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Vanguard Motorcycles: New American Brand Debuts This Weekend in New York

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This is the Vanguard Roadster, the first of three bikes currently planned by Vanguard Motorcycles, which is a new manufacturer based out of New York. Vanguard was founded by two individuals previously associated with Confederate Motorcycles, including Confederate’s chief designer for six years, Edward Jacobs. The other founder is “serial entrepreneur” Francois-Xavier Terny.

Confederate has been known for its bold, outside-the-box designs, and the Vanguard Roadster certainly merits similar adjectives. A 1917 cc (117 cubic inch) S&S twin powers the new Roadster, and also serves as a frame element supporting other chassis members.

Whether the overall design excites or repulses you, many of the bike’s elements exhibit stunning creativity and flawless execution. One small detail includes a rear-facing camera that allows the tablet-sized screen on the dash to do the job of traditional rear-view mirrors. Tiny LED lights substitute for a traditional headlight. The reported asking price will be $29,995 U.S. — a comparative bargain for such an outrageous machine. Production is slated to begin in 2018.

Here is the press release from Vanguard:

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New York City – December 02 – A new American motorcycle, conceived, designed and built in New York City, is being unveiled: the Vanguard Roadster.

Vanguard is an exciting, entirely new and wholly distinct motorcycle brand, and the Roadster model, with its forward-thinking design and pioneering features, is a product without equivalent. With the potential to bring new perspectives to the motorcycle industry, Vanguard is excited to announce the world premiere of its Roadster at the International Motorcycle Show in New York City starting December 9th.

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DESIGN
Form and function have never been more complimentary. The Vanguard Roadster has a striking contemporary silhouette, the result of clear and well-informed design decisions. The lines emerged from breaking everything down into rethinking needs and solutions.

MOTORCYCLES
The Vanguard Roadster is a running prototype, with production slated for 2018. It boasts many unique features including a frameless structural engine, unitized crankcase, integrated exhaust and a tablet-size digital dashboard with rear-view camera. The Roadster is the first of 3 motorcycles built on a common powertrain platform that will cover all riding positions: Roadster, Cruiser and Racer.

PRODUCTION
Vanguard motorcycles will be assembled in New York City at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. The modular construction, based on large sub-assemblies, revisits traditional manufacturing methods. Combined with worldwide sourcing and the support of key motorcycle vendors, Vanguard will deliver exceptional value and quality.

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SALES
Starting at $29,995, a premium price within reach, the Vanguard Roadster is a strong alternative to current premium motorcycles. Selected dealers are signing up to be the ambassadors of this game-changing brand.

PEOPLE
Vanguard is led by renowned designer Edward Jacobs and serial entrepreneur Francois-Xavier Terny. Together they form a dynamic team of passion and vision.

With a fresh perspective and unique approach, Vanguard promises to be a premium motorcycle brand of revolutionary effect.

Members of the media and the public are invited to see the Vanguard Roadster at its inaugural debut at the International Motorcycle Show in New York, taking place December 9-11 at the Javits Center in Manhattan, booth #438. For more information on Vanguard, go to vanguard.nyc.

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138 Comments

  1. Don Neilson says:

    Judging by the comments on this forum, this thing seems doomed. However, young bike nuts just might go for it; but only if the retail $ goal can be met, which seems unlikely. Like many others, I wish them well, and hope the thing sells. Now, do I like it and would I buy one? To the first part, yes, indeed!! What a fabulously and beautifully integrated design! It is the only “transformer” style design I have ever seen that appeals to me. I offer my highest compliments to Mr. Jacobs for this exquisite example of the designers art. To the second part, I WISH! My retirement income will not allow such extravagance. Beyond that, there are some practical design considerations that will be needed before this thing becomes a viable means of transport.

    • Scott says:

      If you only went by the comments on MD, no motorcycle would ever sell, because they all have major flaws. (Well, except for maybe the Versys 300, if you believe all the guys who say they’ll actually buy one…)

  2. beemforever says:

    How it can be “revolutionary” with that cave-man V-twin under the tank is way beyond me.

  3. Dan Crocker says:

    Not sure what all of the ‘hype’ is about. This bike reminds me of the early Hondas. You sat ON THEM and not IN THEM. Sort of like riding a sawhorse with a motor and a seat. A totally uncomfortable ride for anyone older than 16 years of age. Your shoulders take all of the weight like most of the rice rockets you see on the road nowadays. Maybe that is the buyer range they are interested in attracting. If so, they need to drop their prices since a 16 year old won’t be able to afford it.

  4. YellowDuck says:

    No brake lines, throttle or clutch cable apparent. Styling exercise at this point. Get back to me when it is an actual motorcycle.

  5. Hernan says:

    I’m going to buy one. I like every thing about it. I can’t wait to put my hands on it.
    Great, great job.

  6. Bikerchick says:

    Can someone please tell me the reason that I would have to pay $30,000 for Tron’s little sister?

  7. Dirty Bob says:

    I would buy one and still have something left to pay tickets.

  8. Clumseyfingers says:

    Looks like modern steampunk put together with lego.

  9. olivier says:

    This is the most amazing design I have seen in years. It is the first time that I see the cylinder heads directly integrated in the frame design. ( As opposed to be bolt on)Same thing for the pushrod covers structurally linking the engine and the frame

  10. turnergande says:

    At least it’s a motorcycle design attempt that doesn’t mind showing off the motor whereas most of the robo-rockets, so beloved by the younger generation, just slap plastic bits ‘helter skelter’ which pretty much hides the motor. Bikes that hide a motor need to find a different name.

  11. JD says:

    I’ve never understood why every American made motorcycle has to have a V-Twin. So wouldn’t that make it a… UAM? Universal American Motorcycle.

    • Bob says:

      The use of V-Twins is dictated by the availability of aftermarket V-Twin engines from manufacturers such as S&S. If you don’t want to manufacture your own engine, using a V-Twin makes sense.

      • Jeremy in TX says:

        Rotax, Ducati, Honda and Suzuki sell engines. Probably others as well. The only reason to use an air-cooled vtwin is if you want to, though I am sure it is probably easier and much less restrictive to enter into a contract with S&S.

        • Bob says:

          An advantage to the S&S engine is that it allows for clutch and transmission options which give the bike manufacturer more flexibility in design. The “other” V-Twins are unit construction, eliminating any options without major modifications.

  12. Vrooom says:

    Not my cup of tea. I would say that a rear view camera replacing mirrors is a solution to a problem I don’t have. Kind of like when BMW went with power assisted brakes, it was just something to fail, never have I said “it’s just too hard to squeeze the brake lever”, whether 4 piston Brembos or 2 piston off brand calipers.

  13. Scott says:

    I think we need something else to talk about. It’s been 4 days now, and this motorcycle seems to be even more disliked than most around here, and that’s saying something!

    • Scott says:

      Ahh, my wish has been granted! Now we can scroll up watch people try to come up with reasons why the Z650 isn’t a great bike…

      Thanks, MD!

    • ZX10R_AC says:

      Z650 is a very nice bike, as is the Versys 300. But this bike? Nope. Nothing at all inspires me about the blocky aluminum frame, completely derivative styling, and what looks like a punishing, terrible ride.

      Pass.

  14. Frank says:

    Build and detail are beautiful. Design….I like to see some rounded lines. Get you noticed it will.

  15. thrus says:

    in theory I don’t mind the cameras but it depends on how the interface is done Mirrors and speedo should always be there and there should be room, it just comes down to how they design it to always look as rear-views are not sexy but they are practical.

    But I would still turn my head and look as no camera or mirror will ever be trusted as much as my own eyes when it comes to someone potentialy running me over.

  16. John A. Kuzmenko says:

    All it needs is a USAF logo and maybe a tasteful rendition of some WW2 bomber nose art.

    If this isn’t a rolling conversation piece, I don’t know what is.

  17. Paul says:

    I like it. The more I study it, the more I like it.

  18. John says:

    God, this is hideous.

  19. peter h says:

    Ha HA – post anything diverging from the norm on a motorcycle mag, and let the sh*t fly. Maybe they’ll offer a round headlight option so you guys can trim down on the anxiety meds.

  20. Don says:

    This is awesome!!! I’ve always wanted to look like Robocop’s douchey sidekick!

  21. Bill says:

    This level of talent should be redirected to something useful.

  22. kjazz says:

    The Vitpilen from Husqvarna shares a similar profile as this bike. Interesting as moto-art, but I don’t get why someone would own this….. Then again, I really never understood the whole chopper thing either ……

    If a clean expression of a big American V-twin is your thang….I recommend looking at Avinton. A very cool, clean design that harkens to a Cobra. This harkens to a big steaming pile of CNC’d metal. Still….interesting. Good luck.

  23. Rayzor says:

    Horrible!! Nothing like Confederate motorcycles…For $30K, I can see myself buying a lot of cooler toys than this, Thing!

  24. jimjim says:

    So I guess the target buyer would be a non-rider with money to throw away.

  25. skytzo says:

    Hideous.

  26. Auphliam says:

    You what drives me nuts about this? I have a friend that spent years putting together a very solid business plan for a start up. He was turned down cold by every venture capitalist he approached with the idea…but Sh*t like this get’s green lighted every time.

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      Honestly, if someone proposed that they could produce an American made vtwin cruiser platform at this level of finish and uniqueness and sell it for $30K, you could probably get the attention of a few investors. Regardless of what we may think of the styling and presume about the usability of the bike, it is quite an accomplishment assuming they can pull it off.

      • thrus says:

        A clean finish is easy when they don’t hook up the cables to the ffront breaks. Or I am just outdated and they have completely internalized the break line hookups so you can’t even see a connection at the caliper. And if that is missing I expect other things are as well like somewhere to mount the license plate, best guess is hanging off the right of the tire as it won’t fit above it after you put weight on the seat.

    • jimmihaffa says:

      Disclaimer: I in no way have any sort of vested interest either as investor or employee of Vanguard MC Co.
      But to your point, you’re right a modular design motorcycle incorporating cylinder heads in frame, axial drive shaft, exhaust recycling, computer interface technology is passe. This board deserves the chance to hear about the prospect of your friend’s prototype electronic pocket fisherman being developed into a commercial product.

  27. Bob says:

    My condolences to Vanguard.

  28. thmisawa says:

    I have seen hundreds of new motorcycles presented in MD. By-and-large there is a definite target audience or demographic any bike is designed for. This “creation” has to be the most unattractive, sterile, and uninspiring two wheels and a motor I have ever seen. What demographic does this actually appeal to? I do like new perspectives though. Maybe this will grow on me. But my initial impression is not very positive.

  29. JanJ says:

    Looks to be a CNC “Advanced Class” Final Exam Test!!!

    From the standpoint of Metal Working… It’s a Beautiful Integration of different parts…

    From the standpoint of a Functional Motorcycle…. I’m not certain I understand the direction it’s headed in…..

    • Bart says:

      “Sir: move away from the 3-D solid modeling CAD station and put your mouse down where I can see it!”

  30. viktor92 says:

    absolute crap

  31. Mick says:

    My thing is that a good industrial design serves its purpose. This design seems to have very little possibility of serving as a market functional motorcycle.

    I feel that whoever assembled these parts at this price has tremendous potential. It is an impressive assemblage of nice parts, in my opinion. People don’t expect a lot from a cruiser platform. But you shouldn’t try to find the minimum if you want to make a lot of friends.

  32. Magnus says:

    I’m still on the fence of wether I like it or hate it. Can’t figure out if there is a battery, oil tank, suspension, or all of the above in the swinging box. I know billet aluminum is almost the same price a steel when you compare cubic feet (half the weight, twice the price per pound) and CNC robots don’t cost any more to run in expensive labour countries as cheap labour countries. If anyone actually rides this they’re going to need an oil cooler. As for fenders, these bikes will probably never see rain. It kind of reminds me of my Moto Guzzi Griso…without the Italian artistic flair. If it rides like the Griso I give it two thumbs up.

  33. harryiscool says:

    No stinkin fenders for crying out loud. I can hear them say “ride it and you’ll buy it”

  34. Kent says:

    I have a hard time believing this.
    They will have to purchase an engine, trans, suspension, brakes, wheels, tires, wiring, LEDs, camera, tablet, etc.
    Then the will spend hours and hours on a CNC mill making the parts, out of very expensive slabs of aluminum. Then the parts are welded, polished & textured.

    All of this is taking place in NY, which is an expensive place to do business.

    They can do all that,then sell a bike for 30k (and give the dealership their slice of the profit) and make money on each sale? I’m just not believing that the math works.

    • Magnus says:

      Worldwide sourcing, large subassemlies, assembled in New York: made in cheap labor countries, fully assembled parts, minimal assembly in New York to meet ‘made in USA’ legislation.

  35. My2cents says:

    I like all motorcycles that I can ride. This is more of a work of art and although not my cup of tea the general style is a no go. I do like a lot of chop and cut stuff of there like a 70’s XS 650 trimmed down to the least, the folks doing that get my attention more than this unit. I myself trend towards ADV touring or touring rides but I have a soft spot for anything two wheels. Single track ride for a one track mind I guess.
    Cheers to all and safe riding through the Christmas holidays.

  36. Fred says:

    If they ever actually make any of them, they will probably go on to become collectors’ items some day decades from now, selling at auction at prices many multiples of their original purchase price. If I had the money, I’d buy one purely as an investment; park it in my living room, keep it at zero miles and never even start it; and put it up for sale in 40 or 50 years. High price appreciation could be similar to what rare and collectible cars are enjoying these days.

    • KURT SWELL says:

      Yea-h-h,and I almost bought a DeLorean!!

      • The Spaceman says:

        This is an amazing bike. Setting aside the styling, the engineering is fascinating. How does the swingarm and secondary drive work? How will the heads be cooled, and what did they have to do to them to make the monocoque frame work? Whats going on with the transmission?

        Its probably not a bike I’d buy if i had $30k to spend on a motorcycle, but compared to Confederate or the Arch line of bikes, this is much more interesting. If they can actually build and sell these for $30k, I think they’ll sell a lot of them.

  37. allworld says:

    I do sort of like it, mostly for the blend of technical simplicity even if that sounds like an oxymoron. It does look a little chunky, but this is a proto type. It is better to applaud their efforts rather than criticize the first glimpse of the results.

  38. jim says:

    You would think a V-twin is the only engine architecture that matters.

  39. Al Banta says:

    What a stupid machine..

  40. Modsquad says:

    Maybe they can add just one more piece of metal beneath the engine so that something’s dragging.

  41. Confederate says:

    Pretty cool bike other than rear wheel. And I always like the Confederate bikes.

  42. ApriliaRST says:

    Jay. Leno.

  43. notarollingroadblock says:

    3 words come to mind: rigid, vibration, why?

  44. rapier says:

    Interesting as an exercise in industrial design. As a functional motorcycle, well…… it’s an interesting design. How they can sell it for 29K puzzles me.

  45. Colors says:

    I am never going to understand.

  46. Half Baked says:

    What if the overall design both excites and repulses me and all in a bad way. Building this abomination at the Navy Yard is just wrong. At least it doesn’t have a dumb-ass name like Confederate.

  47. Norm G. says:

    in a word…? POLARIZING.

    but it’s like a CNC programmer’s “wet dream”.