Saturday, 25 April 2015

Friday bike

Two variations on one bike this week.
Francis Barnett Kestral
Francis Barnett Merlin

Yes, another old British company name has reappeared as badges on Chinese bikes, (also see AJS). The new Francis Barnetts are based on the Herald Motor Company (HMC) Classic 125, which features a Chinese built Suzuki GN 125 'clone' engine.

No prices on the FB website, but the HMC is listed as £1650 (plus on the road charges), about 2300 Euros or US$2500, and I would imagine that the FBs would be similar.

The Specs

  • Start Type: Electric start.
  • Engine: Air-cooled, 124cc, sohc, 5 gears, chain drive.
  • Power: 10.7bhp
  • Torque: 6.3ftlb
  • Frame: Tubular steel cradle, tubular steel swing arm
  • Suspension: Telescopic front forks, twin shocks with preload adjust, rear
  • Dry weight: 107kg
  • Front brake: Single wavy disc with twin-piston caliper
  • Rear brake: Drum
  • Fuel capacity: 12 litres
  • Seat height: 780mm

Francis Barnett website.

Test in MCN of earlier version of HMC Classic link.


  1. Funny how the older names pop back up again.

    You guys see way more bike brands over there than we do here.

  2. That is a really sweet design. Thanks for "exposing" it on your blog, as the previous poster mentioned, I presume he is in the U.S. or Canada, we are bored by various versions of crotch rocket or HD lookalikes or variants from the Orient.

    I really like the trail version and I'm sure they will have a winner there and the price is very favourable. The other bonus of course is the proven reliability of these engines compared to the originals.. of course I got mine very secondhand for the princely sum of £3 and sixpence.

  3. I think we get more brands, but not necessarily more bikes. Lots of the Chinese bikes are sold under different brand names ( in my garage is a friend's Jiangshe JS 125. It appears to be identical to the AJS JS 125. ) I really like the trail styled 'Merlin', if they can get the price and reliability right, they deserve to sell well. HMC do a 250cc bike as well, a 250 Merlin would be interesting.

  4. Thanks Norman, I live on the Canadian West Coast, the "Big Four", Piaggio scooters, Enfield's and the odd Ural and H-D and Victory are most common here! But their are a few Chinese And Korean but nothing as fancy as this!

  5. Well Norman In regards to your hipster comment on the garelli 60s helmet and beard ect. I have loads of bikes. New h2, new zzr1400, trials bikes dirt bikes mopeds ect. You might notice I had crutches in the back back riding with a broken leg that day perfectly good reason to ride the garelli.the helmet was my grandads. As for the beard I take it you can grow a natural full beard

    1. Sorry - no offence intended. Photo now deleted.