Table of contents
Company portrait boxer
Company portrait boxer
From a tuning company to an independent design forge, the Boxer company has undergone an astonishing development in the last twenty years.
Waldemar Schwarz, Jorn Thomas
Boxer, the name evokes associations with martial arts. Or to the engine configuration of the BMW two-cylinder. The name creation of the new design and motorcycle company in Toulouse in the south of France goes to the classy Berlinetta boxer from Ferrari back. The super sports car was so impressed by the former motorcycle dealer Thierry Henriette after a test drive that his two-wheeler shop operated under this logo as early as the 1980s.
The Frenchman’s first attempts to give Japanese two-wheelers off the rack not only an individual outfit, but also a stiffer chassis, also fell at this time. In 1984 he developed the together with the French suspension specialist Claude Fior Vecteur based on the Kawasaki GPZ 750. It not only has a double loop frame made of aluminum profiles and thus precedes the Suzuki GSX-R 750, the first mass-produced motorcycle with this technology. On top of that, the steering head angle and position of the swing arm mounting can be adapted to different needs. The entire look, including the suspension and wheels, is also new. After all, 40 Vecteur find their way to the customer. In 1985, 20 sensors were created based on the same model, using the components of the Honda VFR 750 S..
For his next project based on the Kawasaki GPZ 900 R ?? with the permission of the Italian sports car manufacturer, it bears the exclusive name Lamborghini – Henriette’s design ambitions come even more to the fore. In addition to its own framework concept known from its predecessors, a complete paneling with elements of Italian sports car design gives the Lamborghini a very individual touch.
But production motorcycles suitable for everyday use restrict the creativity of the resourceful Frenchman too much. Consequence: The concept study of the Squalo with a Suzuki VS 1400 engine, which introduces Thierriy H.’s experimentation phase with his turn to sculpture on two wheels. As a further novelty, he is now repeatedly bringing designers on board for support, in this case Alain Carre.
Design as an end in itself also determines the successor model BA 747 with Kawasaki four-cylinder. With a Fior parallelogram fork and an exhaust pipe that leads through the swing arm, Therry Henriette once again draws attention to herself with purposeless technical solutions and uses the Ulysses 1991 after. Its frame made of welded aluminum sheets also functions as a tank, a solution that Kawasaki only realized ten years later with the ZX-12R.
With the gladiator and the Spartacus Henriette turns around again. He puts objects in the foreground that are suitable for everyday use, but stand out from their staid series counterparts due to their strong visual appearance.
He made the big hit with his next project based on the Aprilia Pegaso. He arranges a scrambler around the Rotax single, which is professionally styled on the one hand and brilliantly crafted on the other. Not only does it arouse the interest of the motorcycling public, it also arouses the curiosity of the motorcycle industry. Jacques Gardette, of the French company Voxan The compatriot became aware of the situation and gave him the task of designing a motorcycle based on a similar model with the in-house V2. The result is convincing and leads to series production of the Voxan Scrambler.
But there is no real street athlete in the Voxan program. Reason enough for Thierry Henriette to fulfill a dream with the help of the renowned designer Glynn Kerr ?? a European motorcycle. In September 1999 the VB 1 caused a sensation at the international Voxan stand and strengthened Thierry’s vision of producing a purely European sports motorcycle in-house.
In March 2001, the dream of owning a design studio and producing two-wheeled vehicles took on concrete forms made of glass and concrete. From the proceeds of his two motorcycle shops sold, which sell no less than 2,000 motorcycles every year, a building with a floor area of 1,500 m² is being built in an industrial area of Toulouse, which contains both a design studio and the production facilities for the VB 1. A total of eight Boxer Motors Company employees can build up to 80 motorcycles per month at five assembly stations. But shortly after the start of series production? Voxan has just delivered the first 30 engines ?? production comes to a standstill: Voxan is fighting for survival and has temporarily stopped production. Continued employment therefore depends on the continued existence of the Voxan brand. Fortunately, Thierry Henriette also has a second mainstay, the five specialists Boxer Design ?? the fulfillment of his dearest wish. And its activities can be admired at the 2001 autumn trade fairs, for example. He is making the Blue Marlin for Aprilia, and other objects for the European two-wheeler industry are already in the works. The activities are not limited to two-wheelers. Shark helmets also take on concrete form in the design department, from the first draft on paper through three-dimensional models on the PC to the model.
On its own account, Boxer presented the new Roadster BB 2 at the Paris Salon 2001, which still uses Voxan-V2, but is now in its own aluminum tubular frame. Now that the chances of survival for Voxan are better again after the latest developments, the future looks much brighter for boxers too. But even if the southern French can no longer produce their own small series, motorcyclists will be able to enjoy Thierry Henriette’s signature on future models from European manufacturers. Or one-of-a-kind items that he definitely still wants to build. A successor to the Egli-Vincent, for example. Thierry Henriette doesn’t stop dreaming.
Red, white, vau
Boxer shows his heart for fans of the Grande Nation and creates a thoroughly French Voxan-based superbike.
The boxer team from Toulouse has attracted attention over the past two decades with total conversions of Japanese mass-produced bikes through to futuristic designer pieces. Now boss Thierry Henriette has fulfilled his dream of the red-white-blue speedster. The basis is not only the 72-degree V2 from Voxan, which is developing 100 hp, which is legally limited in France, but also the frame from Issoire. That skeleton in which two voluminous tubes, but in the case of the VB 1 made of stainless steel, connect the steering head and the swing arm bearing made of cast aluminum. The White Power central spring strut underneath the engine and the 41 mm Paioli fork are also typical of Voxan. The Briton Glynn Kerr, whose handwriting also includes the Voxan, contributed to the design of VB 1 Scrambler wearing. Boxer tailored a classy carbon fiber dress for the Francophile athlete, which in connection with the forward-facing seating position with low handlebar stubs is strongly reminiscent of the Ducati 996. Which also applies to the good steering precision and directional stability. The dry 180 kilograms heavy VB 1 demands emphatic commands as soon as jagged course changes are required, which makes fast change turns a bit exhausting. Correspondingly, the tight chassis set-up always conveys intimate contact with the road. It quickly becomes clear that the throttled 996 cm³ V2 is not demanding enough of the VB 1 chassis. The injection-supplied twin pushes off with a cautious grumbling, in order to tire a bit from 6500 rpm – beyond the 8000-tour mark at the latest, the air is finally out. The unthrottled 125 hp variant promises more fire, especially since Boxer missed the VB 1 with an incredibly long gear ratio. The frame pipes that serve as the oil tank and the artfully laid pipes of the exhaust system unabashedly heat up not only the right thigh, but also the very best of the pilot. On the other hand, stylish details such as the gleaming metal-embedded cockpit with a large rev counter or the four-eye face with projection headlights are conciliatory. They pull the viewer under their spell and maybe even the required 22,500 euros out of his pocket. This is how much VB 1 is supposed to cost, if production should actually get going again. Not at all absurd, the fresh French woman offers solidity even behind the scenes. For example with the high-quality on-board tools that come from the German manufacturer Heyco. The French aren’t that terribly chauvinistic after all.
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