As ever, this year’s Festival of Speed was awash with motorcycles. We’ve already featured Valentino Rossi’s Ducati which was a hugely-advanced MotoGP machine, despite falling short of the kind of performance the enigmatic Italian was hoping for. What we’re featuring this week though is not only way more powerful than any MotoGP bike, it’s also significantly more complicated.
To call the Bienville Legacy ‘ambitious’ seems a bit weak, really. Its suspension is unique for starters and it’s as though the rest of the machine has been assembled on a money-no-object basis. Driven purely by design and a passion for craftsmanship, anyone who saw this bike at FoS close up could not simply walk past it; stopping and squatting down on your haunches to get a better view seemed mandatory.
Designed by J.T.Nesbitt, the Legacy bears some of the hallmarks from his time at Confederate Motorcycles. It all came about when entrepreneur Jim Jacoby approached Nesbitt and asked him just what he could really do if funding wasn’t a consideration. A Motus 1650cc V4 motor was selected, onto which was bolted a Rotrex supercharger which upped power output to a scary 300bhp and in terms of suspending the bike just one enormous composite polymer leaf spring was selected, joining the swingarm at the rear and the wild ‘girder’ forks at the front. Carbon fibre features extensively in the Legacy’s construction and if something isn’t made from carbon then it’s probably been fashioned from chromoly, titanium or leather.
Sadly not destined for scale production, just three Legacys exist and they’ll cost around $250,000 apiece. That’s quite a lot when you consider that, as stunning as they are to behold, they’re likely to extract some distaste from those who crave something with more mainstream ‘classic’ looks. However, as an inspirational blend of art, innovation and craftsmanship, surely they’re utterly undeniable?
Photography: Antony Fraser