Innovations: Model presentation Bienville Legacy V4

Model presentation: Bienville Legacy V4

Hurricane’s Daughter

Without Hurricane Katrina, the US manufacturer Confederate would not have moved back to Alabama, and J. T. Nesbitt would never have founded Bienville Studios in battered New Orleans. But as it was, he designed a superlative two-wheeled work of art in the southern metropolis: the Bienville Legacy V4.

You could be angry and say: The hurricane blew them together. In fact, the Bienville Legacy V4 doesn’t look like it was made from one piece. Purpose: that it works is a fact. Even sustainable. It is probably precisely this fragmentary nature that makes the Legacy so spectacular. Do we not know that, one or the other will ask. And rightly so VS.onfederate Wraith and Hellcat, who presented a similarly eccentric collection of parts around their mighty V2. This is of course not a miracle, after all, it was J. T. Nesbitt who designed the two Confederate models.

Model presentation: Bienville Legacy V4

Hurricane’s Daughter

A typical American superbike

And Nesbitt did, currently created three models of the Bienville Legacy V4. With one of them, owner Jacoby wants to break several records in the races on the Bonneville Salt Flats this August. A too brave announcement? We will see, because as with the complete design of the Bienville Legacy, Nesbitt made no compromises with the engine and asked Motus directly about their V4 unit. With a displacement of 1650 cm³, an output of 183 hp at a moderate 7800 revolutions and a maximum torque of 171 Nm, this American V4 dream (see also the Motus MST driving report on pages 16 to 19) seemed perfectly suitable for his version of a special motorcycle. And Motus delivered. “It has always been my wish to build a typical American superbike. In the spirit of the models that shaped the history of motorcycles from the USA decades ago, ”adds Nesbitt. “I just didn’t want to do without the latest technology and the most modern materials. So only the Motus-V4 cam into question. ”The reference to the most modern technology can be seen from an American perspective. Because with its underlying camshaft and only eight valves for the four cylinders, the engine, which Motus itself dubbed Baby Block, is more like a halved US V8 unit than current motorcycle engines. Of the three previous models, only two have the standard Motus naturally aspirated engine. The third variant was flanged onto a Rotrex compressor driven directly by a chain. This provides almost 0.7 bar of boost pressure and helps the power of the 90-degree V4 properly on the jumps. 304 hp are then on the data sheet. That should be enough for some new records in Bonneville.

Extremely unusual suspension and damping concept

The engine is clearly the focus of the Bienville Legacy’s design concept. But it is flanked by a no less interesting frame including an extremely unusual suspension and damping concept. The rudimentary cane made of chrome-molybdenum steel takes up the engine as a load-bearing component and forms the basis for the steering head and the aluminum framework for the seat and hump. Nothing more can be seen of him.

But what really catches the eye is the arched, red-colored element above the tank. This is the leaf spring made from a carbon composite material. This is firmly screwed to the main frame in the middle, so the two halves spring completely independently of each other. The two shock absorbers, adjustable in compression and rebound, as well as tie rods for transmitting the spring forces are attached to the ends.

At the rear, the pull rod is linked to the swing arm via a lever. If the machine springs in, the lever pulls the leaf spring down. The damper is compressed, it is mounted at its lower end directly on the frame.

The concept looks similar at the front, where the front wheel is guided over a large parallelogram fork. Nesbitt got inspiration for their layout from New Zealander John Britten. The difficulty here was to integrate the leaf spring into this construction. The solution from Nesbitt is as simple as it is obvious: in order to achieve a connection between the parallelogram fork and the spring running above the tank, he extended – in simple terms – the lower parallelogram rocker as a pivot lever to under the steering head tube. A tension strut now leads through this directly to the front end of the carbon leaf spring.

This means: If the front wheel moves upwards, it pulls the front end of the leaf spring downwards via the strut. Of course, a separate damper also controls the suspension movement here. The steering geometry can also be varied at the front using an eccentric, while the vehicle height can be varied at the rear using an eccentric on the swing arm bearing. 

It could hardly be better quality

And the advantage? “One suspension system for both wheels, fewer components for less weight at the same time,” explains Nesbitt. The subject of weight is of great importance to him anyway, after all, the fork and swing arm are also made entirely of carbon. It couldn’t be more high-quality, especially since Nesbitt also used established, radially screwed-on four-piston brake calipers from ISR for the brakes. Another example of the exclusivity of the Bienville Legacy V4 are the ultra-light carbon wheels. Here, as with all of the carbon components installed, Nesbitt relied on the expertise of the South Africans at BST. Again, Nesbitt went its own way with the further equipment. These include the two tanks, which hold a total of 15 liters of fuel, or the hand-made wooden handles. And not to forget the lively joint housing of the halogen lamp and information display, which is attached to the handlebar mount with a single, filigree holder.

With the Bienville Legacy V4, J. T. Nesbitt impressively demonstrates how he imagines his own personal Confederate: even more exclusive, simply unique, peppered with even more unusual technical solutions. And the whole thing with twice as many cylinders …

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