Tag Archives: Other brands

The Two-Stroke Motorcycle Is Not Yet Dead

Proving there is still life in the two-stroke engine is new British company, Langen Motorcycles.

They will unveil a limited-edition, bespoke model, eponymously titled the Two Stroke, at the Salon Privé from 23-26 September 2020 at Blenheim Palace UK.

The road-legal 250cc Two Stroke will cost from £28,000 (about $A50,000) and only 250 will be made.

It’s powered by a two-stroke motor from Italian company Vins Motors who make lightweight, bespoke Duecinquanta motorcycles that cost up to $A80,000.

Major motorcycle companies have ditched two-stroke engines because they fail to meet the ever-more-stringent emissions regulations.

However, companies such as Vins and Langen are still producing expensive two-stroke bikes either for track use only or in limited-edition batches that are not governed by emissions regulations.

There is also the possibility that two-stroke engines can be cleaned up through innovative designs such as Australian Basil van Rooyen’s Crankcase Independent Two-Stroke (CITS) engine that meets tough emissions requirements as it eliminates total-loss lubrication.

2 stroke CITS engine fail
Aussie-designed two-stroke CITS engine

So there is still hope for those who love the two-stroke’s ring-ding-ding sound, light-switch power delivery, high revs, light weight, frugal fuel consumption and blue-smoke aroma.

Langen’s Two Stroke V-twin has a 14,000 red line and produces more than 75bhp (56kW) and 45Nm (33lb.ft).

The Vins engine has fuel injection, ECU-controlled oil injection, carbon fibre reed valves and electronic exhaust valves.

The whole bike weighs just 114kg (251lb) for a power-to-weight ratio of 660bhp/ton.


It features CNC-machined bits, laser-cut aluminium tubing, Hel Performance brakes, Ohlins forks, British K-Tech rear shocks and plenty of carbon-fibre, including the fuel tank.

Langen is designed, engineered and built in Wigan, Manchester.

Ewan McGregor tonight show

Each engine will be built to order and individually numbered to match the customers motorcycle, with fully CNC machined casings and custom interchangeable gearbox. Customisation can range from paint colours, chassis finish and suspension type to wheels, along with tailored ergonomics for each individual rider.

Chris Ratcliffe, creator of Langen and designer of the Two Stroke, has more than 10 years’ experience designing successful motorcycles.

“The company has been founded with the aim of producing motorcycles with a simplicity and purity of days gone by, like the ‘Ton-up boys’ and their Caf racers – yet pushing the limits of modern technology,” he says

“My 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.

The aim is to continue to push boundaries and create more interesting bikes, which we hope will really please people.”

The first run of 100 will be built from the second quarter of 2021 and will be road legal in the UK with 150 more in 2022 which all be road legal in other countries.

Orders are now being taken with a £1000 ($A1770) refundable deposit to secure one of the 100 initial bikes.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Will Manufacturers Fight Chinese Ripoffs?

The latest blatant ripoff of motorcycle design by the Chinese is a Moto S450RR which looks very much like BMW’s S 1000 RR and even features a version of the famous Bavarian marque’s blue roundel logo.

It is not the first nor the last ripoff of successful motorcycle and car models by the Chinese who are making headlines for intellectual property and data theft almost daily.

BMW Chinese Ripoff

In fact, It’s not the first BMW ripoff, either.

Last year we reported on a BMW G 310 GS ripoff, called an Everest Kaiyue 400X.

In the past we have also seen Chinese electric versions of the Honda Goldwing, China’s CFMoto 650TK which is very similar to Honda’s ST1300 and a Chinese brand called “Hongda” that made Honda lookalikes.

The Vietnamese are also in on the ripoff act with “Ducati” Monsters made by Quang Phuong Motor.

But what is most alarming is that motorcycle companies seem to be nothing about the theft of their intellectual property.

We contacted high-level executives at BMW Global asking what they would do about the ripoffs.

BMW Chinese Ripoff

These contacts normally reply quickly and even over weekends!

However, five days later there is not a word from BMW HQ, just as there was last time with the G 310 GS ripoff.

In fact, the only company that seems to actively pursue the copycats is iconic Italian scooter company Lambretta who is taking “strict” action against companies “free riding on the repute of Lambretta”.

They claim the global market is flooded with replicas of their classic scooters from China, India and Thailand.

The Chinese seem immune to international trade laws that bind other countries.

Better Deal Petition

We all know the Chinese make cheap copies of well-known brands and many of us probably have a Gucci belt made of plastic in a sweatshop in China

However, the Chinese have also made a lot of copies of bigger and more expensive products such as cars.

Some of the cars Chinese manufacturers have copied include the Range Rover Evoque, Smart ForTwo, Hummer, Porsche Cayman, Audi A6, Jeep Cherokee, BMW X1, Rolls-Royce Phantom and MINI Cooper.

Several car manufacturers tried to stop them copying their cars, but failed in an obstructive and partisan legal system, so they formed alliances with Chinese companies to make their products for the local market.

Honda and Yamaha have also tried to fight Chinese manufacturers in the courts over breach of copyright, but it is a long process as there are hundreds of knockoff manufacturers.

So, like the car makers, Honda has formed an allegiance with one of the knockoff Chinese companies to make their bikes for the local market.

Images for this article sourced from MotoSaigon.vn

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Aussie Fonzarelli Wins Design Award

Australia’s first electric motorcycle company, Fonzarelli, has won the Australian Good Design Awards’ Automotive – Best Exterior category for their fun, electric, dual-sport Grom-sized NKD minibike.

The Sydney-based company which also produces electric scooters were among 800 entries in the awards.

Fonzarelli founder Michelle Nazzari says the NKD, launched in October 2019, had to meet environmental and performance targets but also an “electrifying aesthetic”.

“From stuntmen to old school riders, we’ve enjoyed a host of great feedback on our ‘street-legal beast’,” she says.

“But to be recognised as delivering the year’s most impressive exterior across the entire automotive category is an incredible endorsement.”

There are four NKD models:

  • NKDa (80km/h top speed, 50km range) from $6990;
  • NKDs (100km/h top speed, 100km range) from $9990;
  • NKD+ (100km/h top speed, 150km range) from $12490; and
  • NKDx (100km/h top speed, 200km range) from $14990.

Fonzarelli designs and engineers the bike in Redfern, Sydney, and manufactures them in Adelaide.

Fonzarelli NKD electric mini motorcycle
Fonzarelli NKD

Good Design Awards judges praised the NKD for its innovation and design:

“The styling of the NKD ticks the box and scores big for developing a solution that targets global emerging trends. NKD answered the need to move towards greener and more sustainable mobility solutions,” the judges said. 

MV Agusta Stunt bikes

“The use of recyclable materials and ability to tap into renewable energy adds to the positive environmental messaging of the brand and product.

“In a world where everyone is looking for individuality, the NKD can be customised and personalised to suit individual taste. The ‘meccano’ styling has that retro handmade feel about it, reinforcing that custom appeal. It doesn’t appear like a mass-produced product, giving it a sense of uniqueness and intrigue.

“The jury loves how the retro custom styling is in complete contrast to the technology and powertrain that sits within. It’s very cool. 0-100 in 3.9 sec… WOW!

“Overall, the NKD is a cool step towards the shift to more environmentally friendly mobility solutions. Low running costs, high performance, range, customisation, safety, low service costs, the use of recyclable materials all add to a well thought out solution.”

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Husqvarna Plans Electric Street Bike

A sketch for an electric Husqvarna has emerged showing the company has plans for an electric naked street bike.

It follows the launch last year of their first electric motorcycle, a small EE 5 electric dirt bike which is the equivalent of a 50cc model.

But now it looks like Husky will head to the streets with an electric after these images of an E-Pilen appeared in a leaked company investor presentation report.

The Swedish company is now owned by KTM which already makes the electric Freeride E-XC and SX-E5 trials bikes, but also plans to introduce electric street bikes and scooters.

KTM SX-E electric minibike KTM 790 Adventure
KTM SX-E electric

Perhaps the technology is being developed together.

After all, the sketch was part of an investor presentation hosted by Pierer Mobility which is the parent company of KTM and Husqvarna.

So we may also logically suspect a KTM E-Duke may be on the cards.

Zero DSR Dual Sport

The only difference between the E-Pilen and E-Duke could be cosmetic.

As for when they are produced, it could still be a few years if the sketches have only just emerged at an investor presentation.

It’s a long way from asking for money and showing a sketch to actually producing a prototype, then unveiling a production-ready bike.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Zero Plans Off-Road Bikes

The top-selling electric motorcycle company in the world, Zero Motorcycles, looks like it is heading off-road.

The Californian company has filed two trademarks for “Zero FX/E” and “Zero DSR/X”.

There is no explanation in the filing with the American patents and trademarks office, but we suspect these mean they are going off-road.

The FX model is a supermoto and we think the “E” could mean enduro. It certainly wouldn’t mean electric as it is already electric!

As for the DSR, that’s a dual-sport bike, so the X could simply mean it is more extreme in its dirt abilities.

Zero FX Dual-Sport

Electric dirt bikes make a lot of sense as they don’t require the extensive range of a road bike and they don’t disturb the peace and quiet of a forest or annoy the neighbours.

Zero Motorcycles pulled out of the Australian and New Zealand markets in 2017 citing exchange rates and taxes.

That hasn’t changed much since then and we have received no word from the company about any change in policy.

When they pulled out their fleet consisted of the S, SR, DS, DSR, FX, and FXS ranging in price from $A18,000 to $A25,000 on the road. You could also buy an optional $4790 Power Tank battery which extends range up to 320km.

In 2019, they added the SR/F model to challenge the Harley-Davidson LiveWire.

Zero’s bike has better performance and range but costs about $US11,000 less than the LiveWire.

The Harley costs $US29,799 in the US and will arrive in Australia next month at $A49,995.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Husqvarna slashes 401 prices again

Husqvarna Australia has once again sashed the prices of its Vitpilen 401 and Svartpilen 401 single-cylinder motorbikes.

When the handsome and well-built bikes were introduced in 2018, I said the $A10,495 pricetag would make them a hard sell.

I was right.

Last year they dropped the prices of both the 401 and 701 Vitpilen and Svartilen by a massive $3000 to $7000, depending on the model.

Husqvarna Svartpilen - vitpilen
Husqvarna Svartpilen

For the 401 models, the price dropped to $A7495 plus on-road costs.

Now they have dropped to $6195 (+ORC) or $7095 ride away.

Husqvarna has a habit of overpricing their bikes on launch. The short-lived TR650 Strada and Terra bikes had $1200 slashed from their prices in just a few months after their launch in 2013.

CFMoto CF1250

They also slashed $3500 off the equally abortive one-year-old Nuda 900 that same year.

The price drop for the new 401 models comes with updated features including an extended, bolt-on subframe to increase pillion comfort and new a paint finish with silver and bronze accents.

The 2020 learner-approved Vitpilen 401 street model is now available in Australia with the Svartpilen 401 arriving in late August.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

CFMoto 700CL-X launch delayed

The launch of the handsome CFMoto 700CL-X range has been delayed until early 2021, but it will arrive with a pack of accessories.

The company celebrated its 30th anniversary in Milan last November 2019 with the announcement that the 700CL-X would arrive in late 2020 in three models: Sports, Heritage, Adventure.

Sports has bar-end mirrors, lower bars, solo seat and mag wheels. Heritage features more complex mags, round mirrors and wide bars. Adventure has a screen, wire wheels and knobby tyres.

Launch delayed

However, it has been delayed, presumably by the COVID crisis, and will arrive early in 2021.

The 700CL-X Heritage will also launch a wide range of accessories, including classic-style panniers, a diamond-stitched seat, protection and bar-end mirrors, as well as a collection of rider gear.

CFMoto Australia director Michael Poynton says the delayed 700CL-X will be a “watershed model” for the brand as its first middleweight naked.

“The 700CL-X is extremely important to us. It will be the company’s first non-LAMS model, and it’s just the tip of the iceberg of what we can expect from CFMOTO as a result of its relationship with KTM,” Michael says.

“Underscoring that relationship is a significant joint venture built on bricks and mortar.

“This comprises an all-new office and R&D building, in Hangzhou, China, which officially opened this month, as well as a new manufacturing facility nearby, which will be operational later this year.”

Pricing for the 700CL-X range will be announced at a later date, but we can expect it will be among the cheapest in its class as is most of their range.CFMoto 700CL-X

CFMoto 700CL-X

CFMoto models are now designed by Kiska, the contemporary Austrian design house that does KTM’s design work.

The company has close ties with KTM, making their bikes in China for the domestic market.

CFMoto 700CL-X

The design features a mix of modern and traditional influences.

For example, the traditional round headlight has LED lighting and the round instruments have an LCD readout that can display fuel consumption and incoming call.CFMoto 700CL-X

Interestingly, the X design in the headlights and the LCD instrument are quite reminiscent of the popular Ducati Scrambler.CFMoto 700CL-X

The CFMoto 700CL-X has a lightweight frame that weighs just 16.5kg and the swingarm weighs 6.7kg. All up, it weighs 183kg dry.

Technology includes ABS, electronically controlled throttle, sliding clutch, cruise control , USB charging port under the seat and “electronic protection control” (an alarm, we think).

Its lighting system automatically switches on/off according to ambient brightness.CFMoto 700CL-X

New engineCFMoto 700CL-X

The 700CL-X is powered by a newly developed 692cc inline twin-cylinder water-cooled engine.

It is the latest evolution of the CFMOTO 150/250/400/650 displacement platforms, featuring split-type connection rod, forged piston, electronic throttle, sliding clutch.

The optimised intake system improves efficiency and increases the peak power from 41.5kW to 55kw and torque from 62Nm to 67Nm.CFMoto 700CL-X

Thankfully it is one of the few adventur-ish motorcycles that has an easy-to-access air filter for cleaning.

Just remove the right plastic panel.

They say an oil change is so simple it can “easily be done at home”.

CFMoto also has a range of accessories to customise the bike, including luggage for the Adventure model.CFMoto 700CL-X

CFMoto 700CL-X tech specsCFMoto 700CL-X

Dry Weight    





860mmCFMoto 700CL-X Adventure






800mmCFMoto 700CL-X




13.5 litres

Front tyre


Rear tyre


Front brake

320mm disc, radial-mount caliperCFMoto 700CL-X

Rear brake

260mm disc, floating caliper


USD, damping adjustableCFMoto 700CL-X

Rear shock

Central shock absorber, damping adjustable


4-stroke, liquid-cooled inline twin 



Clutch type

Slide Clutch

CFMoto 700CL-X Heritage

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Brough tests $185k 180hp AMB 001

Brough Superior has tested its $A185,000, 180 horsepower turbo AMB 001 track toy that comes with plenty of carbonfibre and Aston Martin wings.

The bike is not road registrable and only 100 will be made at their factory in Toulouse, France, with delivery late in 2020.Brough Superior AMB 001 track toy carbonfibre Aston Martin

Brough Superior Motorcycles Australia Sales and Network Development Dale Schmidtchen says they have one on order.

“We have been told they are expected in Q4 of this year and they are selling fast,” he says.

“I personally think they would look great sitting in a living room and admiring.”

The first Australian distributor for the venerable British-now-French marque in more than 80 years has opened a showroom in Brisbane.

Brough Superior Fred DrakeImporter Fred Drake with the Brough models

The model line-up is:

  • SS100, $105,000 (Euro 3);
  • SS100, $110,000 (Euro 4);
  • Pendine Sand Racer, $105,000;
  • Anniversary, $168,000;
  • AMB 001 (track only), $185,000.

Click here for a short test ride and more info on these models.

Tested on the track

The AMB 001 is a joint project by Aston Martin and Brough Superior.

Their project mule took to the track at Pau-Arnos in France recently to begin its comprehensive testing program in traditional Aston Martin Camo livery.

Aston Martin Executive Vice President and Chief Creative Officer, Marek Reichman said:

Everybody involved has managed to make tremendous progress with the development of AMB 001, despite the challenges we have all been facing. This special motorcycle is, like our road cars, the result of beautiful design melding with modern technology to produce a bike that any collector will be proud of. We are delighted to see how much progress has been made, both on and off track and look forward to the moment when production starts for this stunning machine.Brough Superior AMB 001 track toy carbonfibre Aston Martin

Prototype testing is one of the most vital parts of the development process with a test motorcycle allowing the team to validate the chassis geometry, the ergonomics and dynamic behaviour. 

In the same way that Aston Martin’s vehicle dynamics engineers can ‘read’ a car, Brough Superior’s test rider feeds back on all areas of performance, from the overall dynamic feel of the bike to details regarding cornering, braking, acceleration and the like.Brough Superior AMB 001 track toy carbonfibre Aston Martin

Brough Superior CEO Thierry Henriette said:

One of the key design features of the AMB 001 is an aluminium fin that runs along the full length of a carbon fibre tank, passing under the saddle and out onto the rear. The body holding the fin and supporting the saddle is one of the areas where we called on the unique knowledge of Mecano ID, who joined the project to apply specialist aerospace-quality carbon fibre skills to the exclusive AMB 001.

While the focus of the track testing is directed at the chassis, engine bench testing takes place in parallel.

The AMB 001 is powered by a 180hp (134kW) turbo-charged engine. The turbo package includes an intercooler with an oversized/wide intake manifold.

Once this testing process is complete the AMB 001 will go into production this northern autumn at the Brough Superior factory in Toulouse, France.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Confederate ditches divisive name

Alabama motorcycle company Confederate has changed its controversial name to Combat Motors in the wake of the global Black Lives Matter movement.

Back in 2017, the company considered changing its name after the race riots in Charlottesville, Virginia, where one person was killed and 26 injured when a car slammed into a crowd of people protesting a white nationalist rally.

However, Confederate Motors president H. Matthew Chambers only introduced the name Curtiss Motorcycles for the introduction of their electric models. The name comes from the famous aviator and motorcycle racer Glenn Curtiss.

Curtiss Hades electric motorcycleCurtiss Hades electric motorcycle

At the time, Chambers admitted they had “lost a lot a business with that name” and “missed out on branding opportunities”.

However, they continued producing conventionally powered motorcycles under the Confederate brand.

Now, with Confederate and other racist statues and monuments being toppled around the world in the BLM movement, they have relented and changed the name to Combat Motors.

In a Facebook statement they said they changed the name “to better reflect the spirit and the values of the Combat Motors team, manufacturing partners and clients”.

Confederate Hellcat SpeedsterConfederate Hellcat Speedster

Here is the rest of the official statement:

Confederate Motorcycles was established in 1991 as an international brand.  In psychology, confederates are actors who participate in a psychological experiment pretending to be a subject but in actuality working for the researcher. This is why we would commonly refer to our customers and clients as our confederates. In much the same way, they participated in building and celebrating our bespoke motorcycles that by their very design bring people together to agree in the proposition that this motorcycle is like no other. 

Our motorcycles are realized through a partnership with our various members of our team who design, build and distribute these one of a kind masterpieces. We feel that the new name better exemplifies the spirit and values of that team. We stand with those fighting for change in the United States and are very happy to contribute an overdue but small part of that change.

The F-117 Combat Fighter, P-51 Combat Fighter, FA-13 Combat Bomber and the Combat Wraith are each built upon the CX-4 frame, feature an S&S X-Wedge 117 or 132 cubic inch engine, BST wheels, RaceTech suspension, Beringer Brakes, Motogadget electronics, a Bandit clutch and have a frame carved entirely from solid billet blocks of aircraft-grade 6061 and 7075 aluminum built by 3D Systems, resulting in the most robust, fatigue-resistant motorcycle possible. Each of our manufacturing partners makes doing what we do possible.

Confederate FA-13 Combat BomberThe $US115,000 FA-13 Combat Bomber model is their most powerful bike with a 112kW (150hp) V-twin.

True to his passion as “curator of the brand”, Ernest Lee, owner of Combat Motors, has hired many of the design, assembly, sales, service and support team from the company’s past, Jay Etheridge, Jason Reddick, Landers Sevier, Andrew Reuther, and Dave Hargreaves to name a few.  Our manufacturing vendors, our clients and our team are each integral to not only our current successes but also to determining our success in the future. We make a ritual of consulting with clients and those previously involved with the company while deciding on the appropriate path for the brand and have received overwhelming support for this change.

Our brand is bigger than any one of us and needed to be something that would match the values of the company and the feeling that people get when they see our motorcycles for the first time. Combat Motors will live in the spirit of clients that have owned our bikes and in the people who have been involved with the company since its inception in 1991. As long as we have motorcycles on the road, our brand will shine through their owners. 

Combat Motors will continue to support Confederate branded motorcycles and is offering re-branding with any service at its Birmingham location for any Confederate Motorcycle owner interested in an update.

Today’s announcement signals to the world that Combat Motors will be built for many years to come.

Look for them on the road.

Celebrity owners

Nicholas Cage's Confederate Hellcat Marlon BrandoNicholas Cage’s Confederate Hellcat

Confederate has many celebrities owners such as Nicholas Cage, Tom Cruise and Keanu Reeves, and has been imported into Australia by Urban Moto Imports.

Confederate had been imported into Australia by Urban Moto Imports, but there is no longer an Australian distributor.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

CFMoto 650MT & Shinko tyre review

Some 10,000km after taking possession of a CFMoto 650MT and then fitting it with Shinko 705 Adventure Touring tyres, industry veteran Dale Schmidtchen has updated his impressions of the combo. (You can also check out his initial reviews of the 650MT and Shinko tyres.)

Eleven months of ownership with this bargain-bin beauty and I can report that it continues to impress with every ride.

I still look at the Yamaha 700 Tenere and KTM 790 Adventure with envy, but for my general rides and realistic level of ability, I doubt I could justify the difference in price overt the MT at just $7490 ride away.

I commute most days on the CFMoto, and ride generally every weekend, sometimes both days. This hasn’t stopped over the COVID-19 enforced lockdown and as MBW can attest, it has been easy to do many hundreds of km even in a small radius.

Saddle timeCFMoto 650 MT

Last weekend, I did a 430km day trip and had plenty of time to reflect on this little bike as I cruised in a group that included Harleys, V4 Hondas, Triumph Speed Triples, a GSX1400 and even an MuZ 660.

The riding position is really relaxed, neutral and at the end of the day, I was tired but not sore.

I have found a happy place for the adjustable screen that nicely deflects bugs and breeze, allowing for my preferred visor up touring.

The brakes still have a lot of pad left front and rear. Braking force and control remains very consistent, despite a very basic level of ABS that is unable to be switched off.

The original chain and sprocket are doing very well.

Mirrors are still generally fuzz free and if I had to complain about anything from the cockpit’s view, the instruments can get a bit glarey if the sun is in the wrong position, but I don’t think that is anything unusual on any motorcycle.

I have left the bike standard in all areas for now, even resisting the temptation to derestrict it.

The engine power is ample for the real world and for now it’s still LAMS. I have also run a variety of fuels through it and there seems no real difference in power or the way it performs, but if I had to mention one fuel, Shell 98 seems to give it a little more range.

I originally quoted 400km from a tank. Theoretically that is possible, but because I am scared of pushing a bike home, I normally fill up at 300. It gets between 22km/l and 25km/l.

Shinko tyresShinko Tyre

The Shinko 705 tyres continue to impress after 6000+km. The front has lost 1mm of tread in the centre and the rear has worn away 4mm. In both cases, there is a lot of tread depth left and I expect the rear will be a 10,000km tyre.

I run them at 34/38 psi cold and they have plenty of predictable grip on dirt or tarmac.

IssuesCFMoto 650 MT

So what don’t I like and what issues have I had?

Generally nothing, just little niggles that haven’t stopped me in any way.

The tops of the fork adjusters have faded badly from red to a dull flesh colour.

Also, the clear plastic lower fairing on the right hand side is showing signs of cracking. The upside is that these parts are probably available at very sensible prices and I will replace them when I have to.

The only real letdown of the bike is the suspension. Sure, it works fine in 90% of cases, but over high-frequency bumps such as road corrugations, it reminds me of Stutter Rap from the Beastie Boys.

A good suspension tech could probably make it a lot better, but this could also be done at the factory. Get the suspension sorted and I have to say, it would be a giant killer.

Having said that, I am looking forward to trading up to the new CFMoto 700CL-X due later in the year.

CFMoto 700CL-X AdventureCFMoto 700CL-X Adventure

Until then, the 650MT will do me nicely. 

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com