Renard Motorcycles was founded in 1938 in Estonia. The word 'Renard' is French for “fox”, and a fox’s head formed the original Renard logo. The first Renards were simple pipe-frame motorised bicycles, equipped with a 98cc Sachs single-cylinder engine. They were visually similar to their contemporary, a motorcycle called the Wanderer, although some of the components had a different look; the frame, mudguards and petrol tank were painted black and decorated with gold stripes.The company was successful throughout much of WWII until a devastating airstrike destroyed the company factory in 1944. No complete pre-war Renard motorized bicycle exists today, although frame no. 2 from 1938 has survived.
In 2008, a group of Estonian entrepreneurs, designers and racing engineers joined forces to revive the Renard brand. The company’s vision is to restore the Estonian motorcycle industry, which hasn't existed since WWII.
In April of 2010, the first “modern” prototype was successfully unveiled at the Hanover Technology Fair – the Renard Grand Tourer. In some respects the Renard GT is a European cousin of the bikes produced by Confederate Motorcycles in the United States, the models made by both companies are based around classic v-twins and use a wide variety of highly advanced components to create bikes that look like the sort of thing Batman will ride in the year 2113.
The Renard GT is powered by a 1326cc, Moto Guzzi Quattrovalvole v-twin; it produces 123bhp at 7100 rpm and 99lb/ft of torque at 5600 rpm. The frame is a single-unit carbon fibre monocoque giving the bike a relatively light weight of 170kgs. Power is transmitted to the rear wheel via a mechanical 6-speed transmission and shaft-drive; the suspension is provided by Öhlins on the front and rear.
This bike has had some unkind words said about it since it's introduction, but I like this bike. It has a very different look that, despite the Confederate comparisons, really does defy logical comparison. Yes the fork and copious use of Carbon fibre invite comparison, but that for me is where it ends. Other bikes have girder front ends and use carbon and bear about as much (dis)similarity with this bike as the Confederate does. It's a different style that unlike some have stated in various forums I don't find offensive at all; in fact it's somewhat refreshing. You can try to relate it to choppers, sportbikes, nakeds, bobbers, etc. all you want, but this one defies categorisation. To me, it looks like an evolution of a "standard" concept; upright but sporty position, no race-spec fairings, no bags, just a bike you could spend all day on and not need a chiropractor afterwards.
Here the official press release from Renard's website:
'The Renard GT´s chassis is manufactured entirely from carbon epoxy composite. Monocoque weighs only 9 kilograms, and is reinforced with Kevlar, to make it resistant to impact and vibration. Thanks to an increased cross-section, the composite body is stiffer than a regular motorcycle tubular frame. Added ridigity will increase steering precision and thus ensures very precise steering.'