Vanguard Roadster Motorcycle Debut at New York IMS | Motorcyclist

First Look: Vanguard Roadster Prototype Motorcycle

Sci-fi form follows high-tech function.

Vanguard Roadster prototype

The Vanguard Roadster prototype will be unveiled to the public at the Progressive International Motorcycle Show in New York next week.

Photo: Vanguard

The annual International Motorcycle Shows always offer stuff brand-new and fascinating. Occasionally, we even spot something groundbreaking or trailblazing. But we’ve never seen anything like this.

With a motorcycle designed to usher in a new era of Roaring Twenties—the 2020s—the Vanguard Roadster is certain to make a bold splash at the Progressive International Motorcycle Show that starts Friday, December 9th at the Javits Center in New York.

Vanguard Roadster motorcycle debut

For about twice what you’ll pay for a low-end Harley-Davidson—or about the same as a new CVO—you’ll soon be able to get a bike that looks like a set piece in The Fifth Element or Blade Runner.

Photo: Vanguard

CEO Francois-Xavier “F-X” Terny and his co-founder, CTO Edward Jacobs, have zero interest in creating a different version of the same old thing. Rather, Vanguard is an exquisite piece of industrial art, a pure machine that does only what it’s designed for, well.

Despite high-tech design elements that appear ripped from a sci-fi picture, the Roadster is not some pie-in-the-sky fantasy bike; rather, it will be a fully functional production motorcycle designed and manufactured in New York. And unlike other indie startups that expect consumers to fork over 75 grand or more, the Vanguard Roadster will be a little more attainable, retailing for $29,995.

“We wouldn’t be doing this if we couldn’t make it affordable,” F-X told me during an exclusive visit to the Vanguard design studio in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. “We want to create a viable option for the motorcycle enthusiast, do away with stereotypes, and give the rider that sense of pure joy that brought us all here in the first place.”

Vanguard Roadster right side

Utilizing a v-twin based on the S&S X-Wedge engine as its structural frame, designer Ed Jacobs (background) has created a pure machine that’s designed to bring function back to the forefront of motorcycling by removing style and stereotypes from the conversation.

Photo: Jon Langston

During our conversation just a couple of weeks before the Roadster’s debut at the New York IMS, both men exuded an earnest, honest, non-”greazy” friendliness—in no way coming across as hustlers or hucksters. The remnants of a celebration were evident the morning of my visit; Vanguard had hosted a coming-out party in their shop the night before with investors and people Terny insisted were "big-name motorcycle guys" (he wouldn't offer names). But one thing was clear: Vanguard’s founders have not only the enthusiasm but the commitment and financing (and the $2M prototype!) to bring their vision to fruition. Determined not to make the same mistakes other startups have made, Terny has huddled with people both in- and outside the motorcycle industry, learning valuable information and details grand and miniscule that others have overlooked on their way to either success or failure.

“We’re not interested in building custom motorcycles to be toys,” Terny insisted.

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They've got the prototype, and they’ve got the factory. They've got the material suppliers lined up. The financing is in order. They've secured a plum spot at Javits Center—right near the entrance surrounded by all of the major motorcycle manufacturers. And they’ve got a 9 a.m. timeslot on Media Day (keep an eye on the Motorcyclist Instagram feed that morning). This is not a joke, folks. These guys are all-in.

Production of Vanguard motorcycles will commence after testing of the prototype; Roadster models are expected to reach dealers by the end of 2018, and Vanguard already has plans for Cruiser and Racer models to follow a similar, modular design. Get more info at For International Motorcycle Shows info, visit

Vanguard Roadster dash

A 7-inch touch-screen provides ignition, gauging, and other ride info; the bottom third of its screen is the rear-view camera display. As per law, the finished bike will have mounted mirrors.

Photo: Jon Langston

Vanguard Roadster prototype rendering

The Roadster has three parts: front, top, and bottom ends, and they all bolt together with just 5 bolts and a clamp inside that helps hold the fork in place. Computer rendering courtesy Vanguard.

Photo: Vanguard


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