There are those who spend their lifetime completely wasted, with no sense of encouragement or passion towards achievement and then there are those who work wonders within the very limited time they have. But, there are also the third ones who influence our lives so deeply that they become an inspiration for the generations to come. We are talking about the third one, the man who did the impossible and the man who achieved so much with limited resources and time.
John Britten, a person who struggled through his childhood from dyslexia to become a mechanical engineer. He was the man who made the Britten V1000 along with his team of few people in his garage in New Zealand, back in 1991. John had a vision of a revolutionary, his Britten V1000 was so potent at the time it was built (almost 24 years from now) that it can still give today’s modern litre-class bikes a run for their money.
About the bike:
Though John started off building a bike from a Ducati he had at that time but nothing quite worked out and then he started off fresh with a clean slate and hence the Britten V1000 was built on a very eccentric platform. The bike had very technically sound components and machinery, all hand-built in his garage. Even the tiniest bit on the bike took shape in John’s mind and hence the bike that came out was no less than a phenomenon.
At the heart, the Britten V1000 housed a 999cc, water-cooled, 60 degrees V-Twin quad-cam 4-stroke engine that delivered 166bhp of maximum power. The engine came mated to a 5-speed constant mesh transmission while 6-speed gearbox was also an option given to the bike. Apart from Titanium valves, the engine had Titanium connecting rods. The Britten V1000 used programmable engine management computer with history facility and that was 1991 when many other had no clue about it.
The bike used carbon fiber wheels, shocks, meter assembly, swing arm and many other carbon fiber components. The extensive use of carbon fiber made the bike radically light-weighted and fast. Its meter console had a button for pre-load adjustment on the front suspension, and it all could be done while moving along. On the suspension duties, John didn’t choose to go for the conventional single shock at the rear and telescopic shocks at the front. Instead, he decides to equip it with double wishbones suspension at the front and swing arm with adjustable three-bar linkage did the suspension duties at the rear.
The rear suspension interestingly is fixed at the front bottom, where generally bikes have their engine guards. This unit was connected to the swing arm via a bottom rod. The swing arm, again, all carbon fiber and designed by John. The rake and trail were also adjustable. But apart from carbon fiber, what contributed in making the bike weigh just 138kgs was the use of frameless chassis. It had a dry clutch and in the early nineties, the bike was capable of touching 188mph (fastest ever recorded on the Daytona Racetrack.). Before moving forward, make sure to watch the video below that demonstrates the hiccups John and his team faced at the initial stages. The footage is back from the days when the bike was taking shape in John’s garage.
Race career of the Britten V1000
· The bike won the Dutch round of the Battle of the Twins series in 1992.
· After two years, the Britten won the BOTT race at Daytona with Kiwi Andrew Stroud on board.
· Kiwi Andrew Stroud multiplied the winning streak by adding four more wins for the Britten at the Daytona race.
· Stroud also won BEARS (British, European and American Racing) world championship in 1995 and in 1996 he won New Zealand National Superbike Championship on the Britten V1000.
· Apart from setting the races on fire, the Britten broke many world records including world flying mile record (1000cc and under) at 188.09mph, the world standing start quarter-mile record (134.61mph), the world standing start mile record (213.51mph) and the world standing start kilometre record (186.24mph), all of these records were set in the year 1993.
Only 10 units of the Britten V1000 were made from the year 1991 to 1998 and but unfortunately, none of them have been reportedly set for public auction till the date. Bike number one, which is known by the name The Cardinal, is still under the ownership of Britten Motorcycles of Auckland, New Zealand. Bike number two is set on a display in the Museum of New Zealand in Wellington. Roberto Crepaldi from Milan is the owner for the bike number three, while four is owned by Jim Hunter in Massachusetts, USA, five is owned by Dr Mark Stewart in Michigan, USA.
Kevin Grant from Auckland owns the bike number six which is the only alive Britten V1000, it is used for track displays, and it is the very same bike ridden by MCN’s Adam Child in 2013. The bike number seven is on a display at the Barber Vintage Motorcycle Museum in Alabama, USA. While the bike number eight is owned by Michael Canepa from California. Bike number nine is in the hands Gary Turner of the Netherlands while the last one, the bike number ten is owned by Michael Iannuccilli in Las Vegas, USA.
How much does a Britten V1000 cost right now?
Well, even if you have all wealth of the world it would still be difficult for you to get your hands on one of them, because even if you’d want to, you’ll have to fight it off to Guy Martin who has the Britten V1000 in the very top of his wish list. There is no accurate known price for the Britten bikes, but they cost around £250,000+ each.
John Britten succumbed to skin cancer in 1995, just a few years after he founded the Britten Motorcycle company. Though he only lived to be 45, John lived much more than any of us ever would. He gave much more to life in a single day than many of us would give in our whole lifetime.