It's been two years since Falcon Motorcycles in Los Angeles sped onto the custom scene with a high-end concept bike fashioned from old British iron.
Commissioned by actor Jason Lee and unveiled at the much-loved but now-defunct Legend of the Motorcycle vintage bike show in 2008, the Bullet scavenged the engine and frame of a 1950 Triumph Thunderbird and fused it with the profile of a '20s board tracker and obscure bits and bobs to create a could-have-been bike that never actually existed.
Two years and 2,000 man-hours later, Falcon is back with a follow-up to its award-winning Bullet. It's called the Kestrel. Fashioned around the engine of a 1970 Triumph Bonneville and outfitted with hundreds of handcrafted pieces dreamed up by builder Ian Barry, the Kestrel, to be unveiled at this weekend's Quail Motorcycle Gathering in Carmel, is an evolution of the Falcon concept: one-of-a-kind motorcycles built around the engines of pre- and post-World War II British bikes.
Founders Barry and Amaryllis Knight won't disclose the price tag on the Kestrel, the second official Falcon bike. They prefer to use the term "priceless." And for good reason. Two thousand hours is more than double the amount of time it took to build the $45,000 Falcon Bullet.
And that doesn't even begin to get at the sleepless nights Barry said he spent conceptualizing his latest creation, or the cost of the vintage "donor bike" or the extensive machinery and raw materials employed to turn the Kestrel into elegant, two-wheeled art.