Ariel Red Hunter

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Ariel Red Hunter
Ariel 350 cc Red Hunter 1938.jpg
Manufacturer Ariel, Bournbrook, Birmingham
Production 1932 - 1959
Engine 250cc, 350cc and 500cc OHV two valve singles
Top speed 500cc: 87mph[1]
Power 500cc: 24 bhp at 6000 rpm[1]
Transmission Four speed gearbox to chain final drive
Suspension Girder front forks, solid rear
Brakes Drum
Weight 500cc: 420 pounds (190 kg)[1] (wet)

The Ariel Red Hunter was the name used for a range of Ariel single-cylinder motorcycles. They were designed by the firm's chief designer Val Page in 1932 around an overhead-valve single-cylinder engine he developed six years earlier. Originally a "sports" version of the Ariel 500, 250 and 350cc versions were developed and became popular with grass track and trials riders.[2]

All Red Hunters had a distinctive dark red petrol and oil tanks which were painted in the former Bournbrook cinema opposite the main Ariel factory in Dawlish road. The engines were all run for two hours on a test bench to maintain Ariel's record of reliability and quality control.[3]

The Red Hunter was a success and formed the backbone of the company, and made Ariel able to purchase Triumph.[4] On the 500cc, acceleration from 0 to 60 mph could be achieved in 10.9 seconds, while stopping from 25 mph could be made under 24 feet.[1]

Red Hunter 1955 close up

Edward Turner developed the design further with added chrome and it became a popular touring road bike. Handling was improved by the addition of rear suspension and telescopic forks and it gained an alloy cylinder head from the 1950s.[2]

Champion Sammy Miller had great success with a 500cc Red Hunter from 1955.[2]


  1. ^ a b c d Officer Filker, H (Alhambra P.D). "Testing the Ariel 500cc Red Hunter" p39, Cycle (magazine) / Walneck's Classic Cycle Trader, January/february 1986. Retrieved: 2 August 2012.
  2. ^ a b c Brown, Roland (1999). The History of British Bikes. Parragon. ISBN 978-0-7525-3153-3. 
  3. ^ Reynolds, Jim (1990). Best of British Bikes. Patrick Stephens Ltd. ISBN 978-1-85260-033-4. 
  4. ^ Salvadori, Clement. "Retrospective: Ariel Red Hunter 500cc: 1932 – 1959" Archived 11 July 2012 at the Wayback Machine. Rider Magazine, 8 November 2011. Retrieved: 2 August 2012.

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