That’s right, Caterham is putting two wheels on the roads for the first time! The Caterham Bikes division has been launched by Caterham Group at the International Motorcycle Exhibition in Milan, following the recent launch of the Caterham Moto2 race team at the Malaysian MotoGP.
Three prototype products have been unveiled for launch throughout 2014, with preliminary specs available on the Caterham Bikes website. The first to go into production will be the Brutus 750 (above). Dubbed “the SUV of motorcycles”, the dual-terrain bike is powered by a 750 cc twin-cam single-cylinder engine that’s mated to a CVT, and the company claims it can even be converted into a snowmobile in under four hours.
Next up, the Classic E-Bike (below). This one’s a bit of an anachronism: it features retro styling that harks “back to the golden age of British motorcycling”, but is totally electric, with a 40-80 km range. A 250-watt brushless centre motor with torque sensor is fed by a 36-volt lithium battery, with the option to add a second battery pack. Transmission is handled by a three-speed Shimano Nexus gearbox.
Finally, the Carbon E-Bike takes inspiration from Formula One tech, and is accordingly styled. The carbon-aluminium frame can be had in three sizes, and there are disc brakes all round. The electric powertrain is similar to the Classic E-Bike’s, except the Shimano has eight gears here. A limited edition version with exclusive F1 input and materials is currently being explored.
Caterham Bikes joins Caterham Cars, Caterham F1 Team, Caterham Racing (GP2), Caterham Technology & Innovation, Caterham Composites and the latest arm, Caterham Moto Racing Team, in the rapidly-growing Caterham Group, which Graham Macdonald is now CEO of, having been promoted from his role as Caterham Cars CEO.
The two-wheeled division will start with the European, North and South American markets, but Asia will be its key growth market. Al-Ishsal Ishak will lead Caterham Bikes as CEO, and on the management team are chief designer Alessandro Tartarini, chief engineer Zeno Panarari, plus businessman and ex-MotoGP racer Andreas Leuthe, who will be responsible for distribution and sales.
“Expanding our interests into the two-wheeled market is another natural progression for us and is a good opportunity to showcase the breadth of knowledge, experience and creativity we have at our disposal across the Group, now in the two-wheeled world in addition to all of our other automotive, technology and innovation interests,” said Caterham co-chairman Tony Fernandes.
Having brought out an entry-level Seven and a range-topping Seven, the Malaysian-owned British company recently unveiled the AeroSeven Concept at the Singapore GP. The AeroSeven previews a two-seater performance road car that’s set to go on sale next year. It has also been revealed that Caterham is planning a Renault-based SUV and subcompact car, and the Alpine-Caterham sports car has been spotted track-testing by our Euro spies.
“We are realistic and honest enough to know that we’re not in the business of rivalling the establishment; we’re here to offer an alternative that befits the spirit of Caterham,” said Ishsal, who was previously ancillary income group head at AirAsia.
“Just as the Caterham Seven is a motoring icon because of its unique design and engineering credibility, Caterham Bikes’ products will be aimed at a niche audience seeking exceptional quality, bespoke design flare and bikes easy enough for anyone to ride.”