There is a rare breed, summoning the pioneering spirit of a century ago, who invest first their life and then their savings into creating a motorcycle company of their own. The brainchild of Christofer Ratcliffe, Langen Motorcycles are proudly designed, engineered and built in Wigan, England. But make no mistake, these are no boutique bikes for trust fund babies, The Langen Two Stroke is the essence of all things great about motorcycles, distilled into one incredible machine.
To best understand the bike, first, you need to know the man and Chris aka ‘Langen’ brings a wealth of experience to the table; a must for anyone wanting to build their own production motorcycle. A bike lover at heart, he was a development engineer at a number of companies, including TVR Supercars. Before spending 10 years as the Chief Design Engineer at CCM Motorcycles, bringing to life the groundbreaking GP450 lightweight adventure bike along with the beautiful CCM Spitfire range. Now free from the shackles of a large company, he’s combined his passion, knowledge and knowhow to bring to life a mouth watering modern two-stroke with plenty of old school cool.
Unveiled for the first time at this year’s Salon Privé, the UK’s most exclusive Concours d’Elégance at Blenheim Palace, even amongst the world’s most exotic machines, The Langen was turning heads and stimulating the senses in a way only a high revving smoker can do. The foundation of the bespoke creation is the incredible chassis, made by hand from large-diameter, laser cut aluminium tubing, with bonded and machined connection points. The space frame design continues on with the stunning swingarm and with Chris’s design and engineering experience you know it performs to the highest of standards.
The styling is just as impressive and here you see clearly the results of Chris’s influence and desire, “a simplicity and purity of days gone by, like the ‘Ton-up boys’ and their cafe racers yet pushing the limits of modern technology.” The bodywork and fuel tank are produced in hand-laid carbon-fibre, complete with hand-finished gold leaf detailing. It’s everything you’d expect from such a premium product, the hand-stitched seat is flawless and for those who want a personal touch, a range of customisation options are also available, allowing clients to personalise everything from the bike’s paintwork, the chassis finish, and even the fork type and wheels.
For such fundamental components, no corners were cut and the best in the business were engaged to ensure The Langen utilised only the best. At the front, you get traditional Ohlins 43mm forks adjustable for compression, rebound damping and spring pre load adjustment. At the rear Chris worked with British firm K-Tech to build a set of twin shocks based on their Piggyback Razor series to meet his exacting specifications. The braking is no less impressive, twin discs up front are clamped by HEL radial billet calipers, with a single setup at the rear.
Then there is the pièce de résistance, the Two Stroke’s beating heart is produced for Langen by Vins, who are based in Maranello, Italy. The engine produces more than 75bhp (56kW) and 45Nm (33lb.ft). Born from an ‘extra-curricular’ passion project from members of the Ferrari research and development department, the CNC-machined engine has been developed over the last five years and suits the Langen perfectly. Each engine is built to order, and individually numbered to match the customer’s motorcycle; although the number that really gets the blood pumping is the screaming 14,500rpm redline!
It is simply a work of art, the casings are CNC machined and the 6speed gearbox is interchangeable. A combination of fuel injection, ECU-controlled oil injection, carbon fibre reed valves and electronic exhaust valves enable the engine to produce eye-watering performance figures and yet do so within strict environmentally-friendly protocols. The result is an engine most thought would never exist, a highly tractable two-stroke with modern engine management and yet remains 100% road legal in the UK. Hallelujah! Electric start fires it all into life, while a ’90s GP styled dual-exit exhaust system, complete with right-hand-side and under seat pipes, emits the smile inducing smokey sights and smells that bike enthusiasts adore.
Brilliant engineering and high-tech materials result in a weight of just 114kg (251lbs) including oil and water. This gives an incredible power-to-weight ratio of 660bhp/ton, and we’ve entered the realm of only the most expensive supercars. The initial build will be limited to 100 individually numbered motorcycles, which will be road legal in the UK, with production targeted to begin in summer 2021. With a final 150 bikes built and homologated for countries around the world starting in 2022. “The dream has always been to create a small piece of British motorcycling history. To be able to launch this special motorcycle under a completely new brand really is a dream come true.” A dream that all bike fans have had, now brought to life in all its glory.