1951 Ariel Square 4
Not only the matriarch of our stable, but also the greatest capacity bike in the fleet at 1000cc.
Marketed as ‘the worlds most exclusive motorcycle’ when launched, the Ariel Square 4 actually started life as a 600cc overhead cam design before WW2. By the time it reached production after the war it had transformed to a pushrod engine as production costs for the overhead cam version were deemed to high.
The CBEsprit Square 4 is a MKI, a version which did develop a reputation for overheating largely because the exhaust manifolds were an intergral part of the head (later versions had seperate exhaust manifolds bolted on) and the two rear cylinders were not as efficiently cooled as the front. To counter this an oil cooler has been fitted and no overheating problems have been encountered, even during the very warm summer months that prevail in Provence.
Physically quite small, especially considering it is 1000cc, the bike really is a unique riding experience being extremely comfortable and very smooth. A 1 up, 3 down right foot change gearbox is allied to a very tractable engine making her very easy to ride in the undulating hills that are to be found in Provence .