Updated on January 11, 2024
Ariel bikes are a renowned brand in the world of motorcycles, most known for their high-performance sports bikes and classic motorcycles. The brand has a rich history of over a century, with its roots dating back to the early 1900s. Over the years, Ariel bikes have gained recognition for their exceptional engineering, stellar performance, and unparalleled design. In this article, we will delve into the fascinating history of Ariel bikes and explore where they are made.
The Early Years of Ariel Bikes:
The origins of Ariel bikes can be traced back to 1870 when James Starley and William Hillman formed a partnership to manufacture bicycles in England. With their expert craftsmanship and innovative designs, they soon became synonymous with quality and reliability. In 1902, the Ariel brand emerged as a separate entity, focusing on motorcycles alongside their successful bicycle production.
Ariel bikes quickly gained popularity, thanks to their robust construction and cutting-edge technology. They introduced various innovative features, such as belt-driven transmissions and powerful engines, which set them apart from their competitors. The brand continued to innovate and refine their designs, making Ariel motorcycles highly sought-after.
The Golden Era of Ariel Bikes:
During the 1920s and 1930s, Ariel bikes reached the pinnacle of their success. The brand became renowned for their high-performance sports bikes. Their motorcycles dominated the racing circuits, winning numerous championships and setting speed records. This era marked the golden age of Ariel, and their motorcycles became a symbol of speed, power, and style.
One of Ariel’s most iconic models from this era was the Ariel Square Four. Introduced in 1931, it was the world’s first production motorcycle with a square-four engine layout. This innovative design provided exceptional power and smoothness, establishing the Ariel Square Four as a legendary machine that enthusiasts still admire today.
The Ariel Factory and Production:
The Ariel factory, located in Selly Oak, Birmingham, England, served as the birthplace of these iconic motorcycles. The state-of-the-art facility encompassed a vast factory floor, where skilled technicians meticulously crafted each component of the Ariel bikes. From precision machining to hand-assembling, every step was carried out with utmost attention to detail and quality.
The production process at Ariel involved a combination of traditional craftsmanship and modern manufacturing techniques. Skilled workers ensured that every motorcycle met the brand’s stringent quality standards. Each Ariel bike underwent rigorous testing to ensure optimal performance and reliability before leaving the factory.
Relocation and Modernization:
Following the devastating effects of World War II, Ariel faced numerous challenges, including a decline in demand and financial constraints. In 1951, the company was acquired by BSA (Birmingham Small Arms Company), which aimed to revitalize the Ariel brand and expand its production capabilities.
BSA modernized the manufacturing processes and introduced new technologies to improve efficiency. In 1968, the production of Ariel motorcycles moved to the BSA factory in Small Heath, Birmingham. The relocation allowed Ariel to benefit from the advanced facilities and extensive resources available at the new location.
Ariel Bikes Today:
Although Ariel bikes faced challenges and changes over the years, the brand’s commitment to excellence and innovation remains unwavering. Today, Ariel is known for their exclusive range of high-performance motorcycles, including the Ariel Atom, a lightweight sports car that has garnered immense popularity.
The production of Ariel motorcycles has evolved to embrace modern manufacturing techniques while preserving the brand’s heritage. Skilled craftsmen and engineers meticulously assemble each motorcycle at the modern Ariel factory, ensuring that every bike embodies the brand’s core values of quality, performance, and design.
Ariel bikes have a storied history that spans over a century, filled with innovation, success, and passion for motorcycles. From their early years as a bicycle manufacturer to their reign as a dominant force in the motorcycle industry, Ariel has left an indelible mark.
Today, Ariel bikes continue to be made with the same dedication and attention to detail that defined their early years. The modern Ariel factory, still located in Birmingham, England, serves as the hub for crafting exceptional motorcycles that uphold the brand’s legacy. Ride an Ariel, and you’ll experience the thrill and heritage that only a century-old brand can deliver.
Austin Jacobs is a passionate cycling enthusiast who has over five years of experience in bike repair and maintenance. He is an avid mountain biker and loves tinkering with bikes for hours on end to make sure they are running at their optimum performance level. Leland’s blog, which focuses on bike repairs and tips to keep them in good running order, was created out of a desire to share his knowledge and help fellow cyclists stay safe while enjoying the outdoors. He covers topics such as preventive maintenance, troubleshooting common issues, basic tools and supplies needed for repairs, and more.