Driving report Wakan V2

Driving report Wakan V2

Driving report Wakan V2

Shelby’s dream

The idea isn’t entirely new, but it’s always up to date: a mighty American big block in the filigree roadster chassis. Carroll Shelby once fulfilled this automotive dream with the legendary Cobra. Joël Domergue dreams him on two wheels.

That this story has a French background is not immediately apparent.

The second one doesn’t really help either. On the contrary: powerful V2 bumper, which couldn’t be more American, in the tightly cut roadster chassis of the best English tradition and asceticism. And on top of that, “Wakan” is a name that means “holy” in the Sioux language. Anyone who immediately guesses the Provence in the south of France with this mixed situation must have clairvoyant powers.

And yet: Joël Domergue, the ingenious spirit behind the Wakan, is a Frenchman of the purest quality. And a real doer. At least when it comes to implementing his ideas (see box on page 48). “The plan was a two-wheeled equivalent of what Carroll Shelby had correctly identified as the ideal formula. Namely an unexcited, powerful American engine in an easy-to-handle, European chassis, “is how the 50-year-old describes his thrust. He did not deviate a millimeter from this goal. There is no doubt about that from the first contact with the result of his efforts. Like the towers of a fortress, the mighty, bumper-reinforced cylinders protrude at a 45-degree angle from the crankcase of the S.&S-Motors, form the central organ and nervous system at the same time and thus dominate the reduced periphery like no other motorcycle. Neither massive frame bridges nor beams interfere with the unobstructed view of the air-cooled twin, because a huge central round tube, which even Fritz W. Egli would be proud of, connects the swing arm bearing and steering head. At 68 degrees, the latter is even steeper than the courageous Eric Buell ever intended for his creations, and the wheelbase, at 1337 millimeters, is only slightly higher than that of an XB12S ?? the shortest Buell, mind you.
With the displacement it is a little different. 1647 cubic centimeters Japanese designers install something like this in cruisers with tanker-like dimensions or in metal mountains like a Yamaha MT-01. But not in a jumping field that weighs in at just 177 kilograms when dry and, given a modest 13-liter tank under the seat, easily undercuts the record values ​​of current 600-cc super sports cars.

It doesn’t take a particularly vivid imagination to guess that the rider is the W.akan expects an extraordinary experience. The powerful 155 Newton meters of torque that form the tip of an extensive plateau is always enough to make the dream of propulsion shaken from the wrist come true. In a way that couldn’t be more pleasant: without screeching revs, without tingling vibrations. Very determined, with a deep thump, almost no increase in speed ?? and unexpectedly cultured.

At least when you consider that a V2 square cone (101.6 x 101.6 millimeters) with pistons the size of a party barrel and without a balance shaft trembles. It is currently still fed by a 41 series Keihin flat slide carburetor, which is to give way to an injection system in the course of series production. But also the carburetor, in combination with the unusual, electronically controlled intake flaps on top of the dummy fuel tank, reliably doses the mixture at all times and ensures a spontaneous, yet appropriately relaxed throttle response. This goes well with the deep suction rattle, which, in conjunction with the special two-in-one-in-two exhaust system, creates a very unique, unmistakable Wakan pitch.

In view of the casually slithering power, despite the relatively long overall gear ratio, even in the upper three of five gears, a short twitch is always enough to fire the petite bike with the big heart relentlessly forward, while in the lower two gears a power wheelie is only extremely powerful Avoid discipline. The
is in fact a completely different type of propulsion than that offered by a Buell XB12S, for example. And it undoubtedly hits what Shelby envisioned at the time.

Regarding the chassis quality, this is unfortunately not quite the case. Neither on the white pre-series motorcycle nor on another test vehicle in red. Both have in common: too little feeling for the front wheel, no confidence when turning and when leaning. And that although they roll on the highly acclaimed Michelin Pilot Power. Either the tire does not harmonize optimally with such a delicate, handy and light motorcycle. Or Domergue went too far in search of Shelby’s ideal and shot with his radical approach? a lot of engine, very little motorcycle ?? over the target. In any case, it is not due to the spring elements. There is really nothing to be criticized for, both the adjustable Ceriani fork and the directly hinged, fully adjustable Sachs shock absorber.

The brake system with AJP six-piston caliper in the front wheel does, however. Ultimate handling or unsprung masses: with a single 340-millimeter disc, Domergue has definitely gone a step too far with its purism. High hand strength, modest effect, poor dosability ?? if you seriously want to anchor, you should not do without the use of the rear brake, although this is acknowledged with violent stamping with a large-volume two-cylinder and the lack of an anti-hopping clutch. In terms of brakes, the Wakan is not convincing, so Domergue definitely has to upgrade. In the driven configuration, the driver can only enjoy the dynamism of explosive acceleration when exiting a curve. Surrender to a world in which motor size matters. In which the exposed flaps in the intake tract are reminiscent of the intake throats of powerful big block hotrods. This one, large and serene part of Shelby’s dream is already becoming a reality in the Wakan for around 28,000 euros. The other, razor-sharp and curvaceous part still needs some fine work.

Joel Domergue

It is not the rule that someone drives a project like the Wakan for years? and not say a word about it. Joël Domergue is
someone like that. In 1992, the now 50-year-old engineer and trial expert founded the trial motorcycle manufacturer Scorpa and led it to victory at the Scottish Six Days and fourth place in the World Championship, first with Rotax and later with Yamaha engines under Graham Jarvis. And also to commercial success. The trial manufacturer sold 6,000 motorcycles in ten years. Already at that time
The idea for a motorcycle with a very special design matured.
In 2003 the time had come. Domergue sold Scorpa and began making his version of Carroll Shelby’s dream
to put into practice with meticulousness. Three years later the
Series production of the Wakan begins in Aniane (France).

Wakan V2 (FB)

It is not the rule for someone to drive a project like the Wakan for years? and not say a word about it. Joël Domergue is
someone like that. In 1992, the now 50-year-old engineer and trial expert founded the trial motorcycle manufacturer Scorpa and led it to victory at the Scottish Six Days and fourth place in the World Championship, first with Rotax and later with Yamaha engines under Graham Jarvis. And also to commercial success. The trial manufacturer sold 6,000 motorcycles in ten years. Already at that time
The idea for a motorcycle with a very special design matured.
In 2003 the time had come. Domergue sold Scorpa and began making his version of Carroll Shelby’s dream
to put into practice with meticulousness. Three years later the
Series production of the Wakan begins in Aniane (France).

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