The re-emergence of the classic motorcycle scene here in the Philippines can be largely credited to our biker builder friends who have tirelessly built awesome bikes either from new ones e.g. modifying standard bikes to look like scramblers or café racers; or simply restoring timeless classics back to their original glory. Both locally and abroad, the emergence of these classic rides may have stirred the market’s interest for classic-look motorcycles which each brand now offers.
Just a few weeks ago, we were able to ride together with more than 1,200 well-dressed riders for the Distinguished Gentlemen’s Ride 2018 Manila, raising funds for men’s mental health and prostate cancer research. A lot of our buddies were curious as to what motorcycle I was riding – a motorcycle called the Bristol Classic 400i.
Bristol is a new boutique motorcycle brand that aims to provide quality retro-styled bikes at competitive prices. Their motorcycles are meticulously-built, unique, European-inspired, and bespoke-styled designed for the casual rider or the discerning enthusiast.
Bristol motorcycles are developed with quality from renowned international OEM automotive and motorcycle suppliers. They feature Italian design, electronics from Delphi Technologies USA, Mikuni injection components from Japan, and powertrain from Hartford Taiwan. In the Philippines, Bristol is exclusively distributed by Sinski Motorcycle.
From the fuel tank, telescopic fork, dual rear shock absorbers, analog panel, halogen headlight, etc., the Classic 400i’s styling stays true to those motorcycles of old. Attention to details was also apparent, especially on the welds, as every Classic 400i that comes out of the factory is hand-built. Its dual stainless-steel exhausts roar and turn heads as you pass by. What I like most in this motorcycle is the feel: how the rear brake pedal feels, how the acceleration feels and how the bike handles – just the qualities one will be looking from a classic bike.
The heart of the Bristol 400i is a 400cc Hartford engine: an air and oil-cooled single cylinder 4-valve SOHC 4-stroke EFI that is mated to a 5-speed gearbox with chain as final drive. Compression ratio is at 8.8:1 – What does it mean? It means that the engine is rugged and can burn low-octane fuels (without any issues) that are widely available in the provinces. Although already fuel injected to meet current Euro-4 emission requirements, the throttle response feel stays true to that of old carbureted classics which is one of my favorites about this motorcycle.
Testing the top speed at a private facility, I was able to reach 147 kilometers per hour and the Classic 400i seemed like it could still push a little further to 150 kilometers per hour. That’s pretty awesome for a motorcycle with an air-cooled engine.
Riding the Bristol Classic 400i through Metro Manila and back to my home in Cavite for one week got me a decent 31 kilometers per liter average fuel economy — not bad for a true 400cc expressway-legal motorcycle (400cc in the CR).
Probably one of the most important must-have technologies for a motorcycle these days is the Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), and the Bristol Classic 400i has it installed straight from the factory. The ABS activates after reaching 30-35 kilometers per hour. Let’s also take note that the Classic 400i’s front brake has 4 pistons, yes, you read that right. The 4-piston caliper returns an accurate bite feel which is only typically felt with more expensive motorcycles in the market.
Everyday riding had never been so fun with the Classic 400i. Yes, it is an absolute head-turner.
Yes, it is light, with one friend of mine commenting that it was lighter than his 250cc classic Honda during the Distinguished Gentlemen’s Ride a few weeks ago. Yes, quality components and technology like the ABS was previously unheard of in this motorcycle segment until its arrival.
“We at SINSKI have always believed in giving Filipinos affordably-priced quality products. Our new Bristol motorcycles are made with top-grade international quality components and meticulously built by skilled craftsmen to give Filipinos a competitively-priced ride they can be proud of,” said Anthony Chua, president and CEO SINSKI Motorcycle Philippines Inc.
And yes, it’s only PhP208,000, making the Bristol 400i the most affordable ‘real’ expressway-legal motorcycle available in the market today.