Boutique motorcycles are a wonderful niche. If a mainstream motorcycle doesn’t quite tickle your fancy, you can swing a leg over something powered by a turbine, funded by Keanu Reeves, or built by hand with leather pieces from Amish craftsmen. The factory custom is alive and well, if you have the cash. Another factory custom wants your attention and it’s bringing some impressive specs to the table. The Audette Velos is a handbuilt muscle-bike powered by a chunky 2,147cc V-twin making up to 128 HP and 156 lb-ft torque. It also weighs just 467 pounds, but this bike will cost you. It commands an incredible $89,000 to start.
This stunning machine crossed into my feed from our friends at RideApart at just the right time. Last weekend, I brought home a 2005 Triumph Rocket III. That bike, despite proudly calling out its British origins, has a spec sheet that sounds so American. It’s powered by a 2300cc triple making 140 HP and 147 lb-ft torque. Yeah, that’s 2.3-liters, a bigger engine than you’d find in many of today’s crossovers! That motorcycle, which you will read about soon, has more muscle than you will know what to do with. And despite its about 800-pound wet weight, it’s a motorcycle where you will run out of skill and open road before it runs out of power. It’s a machine befitting of its name.
The Audette Velos doesn’t have a name that makes you think you’re strapping yourself to a Falcon Heavy, but it has even more torque than my Rocket and nearly half of the weight. This motorcycle makes even more torque than the current fastest piston-powered streetbike, the Kawasaki Ninja H2.
Audette? What’s That?
The Audette Velos started life as the Audette Revere in 2021 before its name was changed to Velos in 2022. Velos is the Greek term for Arrow and the bike was more or less officially unveiled back in late 2022. But there’s more to this story than what’s in a name.
The Velos is the brainchild of Tony Audette. He comes from a family with multiple generations of military service. Audette followed in those footsteps when he joined the United States Marine Corps. As Veteran Life writes, Audette then set his goals on being the best Marine he could be.
His service would take a turn in 2011 when he became one of the so-called “Exiled 8,” an eight-man Marine squad who found themselves alone in Afghanistan after they were lost on their platoon roster during the military’s 2011 draw-down. The Marines then spent weeks in the desert without support, working with dwindling supplies, and oh yeah, they still had to fight.
As Veteran Life writes, the Exiled 8 kept true to the Marine value of never leaving another soldier behind, so they stuck together no matter what was thrown at them. The squad faced sandstorms and in early November, faced insurgent fire. A little more than a week later, one member of the team stepped on an IED, resulting in the loss of two legs. Audette’s squad even had to put down their pet goat after it was bitten by a pit viper. But Audette’s team pulled through, making home wherever they set down. They made friends with the locals and learned new things along the way, from Veteran Life:
Audette noted, “You define what freedom is by how you build your life… Those people there, they had nothing, and they certainly weren’t in a free country like we are. But at the same time, they were the most free that I’ve ever seen anybody.”
After weeks of fending for themselves, Audette and his team were finally scooped up and brought home. They wanted to remain on active duty but were sent to the Reserve Marine Corps reserves. Now, the veterans faced a new battle: figuring out how to integrate back into the typical American life. Audette had a goal of getting a motorcycle once he got back home. He rebuilt a 1972 Honda CL350 with his father when he was 14 years old. Now, after coming home, he went back to his roots and picked up his own 1975 Honda CB750.
As Bike Bound notes, Audette then went to Central Connecticut State University, where he graduated with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. From there, he worked in the prototyping workshop O.F. Mossberg & Sons and later for helicopter manufacturer Sikorsky. Audette would also become the lead engineer for the Curtiss Motorcycles’ Zeus, an early EV effort after Confederate Motorcycles changed its name and went in on EVs.
Audette wasn’t content engineering for others and decided that he wanted to make his own version of the ultimate American motorcycle. He then spent three and a half years making what he calls a motorcycle completely free of compromise. Apparently, Audette had to sell many of his possessions to fund his dream. The result is the Audette Velos, a streetfighter literally built around a heavily-modified 2,147cc Indian Thunder Stroke V-twin.
The Audette Velos
What you’re looking at here is at least $89,000 of handbuilt American muscle, designed in collaboration with Kar Lee, a popular motorcycle designer and founder of Kardesigns. Kar is famous for designing machines like the 382 HP Superbusa and he assisted Audette with rendering. Audette is proud of the fact that aside from the modded powertrain, wheels, tires, brakes, and computers, the Velos is completely bespoke.
The motorcycle rides on a proprietary chassis and has well over 120 custom CNC parts. Audette is so obsessed with the idea of a factory custom that the company takes three to four months to build each one, and each one is different, built specifically for the rider. To illustrate how crazy this gets, you don’t just throw money at Audette to buy one of these. You have to apply to be able to buy one. You then have to go through a comprehensive consultation before your machine gets built. In this consultation, you get to choose your engine tuning, paint, and suspension settings.
Optionally, your motorcycle can be built around your form, too, so you’ll have to visit a physical therapist to help you dial in the perfect ergonomics for your Velos.
Starting with the aesthetic, Audette says he was inspired by the designs of the motorcycles of the 1910s, such as the 1915 Iver Johnson. The idea here is a pure motorcycle devoid of all excess. It’s stripped of everything that isn’t needed to get it down the road.
This isn’t a laptop with all kinds of rider aids, but something that’s supposed to harken back to the old days of motorcycling. It’s like a Royal Enfield, but for rich folks. Two design goals for the motorcycle were usability and comfort.
The latter is why you have to visit a physical therapist on the custom version. Your Audette’s controls, pegs, and seat will be made and positioned just for you and your tuchus. Audette says that the seat was inspired by the ones found on old 1920s tractors. Farmers could sit in those seats all day, so he made a modern version of them.
Another annoying thing you’ll find with some motorcycles is a sidestand that’s too small. My old Triumph Tiger’s stand was so thin that the bike literally dug into the pavement on hot days. Forget about parking in grass unless you wanted the bike to end up on its side. Some motorcyclists get around inadequate stands by using pucks. But that’s clunky and requires you to carry the puck around. Thus, Audette engineered a fat sidestand that doesn’t need a puck.
Under the vintage-inspired looks resides some serious firepower and engineering. Audette says he took the Indian Thunder Stroke engine, 3D scanned it, and reverse-engineered it as a CAD model. Audette modifies the Indian engine with Carrillo connecting rods and Wiseco Forged Pistons. When all is said and done, Audette says the only parts of the engine that aren’t touched are the casings. Even the transmission got a durable Rekluse clutch and the belt drive was swapped for a chain.
A stock Indian Thunder Stroke 111 makes around 74 HP and 108 lb-ft torque from its 1,811cc displacement. The base Audette Velos has the same displacement but makes 113 HP and 138 lb-ft torque. The max-rated power is 128 HP and 156 lb-ft torque with an uprated displacement of 2,147cc.
There are fewer ponies in the stable than the 140 found in my Triumph Rocket, but my 147 lb-ft torque is beaten by this bike’s max 156 lb-ft number. Again, this is nearly half of the weight, so if riding my rocket is like strapping myself to a Saturn V, I could only imagine what this is like.
Keeping the weight down is an aircraft-grade aluminum twin-spar internally braced C-channel and a single piece of aluminum was used to craft the swingarm. Wheels come from South African brand BST while braking is handled by Galfer rotors and Beringer calipers. Race Tech 43-millimeter inverted forks provide suspension up front while a shock absorber brings up the rear.
Sadly, this monster does sacrifice some touring chops in exchange of low weight and handling. You get a 4-gallon tank mounted to the twin-spar.
Rare And Expensive
Overall, the Audette Velos sounds like the streetfighter of many riders’ dreams. It makes some thunderous power, keeps weight low, and I can even get behind the modernized vintage styling. Unfortunately, few riders will be able to buy one and aren’t likely to see one in the wild. Audette says these start at $89,000 and can cost $125,000 with the larger and more powerful engine upgrade, the custom tailoring, and more. And because it takes three to four months to build them, Audette says it’ll produce just 20 of them a year.
I’m also not entirely sold on the claim of the Velos being a motorcycle without compromise. To my eyes, a motorcycle without compromise is one that is suitable for multiple roles. A BMW GS can be your off-roader and your tourer. A Kawasaki Ninja H2 is fast enough to leave most vehicles as a blur in your rearview mirror, but you can also configure it for a road trip. Maybe Audette will have similar here, but the company doesn’t advertise it.
How many of those will actually be ridden and not just stored away? I cannot say, but it will be a treat should you ever find one in the wild. That said, while I may never be able to afford one of these, I’d love to swing a leg over one and experience what sounds like brutal torque. (Images: Manufacturer, unless otherwise noted.)
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