Renard GT: going in circles

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Equipped with a kevlar-reinforced carbon fiber monocoque chassis that incorporates the airbox and fuel tank, the Renard GT is exceptionally strong and at just 190kg/419lbs (dry), pretty light too. But, rather than equip this futuristic platform with an equally high-tech engine, Renard chose to squeeze an air-cooled Guzzi v-twin into all that carbon. The result is a motorcycle that should be exceptionally good. At cruising.

Other fancy components include components milled from aircraft-grade aluminum billet and a carbon fiber girder fork that’s adjustable for rake and trail as well as the usual preload, compression and rebound damping.

Renard hales from Estonia, where a group of investors decided to rekindle a brand that produced motorized bicycles before WWII obliterated the country. They describe the GT as, “a surgeon’s blade on two wheels” and say that it’ll reah a top speed of 155mph.

Limited to just 100 units per year, this will clearly be an exceptionally expensive motorcycle and it looks like it’s equipped with the component quality to justify such a price. Check out the aluminum switches on the bars and the way the foot levers protrude through slots in the carbon monocoque.

While it doesn’t look like the GT sets out to achieve anything radical in the way of performance or handling, the respectably short wheelbase, quality suspension and incredibly strong platform should lead to very good handling. Even the foot pegs are mounted where they should be. Renard describes the GT as a “performance cruiser” but we’re guessing that means more Moto Guzzi Griso than it does Victory 8-Ball.

The eight-valve 1,151cc Moto Guzzi v-twin puts out 125bhp and 89lb/ft of torque, so the GT should even be pretty quick.

In fact, we’d be raving about this original, quirky, neatly engineered motorcycle if it wasn’t for one thing: it blatantly sets out to copy JT Nesbitt’s original Wraith, but doesn’t manage to copy it terribly successfully. It’s not just a case of the girder fork, look at the seat and the sweep of the frame beneath it. The problem is, JT originally set out to subvert motorcycle design archetypes with circles, not just pull out of his ass, but based on the power plant he chose: a v-twin that was made from two cylinders of a radial aircraft engine. Basically, he just extrapolated that circle into a motorcycle. With cylinder heads poking out the sides perpendicular to the monocoque, this imitation misses the original point and that’s a shame, because otherwise this is clearly a neat motorcycle.


  • NoH2Oh

    Somebody call JT Nesbitt…

  • spidiracer

    Ehhhh not diggin’ it.

  • MisterGone

    I’m kind of amazed they would try to copy such a unique and identifiable bike as the Wraith, and they really did botch the job on the styling. The front looks ok but as your eyes travel back along the bike it just gets worse and worse until you hit that POS swingarm, ugg what a waste.
    I give Renard 6-9 months before folding if this is the type of bike they’re going to be producing.

  • seanslides

    I’ve got deja vu. Didn’t we all agree that this was a blatant knock-off of the wraith months ago?

    • Wes Siler

      Indeed, but that was with renders. Now there’s like official pictures and stuff.

  • Bald Shaun

    Meh. The front looks good, but highly derivative. The back looks like the Roehr electric superbike(i.e., like crap).

  • tony starr

    okay, maybe i’m not getting the joke here. first you’ve published something about the latest ZX-10R taking design clues from the 85 ninja and now this is a copy of the Wraith? i think i could find 2 japanese motorcycles from 2 different brands that look more similar! when i first saw this Renard, it reminded me more of a 1939 DKW.

  • Maas

    I like this, yes I also saw some old DKW NZ 350 there. I actually prefer this fork over the flat slab on the Wraith. Plus it will have the sexy rumble of a Guzzi.

    “The problem is, JT originally set out to subvert motorcycle design archetypes with circles, not just pull out of his ass…”

    He got lucky with the Wraith, he has not designed anything of note since then, go check his web site.

    • Wes Siler

      JT got out of motorcycle design after Katrina. Something about a bad experience with certain people. He’s doing just fine right now, as long as you don’t count the fender bender he had in his Ferrari last week.

    • Grant Ray

      He’s actually been working on something almost entirely made by his two hands, or with friends of ours, that’s going to be spectacular. And before you ask, no I can’t tell you what it is except that it’s not a motorcycle.

      • Beast Incarnate

        My money’s on a repaired Ferrari fender.

  • MTGR

    Looks aside, it is nice to hear someone is finally taking advantage of Carbon Fiber’s ability to create versatile shapes and incorporating the frame, airbox, and fuel into one piece.

  • z@ch

    but who approved the uterus for the logo?