Two Wheels

Aston Martin and Brough Superior go two-up on a range of motorcycles

In Aston's first-ever bike, modern understatement meets art deco

With several auto and motorcycle shows yet to come before the end of the year, the back of the Tokyo Motor Show doesn't mean the end of teasers. Aston Martin has released the merest line drawing of its next collaboration, a project with the resurrected English bike maker Brough Superior Motorcycles (pronounced "bruff"). The tie-up will debut Nov. 5 at the EICMA motorcycle show in Milan, Italy, and Aston Martin says it "will showcase the integration of beautiful design and exquisite engineering in strictly limited-edition motorcycles." This will be the first time the carmaker's wings will appear on a motorbike.

It'll be interesting to see how the partners merge what look like two divergent design philosophies. When Englishman Mark Upham brought Brough back to life in 2012, he asked Frenchman Thierry Henriette of Boxer Design to pen a new bike visually tied to the original Broughs from the 1920s. The SS100, re-creating Brough's most popular model, is compelling but not pretty nor sleek, hung throughout with weighty, overtly constructed metallic forms. The Anniversary and Pendine Sand Racer models are lighter, but just as art deco and cyberpunkish in ways that Aston Martin design is not. On the other hand, Brough was — and is — also known for using excellent materials, build quality and performance, and they aren't inexpensive. Plenty of overlap with the Gaydon car company there. Somehow out of all that will come, we are told, "the perfect balance between performance and design."

Mercedes-AMG partnered with Ducati for a few years in the MotoGP racing series and on some AMG-themed bikes, then traded for a partnership with MV Agusta on the AMG-themed Solar Beam. However, those were basically paint jobs on bikes Ducati was already making. It sounds like Brough and Aston Martin intend a more involved venture — and "motorcycles," plural — between carmaker and bike builder than we've seen recently. We'll have more answers in two weeks.

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