100 years of MOTORRAD: Epochal bikes

Table of contents

100 years of MOTORRAD: Epochal bikes


100 years of MOTORRAD: Epochal bikes

100 years of MOTORRAD: Epochal bikes

On the way to becoming a myth, it is sometimes enough to apply a generous amount of everything. Glamor, greatness, genius. On the other hand, only epoch-making motorbikes become those that score on the market at the time and that have influenced motorcycle development through time.

Fred Siemer


In every halfway sorted museum there is a ?? and is consistently paid less attention than even the most popular BMW. Everyone knows that some BMWs got sick and that this little miracle never happened. DKW RT 125, the greatest success story in German motorcycle construction. At the end of the golden 20s, DKW, founded a good ten years earlier by the Dane Jorgen Skafte Rasmussen, was the largest motorcycle factory in the world. The main prize was achieved in Zschopau with the construction of reliable small motorcycles with 100 to 200 cubic meters, the greatest reputation with the racing successes of the two-stroke charge pump with 250 and 350 cubic centimeters.
The RT 125, presented in 1939, bundled all the secrets of the company’s success, was durable, functional, reliable, light, simple ?? and their engine relied on the reverse flushing system developed by the engineer Schnurle. When the millionth DKW engine rolled off the production line in 1940, it was, of course, the 125 of the new bestseller. And was probably sent into military service just as immediately. Highly impressed by DKW heroic deeds, the Allies exploited the Zschopau legacy after 1945 in order to set up RT productions at home: Harley-Davidson Hummer, BSA Bantam, Moska 125 were the names of the little miracle’s clones. Came later ?? among other ?? one more called YA-1 was added and Yamaha’s motorcycle production began.
The Germans built their post-war RT once in Ingolstadt and once in Zschopau. Here as DKW, there as Ifa, later MZ. All German, the RT brought it to over 450,000 copies, most recently for sale as MZ RT 125/4 in 1965. Worldwide there were probably more than five million. Epochal, of course, but not yet the end of the RT story, because this small engine formed the basis for groundbreaking MZ attempts in the 1950s to use resonance vibrations of the exhaust tract for the cylinder filling. Crazy, fast racing machines emerged, and Suzuki couldn’t help but poach racing driver Ernst Degner to reveal the secret of this achievement. So in the end the RT came under the sports aristocracy. Coincidence that she was allowed to play the test vehicle, but deserved it.
Epochal is also what Messrs Heinrich Hildebrand and Alois Wolfmuller achieved four decades before RT was born in Munich. The first series production of a motorcycle namely. In 1894 they dared to do it, with considerable effort and employment from dozens of suppliers and regardless of a few technical cabinets that today are no more than laughing stock. Rear wheel designed as a crankshaft and driven directly by the connecting rods. In contrast, there are far-sighted things such as oil supply in the frame, water cooling, air-filled instead of solid rubber tires. The operation of the device got too complicated, first the customers complained, then they stayed
the end. Nevertheless: a thundering “epoch” to Munich.
The manufacturer, the German one today, started out much more modestly
Motorcycle construction dominates. BMW had succeeded with aircraft engines in the First World War, but was no longer allowed to build them after the glorious defeat. Young
Motorcycle enthusiasts pushed the bold idea of ​​developing something sporty for the alpine glow. Up until now, boxer crankshafts were always installed across the direction of travel. Only the lateral thinker Max Friz arranged them lengthways. And already THE trademark was invented. Epochal because the two-cylinder boxer has a number of fundamental virtues. Great mass balance for example, low center of gravity and ?? 1923 really important ?? high maintenance friendliness. With the longitudinal crankshaft, rear-wheel drive via cardan shaft was available, and that’s exactly how it appeared, the strikingly straightforward R 32.
Epochal also because the house still and primarily benefits from the 80-year-old principle. Its independence speaks to and leads to success. Edward Turner knew for a long time that when he gave birth to the speed twin engine in 1937, many fail on this path. The British pushed it up to four cylinders arranged in a square, but Triumph was determined to defend the nickname trusty, reliable. Turner also knew something about production costs, and so he duped the world with a potent 500 twin that could be offered for the same price as most singles. It turned out to be extremely compact and could be integrated into a short, easy-to-use chassis with the locked gearbox. Epochal when it appeared, but especially when you consider what the motorcycle is
as such in the post-war years on
Life lasted. Exactly, Brit twins with a lot of power and fascination, who all followed Turner’s knitting patterns when Triumph Bonneville or Thunderbird even had the same engine at their core.
Others may not want their fame like that
track linearly. Those responsible at Adler today have the reputation of having plunged a promising company into bankruptcy. Might be. Unforgettable, however, was the courage with which the Frankfurters gave the two-cylinder two-stroke engine a leg up in 1952. M 250 was the name of the full-suspension machine, a real competitor of the then leading single-cylinder four-stroke NSU called Max. And this is not epoch-making because nobody needs a camshaft drive using push rods. The world still needed fast two-stroke twins for a long time, which the Japanese in particular recognized. They bluntly copied the eagles. The engine of Yamaha’s YD-1 resembled the German original down to the last detail, while the Kawasakis and Suzuki’s two-stroke twins later revealed close relationships and ultimately made a decisive contribution to the motorcycle boom of the 1960s. Bravo, Hessen.
To compete against the Frankfurt School, Soichiro Honda really had to rotate ?? and with the CB 72 brought a four-stroke twin that could turn dizzying. 8500 times per minute for real 25 to 26 hp. At a time when a liter output of 100 hp was considered the work of the devil beyond the racetrack. In which the racing, however, fascinated the few still active motorcyclists like crazy. Honda had recognized this, in 1959 stood like Kai out of the box with 125cc twins at the TT, slumped for two years
then the win one and already two World Cups-
Title. Four valves per cylinder, two overhead camshafts, driven by a gear set ?? the fans on the old continent believed this Japanese could do magic.
And then in 1960 he presented them with a two-cylinder, which at 2,750 marks cost just 300 more than the staid single-cylinder R 27 from BMW. In which everything was already there that the boys usually do
had to fumble, bend or get hold of: delicate front fender, slim bench, duplex brake at the front, close-fitting silencers. The engine first: ohc, two carburettors, filigree ribbed ?? an ornament, hung in a tubular frame open at the bottom, the whole thing weighs a good 150 kilos. Epochal, and anyone who can’t believe it today because 15 years later it was swarming with ohc four-stroke twins, ask a contemporary witness. This 250 was awesome.
Honda had taken pleasure in surprising motorcyclists. In this regard, his CB 750 can be considered the greatest coup of all. There have been rumors since 1967. But nobody really believed that the transversely installed four-cylinder could ever give up their existence between start and finish. Gilera, MV, Benelli and others had already tried the worms to search for laurel. But normal Otto drivers on the way to the swimming lake?
When the first CB 750 left its transport box at Honda Germany in 1969, an almost touching photo was taken: With a worried expression, typical German skeptics look at a motorcycle that we would call innocent today. But that with his
67 HP burst in the middle of the discussion as to whether outputs of more than 50 HP could even be controlled. Fables flourished, 200 km / h stories without end.
The fact is: This Honda finally transferred the motorcycle from the depths of reason to the realm of joy and remained so predictable that
actually everyone was allowed to travel. Another fact: the CB 750 made technical effort a must. Four carburetors, ohc, dry sump lubrication, rated speed 8000 / min. A poem. On top of that, more reliable than many farm bikes. Epochal ?? in this case even mythical.
It took the other Japanese a few years to recover from this shock, but then they happily produced ?? Kawasaki in the lead with the Z1 ?? Foursome in bulk. Like a creed, nothing is better above 500 cubic centimeters. Today we know that their firm beliefs left room for others to survive. As great as the silky smooth, powerful and almost entirely reliable engines of the Big Four ran, the nonconformists were hoping for alternatives.
Fabio Taglioni deserves the credit for having heard them. Its L-shaped 750 twin with a transverse crankshaft guaranteed a narrow frontal area and good cooling of the rear
Cylinder. The overhead camshafts driven by vertical shafts for sufficient speed reserves. Everything together was like the reinvention of the wheel: the world had never seen such an engine until 1970. As Paul Smart in 1972 on one of these with desmodromic features Ducati the entire motorcycle elite duped and won the 200 miles of Imola, the enthusiasm knew no bounds. The specially launched special model equipped with a half-shell was sold in a flash. And everyone who owns one of these 750 SS today sighs comfortably: epochal. Because the Super Sport shows that visual and technical fine-tuning can even increase an ingenious construction and only perfection is the measure of all things.
The absolute in sight. Around 13 years later, Suzuki chief developer Tadaomi Shigenoya set about building a real sports car for the road. Dramatize the four-cylinder again, pull it out of its bread-and-butter corner. The recipe could only be called lightweight construction, because stiffer chassis, more comfortable equipment and the like had resulted in fat rolls over the years. A case for aluminum, and initially
somewhat unstable frame mesh of the Suzuki GSX-R 750 made this material socially acceptable for Nippons Superbikes. In addition, a beautiful fine rib four, which impressed in particular with its small dimensions. How did it come about? Suzuki did without water cooling, instead increased the oil supply and increased the delivery rate
especially in the direction of the four-valve cylinder head. This Suzi is epoch-making because she and the radical super athletes created a motorcycle segment that bundles technical expertise like no other. And because it revealed the key to this segment: saving weight with relentless consistency. Five percent for the connecting rods, three for the frame, two for the valves. Yes, two percent for the valves, otherwise it won’t work.
Or at some point it will be an epoch-making Harley, because one or the other
This 100-year anniversary series is truly world-class. The Sportster, for example, if only in response to the
incredible US success of British post-war bikes. The Duo Glide deserves this attribute even more. Emerging from the Hydra Glide in 1958, but with rear suspension, it enabled the already existing concept of the bearish tourer to break through
to complete philanthropy. The Duo Glide also proves itself
its no-frills panhead motor, how simple masses appear, how directly the design can express the intended use. Eat miles, ride the Duo Glide. Today E-Glide, because on its way to immortality, the Duo Glide couldn’t avoid an E-Starter. Hooray Milwaukee, and that with the copied DKW RT 125 is put into perspective in the most pleasant way: legions of long distance riders look like Harley today.
From the RT to the Duo Glide. Some may make a different choice, but the bottom line is that only courage,
Consistency and stamina lead to the epoch-making motorcycle. The current list of candidates is long. Who can do it? Time will tell.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *