Voxan Black Magic

 

 

 

Make Model

Voxan Black Magic

Year

2004 - 08

Engine

Four stoke, 72°V-Twin cylinder, DOHC, 4 valves per cylinder

Capacity

996 cc / 60.7 cu-in
Bore x Stroke 98 x 66 mm
Cooling System Liquid cooled
Compression Ratio 10.8:1

Induction

Magneti Marelli electronic injection

Ignition 

Electronic 
Starting Electric

Max Power

100 hp / 72.9 kW @ 9000 rpm

Max Torque

103 Nm / 75.9 lb-ft @ 6500 rpm

Transmission 

6 Speed 
Final Drive Chain
Frame Double aluminium tube

Front Suspension

WP 40mm inverted forks adjustable for compression and rebound.

Rear Suspension

WP underslung extension shock, adjustable for compression, preload and rebound.

Front Brakes

2x 320mm discs 4 piston calipers

Rear Brakes

Single 245mm disc  2 piston caliper

Front Tyre

120/70-17

Rear Tyre

180/55-17
Rake 24.7°
Wheelbase 1475 mm / 58.1 in
Seat Height 820 mm / 32.3 in

Dry Weight

185.0 kg / 407.9 lbs

Fuel Capacity 

19 Litres / 5.0 US gal

It barks into life. Gruff, vibey, the noise resonates from the big 1000cc motor.

You slowly ease yourself into the spartan saddle, your knees pushed high by the rearsets, and the 21 litre gas tank - yes, a bike with a real fuel range - gleaming silver beneath your chest, reflecting back a fairground mirror image of your head and shoulders.

It's a long stretch to the ace bars in front, then a slight graunch as you boot the bike into first gear and away. The clutch is lighter than you expect, but the gear selection is notchy, old fashioned. On the upside, the fuel injection system on the Voxan Black Magic works well, especially above 4,000rpm when the bike really begins to sing. Within seconds, you're peeling off a roundabout, arcing the Voxan past slow moving traffic, then accelerating hard into the distance, crouched low into the metal of the machine. This bike has guts, pizazz, a hard-edged brutal style.

Suddenly a grin appears on your face and you start to realise that the Black Magic makes sense, up to a point, on the right kind of roads. This is exactly what Voxan say the bike is designed for; backroads scratching, not motorway touring, or slow commuting, but an explosive blast along a favourite road one Sunday morning, early as you like.

In that respect it succeeds, but it's single-minded sense of purpose, the narrow focus of the old fashioned Café racer, doesn't do it for me now I'm creaking into my 40s and worried about the damage hard suspension does to my spine, shoulder and hip bones. Guess I'm too old to rock `n' roll...?

A MOVEABLE FEAST, A FLICKABLE BEAST?

The Voxan Black Magic is powered by a one litre, DOHC V-twin motor, that makes around 100bhp at 8000 revs, which is just enough to make life interesting. Set at 72 degrees, it sits relatively high in the frame, but the lack of sump allows Voxan to place the monoshock underneath the motor, yet retain decent ground clearance, plus a short-ish wheelbase.

The twin tubular spine frame is very clever, in that it has two screw-in adjustable sections at the steering head and swingarm mounting point, which allow the factory to set the exact angle and height of the frame. So a touch of adjustment on the Black Magic sets the weight of the engine slightly forwards, compared to the Café Racer model and you can feel the difference - this bike steers and rides from the front end, it feels stable, albeit with rock hard Marzocchi forks up there too.

Another stiff shock, taking care of bumps and bounces at the back end does you no favours when threading your way through grids, poor road repairs, or pot-holes either. Sometimes it simply bounces the rider out of the saddle at speed - the factory suspension settings are simply too harsh I reckon. The Black Magic Roadster needs to be ridden hard, but preferably at a smooth race circuit, which kind of defeats the idea of building a Café racer par excellence - it can't cut it on the road sometimes because it lacks the finesse that the Voxan Café Racer has for example.

In one regard, Voxan have captured the fire in the belly that inspired the likes of Dave Degens when he melded Norton's cat-quick cradle to Triumph's vibey old Bonnie twin back in the 60s. It looks superb; a quaint blend of retro and modern, stripped-to-the-bone, bad-ass motorbike.

For example, some details, like the Voxan's `rocket launcher' exhaust pipe end cans look great, ditto the rear sets, footpeg mounts, the headstock and the classy twin clock instrument display. The huge gas tank isn't quite as beautiful as one straight from a Triton, or a Manx Norton, but it has a simple elegance. Considering that Voxan have recently recovered from bankruptcy and are a minnow in the shark pool of world bike manufacturing, they've done remarkably well to produce something this good.

But odd bits, like the headlight, the 80s style Superdream mirrors and budget indicators, suggest to bystanders that the Voxan is a home-brewed special, something you haven't quite got around to finishing off. For an estimated eight grand - the bike is due in the UK later in 2005 - that really isn't good enough.

THE BESPOKE OPTION

The bottom line is that buyers will have to accept that Voxan bikes will be different, feel unique, sometimes unusual to ride. Also, they might not be perfect. Each bike is virtually handbuilt, by a msall workforce at Issoire, so in some respects, it is like buying a Bimota, or a Benelli - a bit of a gamble.

But the fact that Voxan went racing in the TT in 2005, rather than some one make series at home, also suggests that they are trying to build bikes that road riders will appreciate, rather than complete track addicts. Voxan are trying to develop something genuinely good, a concept that works in the real world - good on `em for trying I say.

So Voxan's Black Magic Roadster is a cool remix of classic biking, but with moden tyre choices, suspension, fuel injection and electrical systems, plus a distinctive styling package which you either love or hate. They have made a bold statement here and you have to admire them for it, even if living with the Black Magic would have me seeing an osteopath on a fortnightly basis...

For me, the Voxan Café Racer ( or a Suzuki SV1000, Aprilia Tuono or Honda VTR1000 ) performs much better, on a greater variety of roads, plus feels more comfortable to ride. But I can't deny that the Black Magic looks, sounds and rides just like a proper Café racer motorbike should. If Vincent had staved off bankruptcy back in the 50s and made it to the 1990s, I think they would have made something a bit like this; an engineer's cup of espresso.