In the mid-1980s, Brian Crighton was hired by Norton to reinvigorate the British firm’s race program. This would ultimately lead to Crighton developing the rotary engine-powered RCW588 — a superbike that would be ridden to a BSBK championship title and a Senior TT win in ’90 and ’92, respectively. And while it’s now been several decades since Crighton parted ways with Norton, the now 73-year-old Wankel engine whiz has spent the last 12 years painstakingly developing a modern rotary-powered superbike with an otherworldly spec-sheet.
Dubbed the Crighton CR700W, the envelope-pushing motorcycle is built around a custom-fabricated, Spondon-derived twin-spar chassis and swing-arm that are crafted from 7000 series aluminum alloy and paired with top-of-the-line MotoGP-spec braking and suspension components, all cloaked in a full set of carbon fiber bodywork. Developed with help from rotary aero-engine specialists Rotron Power, the crown jewel of the British-built superbike is undoubtedly its engine, an aluminum block, fuel-injected 690cc twin-rotary lump that makes 220hp and 105ft-lbs of torque. Mated to a Nova Transmissions six-speed gearbox and slipper clutch, this modern rotary unit also sports Crighton’s innovative titanium exhaust ejector system. The use of ultra-low-friction, two-piece silicone nitride ceramic apex seals also manages to massively mitigate friction and wear, enabling the CR700W to take on a full season of races or track days before requiring any major servicing. Riding on a set of ultralight carbon fiber Dynamag wheels, the CR700W weighs in at only 285.5lbs, giving it a higher power-to-weight ratio than a MotoGP bike, and making it more potent than even the Ferrari F2004 — the most powerful naturally-aspirated Formula 1 race car of all time.
Officially unveiled last week at the UK’s National Motorcycle Museum, the Crighton Motorcycles CR700W will be available in extremely limited numbers, with production currently being capped at just 25 specimens, each of which will be entirely built by hand at a cutting-edge aero-engine facility in Wiltshire, England. Pricing on the rotary-engined superbike — which is a track-only model — has been set at £85,000 (~$116,000).