Return of the Midual

Is France about to get a new motorcycle manufacturer?

COMING so soon after the final chapter of Voxan's troubled history it might come as a surprise to hear that another manufacturer of large, uncoventional twin-cylinder bikes is about to spring up in France. But that's exactly what's happening.

A job advert in a British classic car magazine gives it away. The firm involved calls itself RDMO and claims it's looking for a sales and marketing director, fluent in French and English, with experience in marketing luxury cars or watches. He or she must also be a motorcycle enthusiast. The only other clue is that the job will be based near Le Mans.

The ad says that the successful candidate will “take all necessary steps to launch a brand new and exclusive vehicle.”

As ever, though, even attempts to be obscure are quickly defeated thanks to the wonders of the internet, which turn up a company called RDMO based in Angers, near Le Mans. Its founder and president is Olivier Midy.

If you're an anorak when it comes to obscure prototypes, that name might ring a bell. He's the man behind the Midual – a machine that got a fair bit of publicity when it was shown as a prototype back in 1999, but then disappeared without trace. Inspired by old Douglas bikes, it used an unusual 900cc boxer twin engine that was mounted lengthwise in the chassis – with one cylinder pointing forwards, the other backwards. The styling was by ex-pat British designer Glynn Kerr.

There is a Midual website – – with a holding page simply saying “Midual goes on. As soon as possible you will find news on this site.” But it's been saying that for years.

As far we we can deduce, the new bike is directly linked to the original Midual project, which was actually started back in 1992. It seems the firm is planning to launch a new version of the bike, using the same engine concept, later this year – just 20 years after the idea was first mooted. According to the Pays de la Loire region's council website, last year the local council committed itself to supporting RDMO and Midy in the Midual project, which it describes as an “entirely new two-cylinder flat-twin which took six years of work”. At the time it said the firm was entering “a phase that will see the design and realisation of new high-end bikes equipped with a very high-tech engine.”

That the firm is looking for a marketeer from the luxury car or expensive watch industry suggests the Midual will be aimed at the yachts-and-racehorses end of the market.