.Of course, we can also marvel at the technological advancements in the Vanguard Roadster. Above the tank sits a table-sized dashboard, relaying information to the rider, including a camera-sourced view behind the motorcycle.At a claimed weight of 550 pounds, braking will then become a thing of upmost importance. Vanguard is well aware of this, providing dual 320mm semi-floating rotors up front, and a 245mm disc in the rear, complete with Brembo calipers all around.It is brands such as the FXE Industries’ Vanguard that define ingenuity. Vanguard rests at the pinnacle, waiting for the rest of us, and mainstream manufacturers to catch up. Just as we are watching for the 2018 launch of the Vanguard Roadster, so, too, is the rest of the motorcycle world.A new line in the sand has formed, and in time, that one will be surpassed. Motorcycle brands such as Vanguard are critical progressive steps on a road. There, we all take our places, admiring and waving them forward.
2018 Vanguard Roadster Specs:
Type: S&S Cycle X-Wedge based 56-degree V-twin
Displacement: 117 ci (1917cc)
Maximum torque: 110 ft/lbs (target)
Transmission: 6-speed w/ shaft drive
Frame: Structural engine
Front suspension: Fully adjustable 48mm inverted Öhlins forks
Zero Electric ADV Bike + Al and Bridget from Throw Your Leg Over
byMotos and Friends by Ultimate Motorcycle
Hello everyone and welcome to Motos and Friends, a weekly Podcast brought to you by the editorial team at Ultimate Motorcycling. My name is Arthur Coldwells.
Electric mobility is everywhere nowadays. Whether it’s a car, a truck, an assisted bicycle, a scooter, or any number of new innovations, the electric revolution is certainly here. In this week’s first segment, Nic de Sena took a ride on Zero’s recently announced new Adventure bike—the Zero DSR-X. There’s been a lot of hype about this new arrival on the ADV scene, and of course the questions are many. Nic talks to me about whether Zero actually have a credible, alternative energy ADV bike—or if the machine is just simply an empty promise.
In our second segment, I chat with Al and Bridget from ‘Throw Your Leg Over’. They took time out to record this episode from somewhere in the middle of Romania, of all places.
These interesting Aussies have traveled—and painstakingly documented—the thousands of miles they’ve covered riding the best roads and sights through Australia, Tasmania, Europe, eastern Europe, and Scandinavia, among other places.