Levis V6 cafe racer tweet
Levis sketch

Levis returns as old British bikes trendy again

Old British motorcycle brands are trendy again and the latest to be resurrected is Levis (pronounced leh-viss) not the American jeans brand!

The brand started making mainly two-stroke bikes in Birmingham in 1911 and stalled in 1940.

2932 Levis A2 350cc OHV
2932 Levis A2 350cc OHV

Ownership of the name seems to have changed hands at least a couple of times in 2014 to the online Auto Crowd Group and this year to automotive designer Phil Bevan.

Now Levis is about to make its first motorcycle in almost eight decades with a 1200cc V6 cafe racer with 97kW of power and a whopping 190Nm of torque.

Levis will join a growing number of British marques being resurrected in the past few years Ariel, BSA, Brough, Hesketh, Matchless and Norton.

Most have returned with hideously expensive bespoke models that, except for the Brough, are nothing like their previous incarnations.

Norton is the only manufacturer to return to its roots with any sense of tradition and taste. They’re also not outrageously expensive, starting at under $30,000.

Levis V6 Cafe RacerLevis V6 cafe racer

The Levis is another exotic bespoke revival with the bike costing £52,000 ($A90,000, $US70,000) and available in bespoke variations from cafe racer to street scrambler.

At the centre of the Levis cafe racer is an ingenious V6 engine which can be easily adapted for V10, V8, V6, V4 or V-twin configurations in four stroke, stt-sump two-stroke and even a two-stroke diesel.

The secret is in its narrow 22-degree V-angle, which enables single block construction allowing the block, pistons and conrods for different strokes. The narrow angle is also means it runs smooth without the need for a heavy counter-balancer.Levis V6 cafe racer

It was originally designed in 2004 by Tim Bishop as a two-litre 224kW V10 car engine.

The power plant is driven via a shaft in a single-sided bile-aluminium swingarm.

It also features a stainless-steel chassis, fat 200mm rear tyre, billet aluminium Hossack forks, and high pipes like the 1920s Levis race bikes with six small catalytic converters hidden inside each header.

Levis V6 cafe racer
Levis V6 cafe racer

Levis makes the entire bike in-house including the ECU, ABS and traction control.

Only six will be made in the first batch available early in 2018 with more variants to follow.

Trendy British marques

Norton in Beak St, London levis
Norton in Beak St, London

If you have any doubts that classic British motorcycle marques and motorcycling/scooter culture are trendy and fashionable again, take a wander through the London’s fashionable West End as I did recently.

Within a few blocks of trendy Carnaby St are the Norton shop, Lambretta, a mod scooter shop, Matchless and Belstaff which is one of the biggest residences in ultra-rich New Bond St.

To see motorcycle and scooter culture in such chic surrounds is both gratifying that motorcycling is accepted and worrying that it may be restricted to the ultra-rich and fashion-obsessed elite.

  1. How can building a frame, sticking an S&S engine in the frame & then sticking a Matchless logo or any other “revived” marque logo be really true to the original? An S&S is an S& S, at least Polaris built a new engine & frame which paid homage to it’s roots. Has Matchless, Levi or the other revived marques?
    I don’t think so!

  2. Yep, just what the world needs, another boutique cafe racer. How about we create a new motorcycle classification pidgeon-hole and call it a “boutique racer”?

    “Boutique racing” could become a new pasttime for the rich and famous. Imagine a bunch of celebreties hanging about a fashionable high-price eatery, their expensive stunning bikes parked out the front guarded by valets. When two celebrities clash over who is the most highly paid or most pursued by papparazzi, the combatants have to run out to their bikes and ride around the block and back to the boutiquery while evading papparazzi and before their chai latte mockachino (with a twist of lemon) goes cold. The winner is rider who gets their picture into the media the fastest.

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