The middle years of the last century were a good time in the UK, the war had been won, the music was incredible and the nation’s motorcycle industry was absolutely booming. Brit bikes were getting it done on the track and proving to be the weapon of choice for street riders who wanted stunning performance, but of course there were those who had to go one better. To create the ultimate motorcycles, mixed and matched frames and engines resulted in bikes like the famed Triton and Norvin. Fifty-plus years later and it’s a continental workshop, Stile Italiano, who are doing some incredible things with these classic hybrids. But when an old Ariel frame fell into their hands, it gave the team a chance to do something a little different, a very cool Brit Bobber called a Noriel.

When it comes to these hyper hybrids, the name says it all, a Triton is a Triumph engine in a Norton frame, a Norvin slots a Vincent engine into the same featherbed frame and then there are all manner of other combinations; Harton, Norbsa, Maton and many many more. At the time these were the superbikes of their day. But to really build the equivalent of such a bike these days you’d have the near impossible task of slotting a Panigale V4 engine into an Aprilia RSV4 frame and then trying to make it look good. So when a bare 1955 Ariel frame fell into Stile’s hands, they knew it was time to do something really different.

“I had a clean bobber buzzing around in my head,” says Gianluca, the head honcho of the company and their chief designer. But just what engine would he use? There was nothing from the Ariel catalogue that would work and so once again the team found themselves dreaming up a hybrid, and even the engine comes from multiple models, all from the Norton factory. To get everybody on the same page, Gianluca put pen to paper and came up with a design, and then the ’55 Ariel frame was up on the bench to create the perfect chassis. Every single piece of the single down tube frame is arrow straight and the plunger-link spring system has been completely rebuilt.

The rather unique rear suspension system of the time offers not only a smoother ride when compared to a completely solid rigid, but helps to keep the tyre planted when more power is poured through the back wheel. This is precisely what the guys had in mind, with in-house mechanic Loris tasked with building one hell of a mental motor. To create his Frankenstein he sourced parts from both the Norton Atlas and Commando and got work building his beast. A set of Atlas cases form the basis, having first undergone blasting and machining, which are then bolted together and support a refreshed Atlas crank.

The cylinders are Commando items that look as good as new following an external clean up, before being bored and honed. Inside you’ll find a set of Hepolite 20thou oversized pistons, that swing from the Atlas crank via a set of balanced Commando conrods. The end result is a swept capacity of just over 750cc and a motor that was ready to pump out plenty of torque. To get things flowing, the cam, pushrods and valves are all improved Commando items which sit under the iconic top covers with some polished pieces for a show bike like finish. Fuelling is provided by an Amal Concentric 930 carb and the meshed velocity stack was machined at the workshop.

Now that they had this killer combination bolted together and slotted into the frame, the guys could fabricate the perfect exhaust. A set of stainless headers run tight to the power unit and bark beautifully from internal baffles that exist right next to the rider. Keen eyes will notice that behind the polished cover is an Atlas primary, that sends power rearward to a fully built Atlas gearbox, with a radiused kickstarter for more old-school cool. To feed the fire a fuel tank was next on the list, and a classic Mustang-style piece gets the job done beautifully.

This has been heavily modified to sit just the way Gianluca wanted it to over the backbone and also to hide a tiny battery. In typical old-school bobber styling, there is no front fender, but the rear hand-rolled item is a beauty and offers plenty of coverage. A custom set of struts mount it neatly over the back tyre, and it features a vintage taillight in the design to match the small front headlight.

Time for more fabrication and a custom oil tank disappears brilliantly into the design, and if it wasn’t for the lines, you’d almost never know it was there. Another piece of metal fab magic is the seat base, the shell style design is a big departure from the usually exposed springs of a bobber.

Time for the tins to come off and the company’s signature colour scheme of black and gold has been expertly laid down by Custom Design. The combination always looks good, but on this classic bobber it really finds the perfect home. To get the bike rolling, the guys had the clever idea of using more modern ’70s forks from Showa and have polished them within an inch of their life to match the drum brake front hub.

The front and rear get new stainless spokes to lace the hubs to a big hoop of a 21in front wheel, with the 16in rear wearing a meaty 5.0 Avon tyre. The bare bones bars and raw Tarozzi rearsets help to keep the minimalist look intact, and once again Stile Italiano has shown they are the high priests of hybrid Brit bikes.

[ Stile Italiano ]