When Gladstone Motorcycles launched in 2013, it was the first brand-new bespoke British motorcycle manufacturer since Hesketh in 1984.
Only nine Gladstone No.1 motorcycles have been built and we stumbled upon one recently in The Bike Shed, in Shoreditch, London.
It’s a second-hand bike with just a handful of kilometres on the odometer and is priced at £34,000 (about $A57,600), but they are open to negotiations.
We have no idea how much it cost originally, because prices are only available on application and would depend on what sort of materials and embellishments you want on your handmade bike.
The Gladstone No. 1 is a 1950s-styled hardtail bobber with a nickle-plated Metisse frame, seven-inch Gladstone Smith’s speedometer and leather-stitched sprung saddle.
It features plenty of vintage-style brass and copper including a brass battery box hiding a modern lithium battery.
The Gladstone No.1 is powered by a blue-printed classic T140 750cc Triumph engine married to a five-speed, left-hand-shift gearbox.
In the flesh – or precious metals – it is absolutely stunning!
We spent ages sitting in The Bike Shed, sipping lattes and admiring the rare machine.
My three-month-old granddaughter, Matilda, even had her first motorcycle experience sitting on the rare and expensive machine.
The bike company is named after William Ewart Gladstone, Britain’s Tory Prime Minister from 1809-1898.
Company CEO is Henry Cole, TV presenter of World’s Greatest Motorcycle Rides (Travel Channel Worldwide) and The Motorbike Show (ITV4) who is also the great great nephew of the former PM. He says his lifelong dream has always been to launch a British motorcycle.
The company also produces The Gladstone “Cinder Path Racer” bicycle and a collection of Gladstone-designed luxury clothing and accessories including jackets, gloves, helmets, goggles and tweed caps.
If you’re in London, you should drop into The Bike Shed and have a look at it while browsing through their impressive range of custom bikes and their esoteric collections of helmets, jackets and other riding gear.
The Bike Shed also features a restaurant and you can even get a shave and a haircut at the barber shop.