Crighton CR700W: A Modern Racebike With Rotary Engine

Crighton CR700W
The Crighton CR700W. Credit: Crighton

Remember rotary-powered racebikes? Brian Crighton should—he designed some of Norton’s famously successful rotary racers. Now he’s building his own take on that design, the Crighton CR700W—and if you can pay to play, this machine has a lot to offer.

Wankel power!

The highlight of the Crighton CR700W is its fuel-injected 690cc twin-rotor engine. According to the company’s PR, it makes about as much power as the latest superbikes from Europe. As per the Crighton website:

220hp at 10,500rpm from the CR700W’s fuel injected twin rotor 690cc engine, means 319hp per litre. By comparison, the most powerful normally aspirated Formula 1 engine – the Ferrari’s F2004 – generates 309hp per litre at a frantic 18,500rpm, and the very latest MotoGP bikes deliver around 300hp per litre.

But such power is nothing without control. That’s where 105ft/lbs of peak torque at 9,500rpm comes in: the CR700W’s rotary engine delivers the most tractable and useable power of any motorcycle engine in the world today, bar none.

Very impressive numbers indeed, considering this engine doesn’t have a massive WSB/MotoGP race program behind it. What it does have is help from Rotron Power, an aircraft engine manufacturer. They understand reliability in that business, so we expect the CR700W will also be reliable, with appropriate maintenance.

An expensive toy

And these machines will almost certainly be well maintained, because they are very expensive motorcycles. They are handbuilt in the UK, Crighton is asking £95,000 for them, which works out to about $160,000 CAD at the current (May, 2023) exchange rate.

That’s a lot of dough, and for that money, you don’t even get traction control, leaning ABS or any other electro-trickery. You get raw power in a Spondon chassis, Dymag carbon-fibre wheels, Brembo brakes and fork/shock from either Ohlins or Bitubu. Add it all up, and you have a 129.5 kg dry weight. You can see the rest of the specs here.

Who would buy one?

For now, the Crighton CR700W is just a pricey trackday toy. But will that change? The bike has already been under development for more than a decade (see our first mention of it here). Even if it never achieves homologation for international FIM series, maybe someday we will see this machine come to prominence at the Isle of Man TT and other less-picky public road races… as long as those races don’t all disappear, which is certainly the current trend.

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