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Levis Motorcycles Revival Well Underway


There are more dead motorcycle brands than you might be aware of. Levis Motorcycles was based in England and began manufacturing two-stroke bikes in 1911, eventually building four-strokes until production ended during the Second World War. According to Levis, the last bike came off the production line in 1941.

More than 70 years later, auto designer Phil Bevan bought the brand name, and together with co-designer Steve Kirk, decided to revive it. The first of several models planned is the V6 Café Racer pictured. The 1200cc V6 is derived from a V10 automobile engine, according to Bevan, who said “I realised we had a two-litre V10 engine that’s only 13in across the cylinder head. So I said F*** it, let’s make a motorbike.”

Take a look at the Levis Motorcycles website, and here is the press release on the V6 Café Racer:

Since the initial launch feature which was published in December’s 2017 edition of MCN the team at Levis have been working hard on the development of each of the bikes components and systems. We are making good progress to date though as anyone who has designed and built of motorcycle from scratch knows, it’s a very complicated and arduous task, especially when you are trying to create something as unique as the New Levis Café Racer!

ENGINE

At the heart of the bike is our own V6 1.2 litre narrow angle engine which is mounted longitudinally in the frame. We are approaching the end of the design stage having completed the block, head and internal component design. Our first two test blocks have been cast, X rayed and successfully checked for porosity. We are now finalising the intake and induction design and hope to be manufacturing these components very soon. The engine development is going well and indications show we are on target to realise the initial power and torque figurespeaking at120hp with a similar torque figure. The firing order is very unusual for a V6 being, 1-2-3-4-5-6. This should aid power delivery and reduce harmonic imbalances giving a very smooth running engine. Indeed the engine has no need for an internal balancing shaft as it runs so smoothly.

The engine also features a unique rear flywheel / pulley / counterbalance that runs a V belt up to an ISG mounted directly above so no need for a separate starter motor and alternator.

The front of the engine will now only have a timing wheel, nose balance weight and a radial fan to keep the length of the engine to a minimum.

We are also planning a supercharged version of this engine. This would be featured in a limited special edition run to commemorate the first Levis motorcycle to win its class in the Isle of Man TT in 1920. The bike would be launched in 2020 in celebration of this special 100th anniversary. More details of this will be released as and when the development program allow.

GEARBOX

We have developed our own six speed inline gearbox to maximise our engines power characteristics and to give us the best combination of performance, economy and shift quality. The sixth gear would be an overdrive running at 33% engine speed. The casing will be machined from solid billet aluminium and we are currently looking at both shaft and chain drive systems to suit the particular model in our proposed range of motorcycles. The gearbox is being designed to suit all models in the range with a possible change in ratios to suit the proposed V10 cruiser version.

FRAME, SUSPENSION

Our first stainless steel frames are currently starting production following manufacturing trials. These will bear a very close resemblance to the original artist’s impression launched in the Dec 2017 MCN issue. The curved main frame rails cradle the engine supporting it at the top front and rear with a lower cradle mount for the engine / gearbox. The lightweight frame has interchangeable stainless panels allowing these to be finished differently to the frame. For instance the frame rails could have a polished finish while the panels could have a brushed or coloured finish. These could be tailored to the owners requirements giving a unique bespoke look.

The front forks, yokes, hand controls, and headlamp are all CNC machined from solid aluminium billet. Careful attention has been given to removing any excess weight from these components without compromising the look.

Our unique design will incorporate the brake and clutch cylinders into the top yoke design to give a clean minimal look together with running all wires internally.

The single front and rear shock absorbers are specially built for our application by a leading UK shock absorber manufacturer and are fully adjustable for preload and rebound. They will be made to match the specific finishes of each model.

WHEELS & BRAKES

The solid wheel design of the Cafe Racer model is a little deceiving as its not solid. The wheel is machined from aluminium billet in two halves. This allows us to take weight out of the thicker inner parts of the wheel such as the spokes and central tapered sections. The sides are bolted together from inside the rim so no fixings are visible from the outside. The two halves have a sealant applied to keep them airtight. The valve is located in one of the spokes behind the brake disc so as not to be visible and an air pocket runs from the valve inside the aluminium through the rim into the tyre.

The 305mm diameter front brake discs and rear disc are machined from stainless steel and have a drilled and polished finish. They also have the Levis logo etched into the outer surface at the end of each of the six spokes.

The radial callipers are specially made from billet aluminium to our own design and are finished in a range of polished or powder coated finishes to match the bike.

The bike shown in the photographs is a development mock up to test the ergonomics, look and proportions of the styling, and to trial / test fit the various parts that are specially built for this unique model. As such its fit and finish are not truly representative of a production model and there will be many tweaks and detail changes made to the CAD model to achieve the refinement and sophistication we are striving for.

We are planning to launch five versions of the V6 engined concept. The first being the Café Racer, followed by the Urban Roaster, then the Flat Tracker, followed by two sports versions. Details of these will be released in due course.

As a bespoke manufacturer we take each basic model as a starting point and work with the prospective owner to personalise his or her motorcycle. The colour, finish, leatherwork, wheels, exhaust etc can all be tailored to personal preference resulting in a motorcycle that is truly unique to the individual.

We plan to exhibit a pre production version of the Café Racer and Urban Roadster at the Goodwood Revival 7th – 9th September

Price for the Levis V6 Cafe Racer is £102,000

We now have an open order book for the Café Racer and the TT Anniversary Edition and welcome any enquiries.


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45 Comments

  1. Jan J says:

    I can’t imagine the flat track version…. Please! post a drawing!
    I still wish someone would resurrect the Indian 4…

  2. Roadrash1 says:

    I only have one question……
    Why?
    I guess I’ll never understand this small aspect of the motorcycle world.

    • HS1.... says:

      If anyone ever does come to a rational understanding of this segment, they should instantly get a lobotomy for the good of themselves and the protection of all mankind.

  3. Mr.Mike says:

    If I were rich I would buy it because I’d know I had the only one.

  4. Paul says:

    I think most a missing the point here. Imagine someone in the thirties going to buy a Delahaye automobile, they were outrageously designed and expensive $20,000 back then. Same concept here a base platform then buyer and builder work together to get the look. They are not for everyday or for just anyone,they are functional pieces of art. Push the design envelope. Some people soil their linens over Confederate Motorcycles. I myself like and appreciate the ultimate craftsmanship, and bold styling of the Levis. Save the flames.

    • HS1.... says:

      But, Delahayes of the 30’s worked just fine as cars with one even winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

      • paul says:

        they haven’t built of these yet, we do not know they will function and besides they started working on them in 1896 so in forty years if Levis is still around ( which I doubt) who knows. Just my two cents

        • HS1... says:

          I don’t think these bikes will work at all. The point I was trying to make is that 30’s Delahayes aren’t a good parallel to this imbecilic motorycle attempt because those cars worked very well and were often styled by higly respected designers.

  5. Pacer says:

    Makes me think of a girl who only has one pose. “No, no. Take the picture from this side.”

  6. Mick says:

    I guess if I wanted a car engine like thing powering my bike, I would be shopping Motus or PGM. Though I would rather have the PGM V8 in a small car.

  7. viktor92 says:

    This thing can’t be taken seriously

  8. motorhead says:

    The target audience for this oddity is not motorcyclists. The target audience is millionaire trust fund babies looking to invest in something shiny and new and more interesting to own than say Apple or Google shares. The Levis company owners (chuckling right now) will pay themselves sufficient money over the course of three years to enable them to retire to a warm climate. This game is common in Silicon Valley, and there are trust fund babies stupid enough to pay for this scam. It’s all fun. I’ll take some popcorn and watch from the upper seats.

  9. Anonymous says:

    That is just not a good looking motorcycle.

  10. WSHart says:

    And the world, in hushed and reverent tones did sigh in both amazement and utter disbelief at the sight of a turd that could be polished.

  11. Bob S. says:

    I like the tires.

  12. carl says:

    Uhmmm no comment.

  13. mechanicus says:

    Well, at least the seating position forces your butt way up in the air with your chin rubbing on the top triple tree, so I guess it has instant squid credibility.

  14. My2cents says:

    I believe this will appear in the upcoming revival of The Wizard of Oz. I like to think I can find something to like about almost “any “ motorcycle, periodically I am unable to carry that weight and this is a fair representation of gaudy excess.

  15. JBFST says:

    And besides all that , only 120BHP for all that jack ? I don’t think so

  16. ABQ says:

    F*** it, let’s make a motorbike. I like the attitude more than anything else.

  17. Beatrice Kiddo says:

    It would look great at the entrance of the “Happy Days” diner…
    https://www.yelp.com/biz_photos/hot-rods-diner-social-circle?select=eaBdEjTo6KscIP7svt7qjQ

  18. Mick says:

    I certainly hope that is a very early prototype.

  19. Neal says:

    Phil and Steve are wasting their time and money on this venture. It’s not a usable machine with those ergos, so it will be relying on aesthetic and tech appeal. The aesthetics are a miss… everything is underdesigned and the colors and materials haven’t been fashionable in the last 50 years. The engine is unique so that might appeal to someone.

  20. Kurt says:

    A small portion of the tail piece looks good.

  21. Jabe says:

    Wouldn’t ride that thing to a rock fight.

  22. Brad says:

    Why does every manufacturer think they have to make a “cafe racer”?

  23. Neil says:

    It’s too long. Looks creative but bizarre.

  24. SausageCreature says:

    That’s the most ridiculous bike I’ve seen that didn’t come out of a Hot Wheelz box.

  25. paul says:

    Levis Stillborn.

  26. motorhead says:

    Stainless steel frame and side panels? This thing will weigh as much as a Honda Civic.
    Light weight stainless steel is an oxymoron.

  27. foster says:

    A challenger to the Victory Vision for the title of most Edsel-like motorcycle in the world! Butt ugly!

  28. John A. Kuzmenko says:

    I don’t think it’s ugly.
    Ridiculous is more accurate a word.

  29. Tom K. says:

    As a whole it’s a bit of a hot mess. But if you look at individual pieces of it, you can see where they were trying for an “Art Deco” theme – look at the Chrysler Building or some of the 1930’s locomotives and compare them to the radiator shroud and rear seat cowl.

    To paraphrase Edward Longshanks in “Braveheart”: “As King, you have to be able to find the good in any situation.” But taken as a whole, likewise with Longshanks’ context, it’s a miss. Looks like I’ll have to spend my 100K Pounds elsewhere.

  30. Bud says:

    If you are going to do a press release, for God’s sake, have someone proofread for grammatical mistakes and spellcheck the damn thing.

  31. Provologna says:

    I ordered 2. Kidding. Only 1. Comes with ugly pills that make you think it’s gorgeous.

  32. Tom R says:

    With rare exception, a great way to turn a large fortune into a small one is to go into the motorcycle manufacturing business.

    Any chance this Phil Bevan guy is also in the market for a bridge in NY or a tower in Paris? I’ll ’em both.

  33. kjazz says:

    ….art….

  34. CrazyJoe says:

    Its hard to look at. Did a search on the original levis and after sifting thru the jean ads got to see a few examples of fine mototorcycles of the 1930’s and earlier. There’s no resemblance. They looked kind of Royal Enfieldish. The 600 look pretty modern. This one I don’t know. There’s always going to be a faster and better handling motorcycle but 130k it should be a work of art.

  35. Bob K says:

    Yech!!!
    .
    Those valve covers and narrowness remind me of an old CJ-2A I had with a side valve engine. Look at the way the pipes exit. If the valvetrain is going sideways, WTF kind of piston and combustion chamber shape do they have? It’d be worse than the mountain dome that was inside the iron-head sportsters in the 60s and 70s. Blocking the flame front and running real dirty and inefficiently.

  36. Larry Kahn says:

    Ack. And that rear tire needs some air. Makes ya wonder…

  37. steveinsandiego says:

    gag on the eyeball. sigh. but i’m outta motorcycles for good due to health reverses. it was a fun 20 years.

    • MGNorge says:

      🙁

    • Dino says:

      Sorry to hear.. How about a three wheeler? Sidecar? Sidecar big enough to hold an oxygen tank, or whatever you might need?
      Here’s hoping you could get back in the saddle if you want..