Remember Hesketh? The proudly British motorcycle company was, in the early 1980s, the latest venture from Lord Alexander Hesketh. For fans of British industry, Formula One, or both, that name may ring a bell. In 1975, his F1 team tasted its only victory at the Dutch Grand Prix of Zandvoort, in the hands of future world champion James Hunt.
After watching the British motorcycle industry struggle as the Japanese industry’s fortunes seemingly rose with no end in sight, Hesketh made the fateful decision to come to the nation’s rescue. Unfortunately, in a classic case of reach exceeding grasp, the resulting Hesketh V1000 was the opposite of the strong, groundbreaking, class-leading machine that was promised. Also, it cost too much, so it was probably not a huge surprise when the firm only made 140 of these bikes before declaring bankruptcy.
By 1982, Lord Hesketh felt compelled to buy back the rights to the moto concern that bore his name—and also reconfigure the old V1000 into a “new” machine, called the Vampire. Unfortunately, it was a case of new look, same problems—and the intervening years between then and our lofty perch in 2022 proved a bumpy ride indeed.
Gallery: Hesketh Heresy 450
By 2010, former Cosworth engineer Paul Sleeman had bought Hesketh, and began to apply his years of engineering experience to crafting a new project, dubbed the 24. Powered by a 2,000cc S&S V-twin, that first all-new model in decades was priced at an extremely serious £35,000 –which, adjusted for inflation, would equate to around £39,058 in 2022 money, or about $44,620.
Also, that engine was Euro 3 compliant. However, if Hesketh was to move forward, it needed to have a serious think about coming Euro 5 and 6 requirements.
When you start thinking about one problem, pretty soon you start thinking about other things you might change, as well. What if Hesketh was to put out a more affordable bike for the first time in its history?
Now that it’s 2022, that’s what the all-new Hesketh Heresy is about to bring to the table later this September—and according to a recent interview that Sleeman did with MCN, it seems we may have the pandemic to thank for such a radical rethink.
Why ‘Heresy’? Hesketh has gleefully been publishing small teaser glimpses at different sections of the bike on its Facebook page, which give us at least some detail. For a start, it’s powered by a 450cc single, which Hesketh says is “made under licence from Honda, it was once the XR 400 motocross engine, well proven and pretty bullet proof, produced to Hesketh specifications in Taiwan, twin port, twin injector Euro 5 certified.”
There’s also a peek at what seems to be a cantilever suspension in another photo—not to mention the expected retail price, which is a mere £11,000 (or $12,558 as of September, 2022). With a lower price comes higher volume expectations, as well—estimated at around 100 bikes built in a single year.
When will we get to see the Hesketh Heresy in its entirety? The firm says it’s due out sometime this month—September, 2022, although it hasn’t given an exact date. While the company does have a website, it seems incredibly active on Facebook—so that’s probably your best bet if you want to keep up with future developments.