Is The Two-Stroke Road Bike Dead? This Company Doesn’t Think So. - story fullscreen Fullscreen

Is The Two-Stroke Road Bike Dead? This Company Doesn’t Think So.

British manufacturer beats legislation to build the ultimate road bike

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The Two-Stroke Is Not Dead Yet

Is The Two-Stroke Road Bike Dead? This Company Doesn't Think So.
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Langen 2-Stroke
Showing that the 2-stroke doesn’t have to be legislated out of existence

Who wants a two-stroke road bike? Who is disappointed you can’t buy one? Who would be happy if you were able to buy one?

There are many of us who remember with great fondness the 2-stroke engine, with its distinctive sound, smell and blistering performance out of all proportion to its capacity.

Back in the 1990s, the writing was on the wall for the two-stroke. The emissions were just too high for the bleating environmental lobby, and the manufacturers were also turning their backs on the technology - reluctantly, it must be said, as not only is the power-to-weight ratio of a two stroke way above that of a four stroke, but they also cheaper and simpler to build and therefore offer a greater power-to-cost ratio.

Is The Two-Stroke Road Bike Dead? This Company Doesn't Think So.
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Only 100 Will Be Built
Virtually hand-made, with carbon-fibre bodywork and top-spec components

That means at least twenty years without the sound, smell and power of two-strokes gracing the roads of the world. Until now that is, as ex-CCM Chief Design Engineer Christofer Ratcliffe has launched the Langen. It was first shown in mid-2020 and is now in limited production.

Looking at it, it is easy to see why; it’s an absolute beauty, which is no surprise when you consider some of the CCM models Ratcliffe was responsible for. It is at once at the cutting edge of modern design but with a distinct retro theme.

The engine is an Italian-built Vins fuel injected two-stroke V-twin of 250cc and producing 75bhp and 33.1lb.ft of torque, revving to 14,500rpm. It is mounted in a hand-built aluminium tubular frame suspended by Öhlins forks and twin K-Tech rear shocks and the whole thing weighs only 114kg wet! That gives a power to weight ratio of 660bhp/tonne!

Is The Two-Stroke Road Bike Dead? This Company Doesn't Think So.
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250cc V-Twin 2-Stroke
75bhp and 33.1lb.ft, fuel injection, ECU-controlled oil injection and electronic exhaust valves help it meet Euro5 regulations

This feather weight is in part achieved by the use of hand-laid carbon fibre for the petrol tank and bodywork. Adding to the look is a dual-exit exhaust system, complete with right-side and under-seat pipes that wouldn’t look out of place on a ‘90s 500cc grand prix bike.

Despite emissions regulations, Ratcliffe says the bike is fully road legal, thanks in part to its fuel injection system, ECU-controlled oil injection, electronic exhaust valves and more. In these days of Euro5 legislation, that is no mean feat.

Is The Two-Stroke Road Bike Dead? This Company Doesn't Think So.
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MotoGP-Inspired Exhaust
Upper exhaust from rear cylinder, lower from the front cylinder: it’s the most logical packaging for a V-Twin

While original production plans called for 100 examples, the demand has been so encouraging that a further 150 might be built that would be homologated for markets outside the UK. And you know what that means, don’t you? Hands up who wants one!

Ratcliffe said: "My desire to produce motorcycles with a simplicity and purity of days gone by seems to be shared by countless other enthusiasts who really seem to savour the amazing sounds and smells of our new two-stroke.

Is The Two-Stroke Road Bike Dead? This Company Doesn't Think So.
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Ultra Lightweight
114kg wet means a power-to-weight ratio of 660bhp/tonne!

"For me, with all these electric bikes now launching, the first Langen is a final swan song to the two-stroke; an intriguing modern twist on a proud performance café racer tradition.”

Every time I feel that motorcycle design is becoming stuck in a rut, someone like Ratcliffe comes along and shows us that innovation is alive and kicking, we just have to know where to look for it.

Head to www.langenmotorcycles.co.uk for more information.

Harry Fisher
Harry Fisher
Motorcycling Contributor
Born and raised in England, he has lived in South Africa with his family since 2002. Harry has owned examples of Triumph, Norton, BSA, MV Agusta, Honda, BMW, Ducati, Harley Davidson, Kawasaki and Moto Morini motorcycles. He regrets selling all of them.  Read full bio
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