Borile B 500 Ricki: from tragedy comes scrambler

Dailies -


B500Ricki.jpgBorile, tiny purveyor of exquisite hand made Italian motorcycle essence, is working on a new model for the first time in well over ten years. Umberto Borile’s new model will be a scrambler in honor of his son Richard, who died last year. 

In what is undoubtedly the saddest and most beautiful press release in recent motorcycling history, Umberto Borile explains why he decided to build a new model:

I wanted to inform you that I am setting up a new motorcycle model, called B 500 Ricki in honor of my son Richard, who died July 31 last year at the age of twenty.

Initially I did not want to know anything, a great emptiness takes hold of you and nothing has value anymore. Fortunately, in the great misfortune you realize you have friends that you never thought so close and sensitive. My wife and I have never been abandoned a minute, and they spurred us to resist and continue to live.

From there sprang the desire to do something tangible for my son. A scrambler would have liked him. A four-stroke 500cc bike with 21″ and 18″ wheels. Strictly classical and strictly all made by hand, we want to see my sweat on every motorcycle I make.
Now I leave and start to work.

Borile B500T.jpgBorile B 500 T

Borile started in the late ’80s with a futuristic offroader, before making waves at the 1997 EICMA exhibition with the retro-looking B 500 T. Two years later Borile presented the B 500 CR, a more modern take on the cafe racer theme. With some developments along the way, this is still Borile’s “production” model, along with the supermotard B 500 MT, both of them using Borile’s own retro-looking engine, based on a modern GM speedway motor. The 487cc single-cylinder produces around 60bhp in speedway trim. The number is probably lower in the Borile version, but the B 500 CR weighs only 250lbs (117kg) — dry and with kick-starter only.

Borile B500CR.jpgBorile B 500 CR

Borile doesn’t sell many bikes (about 50 total per year), but according to their website, that’s never been the plan:
We never wondered about how many we will sell of them but we only wanted to build them just the way they are, by hand, piece by piece, using only the best materials available on the market with a maniacal attention to particulars, and proving a great satisfaction for each assembled piece. We like our work and we like our bikes.

  • Parkwood60

    Pretty awesome, but I’d take an original Husqvarna 360 Sportsman, which is pretty much what he sketched on that napkin, right down to the color of the tank and shape o the exhaust. Nice story though.

  • Emmet

    A small motorcycle company with a realistic outlook? nice to see their focus on classic styling. Models with kickstart only? Me likey. That second picture is timeless, you couldn’t tell that is a late model motorycle.

  • Scott

    Husky napkin-sketch had my hopes up.
    Website permits ordering online: 15,000 US dollars, plus tax & red-tape.

  • Parkwood60

    I’ve been browsing Craigslist for a few weeks looking for a Husky Sportsman or Commando, but maybe I’ll just pick up a Honda Ascot single, or a XL350 or 500 and make something like this.

    • emptybee

      There are better ways of looking for an old Husky:

      • Parkwood60

        Well, I am looking for a street legal bike that looks like an old Husky. The easiest would be a Commando or Sportsman, though I did see a home brewed street legal WR400 for sale a few years ago. I already have and race a 1971 4 Speed Round Case CR400, with the shifter on the right and the brakes on the left, but I can’t ride that to work.

  • Cajun

    Godspeed Ricki and Mr Borile your creations are exquisite. I hope the creative process lessens your burden which as a parent myself I know is unimaginable. I’m glad you and your wife chose to live.

  • John

    Would be nice to see that bike licensed to a mass producer so I could rationalize and afford one. I’d love to have a 500cc “trail bike” like the old days. I don’t want to compete, I want to enjoy the scenery.