ACE BRITISH MOTORCYCLES: BACK TO THE FUTUREPosted On: March 20, 2016 By : AutoLife Team
Every so often, we come across a machine that puts a genuine smile across our face and we consider those moments truly special. We happened to come across such a moment when we got our hands on the Ace Classic 400. A fusion of cool retro styling with a strong presence of British motorcycling heritage of the 70s, the motorcycle appeals to a majority of motorcycle enthusiasts simply because we dreamt about owning one like it at some point of our life. It has an engine that owes almost everything to Honda’s XBR500 of the 1980s and there is a lot one can expect from it.There are many people who believe that the 80s was the best decade for motorcycles and there aren’t many who would go against that claim. The Ace Classic taps into the nostalgia of motorcyclists and settles into a soft spot instantly, and we weren’t any different. It’s a modern take on the motorcycle styling of the yesteryears and it has definitely garnered a considerable amount of attention.
After seeing it at its showroom at Panipokhari we just had to have a go at it. Luckily, the guys at the showroom were more than willing to let us test it out.
The Ace Classic 400 does not rely on a lot of bells and whistles to get itself noticed, but it does the job well regardless. The manufacturers have relied on simple styling to retain the classic look of the motorcycle. They haven’t got everything completely right though, and we’ll start with the negatives first.If there is one thing that you might find slightly less to your liking about the styling about this motorcycle its the headlight and speedometers. Slightly too reminiscent of those in the Suzuki GN, the massive circular headlights and dual speedometers don’t fit too well with the entire motorcycle. Nevertheless, we did have differing opinions about it between our team members so there is a very good chance that you might love it.The chromed steel wheels with gaitered forks play an integral role in giving the bike its retro looks. Robust front fenders, telescopic front forks and a well shaped tank sum up the front end while the back has twin rear shocks and a classy seat over a metal rear fender. The dual ‘60s style silencers also add to the appeal of the machine.
The engine is an air-cooled overhead cam four-valve single with fuel injection (reminiscent of the Honda XBR500) which belts out 29hp at 7000rpm. Small catalysts are hidden inside the silencers with twin pipes sprouting out of the twin-port head. Its chasiss is simple with a straightforward tubular steel cradle frame. The brakes are deliberately retro, with a 160mm drum at the rear supplementing the single 280mm front disc, with a more modern two-pot caliper. The analog odometers clearly display the speed and rpm meter with telltale lights that indicate neutral, engine check light and fuel indicator as well as the turn indicators and high beam indicator.
RIDE & HANDLING
The Ace Classic 400 has a comfortable upright seating position which you can ride in for hours without complain. And you might most likely be tempted to do just that once you introduce yourself to the throttle. The well tuned 398cc engine at the heart of the machine makes it a fun machine to ride.The 400cc engine has two distinct characteristics and all it takes is a twist of the wrist to take it from a tame cruiser to an explosive beast. It is capable of lugging around at an easy relaxing pace through the city but it is more than eager to rip through tarmac at your whim. Mid range power is great and it doesn’t demand a lot of gear shifts to maintain the power. The torque peaks at 5500 RPM, and there’s enough of it to propel the machine forward with vigor. Head it towards a straight stretch and it happily bounds to its destination with deliberate and controlled power with a hearty engine note to accompany you. On the twistier stuff, everything works as it should. The suspension might be basic, but it does the job, and wide bars coupled with low weight make this an easy bike to flick around. Braking could have been better and rear discs could have made for an even better experience.
There are many motorcycle marquees which have tried to recreate the glory of the celebrated years of what we see today as classic motorcycles, and there have been just as many who have failed at doing so. Surprisingly, the Ace Classic 400 seems to have done it quite splendidly and that too despite being built by the manufacturer Shineray in China. But don’t be too quick to chuck this machine along with some of the shoddily made China rejects, because it is put together well. The quality of the build is spectacular and the engine performs splendidly.Not only does it deliver on the aesthetics, it performs well enough to keep any rider interested. It sums up to be the perfect blend of style, class and mechanical performance. You’re sure to turn a few heads when you ride it through the crowd, and when you’re not doing that, it is perfectly at home chasing the horizon.