Now twelve years later the team have realised their goal of building their complete range in Britain.
And unlike some other, much bigger, manufacturers their machines are manufactured in their entirety there. No prebuilt components are imported to make the process cheaper or easier. As far as British Bikes go, these are very much the real thing.
Herald now have eleven bikes in the range. All of these are retro styled. Bench seats and spoked wheels feature prominently. They’re all naked and would look very cool parked outside a city centre café. The range consists of two 400cc machines as well as a pair of 250s and no fewer than six 125cc bikes. And then there’s the daddy of the bunch, the Brute 500.
This was the first bike that Herald designed, engineered and built in its entirety in the UK. At its heart is a 449cc single-cylinder engine which puts out a shade under 43bhp. Drive is delivered through a conventional six-speed gearbox and combined with that single-cylinder thumper of a motor it offers a rewarding ride.
The people at Herald are rightly proud of the Brute. They’ve made their own levers, swing arms, yokes and even the wiring looms used on the Brute. On other parts they’ve collaborated with partners such as Hel Performance on their own in-house braking system.
The bike is dressed with a full digital dash in addition to a set of those streaming indicators of the type that make it so easy to judge Audi drivers so harshly. The whole thing sits in an aluminium and steel frame and rolls on a set of Metzeler Roadtec Z8 tyres. The team has designed a floating-shock linkage system which works in conjunction with adjustable Racetek suspension on both ends of the bike.
At only 145kg it’s a very easy machine with which to make progress and it handles significantly better than anything that looks this cool has a right to. It’s not, however, all about parking it up outside a trendy Dublin café and gazing at it as you consume grossly overpriced chai lattes.
Indeed, the Herald Brute produces all the power necessary to make short work of a city commute. It’s also perfect on our wonderful twisty country roads. Shod on a set of knobblies, you could even take on a trail road with ease. It’s also a machine that can be a friend to those returning to motorcycling, or new to the game, as it has an A2-licence-friendly power-to-weight ratio.
The Brute, along with the rest of the Herald range, is available from Franklin Motorcycles in Swords, Co Dublin. You can contact the Franklin team on 01-5385005.