Second time spherical: reviving a rotary engine motorbike


The motorcycling world is replete with mechanical oddities that by no means actually caught on. Suppose hub middle steering, two-wheel drive, and even computerized transmissions. However prime of the record has obtained to be the rotary engine. Regardless of its restricted success within the mainstream automotive world, there are many of us who’ve tried to make a Wankel-powered motorbike.

Suzuki might be one of the best identified, with the RE5. However across the identical time, the Dutch firm Van Veen was additionally experimenting, and so was the German outfit Hercules—with its imposing W-2000.

Hercules W-2000 rotary engine restomod by Greg Hageman
That is the primary time we’ve seen a {custom} Hercules, however it was constructed by a person who will likely be acquainted to common guests of this web site: Greg Hageman. Greg made his title with Virago customs, however lately, he can flip his hand to absolutely anything with two wheels.

That made him the proper selection for shopper Alessandro Bonomi, who was intrigued by the thought of a first-of-its-kind rotary restomod.

Hercules W-2000 rotary engine restomod by Greg Hageman
Alessandro is especially fascinated by the story of Hercules: “There’s one thing magical about forgotten automotive desires and relics,” he ruminates. “One notion was the concept that rotary engines might have been the way forward for bikes.”

“On paper, the thought gave the impression to be genius. A system that would scale back vibration and supply uniform torque, whereas offering appreciable weight financial savings. Sadly, it was the best concept however not the best time.”

Hercules W-2000 rotary engine restomod by Greg Hageman
Discovering the best donor bike was paramount, as a result of resuscitating or repairing a poor situation rotary engine from the 70s could be difficult. As luck would have it, Greg’s father-in-law occurred to have an ultra-rare Hercules W-2000 in his assortment. And believing in what Greg and Alessandro had been getting down to do, he was keen to half with it.

“This human and emotional connection made the construct that rather more particular,” says Alessandro. So I devoted the bike and construct to my very own father, titling the journey ‘Venture Andy’.”

Hercules W-2000 rotary engine restomod by Greg Hageman
Alessandro pitched his imaginative and prescient to Greg, with concepts round design and efficiency upgrades. As a result of even by Nineteen Seventies requirements, a Hercules W-2000 is sort of rustic—and the 294cc Sachs air-cooled single rotor engine is a reasonably fundamental mill, regardless of the bizarre expertise.

“I noticed this as a optimistic, as a result of we had a ‘pure,’ early industrial rotary engine, undisturbed by pointless complexity. It was the elements surrounding the engine that wanted essentially the most consideration.”

Hercules W-2000 rotary engine restomod by Greg Hageman
The Hercules had predictable if considerably sluggish dealing with, so Greg has upgraded the suspension with Yamaha XS650 forks. These have been overhauled with new tubes and seals, plus innards from Race Tech—together with Gold Valve cartridge emulators.

The hubs are XS650 too, each entrance and rear, and laced as much as new 17-inch rims from Buchanan’s. They’re 3.5 inches broad on the entrance and 4.25 on the again, and laced up with heavy obligation stainless spokes. The tires are Avon MKII, with a period-correct tread sample matched to trendy building.

Hercules W-2000 rotary engine restomod by Greg Hageman
There’s no scarcity of braking energy although, as a result of Greg has put in the entrance calipers from a 2003 Yamaha YZF-R1 utilizing billet adaptors, together with 320 mm Brembo rotors. They’re fed by a Magura HC1 radial grasp cylinder.

On the rear, there’s an XS650 drum—upgraded with new sneakers from EBC—flanked by a pair of custom-spec Hagon Nitro shocks.

Hercules W-2000 rotary engine restomod by Greg Hageman
The finishes are top-notch, from the steely glint of the CNC-machined Motogadget grips to the newly-plated {hardware} and the beautiful metalflake paint, which was shot by Tampa-based Moe Colours.

The graphics on the inventory tank are impressed, mirroring the form of the facet covers, and all the pieces else has been neatly refinished in powder or Cerakote by Schwarz Powder Coating in Illinois.

Hercules W-2000 rotary engine restomod by Greg Hageman
In manufacturing facility type the Hercules appears to be like somewhat stodgy, however Greg has well lightened the aesthetics with a brand new seat upholstered by Tuffside, and a waspish little tail unit. He’s additionally added a traditional quarter-fairing on the entrance, which homes a Customized Dynamics ProBEAM LED headlight behind a transparent dome.

As all the time with builds like this, lots of the work is hidden. That features the brand new electrical system, which ought to banish any vestiges of classic unreliability. The hidden goodies are largely Motogadget componentry, with an mo.unit Bluetooth management field feeding out to a speedo, switchgear and switch indicators from the identical producer.

Hercules W-2000 rotary engine restomod by Greg Hageman
This W-2000 is a kind of builds that might have gone horribly incorrect, however Alessandro may be very happy with the consequence.

“It’s like no bike I’ve ever ridden,” he enthuses. “She’s mild, nippy, and unexpectedly quick. However greater than something, there’s a completely different vitality while you hit the throttle … the bike virtually disappears from beneath, there aren’t any actual vibrations, and also you merely end up gliding effortlessly.”

Hercules W-2000 rotary engine restomod by Greg Hageman
We’d give something to swing a leg over this one and see what clean rotary energy seems like in a light-weight, up to date chassis. Alessandro is the primary to confess that the Hercules mission is ‘idealistic,’ however his {dollars} and creativeness have additionally turned the highlight again onto a misplaced second in motorbike historical past.

Extra like this, please.

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Hercules W-2000 rotary engine restomod by Greg Hageman



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