If you’re a rider of a certain age it’s more than likely you’ll have a soft spot for the old 2 stroke smokers we raced around on in our youth until they were condemned to the scrap yard by Government emission laws.
Today I discovered a British company that is producing a new Cafe Racer styled bike called the Langen Two Stroke and it meets all current emission reg’s.
Let’s take a look….
Langen Two Stroke Cafe Racer Review
The Langen Two Stroke uses a 250cc V-Twin engine designed and built by Vincenzo Mattia, once a Ferrari engineer. He designed it to be clean burning yet it produces 100 ponies at the back wheel.
Langen and Vincenzo have been working together for the past three years to create a 75 bhp road-legal version of the engine that has been tweaked for a better midrange and can meet the UK’s current emissions standards.
The objective of the remaining components of the bike was to spread the weight to provide the greatest handling possible while minimising weight wherever practical. If it’s not aluminium or CNC then it’s carbon fibre.
The lightweight fuel tank itself is a work of art and ingenuity, full carbon fibre with hand-finished gold leaf detailing. It’s subtle yet riveting.
Local businesses provide the aluminium fabrication pieces according to Langen’s standards, while all the carbon fibre work and the chassis are produced internally.
Any metal that isn’t manufactured via a fabrication process is CNC machined from solid; there are no forgings or castings in the entire process.
The Langen Two Stroke has invested heavily in its suspension and braking system in an effort to maintain its focus on having the greatest handling bike possible. Right-way-up forks are produced to order by Ohlins, and specific springs and settings were required to account for the bike’s low weight. Modern twin-shock technology from K-Tech is used in the rear, with some bespoke valving created to fit the setup.
Twin 320mm discs and Hel radial billet calipers are mounted on the front, with a standard Hel brake caliper on the rear completing the braking setup for the Langen. Whilst still styled like a café racer the Langen Two Stroke is all modern with an electric start, full LED lighting and LCD dash.
With the bike’s curb weight coming in at 125 kg, the original goal of making it as light as possible looks to have been achieved with the Langen Two Stroke having a power to weight ratio of 660 bhp/ton which is more than that of a Bugatti Veyron Supersport.
With the Two Stroke, Langen is largely pursuing the customization route. Customers will essentially receive a bespoke machine having the option to specify paint colours, anodizing, suspension, brakes, wheels, and the upholstery.
And it’s not just the visuals that are open to alteration. For each customer Langen will adjust the ergonomics to fit each of the 100 owners of their first bike. The Langen Two Stroke is equipped as standard with fully adjustable clip-ons with three separate rotating axes and height adjustment for countless setups.
If a customer is unhappy with the fit and feel of the foot pegs, Langen will take the necessary measurements and create some new rear sets to suit their needs.
The fact that Langen builds each customer’s bike uniquely for them means that almost everything is open to be customised.
Not many have been able to get their hand on the Langen Two Stroke yet (As there is only the one!) but Motor Cycle News had the fortunes of being able to test ride and Emma Franklin was blown away by it stating “The Langen Two Stroke sits in a class of one. There’s nothing that can match its exclusivity, performance, or proposition.”
The Vins Two Stroke Engine and how it gets past emission laws
The Vins Two Stroke engine started life as a side project for Ferrari engineer Vincenzo Mattia. Deciding to develop it further, Mattia formed Vins Motors in Maranello and has spent the last six years developing the 250 cc two stroke.
The dependable, powerful, and clean-burning two-stroke GP engine produces over 100 bhp and was built using an innovative fuel injection system, computer-controlled mapped oil injection system, electronically manipulated exhaust valves, and carbon fibre reed valves that all work together to keep the power up while controlling emission.
After contacting Vincenzo, Chris Ratcliffe was successful in persuading him to create a road-legal version of the engine for the Langen project. Over the past three years, Langen and Vins have closely collaborated to alter the basic engine for improved low and midrange throttle response, power delivery, charging systems, and cooling systems.
The engine has undergone modifications to tame its ferocious GP characteristics and make it more usable and durable for road use as well as complying with the constantly evolving modern emissions requirements.
The key to meeting these emission requirements is that the fuel is squirted directly into the combustion chambers after the exhaust ports are closed to avoid the typical two-stroke issue of unburned fuel entering the exhaust system.
Oil injection is electronically controlled and works by constantly monitoring revs and your throttle position ensuring just enough oil is pumped through to the crank bearing.
Meaning that there is always enough lubricant and, more importantly, never too much to cause excess oil burning.
Given the unique nature of the Langen Two Stroke, each engine will be made to order to meet the specific needs of the customer.
Each engine can be set up for the customer. For example the gear ratios can be customised to the owners preferences.
Langen Two Stroke Specification
- Engine: Two -Stroke, 90° V-Twin
- Capacity: 249.5cc
- Gearbox: 6-speed manual
- Max Power: 76 bhp / 56.6 kW @ 11,700 rpm
- Max Torque: 45 Nm / 33.2 lb ft @ 9,500 rpm
- Top speed: 130 mph / 209 kph
- Fuel capacity: 14 L / 3.7 US Gal
- Seat height: 810 mm / 31.9 inches
- Wet weight: 125kg / 275 lb
- Dry weight: 114kg / 251 lb
Who are Langen Motorcycles?
Langen Motorcycles was founded in 2018 by Chris Ratcliffe as an automotive engineering and development company after he started to sketch out the initial concepts for an ultra-lightweight motorbike that was unlike anything else on the road.
The team expanded rapidly throughout its first three years thanks to the amount of expertise and experience its team brought with them from automotive companies like CCM Motorcycles, Triumph Motorcycles, BAC, McLaren, and M-sport.
The Langen team members all share a passion for challenging the status quo and push boundaries of what is conceivable along with their own experience and expertise.
Based in Wigan, Manchester, Langen Motorcycles have embraced and adopted the local saying: “We do things differently here.”
You’d be wrong to believe that the Langen name came from Eugen Langen, a businessman and inventor who collaborated with Nikolaus Otto on the first combustion engine, but the assumption is a good one that continues to crop up.
Chris Ratcliffe Background
Founder Chris Ratcliffe was genetically predisposed to a life around two wheels from day one. His mother was a motorcycle dispatch rider at the age of 18 as her first job, while his father worked for Cotton Motorcycles, contributing to the creation of the legendary Cotton-Rotax two-stroke V-twin.
“I have got it bad. Motorbikes go to the core and I rarely think about anything else! Growing up, my parents both rode bikes. My dad worked at Cotton Motorcycles as a fabrication apprentice, bending chassis tubes and hydroforming expansion chambers. The bike he was involved with was the Cotton-Rotax two-stroke V-twin, which had some TT and British Championship success in the hands of Steve Tomkin and Niall Mackenzie. It was the bike which eventually became Armstrong-CCM and broke the Yamaha TZ250’s dominance. There may be some subliminal influence there in the creation of the Langen Two Stroke!”BikeHound
Chris naturally pursued mechanical and automotive engineering studies. After graduating, he started working for TVR and eventually transitioned into the oil and gas sector. In 2010, he returned to his first love—motorcycles—and was hired by CCM Motorcycles. Chris, though, wished to have a more significant impact in the motorbike industry.
“There has always been a desire to try to make significant input to the growth of the motorcycle industry, and creating a new company and brand felt like to place to do that with the largest degree of freedom.”
The Ratcliffes founded Langen Motorcycles in 2019 after selling their house and car, hiring a small team of engineers and mechanics with extensive expertise at Triumph, McLaren, Honda and others with one objective: to develop a modern two-stroke sports bike that was focused on engineering and design quality rather than built to a budget.
What next for Langen?
While the Two Stroke is Langen’s first bike, the British business plans to do much more in the future.
At the time of writing, the first couple of Two Strokes will be heading on their merry way to their owners with the rest following in the months after. Once the original 100 orders have been fulfilled Langen have plans to produce a further 150 for the global market in the same fashion at the original 100, fully customisable to each customers need which should keep the Wigan factory busy until late 2023.
However, owner Chris Ratcliffe has much more plans than just creating the same bike for different customers. Other plans for Langen include a four-stroke bike which, like the Two-Stroke, will focus it’s engineering around being as lightweight as possible with superb handling, Chris was quoted during an interview with Motor Cycle News stating that it would be “two-thirds the weight of its competitors with more power, better equipment and perform better on the road and track.”
With an eye to the extremely long term. Langen have also started considering an electric offering with initial concepts already on the go with Langen having already developed their own special modular batteries and conducting various conversations with other bike and car manufacturers around electric solutions.
How much does the Langen Two Stroke cost?
Now we get to the cost of all that high spec, custom engineering. At £33,600 including taxes the Langen Two Stroke is certainly not cheap and is currently only available to the UK market. In comparison you could go out and buy yourself a top spec Ducati Panigale V4 for that money, with change.
However, the Ducati is a production bike, albeit a high spec, high quality machine but it will roll off a manufacturing line and you’ll collect it from your local dealer and that will be it. Maybe a few catalogue bits and pieces can be added on, but it will still be a production bike.
What Langen are producing is just 100 completely customisable, high spec bikes for their customers (with possible plans to export a further 150 to the global market once the UK orders have been fulfilled.)
You can customise your Langen Two Stroke in countless different ways and visit the factory to meet the actual people building your bike throughout the whole process and end up with a bespoke motorcycle that nobody else could simply order “off-the-shelf” the following week.
The future value of such a unique machine will skyrocket years down the line so, in addition to supporting an innovative, up-and-coming small bike manufacturer, you’ll also be making a pretty good future investment into British motorcycling history.
More info at the Langen website