It’s May 2023, and it’s been a while since we last checked in with the astonishing Crighton CR700W. If you recall, this rotary-powered lightweight monster was built by none other than Brian Crighton—the engineer behind Norton’s rotary racing glory days in the 1980s and ‘90s.
He and his talented team first introduced the CR700W to the world back in 2021. It’s powered by a 690cc twin-rotor engine that makes a claimed 220 bhp at 10,500 rpm, while also producing 105 pound-feet of torque at 9,500 rpm. Total bike weight is about 285.5 pounds. Trick bits include a superbike suspension by Bitubo, Brembo brakes, and lightweight carbon-fibre wheels made by BST to help reduce unsprung weight. If you’re wondering about rider aids, there are none. Zero. Zip. Zilch.
This is a bike that’s all about its rider. It’s also built for track use only. Taking all these facts into account, and there’s one rider who instantly comes to mind to come test your beautiful rotary monster out on track. If you’ve guessed that it’s Guy Martin, then congratulations, my friend—you've guessed correctly.
The Crighton and Rotron teams, who built the CR700W, brought the bike to the Cadwell Park circuit in Louth, England, for the meetup. In this video from UK-based YouTube motorcycle channel I Like Motorbikes, you’ll spend much of the time witnessing Martin taking the CR700W around the track.
First, of course, he gets a briefing from the team about things to expect while riding, which we don’t get to hear. Once he slides the helmet on over the top of his head, though, you’ll want your best pair of headphones (or earbuds) to fully appreciate the sound of the CR700W as it roars around the circuit.
When most people throw a leg over an unfamiliar bike for the first time, they might be a little cautious at first as they get a feel for this new bike. Experienced racer that he is, Martin may be a little slower on that first lap than he is later on—but he still looks plenty fast, and then he only gets faster as he goes.
We don’t get any lap times with his runs, or afterward. Instead, what we get is sheer, unalloyed joy and excitement about how blazingly quick the CR700W is, in Martin’s estimation. After he’s taken a few laps, he comes away saying that he finds most superbikes kind of boring and “like mopeds” now, because he’s so used to the instant speed of the drag bikes that he’s been riding over the past few years. Fireblades and other powerful superbikes, he says, are a bit boring now—but the CR700W is anything but.
In his estimation, the only thing it could benefit from is an auto-blipper quickshifter—and then it would be just about perfect. He quickly added that just doing a handful of laps on the thing doesn’t mean that he can offer a full and informed evaluation, but he was so visibly excited about the bike after riding it that it’s kind of infectious. As for the Crighton CR700W 25 will ever be made, at a retail price of £95,000, so it’s nice to get a vicarious experience of such a bike in Guy Martin’s hands.