Jet Set Without Leaving The Ground

Published 11 years ago
Jet Set Without Leaving  The Ground

Among motorcycle brands, none are more luxurious, or expensive, than the limited-production bikes made by ECOSSE Moto Works. It was founded in 2001 by mechanical engineer, Donald Atchison, and the company has since made a name for itself as the maker of extreme, unique and desirable motorbikes. The company’s tag line sums up its position nicely: “Exquisitely engineered for a fortune few.”

The first bike to roll off ECOSSE’s production line was the Heretic; named after Atchison’s desire to go against the grain in terms of traditional bike manufacture and design. Named by FORBES as Bike of the Year in 2006, the Heretic boasts the finest materials. All ECOSSE bikes make use of aluminum and carbon fiber parts, with attention to detail, the likes of which were unheard of on a two-wheeled vehicle. Every possible part is handcrafted and machined at its Denver headquarters. The power plants (available in engine capacities ranging from 1,640cc to 1,966cc) come in the form of hand-built American V-Twins, producing up to 130hp at the rear wheel. This, combined with a light curb weight, enables the Heretic to hit 60mph in 2.8 seconds. Bringing this bike to a halt are six massive pistons which arguably have more stopping power than a Moto GP bike. The Heretic has three riding modes: dragster, cruiser, and road racer, and 12 different foot control positions make it suitable for any size rider. Each bike is engraved with its own unique production number as only 100 have ever been made, and the price? Anywhere between $69,000 and $79,800 (excluding import duties and so forth).

A steal for only $120,000 is the MV-Augusta F4CC. Only 100 of these fighter-jet inspired superbikes have been made, and they sport accoutrements one would expect to find on a bike at this price point: Brembo brakes, titanium exhaust, mechanical slipper clutch, carbon fiber bodywork, a saddle made of Alacantara, a weight of just 187kg and power tipping the 200hp mark. The F4CC was designed as a tribute to company founder Claudio Castiglioni, and was intended to be the finest bike ever made. The engine has titanium valves and the engine is mated to a magnesium gearbox. Each bike comes with a number-matched Girard-Perregaux watch—just to sweeten the deal.

A bike with an equally crazy price tag is the MTT Turbine Superbike. It’s the second motorbike ever to be powered by a turbine engine: a Rolls-Royce Allison model that produces 320hp. The Guinness Book of Records has named it the most powerful production motorbike—and it’s yours for $150,000. You’ll need a bit of spare cash handy; the MTT runs on jet fuel (but it can deign to run on diesel if necessary). Giving the bike a jet fighter feel are the optional extras: radar detection with laser scrambling, a rear-mounted camera and optional passenger seat. Oh, and the MTT isn’t governed. It can be expected to reach a mind-altering 370km/h.

The ECOSSE Titanium Series is a sub-genre of the Heretic range. As the name implies, it has a chassis and exhaust system made exclusively from this lightweight yet intensely strong material. The pinnacle of the Titanium Series is the FE Ti XX which has a 2.4-liter aluminum engine that produces a scintillating 225hp. The Titanium’s gas tank is made of carbon fiber, Kevlar and fiberglass, which help to dissipate energy in the event of a crash, and thus prevent a costly rupture. Not to be outdone by MV-Augusta, when a customer buys an ECOSSE Titanium Series bike, they receive a BRM timepiece from the French boutique watchmaker. The watch echoes the unique design elements of the owner’s bike and each wristwatch bears the bike’s serial number. And the cost of this motorbike plus watch combo? A gargantuan $300,000! A client from China ordered one of these machines without fluids with the intention of displaying it in his home as a work of art.

When it comes to innovation and class-leading technology, all of the vehicles mentioned here pale in comparison with ECOSSE’s mighty ES1—arguably the world’s lightest, fastest and best handling superbike (albeit still in production). The ES1 started life in a virtual world and only 10 of these 1,000cc vehicles will ever be manufactured. The bike weighs an astonishingly meager 120kg and develops 200hp. So how did they skimp so much weight? By ditching the frame, of course. Instead, the ES1 has a double swing arm attached directly to the engine. In addition, the ES1 has 50% less drag than any current superbike. This has been achieved by lowering and ‘narrowing’ the rider. In other words, the foot pegs are placed close together. Power is delivered to the rear tire via a centrally mounted countershaft that carries the chain. Rather than the usual offset method, this allows the riders feet to be positioned more narrowly. The ECOSSE ES1 is expected to command the most expensive price tag of all production motorbikes: $350,000.

The Dodge Tomahawk was the world’s most expensive non-street legal concept ‘bike’ back in 2003. Powered by a liquid-cooled 8,277cc V10 engine—sourced from a Dodge Viper—the power plant kicks out a whopping 500bhp. This behemoth weighs in at 680kg and has two front wheels and two rear wheels which move independently. Back when the Tomahawk first appeared and was offered up for sale, the asking price was $555,000. And if you thought this would make it unsellable, think again. Nine units were actually purchased. Chrysler is rumored to be contemplating going into mass production with these bikes for a far less jarring $250,000 (R1.98 million). We’ll take two, then.