John Britten Documentary Gives Behind-The-Scenes Look At The Making Of The Legendary V1000

From wire mockup to race winner

The motorcycle world is full of tinkerers, tuners, and would-be designers. Swoopy front fairings scribbled in the margins of spreadsheet printouts, unconventional suspension setups doodled on the backs of receipts, snaking exhaust headers traced on junk mail envelopes. Wastepaper baskets the world over are filled with the crumpled remnants of idle plans and daydreams.

To retrieve the sketch from the wastepaper bin and trade pen for welder takes a vision and discipline the average dreamer doesn’t possess. Designing and building something new in the 21st century is hard enough. For the finished product to resemble the designer’s initial vision and to have his fingerprints on every component is near impossible in today’s specialized, design-by-committee world. Is it even possible to improve upon established ideas?

Britten V1000
The Britten V1000 in all its glory. It’s as striking today as ever.Motorcyclist Archives

Sure, there are a lot of folks who build custom bikes in their sheds. And there are huge motorcycle companies innovating on every front. But how often is a man’s clean-sheet design innovative enough to merit the struggle of building damn near every component himself with only the help of a few friends? Is the strength of his imagination, the sheer endurance of his will, and the sacrifice of every facet of his life enough? Is he proving his ideas to himself or to the world?

One man stood in the wake of ruin to see the workings of his imagination cast in aluminum and molded in carbon fiber.

That man was John Britten.

Designer. Engineer. Craftsman. Madman.

The Britten V1000 is a masterpiece of ingenuity and a testament to one man's belief in his vision.

In One Man's Dream, a documentary about John Britten's quest to innovate, the viewer is treated to an inside look at the most innovative motorcycle to ever come out of a New Zealand shed. The camera follows Britten as the V1000 is developed from wire-frame mockup to race-winning triumph.

Britten sand casts cylinder heads of his own design, molds an ahead-of-its-time carbon-fiber frameless chassis (20 years before Ducati released the carbon-fiber Monoscocca on the 1299 Superleggera), and experiences the depths of defeat and the heights of victory as the bike takes to the track.

The motorcycling world will be forever grateful John Britten had the fortitude to turn his daydreams into reality.