Our first introduction to Ben was at this year’s MCN motorcycle show in London where he invited us down to his workshop in the sleepy hills of Worcestershire. After a few failed attempts at finding his workshop, we finally entered the Valespeed Motorcycles headquarters where our eyes were greeted with an array of different styles of motorbike spread around their newly acquired workshop.
Ben was bought up around cars; his father owned a company that worked on sports and racing vehicles and Ben naturally learnt alongside him. From an early age he started riding motorbikes and inevitably started learning to work on them. He went on to became an apprentice tool maker, one of the last courses before CNC machining took over, then studied engineering and then naturally progressed to business studies and law! Throughout his diverse education and career (which included working for a racing team) motorbikes remained a constant pastime and obsession of Bens. After his working day he would normally return to his home to continue working on his motorbikes; until the idea struck him of dropping his day job and creating a career out of his passion.
Valespeed motorcycles works with all makes, models and variants, but Ben’s real passion is for creating bikes that have functionality and performance. With over 10 years of building experience he has experimented with numerous different set ups to improve the performance of the machines that he produces and takes great pride in testing them to their limits! A lot of builders are content with just building a bike that looks nice, but Ben wants the bikes to look nice, ride well and maybe break some records while they are at it!
Ben and Craig at Valespeed are currently working on a bike that they are hoping will create a new record at Pendine in Wales later this year in the APS-650 race. Ben who has been taking part in the race for the past few years has taken it upon himself to build a bike that he hopes will achieve 151mph which would beat the current record of 148mph. The frame has been designed for increased rigidity and hosts a Yamaha Diversion 600 cc engine. The bike is designed exclusively for speed, but Ben does not go for the high end one off race parts, instead he chooses to use as many stock items as possible, firstly it makes it more affordable, but secondly and more importantly, it means that in the event of a component failure it is easy to find replacement parts.
With that in mind the original head stock has been incorporated in the frame as well as the rear axle sliders. This allows a stock axle/bearing/wheel set up to be used, but on a longer and more rigid frame. The fuel tank, made from a touring car fire extinguisher, is mounted just under the saddle which allows as much weight to be put on the back wheel as possible and also allows the centre of gravity to be kept low. NOS is also going to be incorporated, just to ensure that the engine is put through its paces!
With the fairings on you can see that the bike means business!
Bens previous land speed bike, seen above, was made so that it was road legal, but also could be used in events. The bike reached 100.43mph at Pendine beach and 127mph on tarmac.
When Ben isn’t building or hurtling across Welsh beaches at insane speeds, he can often be found at trials bike events in the area, which adds to the diversity of his capabilities. He has a current project that involves the use of a pit bike engine that is already gaining interest so keep your eyes peeled for that arrival!
Ben also works with MAC motorcycles in the production of their motorcycles. One of their bikes, Spud, can be seen above.
Valespeed is a company that was formed though a passion for motorcycles. Bens knowledge and love for speed and making a custom motorbike that will be user friendly, but capable, can easily be seen in his work. All of their projects are treated individually and with real attention and care, which ultimately creates not just head turning machines, but extremely functional machines. It’s great to meet someone who obviously has a real talent for working with motorbikes, but also is so active in participating within the industry at various levels!
For more information or to get in contact with Ben, visit Valespeed’s website here.