Words by Martin Hodgson.
It was once a basic Honda 650 Dominator, now the bike before you is a certifiable scrambler beast, with the smile of a Dakar racer to prove it. If there is a legitimate gripe some motorcyclists have of the custom industry it is that while many of the bikes look great, they in fact ride worse than the standard item, sometimes they’re just downright dangerous. But the truth is, very few custom bikes are ever subjected to the sorts of tests a manufacturer puts their machines through. For a custom bike shop what better way to test your abilities than to build a bike for someone who can push it to its limits, a professional racer. For Estonia’s Renard Speed Shop this was never going to be a problem, the 4th placed bike builders from our 2014 Bike of the Year Award, have a reputation for absolute quality and this scrambler for a professional Dakar racer only raises the bar.
Last year we featured this carbon fibre Renard Motorcycle which was lighting up the switchboard on many motorcycle sites around the world – including this one. Unfortunately, we couldn’t make it to Estonia to interview the team behind the bike but fortunately someone else did. That someone was Lauri Poldre from a CAD drawing collective called Grabcad.com who was kind enough to send us his comprehensive interview. Enjoy…
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I was trawling through the threads on Yay Hooray the other night and found the image above posted in between animated gifs of kids being hurt and photoshop jobs of fathers and sons with their faces swapped. I was blown away by the look of the bike about as much as I was by the fact that I didn’t have a clue what it was or where it came from.
Turns out it’s by an Estonian company called Renard that has a history dating back to before the Second World War. Their factory was destroyed in 1944 by Soviet bombers and the brand has lain dormant ever since. In 2008 it was revived, and what you see here is their first production model – the Grand Tourer. The first sales are planned for next year.
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