On the VanderHeide, every bit than can be made of carbonfibre is made of CF. With its monocoque CF chassis, alternative front suspension and 200bhp Aprilia V4 engine, it really is one hell of a motorcycle!
Based in The Netherlands, Brothers Rolf and Sjors van der Heide have created an Art Deco-style motorcycle that's crafted out of carbonfibre, is powered by an Aprilia RSV4's 200bhp V4, weighs 174 kilos dry and, just before you get your hopes up, know that it's priced at US$165,000.
"We decided to build our own motorcycle because we enjoy riding motorcycles, we love pioneering, thinking outside-the-box, and we see plenty of opportunities to improve upon existing technologies," says Sjors. "Rolf dreamed of creating his own motorcycle as long as he can remember. He has been involved with Spyker [Dutch supercar company] and Carver [a company that made a truly awesome three-wheeler road-rocket], and also specialises in carbonfibre composites engineering," he adds.
Sjors says that the brothers wanted to build an attractive street-legal superbike, that would utilise carbonfibre construction and an alternative suspension system since Rolf doesn't like the conventional front fork very much. The brothers invited Michiel van den Brink to design the bike, who made the first 2D sketches. The brothers then went on to build a full-size clay model and even used a 3D scanner to digitise the design. The completed bike is made almost entirely of carbonfibre - the one-piece monocoque chassis/bodywork, swingarm and front suspension are all made of carbonfibre.
The carbonfibre used on the VanderHeide motorcycle is all hand-laid and uses dry fibers, the kind of stuff that's also used on the Pagani Huyra supercar. "On such large double curved surfaces like the bike's monocoque chassis, it is very complicated to maintain the beautiful structure of the dry fiber. This takes a lot craftsmanship and patience," says Sjors. "We add resin by vacuum injection and we built our own oven to cure the fiber. We have all kinds of data loggers to keep track of temperature, pressure, humidity, etc. We do everything ourselves, in our own workshop. The only things we have outsourced are the manufacturing of the moulds and the manufacturing of the metal parts like the footpegs etc.," he adds.
The van der Heide brothers say that they chose to use carbonfibre for their superbike because it allowed them to create a very light, very stiff monocoque chassis for the machine, which helps with the handling and also looks good. "We chose carbon fiber for both cosmetic reasons as well as for practical reasons. The handling of the bike played a pivotal role during the development process. The carbon monocoque – which is one piece from front to rear – serves as chassis, 24-litre fuel tank and bodywork," says Sjors.
The suspension system used on the VanderHeide machine is also unique. At the front there's Fior-type girder forks linked to a double wishbone, which is attached to the front shock via pushrods and rockers. The front and rear shocks are positioned in line, which allows them to eliminate opposing forces, which in turn reduces stress on the chassis. "We have applied a patent for our suspension system," says Sjors, adding that on standard settings, the response from the fully adjustable front suspension is similar to that of a top-spec USD fork, but with reduced dive under braking. "This helps stabilize the bike under braking, and you can then brake harder and later," he says.
For now, the van der Heide brothers plan to build 25 units of their carbonfibre Aprilia-engined superbike, but may also collaborate with a partner in the future to build a fully electric, battery-powered carbon sportsbike. If they do, we'd bet it would be no less stunning than the machine you already see here! For more details, please visit the VanderHeide website
CHASSIS – VanderHeide in-house engineered and handcrafted:
100% carbon fiber monocoque
100% carbon fiber swingarm
100% carbon fiber front forks
24 liters of fuel capacity in the monocoque chassis (no separate fuel tank)
SUSPENSION – VanderHeide in-house engineered – patent pending:
Front: Double Wishbone Linked with Öhlins TTX 36 inline damper
Rear: Öhlins TTX 36 inline damper
Front and rear dampers are positioned in line and in opposite direction in order to eliminate opposing forces.
This reduces stress on the monocoque chassis.
Front end: easy accessible rake angle adjuster (Allen key)
Dry weight: 165kg (race configuration)
Dry weight: 175kg (street legal configuration)
Aprilia RSV4 65-degree V4, 999.6 cc, 201hp (150 kW) @ 13,000 rpm
Optional (race configuration): Aprilia RSV4 superbike engine, 230+hp (171 kW)
Top speed: 300+km/h (186+mph)
Front: 17” 5-spoke carbon fiber BlackStone Tek (BST) Black Star
Rear: 17” 5-spoke carbon fiber BlackStone Tek (BST) Black Star
Front: 120/70-ZR17 Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SC
Rear: 190/55-ZR17 Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SC
Optional: Rear 200/55-ZR17
Photo copyright: Studio Target Press, Moordrecht / Motor magazine, The Netherlands