Story and Photos by ITN European Reporter Herve’ Rebollo.
Salut à toi American rider,
When I write my monthly post for you, I always have two targets: make you discovering my country / culture and improve your motorcycle general culture. Today, I reach my goals introducing MIDUAL, the French motorcycle luxury brand.
In August 2014 the brand announced a new model at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance (California), the Midual Type 1. The announced price was €155,000, making it one of the most expensive motorcycles in the world. The Type 1 is produced in a limited series. It utilizes a transverse flat-twin engine design, straight out of a BMW, with the cylinders laying inside the frame at a 25° downward angle. Midual claims the arrangement offers a lower center of gravity while reducing longitudinal inertia.
In 1992, Olivier began designing a flat-Twin engine that, unlike its German counterpart, sat parallel to the direction of travel, facing fore and aft. It would sit in the motorcycle at 25 degrees and, rather than a shaft-drive, would use a more traditional chain for its final drive system. Olivier and his brother had founded a company that operates in the automotive industry which would give him the R&D assistance needed to help him see through the creation of his flat-Twin engine. The brothers debuted a foam-and-resin concept at the 1999 Paris Motorcycle Show to much acclaim however, the company then fell from the spotlight in the following years and would remain quiet until roughly eight years later. In the summer of 2007, the roar of an unmistakable, 180-degree, flat-Twin engine would erupt out of an R&D facility in city of Angers, nearly 15 years after Olivier’s initial conception.
The Midual Type 1, which is now available to interested parties, is truly a masterclass of engineering and meticulous attention to detail. The unique engine uses a 100mm x 60mm bore/stroke to yield 1036cc. Fed by two 54mm throttle bodies, Midual claims a crankshaft rating of 106 hp at 8200 rpm and 69 ft-lb of torque at 5500 rpm. The especially clever bit is how Midual placed the engine inside the sand-cast aluminum alloy frame sloped at a 25-degree angle, turned 90 degrees from a traditional BMW flat-Twin arrangement.
In addition to being liquid-cooled, the Midual Type 1 also includes two oil coolers. The Type 1 boasts a 43 mm Öhlins FGRT fork up front and an Öhlins TTX 36 cantilever shock in the rear. Both of which provide 4.7 inches of travel. The brothers Midy also use Brembo brakes for stopping duties on the 527-lb motorcycle, with a pair of four-piston Brembo calipers up front squeezing 320mm floating discs, while a 2-pot Brembo caliper in the rear clenches a single 245mm disc.
At $185,000 the Midual is a jewel of technology, dressed in leather and aluminum, which will delight lovers of mechanics and great luxury places itself at the top of the production luxury motorcycles of the world list.
The Midual company is now in 2021 installed in its new 1,800 m2 factory in Juigné-sur-Loire, south of Angers. With 10 employees, it has been fully operational since autumn 2020. To date, several copies of Midual are in circulation and the company has a few machines in stock. A second series of 20 machines is launched to continue without breaking. The bike is offered between 155 and 170,000 Euros depending on the finish.
The machine is the result of “200,000 hours” of development and the Angevin unit itself manufactures its parts on its machining centers, including the single-shell double-walled aluminum frame that acts as a chassis and tank (this part is one of the characteristics of the motorcycle).
Most of the 1,450 parts that make it up are delivered by 140 suppliers, 70% of which are French”. It is explained that this foundry part, whose gross of 80 kilos requires for each casting the manufacture of a mold employing 1,700 kilos of sand, is then deburred, ground, machined then polished manually. No less than 90 hours of manual shaping are necessary to obtain the final polish.
Lovers of mechanics will also appreciate the architecture of the engine, “the soul of the motorcycle”: a boxer twin in line positioned in the direction of the road, tilted by 25 ° (This “generous in sensations” flat twin has been tested over more than 100,000 kilometers).