Back in 2004, Mike Hanlon did a wonderful road test on the final Aprilia RS250 – "the last of the fire-breathing two-stroke roadsters" – that has stuck in my mind to this day. I never rode one of these 140-kg (309-lb), 60-hp, ultra-lightweight track scalpels, and I feel like my life's been the poorer for it.
I can't even imagine how quickly something that small might turn, how precisely it might handle or the challenge of keeping both wheels on the deck under hard acceleration and braking on a bike so light. Because, at the end of the day, there's no place for two-stroke roadbikes in a modern world that recognizes the effect a filthy tailpipe can have on our environment and health. We get it. Mike kissed an extraordinary class of bikes goodbye with "I think I'll go and have a good cry."
Well, Mike might need to keep some tissues handy for a different reason now. An Italian company called Vins Motors reckons it's bringing back the two-stroke bad boy, and by golly has material science come a long way in the last 13 years.
The Vins Duecinquanta (250) is focused on weight reduction to a degree we've never seen before in a road bike. If the RS250 was a featherweight at 140 kg (309 lb), how does a curb weight of around 95 kg (209 lb) sound? To get down to that magical figure, the Duecinquanta uses a carbon fiber monocoque frame, as well as carbon rims and bodywork. The forks are carbon blades, too, using an "overlapping triangle" suspension system with a tiny monoshock up near the steering head.
And of course, there's the tiny motor. The compact two-stroke 90-degree V-twin engine is electronically injected, and the company claims it will meet Euro IV emissions standards to make it road legal. The company isn't giving power figures yet, but it's claiming a top speed around 200 km/h (120 mph), so somewhere in the vicinity of 60 horses is certainly possible.
The custom-built radiator is integrated into the aerodynamics system on top of the engine and in front of the fuel tank, so that incoming air through the front vents flows over it and back through the hollow frame where it can exit through the tail and swingarm. This is a truly remarkable machine.
Not as remarkabe, however, as its race-focused track-only brother, the Duecinquanta Competizione. Despite the fact that its name literally means "250 competition," this one gets a capacity boost to 288cc. And this time, Vins is happy to tell us the motor will make a blistering 80 horses for a top speed around 240 km/h (149 mph).
Ditching the road gear also helps the Competizione shed around 10 kg (22 lb) off its curb weight, giving you a bike that weighs an incomprehensible 85 kg (187 lb). What a superb joy that could be on a racetrack – as long as it doesn't have that famous two-stroke tendency to highside the brave into the weeds.
I hope Mike has saved some Kleenex for the price tag, though, because at €50,000 (US$59,720) for the Competizione and €40,000 (US$47,780), these are top-shelf specials the average New Atlas writer has little to no chance of ever throwing a leg over. Still, maybe if Vins can demonstrate the market has an appetite for a two-stroke road sportsbike, maybe somebody can swoop in with something a touch less extreme and exotic that the rest of us can ride.
A production video for the Competizione can be seen below.
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