Horex VR6 – model year 2017

Horex VR6 – model year 2017

The second attempt

Horex, the resurrected cult brand, has changed hands and is now making the second attempt with a VR6 motorcycle.

Wuuuusch, he hisses past, he Horex VR6 test vehicle with the very special sound. The place of the action: the small test site of the Continental subsidiary in Frankfurt. Banked curve, slight left, hairpin, fast right and the banked curve again. A couple of tents in the infield, not to be overlooked is the black and red 3C carbon racing truck from the IDM era, when Ducati and Xavier Fores were champions in 2014 and runner-up in 2015.

Horex VR6 – model year 2017

The second attempt

Series production is scheduled to begin in August

The old brand name Horex and the young but very successful 3C Carbon Group – how is that connected? So: After the revival of the brand as a motorcycle manufacturer with the characteristic engine of the Horex VR6 failed after only four years under Clemens Neese, the 3C Carbon Group from Landsberg am Lech took over the helm on January 29, 2015. There, Karsten Jerschke, with around 500 employees, produces high-tech components made of carbon fiber for the automotive industry, mechanical engineering, medical technology and aviation.

And now also the new Horex VR6, although not much is left of Neese’s original design apart from the engine configuration, frame and swing arm and the basic positioning as a strong roadster. Series production in Landsberg is due to begin in August with the special series Silver Edition (used here as a photo model) and Black Edition, each limited to 33 pieces. Both are 170 hp and, according to Jerschke, have long been sold out despite prices of 64,500 euros and 68,500 euros respectively.

What’s new about the new Horex?

So you have to do in Bavarian. At the start of production in August, a Horex VR6 should be produced every two days, two weeks later it should be one motorcycle per day. From the beginning of October, not only state-of-the-art carbon fiber parts, but also two high-end bikes from the Classic (38,500 euros) and Cafe Racer (EUR 38,500) lines will be available on the 25,000 m² area, a former barracks 42,500 euros) roll off the assembly line with 163 hp.

But what can customers expect? What’s new about the new Horex VR6? Almost everything, actually, because 3C boss Jerschke has also brought other well-known suppliers on board alongside Continental. Bosch is responsible for the engine electronics, Ohlins supplies top material with fork and TTX 36 GP shock absorber, and Jerschke’s good contacts in the automotive industry (supplier to Mercedes) should also have ensured that the specialists of a "well-known development and racing company "switched to have taken care of optimizing the VR6 drive. And we will continue to take care, because everything is not yet dry. Conti is at work, and Jerschke expects different mapping variants for the engine control from Bosch at the beginning of August. A very important step, because the response behavior was the main point of criticism of the "old" VR6 engine. It is not yet possible to make a reliable statement about whether everything has got better in this regard.

Every ride on the Horex VR6 is an experience

On the other hand, the fact that every ride on the Horex VR6 is an experience. Regardless of the configuration, this motorcycle is a real men’s motorcycle. Although lightweight construction freak Jerschke and his crew slimmed down around 30 kilograms compared to its predecessor, mainly through the concentrated use of carbon fiber, the VR6 also remains with 221 kilograms dry weight (a good 240 kilograms with a full tank), a wheelbase of over 1500 millimeters and 780 millimeters Seat height, of course, a stately appearance. And – especially in the exclusive Silver Edition version – also a luxurious one. Here, not only is everything that shines metallic, actually made of metal, but mostly also milled from solid.

Even an Ohlins fork with a special permit from the Swedes can shine silver instead of gold, and whoever manages to count all the cast, milled and engraved Horex logos on the SE would have confidently answered "Wetten, dass ..?" can register. The only question is: is that enough? Is an old name, an exotic engine concept, a roaring, powerful six-cylinder with exclusive supplier parts and the finest materials, as well as a high degree of customization, enough to survive on the market? Time will tell. At the latest when you have to sell the normal series vehicles Horex VR6 Classic and Cafe Racer for around 40,000 euros instead of limited special series and artificial shortages. And when another model line is due – at the third attempt.

Development of the new Horex


Brake test with a test vehicle: short distance versus stoppy tendency.

Which tires, which setup, which ergonomics? Developing a new motorcycle is an equation with many unknowns – and many solutions. Horex is working on it.

There is one thing that you certainly cannot blame Horex boss Jerschke for: that he messes up instead of puffing up. That was already the case with his IDM engagement and now also applies to the VR6 development. Jerschke relies on the help of specialists. Take the chassis, for example: the finest components such as Ohlins spring elements and Brembo’s best brake calipers don’t help if the set-up isn’t right. So the specialists from Conti, Bosch, but also ex-IDM racer Martin Bauer have to work to adapt the assistance systems, engine mapping and chassis to the high demands.

For MOTORRAD, the state of affairs was as follows: a test vehicle (see picture) with a taut, but relaxed and neutral chassis design and higher handlebars on the Pirelli Rosso III, the Silver Edition in the photos with shorter risers, softer springs and a fundamentally different set-up Metzeler Sportec M7 RR. Horex is thinking about offering two different variants.

Interview with Karsten Jerschke (Horex)


The Horex boss Karsten Jerschke (46) about the extensive modifications to the engine and chassis of the VR6, the own demands, the Werner factor and the radiance of the brand name Horex, which also digested the flop at the first attempt.

MOTORCYCLE: Now let’s be honest: Did you imagine the takeover of the Horex brand to be so difficult? And what did you have to change??

Karsten Jerschke: To be quite honest: it was not foreseeable on this scale. That surprised us in detail, what still needs to be done. However, it must also be said that our standards were high from the start. We wanted to offer an adult product with no teething problems. We were aware that there was a lot of work to be done.

MOTORCYCLE: How did that look in detail? What’s new – and who did what?

Karsten Jerschke: Basically everything is new, the only parts being adopted are the frame – but now with a new steering head angle – and the only slightly modified swing arm. The VR6 engine, for example, has been completely redesigned in all essential components; there is almost no common part anymore.

MOTORCYCLE: What does that mean? New camshafts, valves, pistons …?

Karsten Jerschke: New pistons, new camshafts, many individual components that have been changed or completely redesigned. For example the timing chain drive, which was one of the problem areas of the previous engine. The housings are also new, the cylinder head has been heavily redesigned, and all central components of the engine have been redesigned.

MOTORCYCLE: Where did the professionals come from who did this??

Karsten Jerschke: There was and still is a collaboration between specialists who we have been tied to us for many years through racing, as well as external engine specialists. The main work on the engine has been done by one of the most famous European racing companies in the market. The company will then be presented on August 27 at the presentation of the new models in the Horex flagship store in Bad Homburg.

MOTORCYCLE: Despite all the efforts: Are you concerned that this project suffered from the first false start??

Karsten Jerschke: We don’t actually see that. In our perception, the radiance of the brand name Horex is unbroken. We also experienced this at our trade fair appearances. Of course, it is mostly the older ones who can fully classify Horex. But for the “younger” people there is the “Werner factor”, which shouldn’t be underestimated.

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