Introduction: Brough Superior S.S. 100
The time machine
There is hardly any other machine that has as many myths as the Brough Superior SS 100, the amazing superbike of the 1920s and 1930s. Now it’s coming again: with a radical look and unusual technology.
M.Stay as close as possible to the original: according to this motto, the English entrepreneur Mark Upham and the French developer Thierry Henriette are reviving a motorcycle brand that has not existed for 74 years, but whose name still has a fascinating sound to this day.
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Introduction: Brough Superior S.S. 100
The time machine
Brough Superior only existed for 20 years, by the way. Between 1919 and 1939 a total of just 3000 motorcycles were built in Nottingham. But what for which: the fastest, most sought-after and most exclusive of the time. Company founder George Brough put powerful, mostly revised engines from other manufacturers in top-class chassis. The cost didn’t matter to him; The main thing is that his motorcycles were superior to the competition – hence the suffix “Superior”.
The clientele had to be accordingly well-heeled, because Brough knew how to win them not only through quality, but also through clever marketing. His motorcycles held practically all the speed records of the time and also had the reputation of being only suitable for good drivers in view of their exorbitant driving performance. Its most famous clients included the playwright and Nobel Prize winner George Bernard Shaw and the legendary T. E. Lawrence, better known as “Lawrence of Arabia”. The mysterious spy, officer and writer owned seven Brough Superiors. On one of them he was killed in a fall through no fault of his own in 1935.
SS stood for Supersport, the number 100 for at least 100 miles
The star of the Brough production was the SS 100, which was introduced in 1924 and turned out to be a real superbike. SS stood for Supersport, the number 100 guaranteed that the motorcycle ran at least 100 miles, i.e. 160 km / h – a breakneck speed for the country roads of the time. This was made possible by various 1000 twins from JAP and Matchless, and a home-made replica of the Harley-Davidson jumper fork at the front ensured excellent handling, while at the rear optional suspension provided for comfort and outstanding road holding. The entire SS 100 production consisted of individual pieces, because Brough adapted every machine to the wishes of the customers. It cost at least £ 175, well more than an English worker earned a year. In 1939, however, the fun was over: From then on, the Brough plant had to manufacture engine parts for the Spitfire fighter plane, which Rolls-Royce built in the nearby Derby, in the service of the British war machine. After the Second World War, George Brough made several attempts to get motorcycle production up and running again, but failed because suitable engines were hardly available. His company remained a supplier, which he managed until his death in 1970.
Brough Superior p. P. 100: strong performance and top quality
Now, on its 90th birthday, the Brough Superior S. S. 100 is back, this time with points behind S. Company owner Mark Upham, who bought the brand in 2008, wants to score with strong performance and top quality – just like the historical model . High-quality materials such as titanium and magnesium, idiosyncratic technical solutions and a radical design make the machine an eye-catcher. It is driven by a 1000 cc twin cylinder. The 88-degree V-Twin comes from Akira Technologies in Bayonne on the French Atlantic, the design office that also built the engine for the Kawasaki ZX-10R, with which Tom Sykes became World Superbike Champion in 2013.
Thierry Henriette, owner of the well-known company Boxer Design in Toulouse, is responsible for the development of the entire motorcycle. The optics chosen by him and Mark Upham are based heavily on the pre-war Brough. The elongated, nickel-plated tank looks exactly like the original – including the black paintwork on the top, which should prevent annoying light reflections. The technology, on the other hand, is modern. The water-cooled four-valve engine acts as a load-bearing element, the cylinders are integrated in a crankcase with semi-dry sump lubrication. Another special feature: the engine output is adapted in the factory to the customer’s wishes. “Brough Superior is a prestige brand,” says owner Mark Upham proudly. “Just like George Brough in his day, we will cater to individual needs and tailor the motorcycle, so to speak.” Which means that the customer can either order the full 140 hp of the two-cylinder or leave it at the more comfortable 100 hp. Different mappings, with which different performance curves can be called up as with current motorcycles, are not provided.
Visually, the motorcycle is reminiscent of the classic Brough Superior
An eye-catcher is the unusual front suspension with double trailing arms, developed in 1979 by the French engineer Claude Fior; in the brough version it consists of magnesium and titanium. The filigree magnesium swing arm is mounted directly in the crankcase. A fully adjustable spring strut from Öhlins, specially developed for the S. S. 100, works on the fork and swing arm. For the braking system, Mark Upham and Thierry Henriette came up with something unusual again: No less than four floating brake discs from the French manufacturer Beringer made of an aluminum-ceramic composite are used at the front. The individual discs have an unusually small diameter of 230 millimeters. Is that enough to decelerate a 180 kg motorcycle with 140 hp appropriately?
“More than that,” assures developer Henriette. “Our solution delivers 20 percent more braking power than conventional 320 mm discs.” But that’s not all: “The smaller brake discs reduce the weight of the unsprung masses and, above all, the moment of inertia: It is three times less than the 320 mm disc. Discs. ”This, according to Henriette, has a very positive effect on the driving characteristics:“ The new Brough Superior is easier and more precise to steer than comparable motorcycles with large brake discs, the driver doesn’t tire so quickly. ”It is the first time Henriette goes on to explain that such a brake system is used in series production. “The motorcycle may look like the classic Brough Superior, but it is ultra-modern and has all the requirements to be lightning-fast.”
However, there is no current electronics, there is no ABS, traction control or different mappings. In the opinion of the developers, this is exactly what the target group of customers, which should consist of wealthy purists, want. However: The new Brough Superior will hardly be able to achieve such a reputation as its ancestor, because the original with its guaranteed 160 km / h top speed was far superior to the competition at the time. The maximum 140 PS of the current naked bike, however, cannot keep up with current PS crackers. Several dozen machines are said to have already been pre-ordered, although production won’t start until next year, at Boxer Design in Toulouse. Initially 200 pieces are planned.
At the same time as the motorcycle was presented, Mark Upham announced that Brough Superior would compete in the US races in the Moto2 Grand Prix next season and had developed a carbon fiber monocoque chassis for it in the US. And only in August did the Brough troop return from Utah, where they set six new speed records on the salt lake, this time with rebuilt 1930s models. The whole thing was staged perfectly – including the joyful air jump of everyone involved after a successful record hunt. In terms of marketing, too, the revived Brough Superior brand remains very close to the original.
Two-cylinder V-engine, 997 cm³, depending on customer requirements between 73 kW (100 PS) and 102 kW (140 PS) at 10,000 rpm, 125 Nm at 8,000 rpm, steel / titanium tubular frame, double wishbone suspension front, rear suspension strut, four-disc brake in front, disc brake in rear, Ø 230/230 mm, 18-inch aluminum wheels, dry weight 180 kg, price approx. 50,000 euros.
Not Hossack, but Fior
The unusual front suspension of the new Brough Superior is based on a design by the French engineer Claude Fior. BMW copied the principle and has been using it since 2004 under the name Duolever in the four and six-cylinder engines of the K series: The dip tube and standpipe of a conventional fork are omitted, the front wheel is rather in a stiff wheel carrier that is guided by two trailing arms. Suspension and damping are handled by a ver with the trailing arms-
bound central spring strut.
BMW attributes the development to the engineer Norman Hossack from Zimbabwe, who worked as a mechanic in the McLaren Formula 1 team and in 1979 came up with the idea of transferring the double trailing arm suspension of a racing car to a motorcycle by turning it 90 degrees. He applied for a patent for this “Hossack fork” in 1984, but let it expire so that BMW did not have to pay anything for the rights. In fact, however, the fame for the invention is not due to Hossack, but to Fior, who already started his “Fourche Fior” in endurance races a few years earlier than the latter; he achieved his best result in 1980 with a third place in the 1000 km race in Austria. In the later 1980s, its front suspension was also seen on some 500cc four-cylinder engines in the Grand Prix, for example, the Swiss Marco Gentile competed in the Japanese GP in 1988 on a Fior Honda. Fior later worked with Boxer Design. The Brough Superior’s front suspension is an evolution of his invention. Claude Fior died in 2001 in the crash of an airplane he was piloting in southern France.
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