The announcement earlier this week that the Horex brand has been resurrected in Germany, and has already designed a new model, carries with it some significance beyond that normally associated with the launch of any new marque.
This is a premium product with high end engineering, and lots of money behind it. Although surely in the works for several years (beginning prior to the current economic woes impacting the motorcycle industry), there is an air of confidence about this company and its first bike, a six-cylinder, supercharged machine with top drawer components expected to be priced north of $25,000 when it is launched in the Fall of 2011.
By all appearances, Horex is not only well funded, but in place with powerful investors and sponsors prepared to launch production on schedule. Even in better economic times, premium brands have frequently attempted to launch with great fanfare . . . only to slip away into oblivion before any real product rolls off the assembly line.
Horex at least seems to be taking a page from John Bloor’s book at Hinkley and will use the VR6 (yes, similar to Volkswagen’s engine layout) to power a number of different models in addition to the first, standard version pictured.
The VR6 is also “modular” such that two cylinders could be lopped off to create an 800cc VR4 (similar to another Hinkley trick when it made fours alongside its triples).
The VR cylinder arrangement is new to the motorcycle industry, but it certainly makes a lot of sense. The very narrow angle can keep vibration levels low (close to that of a straight six) yet the engine is nearly as compact as an inline four. According to Horex, computer simulations indicate the 1200cc engine, with its compact supercharger, can easily make 175 to 200 horsepower at safe piston speeds. Not surprising, really.
While the engine is the biggest curiosity, the single-sided swingarm coupled with belt drive is also of interest. The front fork is a massive 50mm unit.
Horex should achieve its goal of seamless, smooth, massive power and torque at virtually all rpm levels. The engine layout and displacement, coupled with the supercharger, makes this achievable, and it should make for an interesting and enjoyable rider experience.
The design of the initial prototype is either boring or sophisticated, depending on your perspective. Peter Naumann, a professor of design at the University of Munich, is responsible. He states that, although the spirit of older Horex designs is in the new bike, it is intended to show a modern direction, as well. Horex says it reflects “a confident, modern style with clean lines, quality materials and carefully crafted brand details.”
Horex will be at Intermot in Cologne this October to display the prototype. It is planned for sale in Germany, Austria and Switzerland late next year before expansion to other markets. The world economy might dictate otherwise, but we certainly hope this interesting concept springs to life on schedule so that we can ride one.