Radical Ransom ‘Archangel’ Motorcycle Costs More Than Some Supercars

The Ransom Archangel probably won’t be a daily rider, but it still looks to be a functional, … [+] rideable motorcycle.

Dino Petrocelli/Ransom Motorcycles

Custom motorcycles have always been a pretty penny, but when I got an email from custom builder Ransom Motorcycles saying its new Archangel model cost in the neighborhood of high six to seven figures (depending on options), I pinged back to make sure that was correct. It was. That’s supercar money. What’s so special about the Ransom Archangel that it costs more than a Lamborghini?

Stating the obvious: The Archangel is not a series production machine you find at a local motorcycle dealer, no matter how boutique it might be. If you want one, it’ll take a non-refundable $2,000 deposit to hold your place in a very short line, and then you can chat with the bike builder directly about the specifics of your future custom, which is part of New Jersey-based Ransom’s “Valiance” collection. Once the build commences, Ransom will require a larger financial commitment.

If sultry red isn’t your color of choice, Ransom can accommodate with a different color scheme.

Dino Petrocelli/Ransom Motorcycles

At the very least, each Archangel will be constructed from hand-formed aluminum elements that begin like a dagger over the front wheel and end in a spear point over the fat 300mm wide rear tire. In between, the bodywork swoops and swirls, forming a slender fuel tank, narrow waist and even radiator shrouds that incorporate down-force winglets, all blended together into an almost beetle-like body structure that houses the engine, frame and suspension components. The LED headlight (below)s is only visible when the nose of the Archangel slides forward and down to reveal it.

When it’s time to ride. the front of the bike’s bodywork slides down to reveal the LED headlight.

Ransom Motorcycles

Ransom specifies the Archangel engine as a 185-horsepower inline four with a 13,000 rpm redline but he would not say who makes it. Suffice to say it is from a Japanese sportbike and is fully tested, tuned and dialed in before delivery.

Builder W. Robert Ransom, who prefers to just go by “Ransom,” told Forbes.com he doesn’t publicly specify which engines he uses as he does not want his bikes to be mistaken for customized stock motorcycles or identified around the engine, as is common in the motorcycle world. “The Archangel is a Ransom motorcycle” with its own VIN number and identity, he said. Ransom builds each bike by himself, putting in thousands of hours per machine. There is no crew or cast of characters lending support. He has been building custom motorcycles for over 20 years officially, but says he was clearly mechanically inclined even as a child.

Ransom said the choice to power his creations with inline four-cylinder sportbike engines helps the machines stand out from the V-Twin powered customs that are much more common in the custom bike sphere.

The unusual exhaust outlet is hand-formed titanium.

Dino Petrocelli/Ransom Motorcycles

He said he chose to go with highly potent sportbike motors because that’s what he grew up around when he started riding and building bikes. His youth was filled with CBRs, GSX-Rs, FZRs and Ninjas, not Low Riders and Wide Glides.

The frame itself is constructed from 4130 chromoly tubing, as is the hand-formed single-sided rear swingarm. The suspension is a custom adjustable air-ride system with up to 4.5 inches of travel. Compressed air for the suspension is stored in the rear swingarm.

The fork rake is severe, but the front brake is up to the task of slowing the Archangel down.

Dino Petrelli/Ransom Motorcycles

While the Archangel has a sportbike heart, the suspension geometry is long and low, with handling characteristics to match. The forks have a severe rake that Ransom said results in requiring a lot of body english to make it turn, and he has ridden it a fair bit himself. “It’s not a sportbike,” Ransom said of the ride dynamics.

A small, twin-point centerstand keeps the bike perfectly upright when parked so passersby can drink in the many details on both sides of the Archangel, including a highly unconventional outward-curling titanium exhaust canister.

The unusual exhaust setup terminates in a branded titanium horn terminating about 90 degrees from … [+] normal.

Dino Petrelli/Ransom Motorcycles

Ransom said the unusual exhaust was an intentionally provocative design choice that he knew would polarize observers. Buyers will have the option to retain it or specify another approach during the build process.

Twin radiators are ensconced in air-collecting bodywork to enhance cooling airflow.

Dino Petrelli/Ransom Motorcycles

The radiators that keep the engine cool also present an element absent from air-cooled customs, but Ransom says he welcomes the challenge to integrate them into the design as they are an important facet of the bike’s powerful performance quotient. On the Archangel, the twin side-mounted radiators are mounted in curved bodywork that incorporates a stylized winglet that adds a bit of downforce at speed – not that the Archangel’s long wheelbase would allow much front wheel lift under acceleration. Still, it is a nod to the latest style and tech in the sportbike realm from which the engine came.

Flowing lines, deep paint, bespoke materials and a lot of horsepower are the Archangel’s calling … [+] cards.

Dino Petrelli/Ransom Motorcycles

The Archangel weighs in at a solid 440 pounds according to Ransom, and he said this is not a motorcycle that had light weight as a central concern. In the end, the Archangel is about making a statement on form and function, not a quest for a featherweight 185 horsepower hyperbike – which are available at dealerships these days. Ransom said the Archangel is of his own design and was not a commissioned build.

Ransom says he knows his creations are not going to be daily riders – or even occasional riders in many cases. They are rolling works of art and he says he is happy to make them for wealthy clients who will likely display them as such.

Single-sided swingarm seems to make the wide rear wheel almost feel detached from the motorcycle.

Dino Petrocelli/Ransom Motorcycles

Clearly, despite its exotic nature, the Archangel is not constructed from nearly a million dollars worth of parts. A large part of the price is the artistry and design of such a rare beast by Ransom, who said he builds every bike by hand, by himself. It’s just how he works. And who buys Ransom customs? “Kings,” Ransom said.

Custom motorcycle builder Ransom with his Archangel creation.

Dino Petrelli/Ransom Motorcycles

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