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CARBON CAPTURE

Building a carbon fibre superbike doesn’t sound easy– and Rolf and Sjorn van der Heide prove that was exactly the case…
There’s finally light at the end of a long tunnel for the van der Heide brothers...
IMAGES: STUDIO TARGET PRESS, KEL EDGE

It’s many people’s dream to build their own bike – but very few manage to achieve it. Those that do command our utmost respect, the likes of John Britton and Erik Buell created real legacies from their vision, engineering skill and dogged determination, while the shed builders like Allen Millyard (creator of the Viper eight-litre V-10) are also talked of in reverent terms here in the office and beyond.

But the process of building a bike from scratch, even if you’re using a donor motor, is one whose complexity is almost endless. Not only do you need the vision, but you also need a huge array of skills (and no little money) to get the job done. Being able to translate what you’ve got in your head onto paper is the start, and by the time you’ve got to the end you’ll need to have acquired CAD skills, Finite Element Analysis talents, be a quality engineer, become a materials expert, be able to get your hands dirty, know your way around an engine, be able to set a bike up, magic yourself into a marketing and website expert, and the list goes on.

That’s why it doesn’t surprise us to hear that it’s taken five years for Dutch brothers Rolf and Sjorn van der Heide to create this rather attractive creation – the Gentleman’s Racer. That’s not far off the time taken by big manufacturers to get from a sketch to making it for real, and although the brothers have borrowed an engine from Aprilia there’s still been a huge amount of work poured into the project – work that has very clearly paid off.

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