Britain’s historic Métisse marque — founded by brothers Derek and Don Rickman in the 1960s, and for a brief time Britain’s largest motorcycle manufacturer — has truly been revived by current owner Gerry Lisi with the launch in November 2011 of two all-new models, the Mark 5 Street Scrambler and Café Racer. Both Métisse Motorcycles are based on the prototype Scrambler Lisi unveiled in 2009. These are now available alongside the existing Steve McQueen replica, which is powered by a reconditioned 1960s Triumph 650cc parallel-twin; more than 110 have been delivered worldwide.
The new bikes are powered by Métisse’s own air/oil-cooled, eight-valve, 1,000cc 360-degree parallel-twin, good for 97 horsepower at 8,000rpm. The engine was designed by ex-F1 engineer Tim Baker, and will be manufactured for Métisse Motorcycles by Specialised Engine Services, one of the leading companies in the British Formula One supply chain.
Twin counter-balancers, gear-driven directly off the center of the one-piece crank, promise unrivaled smoothness, and with 10.5:1 compression the engine will run on regular unleaded fuel. The eight-valve cylinder head features paired 38mm inlet and 32mm exhaust valves, each with dual springs. An intermediate gear running directly off the crank on the right of the engine drives a chain to an idler pinion, which drives the gears for the twin overhead camshafts. Twin 42mm Jenvey throttle bodies are used, each with a single Pico injector. The production version of the unit construction engine will have a 6-speed gearbox.
The new engine is housed in a neo-classic, nickel-plated chrome-moly duplex cradle frame common to both models, with twin 320mm Brembo discs and four-piston calipers up front and a 220mm rear disc. Suspension is Ceriani-type Paioli forks, with twin Falcon shocks at the rear. Weight is less than 400 pounds dry, promises Lisi, who says customers can opt for magnesium crankcases and engine covers, resulting in a weight saving upwards of 10 pounds.
Production of both models was scheduled to start in February 2012, with a starting price of £18,000 (approximately $28,000), depending on specification. Fifty are planned for 2012, each built to customer order. “We can get a lot more power out of the engine in fully road-legal trim,” Lisi says. “We’ve tuned one engine to produce 140 horsepower with 80ft/lb of torque, just to see what it’ll produce, and we shall be offering a 120 horsepower performance upgrade.” We hope to conduct a full review in the future. Log on to the Métisse Motorcycles website to learn more. MC