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Hesketh 24

Oddball for the day - Hesketh 24

(by Guy ‘Guido’ Allen, Nov 2021)

Hesketh 24

The great Brit dream take 2, albeit at a price

It seems some brands are destined to linger, even if they give every appearance of being on life support. Hesketh is one of them. Initially founded by scion of the Hesketh clan Lord Alexander, the company produced as prototype V1000 in 1980, running a Weslake four-valve per cylinder V-twin.

Though it went out of business and changed owners several times, the brand re-emerged in 2014.

First, a little background: The 1980s were not kind to Hesketh and his fortunes. Running a Formula 1 team with star driver James Hunt put a serious dent in the finances, and the bike venture struggled to remain alive.

The latter struggled through lack of further development (though the product was regarded as competent), limited if almost non-existent permanent production facilities and high prices.

In the end, after three revival attempts, the last through crowd-funding, the company fell over in 1984. By that time some 180 motorcycles (V1000s and the faired Vampires) had been produced.

Enter Mick Broom, a development engineer with the brand from day one, who branched out on his own to further develop the first-gen machines, provide support to the existing owners, and build modest numbers of whole machines.

Hesketh 24

Broom sold the brand and in 2014 Hesketh Motorcycles launched itself by showing off a prototype machine at the annual Goodwood Festival of Speed.

At the core of the new machine was a chrome moly tube frame carrying an S&S X-Wedge 1950cc two-valve per cylinder air-cooled V-twin. That was matched to a six-speed Baker transmission.

The American-built engine is similar to that used in modern Morgan three-wheelers. In base form on the 24 claimed 92kW (123hp) at 6000rpm and a hefty 196Nm at 3000rpm. That was in a bike weighting 248kg.

Of course the chassis carried some premium gear, such as Ohlins suspension and Beringer brakes.

Its livery was based on the James Hunt Hesketh 308 Formula 1 car from 1975, which won the Dutch Grand Prix.

Hesketh 24

The only road test we've seen was done by Bennetts, with the rider mentioning that he was warned he might lose vital organs if he failed to return the prototype in one piece. That aside, the impression was pretty much what ytou'd expect – a reaosnably well-mannered brute.

Hesketh 24

Prices started at GB£35,000 (Au$65,000, US$47,000), and could climb if you took the opportunity to have Harris Performance Engines tweak the powerplant for more punch.

Just 24 of the machines were to be built and we're unsure how many actually made it to completion. Hesketh continues to exist today, offering a single-cylinder 450 road bike and recommissioning services for the original twins.

Hesketh 24

Above: Hesketh V1000 and 24.

See our Hesketh V1000/Vampire profile.

More features here

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