1936 Ariel Red Hunter
I have never learned a lot about Ariel Motorcycles, but I have always liked them. This Red Hunter from 1936 offered up on eBay now is the single cylinder from the company that started making powered bicycles in 1898. The singles came in 250cc, 350cc and the big 500cc and were popular for both grass track racing and trials competitions. The Red tank and rims are obvious highlights to this big British single, an advertisement as it goes down the road.
The seller tells very little about the bike
Motor number CB2815
Reserve less then the Buy it now $14k
One of only 10 Bronze Head versions
An eBay shopper corrected the seller on the year of the bike, and I would be surprised at the limited number of Bronze Cylinder head examples listed by the seller. Before aluminum found itself into cylinder head, bronze was a performance upgrade that you would see in competition bikes. Even thought bronze was not an improvement in weight, it did give better thermal conductivity, dissipating heat from exhaust valves and valve springs who’s metallurgy was not yet up to the wear and tear of competition. As you can see the valves are un-covered, allowing the rider to quickly remove and replace broken valve springs.
The Red Hunter was offered from 1932 through 1959. The engine was designed by Val Paige who had come from J.A Prestwick, and improved upon by Edward Turner who would become an icon for anyone who rides a Triumph. The girder forks up front and rigid rear end did not stop riders from taking these bike off road in trials events, and the high exhaust pipe, and bronze head lead you to believe that this bike was special ordered to compete. Number I found give the 500cc engine 17hp at 5600rpm and a top speed of 80mph. This may not seem a lot, but you have to remember that the speed limit in England was 30mph for many years.
Ariel was bough by BSA after WW II and like other names purchased by what would become AMC, the Ariel did not gets its opportunity to fight for market share. They went through a period when the badge found itself on scooters and not motorcycles. Which is too bad because with designers like Val Paige and Edward Turner the Ariel had what it takes to compete. This Red Hunter is proof of that.