There’s one thing retired Grand Prix motorcycle racers criticize about modern MotoGP machines: electronics. Back in the two-stroke era, 500cc GP bikes were notoriously hard-edged. From peaky powerbands to bygone tire technology, former Grand Prix greats relied on their supple right wrists to stay out of the gravel pits.
Despite that volatility, many look upon those times with rose-colored glasses. One such GP fan is Brian Crighton, and he set out to capture the spirit of the two-stroke age without all the hazardous drawbacks. With a 750cc Supercup Championship and a British F1 title to his name, Crighton proved his engineering mettle with the Norton Works racing team. He distills his nearly 40 years of experience into the Crighton CR700W, a GP-inspired, rotary engine-powered track weapon.
Packing a water-cooled, fuel-injected, four-stroke, 690cc twin-rotor engine, the CR700W churns out 220hp at (10,500 rpm) and 105ft/lbs of peak torque (at 9,500 rpm). Those figures are impressive in their own right, but the Crighton’s 287-pound dry weight only bolsters those stunning performance parameters.
Gallery: Crighton CR700W
That liter bike-worthy power means nothing without control, though, and the Spondon-derived chassis unlocks 600-class handling. A single rear shock attaches to a 7000 series aluminum alloy swingarm and customers can choose between an Ohlins or Bitubu front fork. That flexibility extends to the adjustable head-stock angle and swingarm pivot points, allowing the CR700W to shape-shift to the given track.
Crighton saves precious grams by integrating the engine oil reservoir into the frame while Dymag carbon fiber wheels minimize unsprung weight. Superbike-spec Brembo monobloc front and rear calipers and Michelin Superbike slicks complete the chassis, arming the CR700W for track day battles.
Despite all the top-tier gear, Crighton doesn’t fiddle with modern electronic aids such as traction control, a quickshifter, an auto-blipper, wheelie control, or cornering ABS. While the consumer-ready sportbike will earn a color display, a new wiring harness, an updated switchgear, and an optional DC brushless starter motor, the exclusive track-only bike will place the utmost emphasis on the rider’s skill.
At £95,000 (~$115,000 USD), the Crighton CR700W is no cheap bit of kit but recapturing—and improving upon—the 500cc two-stroke Grand Prix race bikes of old will be worth every penny to some.