Ariel Atom

By Deane Barker on January 7, 2006


Ariel Motor Company: Dave posted about this already, sort of. His post was mostly about an electric version that someone made, but I was intrigued enough to seek out the original.

This is apparently an amazing little car. The gem of the site is a video from Top Gear, where they hammer the car around a test track. The host of Top Gear — who has no-doubt driven some amazing stuff in his lifetime — proclaims the Atom as the greatest car he’s ever driven.

But is it even a car? It’s only about 1,100 pounds of frame with the bare minimum of stuff bolted on. Drop in a motor from a Honda Civic Type R, supercharge it to over 300 h.p., and you really have something — 0-60 in 2.9 seconds, to be exact, and that’s some serious mojo.

The video is about 10 minutes long, but worth every second. The guy absolutely flogs the Atom and looks like he’s having an amazing time doing it. At one point they run it around a track against a sport bike and just beat the crap out of the bike. The bike jumps ahead from the line, but the Atom tears past it around the first corner as if it was standing still. It never stood a chance.

I want one. I need one.

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Comments

  1. But it is not a fair race…. He races that “car” against a standard Honda CBR 600 RR… obviously he couldn’t dare to race it against a top notch 1000CC superbike like the Yamaha R1, Kawasaki ZZR 1200 or the CBR 1000 Fireblade. Then we would see ehich one “beats the crap out” of the other.

    And, the price for that machine starts on £20.000… for the CBR 1000 RR Fireblade you would pay £8,799, what leaves you with a big lump sum for insurance, taxes, gears, helmet, paniers and years of servicing. Plus… it’s a superbike!!! Wheelies, stopies, leaning until your elbow scratches the tarmac…. No match!!

    Clarkson is funny but his car-bike challenges are always pretty biased, compares supercars (worth way more than the bike) with 600cc bikes.

    good show though…

  2. Plus… it’s a superbike!!! Wheelies, stopies, leaning until your elbow scratches the tarmac….

    And like Clarkson says, you’re bound to crash and end up leaving your eyes to someone you may not particularly like. Gotta love the guy’s humor!

  3. obviously he couldn’t dare to race it against a top notch 1000CC superbike like the Yamaha R1, Kawasaki ZZR 1200 or the CBR 1000 Fireblade. Then we would see ehich one “beats the crap out” of the other.

    Would they corner much better? (Not a rhetorical question — I don’t know much about bikes.) From the looks of it, it was the corners where the bike just couldn’t keep up at all. The Atom looked like it was on rails.

  4. Just what you need Deane, something else on rails!

    If you think we have a lot of things on rails now, just wait. ;-)

  5. That car is a the closest thing to F1 that anybody can buy for road use and a big 1000cc would have a better chance…. on cornering speed that beast is unbeatable, is just a question of physics. But a bigger bike would brake in less space and accelerate faster at the exit of the corner.

    Is a lost battle anyway, my biker pride is hurt when I see that thrashing… sniff sniff…

    I will content myself with ripping off the stickers of that car when filtering on the traffic jam!! [*evil smile *] …

  6. That car is a the closest thing to F1 that anybody can buy for road use…

    If you go to the Ariel web page (heavy use of Flash) one of the options that’s available on the Atom is the “Aerofoil Package”, and in Showroom/Photos there are a couple of shots with the wings on the front & back. That makes them look just like wide F1 cars.

  7. If you want the exact version that they raced around the track it would cost you 40000 GBP not 20000.

    For what it’s worth the CBR600R used in that clip is by quite some way the heaviest, least powerful and slowest of the 600’s.

  8. I looked 4 insurance for an atom and i cant find an insurance company online that will insure. does anyone any insurance companies that will insure it?

  9. As far as I can see you will never get a decent match against a bike and car, it all depends on how good the rider is. what sort of condition the track is. power to weight ratios are different. theres always a different bike/car suited better to different tracks.

    I ride an R1. nothing beats it on the road, thats bikes and cars. but when I saw this thing at speed. I admit I was a little taken. techinically cars will perform better through corners.. maybe this is the car.

  10. Will you bikers stop whining about what bike was used. It looks to me like a very cheap super car (compared to say, a Ferrari etc) beat a comparatively priced motorcyle hands down. Would the fastest bike in motorsport lap faster than an F1 car? NO, I think you’ll find is the answer. Love bikes guys but get real! the Atom is an amazing little motor car.

  11. Fair play to the Atom… It beat the bike, and would likely have beaten a Fireblade, ZX10R, R1, Gixxer or anything else you could name, BUT…

    It’s easy to talk a good game about a car that you’ve seen on telly, but do you or your family or friends or anyone else that you know on a personal basis actually own a car in the league of the Atom? I’ll bet that 99.999% of you don’t. Bikers talk about bikes that THEY own, or could go out and buy tomorrow – motors that are within the realistic grasp of ordinary working people. Most proponents of cars like the Atom are pure dreamers :)

    Finally, given that most of us drive on roads and don’t live our lives on a race-track , I’m pretty sure that even a Honda CB500 (learner machine) could beat an Atom on our congested UK roads.

  12. Just a note, the Atom might be better matched up against a Fireblade, for example. And they could re-run the test and the FIreblade might pull within a second, even tie or slightly edge out the Atom.

    But them you add mum.

    You could attempt to strap mum to the back of your motorbike, put a helmet on her, stop her from thrashing around, etc.

    OR you could put her in the passenger seat of your Atom and the impact on your performance would be next to nothing. Her weight might even be a nice counterbalance!

    Either way she’ll scream, but in the Atom, she’ll scream very fast. :)

  13. There is another point :

    The topgear circuit was designed by Lotus as a Car Circuit.

    It is designed to be a proving ground for cars, and is probably not very well suited for motorbikes (Plenty of braking/accelerating in curve).

    If you race an F1 race car in mud, you could beat it with a Nissan Micra… ;)

  14. you aren’t supposed to brake in a turn… and u only add gas at the apex. so.. that’s a lil weird… i’m sure the atom would be equal if it was a bike track…. but the ariel would be a lot safer! plus it’s so much cooler!

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