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Beating the odds in a brave new world

20 April 2017 by Mike Van Cleven Inspiration 2 min read

The car’s golden years were Saroléa’s darkest days. In the sixties, this brand -one of the world’s oldest motorcycle manufacturers- exhaled its last puff of smoke. At the same time, counterculture was born. And much like rock and roll fought the establishment half a decade ago, electricity is now taking on internal combustion. Torsten Robbens has been playing lead electric guitar to Saroléa’s revival for six years. This Flemish engineer, pioneer and nephew to André Van Heuverswijn, Saroléa’s factory racer in the fifties, brought Belgium’s first motorcycle brand back to life. Bit by bit, wire after wire, layer upon layer of handmade carbon fiber.

Setbacks? Of course; they did everything themselves. But the Isle of Man’s checkered flag spurred them on. In 2014, the Saroléa SP7 finally scorched the TT road racing course at an average speed of 100 Mph. Next up: the real world. So Saroléa recently launched the ultimate road-legal electric superbike, the Manx 7, based on their 900 Nm (!) race bike that is determined to smash 120 Mph in 2017’s TT. These marvels of technology are entirely built in-house, but carry performance that’s out of this world. Yet you wouldn’t be able to find Saroléa’s workshop in Oudenaarde, Belgium without a hand-drawn map.

Here, future meets past. Goliath meets David. Petrol meets sparks.

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