Today’s first ever installment of I’d Ride it. You?, which I just invented, is an Ariel Square Four Chopper found on

The Ariel SF, of course, was designed by Edward Turner himself in 1928, and produced by Ariel all the way from 1931 to 1959. What’s going on with it is a pair of parallel Twins fore and aft in a common block, joined by their geared central flywheels.

Image by Quattro Valvole

On this chopper version, I’m going to speculate keeping the rear cylinders cool was the least of your problems. I think you’d be fully tasked keeping your speed up to keep her between the ditches, given those long skinny fork tubes feeding into what’s already a period British flexi-flyer – and planning your stops well ahead.

Still, think how comfortable you and yours would be cruising langorously along in the comfort of that King and Queen seat, on your way to a Beatles show or spot of tea, with the warm summer air and mayflies running up your bellbottoms and playing through the fringe on your buckskin jacket as the sound of not one but two British twins rumbled gloriously from your organ pipes, possibly freshly lifted from St. Paul’s.

I’d ride her. You?






    It may have been a dream but I remember Burns riding this huge homemade bike with a car engine that was like ten feet long and weighed a ton. Did I dream that or did he really ride that thing?

    • Starmag

      Roadog. I recall he didn’t ride it for long and had a personalized way of parking it, although it’s not the type of thing you could make a Marquez knee save on.

  • Born to Ride

    Nope, cool engine tho. Next!

  • Mad4TheCrest

    I remember a test ride decades ago on a used Yamaha Seca 650 with what must have been liquified head bearings. A white-knuckle run down the street and a terrifyingly wobbly u-turn back to drop the keys into the expectant owner/seller’s hand like they were coated with plague-filled snot. The pictured bike looks like it could be worse. No Thanks.

  • Sayyed Bashir

    I saw one at Street Vibrations in Reno a few weeks ago. The engine looks very unusual and interesting, a square block of cylinders. The open chopper layout lets you look at it from all sides in all its glory.

  • Starmag

    Square Fours are beautiful. Especially the later four pipe models. Only the mentally ill would chop one into this hideous handling disaster. I hope the “engineer” of this one has found institutional help for their insecurities.

    “Hold my beer….”

    “Wait till they see me on this!”

    Just no.

    • Rocky Stonepebble

      Decades ago, Cycle Canada ran an item, complete with photo, of a guy in Quebec who mounted a snowmobile ski on the front, and snowmobile tracks on the back of an RG500 Gamma. I owned a Gamma at the time. Was sorely tempted to track him down and inflict bodily harm.

  • Gruf Rude

    While I never saw a chopped Squareiel, whenever something of this ilk would show up at the shop with the standard, “Make Run” work order, I would dutifully get the engine to start, idle and take throttle, but I flat REFUSED to ride it . . .

  • Tod Rafferty

    May never be able to unsee that.

  • Ron Hayes

    I think I would consider this safer. It is the long forks that scare me, I am afraid the front wheel would fall over.

    • Gruf Rude

      Gorgeous piece of work. The two-stage intake ram effect was well ahead of its time and the beer can is just the right low-brow touch to balance the almost over-whelming elegance of the rest . . .

  • SRMark

    I’d get it a little closer to its original, dignified state. Then I’d ride it


      yep same here

  • Steve

    Like setting a beautiful diamond in a ring from a Cracker Jacks box.

  • Rocky Stonepebble


    • Gruf Rude


  • Joshua Placa

    Aesthetically, it appears to be an abortion of a Transformer movie concept. Would I ride it? Sure, daily.

  • Just ask Dave Edwards if you can borrow his!

  • Bryan Spears

    Maybe if it wasn’t so vanilla. Stretch it out a few feet, put a 320 section rear on it, relocate the tank to where I have to lean to the side in order to see the road, and reshape the pipes to look like flames. Then. Then, I’d ride it.

  • Toldyouso

    “I’d ride her. You?” Absolutely, positively not. I have zero patience with what I consider “unridable” machines. If I had anything to say about it unsafe concoctions like that would never get licensed.

  • Auphliam

    Hell yeah, I would. To be honest, you’d be hard pressed to find a two or three wheeled motorized contraption that I wouldn’t try at least once.


      that’s the spirit!

  • Polly Molly Moo

    That was in the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu for many years. Is it still there?

  • Gee S

    Young Mr. Burns:

    You are absolutely, skull full of hairy bats, dogs barking in the attic, completely mad.

    Attempting to ride said piece of sculpture will not result in “cruising langorously” unless one’s destination is the nearest ingress facility for Her Majesty’s Public Health Service.

    The effort expended by the ‘constructor’of this…. this…. whatever it is, to include a very stout looking and very substantial rear crash bar tells one all one needs to know concerning its potential operation.

  • Matt O

    i’m the kind of crazy who’ll ride/drive anything i can get the keys for. I won’t claim its any good, but i’ll give it a go.


    since i once had a ’69 Bonneville 650 with a single springer(read “pogo”)front end that was at least 8″ over with no rake and a rigid frame tail,i’m forced to admit that yes i would probably ride it,all while giving SERIOUS thought to shortening that crazy front end!

  • TC

    Some sins cannot be forgiven. Was this piece of art out of West Coast Choppers?

  • therr850

    How many exhaust outlets does it take to eliminate back pressure? I see two pipes from each front cylinder, one goes back and splits into two, the other travels further back below the pipes from the rear cylinders, up the sissy bar reaching for the sky. Three outlets for each front cylinder and only one for each rear cylinder. Holy crap Batman!

  • Wally

    The first time I ever saw, or even heard of, an Ariel Square four, was reading about one in a chopper magazine back in the early 70s. If I remember correctly, that particular builder used square tubing for the four exhaust pipes, just to carry on the theme. It was cool then, and I’ve been a fan of Ariels ever since.

  • kenneth_moore

    I’d ride a chopper with a Twingle anytime.

  • Brian Clasby

    How fast is it?

  • John A. Stockman

    I have ridden more than my fair share of choppers, from respected-shop customs to garage-built abortions using CB750s, 60s Triumphs and BSAs to the expected Harley ones. I will try different types of bikes so I can understand them, or not understand them. Only then could I form an evaluation of the characteristics that would make it rideable, or not. These things, although rideable, are a ridiculous take on how two-wheel dynamics work. Maybe I have been influenced by reading, and then reading again and again, Tony Foale’s book “Motorcycle Handling and Chassis Design – The Art and Science”, both 1st and 2nd editions. I rode a few choppers before I read his book, so I didn’t have many preconceived notions. But I found them immediately. Even the recognized brand choppers are, uhm, horrible. And I’m not some noob. I do appreciate passion, custom fab skills and artistic expression. But you cannot alter the forces of physics and how it affects motorcycle handling dynamics, good or bad. Oh, I would not ride it because I have ridden too many and intimately know how they work, or don’t work.