Start-up American motorcycle manufacturer Vanguard launches first model
A new American motorcycle brand is to launch its first model, and with it an intention to take on the big names of the industry.
Vanguard Moto Inc was set up in 2013 by Francois-Xavier Terny, a former management consultant, and Edward Jacobs, a motorcycle designer. So far, it has built a total of one motorcycle – a 1.9 litre V-twin Roadster, which wouldn't look out of place on a Meccano box.
This pioneering, naked model is expected to cost around $30,000 (£24,000) and the manufacturer intends to follow it up with a wider range, with the eventual aim of selling several thousand units a year.
This will put it on par with the likes of manufacturers including Harley Davidson, BMW, Honda and Yamaha, who are on target to sell a combined total of 500,000 motorcycles in America this year.
This is a big dream for a small start-up. However, thanks to digital technologies lowering the cost of entry to manufacturing, it is an increasingly achievable one.
Product development is one area where this is prevalent. Sketching, clay modelling, component engineering and testing a model used to take automakers as many as five years. This is a process that can now be condensed into just two days, using three-dimensional computer-aided design, engineering and simulation systems.
Long before anything material is built, the product will be digitally sculpted and tested. Even production methods can be simulated on the system.
And with these detailed, professional designs, it is easier for the company to approach suppliers for quotes.
Vanguard used Solidworks from Dassault Systèmes to design their bike.
Systems such as this benefit from the increasingly low-cost availability of high performance computers to significantly reduce the costs of both development and production.
"We now have the same level of design and engineering tools as the big boys, which would have been impossible ten years ago," the Economist reported Terny as saying, despite the company having only a handful of employees.
A modest factory unit in the Brooklyn Navy Yard in New York houses the company and its $2million (£1.6million) prototype, which is expected to reach production in 2018.