By Bryan Harley, Cruiser Editor

A sports car pedigree, now on two wheels

The Caterham Group, a British sports car company that also has its hands in Formula One Grand Prix racing, recently announced the creation of a new motorcycle division. Caterham Bikes, the name of the new branch, launched three prototype motorcycles at the recent EICMA show in support of its two-wheeled efforts: the Brutus 750, Classic E-Bike (an all-electric bike with retro styling), and the Carbon E-Bike (a premium electric bike said to be inspired by F1 technology). Caterham will also be fielding a Moto2 race team in 2014, the announcement reinforcing Caterham’s commitment to the two-wheeled realm. Production of the Caterham bikes will begin in the spring of 2014.

The first motorcycle the company will launch is the Brutus 750, an all-terrain motorcycle visually reminiscent of a Rokon. Meaty Maxxis tires are mounted front and back on 14-inch rims. A liquid-cooled 750cc single-cylinder engine with a chain final drive puts power to the back wheel with the help of a CVT transmission, similar to what you’d find on a quad. Weighing in with a claimed curb weight of 518 pounds, Caterham is touting the Brutus 750 as the “SUV of motorcycles,” which can be used as a street bike, off-road machine or even a snowmobile thanks to a conversion kit.

“Distinctive, adaptable, fun and easy to ride, the Brutus 750 opens up a whole new world of motorcycling to the masses,” declared Caterham PR.

The Carbon E-Bike will utilize a 36-Volt, 250-Watt brushless motor teamed with an eight-speed Shimano Nexus gear hub. An industrial strength, modular carbon-aluminum frame with three different frame sizes and three-way adjustable seat height means it is adaptable to the size and shape of each rider. A carbon girder fork and a mono-shock swingarm reflect Caterham’s F1 influence. Stainless steel spokes are laced to aluminum rims while disc brakes front and back will bring the Carbon E-Bike to a halt. The electric bicycle will feature an LED dashboard displaying info like battery status, speedometer, trip meter and battery range indicator.

“The result is a stunningly modern motorcycle with zero emissions but with a full fun quota as standard and with Caterham’s performance-based DNA coursing through its veins,” claims Catherham.

The company’s third offering, the Classic E-Bike, sports a more traditional bicycle design updated with modern technology. Designer Alessandro Tartarini (formerly of Lambretta) calls the Classic E-Bike a ‘fusion vehicle’, in which old and new are brought together in the ‘future of tradition.’

A 36-volt, 250-watt brushless motor is said to give it a range of 25-50 miles. The motor is designed to look like a V-Twin engine. A large faux gas tank is suspended below the backbone of the aluminum frame, the area doubling as storage space for items like the battery charger for the 36-Volt battery pack. It has Shimano Nexus 3-speed hub gears claimed to give the E-Bike “brisk acceleration.” The bike rolls large on 26-inch aluminum rims with stainless spokes, the front wheel held in place by a slick-looking Springer fork. The electric bicycle’s seat features small springs and is three-way adjustable. In the European Union, no motorcycle license is needed to operate it.

Al-Ishsal Ishak has been appointed the new CEO of Caterham Bikes. Ishsal formerly worked for AirAsia as Group Head of Ancillary Income. AirAsia’s CEO Tony Fernandes and Chief Executive Director Dato Kamarudin bought Caterham Cars in April 2011.

Caterham announced back in September it would be entering Moto2 in 2014 as the “Caterham Moto Racing Team” and would design, engineer and build its race bikes in-house. The company’s portfolio also includes the Caterham F1 Team, Caterham Racing (GP2), Caterham Technology & Innovation, and Caterham Composites.

Caterham said all three concepts will be launched as production bikes in 2014 and will be sold in Europe, North and South America, and Asia.