1970 – ARIEL – BSA 3 50cc

With the arrival of the Japanese, at the end of the 1960s/start of the 1970s, the English motorcycle industry was looking for new ideas to gain additional market share. The BSA Group decided to look into the possibility of constructing a motorcycle with three wheels. Instead of starting from scratch, they acquired the rights for a prototype developed by the GL Wallis & Sons Studio and employed their project manager. Unfortunately the original design of the project was radically altered and the project manager’s advice largely ignored and the new motorcycle, which was marketed under the ARIEL brand, was a colossal disaster. It had a Dutch Anker 2-stroke engine, the front fork was on rubber buffers and the frame was connected to the rear through original mechanical joint and stabilizing springs, which allowed the rider to incline the central part of the bike on bends whilst keeping the two rear driving wheels stuck to the road. The project cost more than 2 million pounds but was poorly developed and assembled. It was a gigantic flop, which may have proven to be the final nail in the coffin for the faltering English motorcycle giant. Today we can only admire their courage for going ahead with such an original and innovative project, which has in very recent times been employed more successfully by other producers.

Years: 1970-1971
Production: a few hundred
Design: GL Wallis & Sons Studio
Provenience: CMM Collezione Motociclistica Milanese


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