So Midual finally gave us their big twin after 15 years of waiting, but we wished it had looked more like this!
Back in 1999 French designer Olivier Midy unveiled an ambitious project at the Paris bike show, featuring a brand new engine design – a 900cc boxer twin with one cylinder pointing forward and one pointing backward. Fitted to a tubular steel frame, that original prototype was styled by British designer Glynn Kerr. Finally unveiled late in 2014, the bike’s capacity had not only grown to 1036cc, but so had the expected price tag – a whopping £124,000. While the steampunk-like styling also caught the general public by surprise we can’t help but wonder what could’ve been, even back a decade and a half ago.
Originally designed with France’s 100bhp limit in mind, the 900cc engine would’ve been likely to appeal to those wanting torque over brute power. With the water-cooled engine canted forward to reduce length, this would also allow the rear cylinder to clear the rear shock. One of the benefits of such an engine layout would be the narrow profile, making for a very slim, agile bike. The latest 1036cc motor is claimed to make a steady 106bhp and a healthy 74ft-lb of torque, which we think is achievable with the 900cc version.
The cast aluminium alloy monocoque frame not only doubles as the fuel tank, but acts as the subframe too. The official bike is a classic roadster with a smattering of luxury thrown in but we’d forgo all that for more conventional tastes and a more performance-orientated bike. We’ve opted for sporty alloy Marchesinis over the spoked wheels which is more in line with the futuristic monocoque frame. Large aluminium brackets hold the swingarm pivot and engine firmly in place while Ohlins suspension takes care of the bumps.
We’ve styled our bike with minimal bodywork to showcase the chassis technology – just look at that frame! With a compact, low-slung headlight and waspish tail unit our Midual shuns the pillion option along with the usual tail-mounted number plate bracket for a cleaner, purer line. There might not be 45 different leather options for our version but it’d be a whole lot more of an affordable Midual experience and we think perhaps a much better one! Is the Midual just too weird anyway? And too expensive? What do you want to see being part of the CMM Retro Reboot for the next issue? Drop us a mail at the normal address.