FINAL German Moto2 racers: Kalex and MZ

FINAL German Moto2 racers: Kalex and MZ
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German Moto2 racers: Kalex and MZ

German Engineering Proudly Presents

The paths to the desired success could hardly be more different than in the case of the Swabian high-tech machine Kalex and the down-to-earth MZ project based on Saxon traditions. Both are looking for success in the Moto2 Grand Prix World Championship, especially with German drivers.

Stefan Bradl pulverizes the lap record in Jerez – that was the headline that appeared two weeks before the Grand Prix season opener in Qatar and over half a century after the great deeds of Werner Haas and H.-P. Müller gave NSU new hopes for a German world champion with a German motorcycle.

A.The Moto2 machine is driven as prescribed by a 600 cm³ Honda standard engine. But the Kalex chassis comes from the Swabian town of Bobingen not far from Bradl’s Bavarian home village. In 2009, designer Alex Baumgärtel and his partner Klaus Hirsekorn dared to develop a Moto2 machine, which impressed with outstanding workmanship and clean technical solutions right from its first public presentation. Above all, the frame construction: It looks beefy and muscular, a visual effect that is primarily related to the fully formed front engine mounts.

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FINAL German Moto2 racers: Kalex and MZ

German Moto2 racers: Kalex and MZ
German Engineering Proudly Presents

Kalex were not recognizable from the outside during the GP season 2010. And only the elegant-looking, relief-like surfaces on the frame side parts differentiate the 2011 version from its predecessors.


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Saxon tradition at MZ.

The MZ RE presents itself completely different, but with an equally unmistakable character. Steel frames are a tradition in the Saxon motorcycle factory, and because MZ managing director Martin Wimmer wants to build on the glorious past both in racing and in the planned series production, the Moto2 prototype used by the Australian Anthony West was given a steel mesh tube chassis. However, the frame tubes had to be bent around the wide inline four-cylinder.

Based on the standard geometry of the Honda CBR 600 RR, there was little to complain about in terms of the dynamic handling qualities of the MZ frame. The team struggled with other devils, such as an initially inexplicable loss of engine power at full operating temperature. Only later did it become apparent that the lower thermal expansion of the chrome-molybdenum steel pipes compared to aluminum was to blame. The hot engine was too tightly constricted and strained by its steel corset.

This, but also the driving behavior, has been improved for 2011. Additional side struts should improve directional stability and stability in the curve. The new triple clamps, on the other hand, are less stiff in order to be able to better absorb unevenness in the floor, even when the vehicle is fully sloping, and to be able to suppress the chassis rattle that occurs on some routes.

The rear swing arm now rotates in a height-adjustable mount, the choice of a lower pivot point gave more traction. Above all, MZ Racing treated itself to new Öhlins spring elements instead of the previous K-Tech parts.

West was impressed with the handling of his motorcycle in the Jerez tests – apart from the fact that he still had to drive with the old lever linkage on the rear wheel, which cannot use the full damper stroke of the Öhlins shock absorber. Apparently, there was not enough time to make the right deflection before the tests.


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To me: Bavarian-Swabian optimism with Stefan Bradl and Kalex.

Time is also the biggest problem at MZ Racing. After the spectacular engagement of Sachsenpfeil Max Neukirchner as a team colleague of Anthony West, a comprehensive restructuring of the team began, with a development department in the factory, an operations base in Italy and the idea of ​​a completely new frame with control head and swing arm mount, each milled from solid steel: prototypes for future cast steel parts, which allowed a simple and inexpensive production of production racers and roadworthy replicas. To match this, steel pipes with thinner walls were planned, with which the machine was supposed to shed a large part of the last eight kilograms overweight.

But then design, programming and milling itself got more complicated than expected. The premiere of the new prototype planned for the Jerez tests at the beginning of March had to be postponed to the Jerez GP at the beginning of April. And so it came about that Max Neukirchner was allowed to switch to a commercially available FTR aluminum chassis and contested the first races with the machine now known as MZ-FTR.

The fact that a plant competes with an opponent’s motorcycle is a unique, delicate situation. The tension is also increasing within the team: Neukirchner was already on the road quite quickly during the first test with the FTR, West with the still heavy MZ half a second slower.

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