LONDON: A British manufacturer has launched a sports motorcycle using a new version of the oil-burning two-stroke engine which once choked the streets with blue smoke until tough air pollution laws virtually killed them off.
Bespoke manufacturer Langen Motorcycles claims to have tamed the 250cc V-twin engine unit from Italian ex-Ferrari specialists Vins using modern fuel and oil injection systems.
Langen said the engine passes the "sniff test" but still "emits the pleasingly smoky sights that bike enthusiasts relish with two-stroke motorcycles." The company has not released emission figures but calls the engine "environmentally considerate".
The lightweight, street-legal machine is styled as a cafe racer and turns out a whacking 75hp, which gives it supercar road performance. Limited to 100 examples, the machine is handbuilt and costs £28,000 (RM151,000) to buy.
"For me, with all these electric bikes now launching, the first Langen is a final swansong for the two-stroke; an intriguing modern twist on a proud performance café racer tradition,” said company founder Christofer Ratcliffe.
As a design, the two-stroke engine is flawed by its need to use oil added to the fuel as a lubricant for the moving parts. The oil is burnt during combustion and emitted into the atmosphere.
The most notorious two-stroke engine was the fume-belching unit fitted to the humble East German Trabant cars, which came to symbolise freedom when the Berlin Wall fell.
Road vehicles with two-stroke engines are rare and their use is restricted to off-road motocross motorcycles, a handful of scooter models and lawnmowers. Some countries have banned their use in certain areas.
The Langen harks back to the mid-1980s when sophisticated strokers from Japanese makers Yamaha, Suzuki and Kawasaki ruled the road. The bikes were noted for dramatic acceleration and a characteristic high-speed whine.
Langen said the order books are open for the Two-Stroke with a £1,000 (RM5,400) refundable deposit needed to secure what is the company's first motorcycle.
Production will start in mid-2021 at a rate of two-to-three examples per week.