Vento will initially offer its entry-level 400GT as a naked roadster, though a fully faire
It's almost a misrepresentation to call Vento's Café 400GT a Chinese motorcycle. The engine is made in Wuxi, two hours northeast of Shanghai, and the final product, set for production in 2010, will likely be assembled at Vento's Hong Kong headquarters. But Australia's Ian Drysdale (better known for his limited-production 750-V8 streetfighters and superbikes) designed the 392cc, three-cylinder engine, and this proof-of-concept prototype was hand-built at his Drysdale Motorcycle Company in Melbourne. Based on an original concept by Vento ATV designer Nic Butti, an Italian who graduated from MV Agusta's CRC design center, the Café 400GT was styled by Mexican-born Mario Cisneros, who runs Vento's San Diego-based styling department with help from Aussie Nick James (of Hunwick Hallam). Designed across three continents in four languages, the Vento Café 400GT is truly a global motorcycle.
With such a capable brain trust contributing to the development of this machine, it's no surprise that Drysdale claims it's an excellent middleweight roadster. "It's nimble, stable and has zesty performance," he says. "Most bystanders think it's a 600cc motor or bigger. Plus, it sounds great!"
It should be a bargain, too: Vento hopes to sell the 35-horsepower 400GT in the USA for $3750 or less, a number that compares very favorably to the $4299 list price of the smaller-displacement Kawasaki Ninja 250R. We're looking forward to our first ride.