American-designed and Chinese-made Cleveland CycleWerks motorcycles are putting the fun back into urban motorcycling.
The company has been making the Heist hardball chopper-style urban bikes for some time at the attractive price of $4795 rideaway.
Matt Jones of Rocker Classic Motorcycles, the Queensland retailer, says they have been a popular bike with learners and people who want a second bike for around town and commuting.
Now they have expanded the range with the more conventional Ace Standard at $4595 and the Ace Deluxe at $4695. They’re a mix between street tracker and classic Brit bike.
None is designed for track days or highway touring, but they certainly do make commuting and urban motorcycling great fun.
The bikes are designed in Cleveland, Ohio, and produced in China to the company’s strict quality standards.
They are all powered by a replica XL250 single-cylinder, four-stroke engine with 10.5kW of power and come with a two-year, unlimited km factory warranty not a third-party warranty.
Starting with the Standard, it comes with conventional gatored forks, a simple cradle frame, low seat height, weighs just 136kg, fuel economy of 2.9L/100km and a top speed of over 100km/h. It looks like an old XR Harley flat tracker in its orange and white checkered livery.
The Deluxe has a more Ace Cafe look with upside-down forks, tracker bars and wider 110/70 17 tyres. It has discs front and back, while the other models have a drum rear.
Despite being basic machines, they even include a gear indicator in the simple single instrument pod, lockable fuel cap and five-speed gearbox.
They come with electric start and a kick starter as both a back-up and a retro fun element.
The chopper-style Heist is a hardtail model with a sprung seat.
All bikes have an interesting style, but they are also blank canvases for further customising. One new Heist customer, Peter Bruce, says he is bobbing the rear fender, heat wrapping the headers, slash cutting the pipes and switching to mini-ape bars with the help of the folk at Rocker.
Shop owner Matt says a Misfit model will be coming soon with a more modern “CB” universal Japanese motorcycle style.
We rode the Deluxe and the Heist around the streets of Redcliffe and they tracked well through the urban potholes, even with the Heist’s hardball suspension.
The Heist has a more deliberate feel while the Ace has a more precise, if nervous, steering thanks to its steeper rake.
Even though they are small bikes, we didn’t feel like we were riding monkey bikes. There is generous legroom and a sturdy, big-bike feeling.
While the engine wouldn’t pull the skin off a rice pudding, if you are eager with the free-revving engine and willing to work the light clutch and positive transmission it will hustle through the traffic briskly.
The Heist actually had better stopping power than the all-disc Ace as it features steel braided lines that give it more feel and bite.
They both get up to 80km/h fairly easily, but become breathless toward the top and hit the limiter early in each cog. The Heist has a slightly higher gear ratio.
Highway cruising will find the bikes at their limits, but would be fine for short blasts.