A dream you dream alone is only a dreamStill to this day, I always find myself explaining the concept of a rotary engine to other people. Mazda has axed the project for several years now. There have been other car manufacturers that gave the Wankel engine a shot or at least thought about doing so, but that's all history at this point. And when it comes to motorcycles, chances are that you've never even come close to a rotary-powered one. Most of these were built by Norton back in the '80s, and that's where the story of the Crighton CR700W begins.
Brian Crighton is the mastermind behind Crighton Motorcycles. He has always believed that rotary-powered motorcycles have massive potential. Brian is a former three-time British 50cc champion, and he used his racing experience to work on the development of racing motorcycles for the British manufacturer. He became a part of the Norton R&D department in 1985 and invested all of his spare time and energy towards developing the twin-rotor 588cc engine that would soon make history. While most corporate executives thought little of the rotary engine, he saw greatness in it.
If passion drives you, let reason hold the reinsIt would take another 15 years until the next big step towards Brian Crighton's dream would be made. He teamed up with Rotron Power LTD, a company that activates as a designer and manufacturer in the aerospace industry. So for the past 12 years, the development of a new 690 cc rotary-powered motorcycle has been taking place behind closed doors. The first time I had seen some spy shots of this motorcycle was about two years ago, but it was a dyno video that made me lose my mind about this project.
Today, Brian Crighton has unveiled his life-long dream to the world. The Rotary Gods (if there is such a thing) are most likely pleased with the outcome. You only need to have a look at the specs to understand the immense potential of the new CR700W. The 690 cc engine is rated for a whopping 220 horsepower and 105 lb-ft (142 Nm) of torque! Putting things in perspective, that means the CR700W has a ratio of 319-hp per liter. That's more than a naturally aspirated F1, Ferrari F2004 engine (309-hp/liter). Even MotoGP bikes are at about 300-hp per liter!
After all, this is equipped with Dymag carbon fiber wheels and Inconel parts, among other things. The CR700W is probably as close as you can get to riding a MotoGP bike from the 2-stroke era, but with more modern technology onboard. Sadly, Crighton Motorcycles will hand-built just 25 units all in all. Those that have previous experience in terms of motorcycle road racing will say that the CR700W is a real steal, considering the price. Others, who are more accustomed to road-going bikes, will think the price is off the charts. And that's because every one of those 25 units will sell for about $116,000!
Talking about his accomplishment, Brian Crighton noted that: “In so many ways the CR700W is the culmination of my career’s achievements. Developed with my excellent lead engineer, Shamoon Quarashi, it encapsulates the absolute best of my engineering wisdom. And I believe the result is the ultimate track and racing motorcycle.” I just hope that someday I'll be able to ride one of these bikes, even if I won't be charging hard. The CR700W is, by all means, one of the most exciting motorcycles ever built, and it would be cool to see how it stacks up against some top-class race bikes from around the world.