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Egli-Yamaha Fritz W. in the driving report

Anniversary model for the 51st.

MOTORBIKE drove the "Fritz W..", the model for the 51st company anniversary. An extraordinary vehicle, as the driving report shows.

It had last been quiet around 1965 by the Swiss racing driver Fritz W.. E.gli founded tuning company. In 1973 he built the first central tubular frame for his own Vincent Black Shadow to take part in mountain races. The bike manufacturer had its best days in the 1970s and 1980s, when Japanese manufacturers launched en masse models with engines that were vastly superior to their chassis. Countering these power pins with an equivalent chassis was the business model of the resourceful Swiss. Up to 200 units of the principle of the central tubular frame with a mighty main tube, which was not invented by him but made popular, were produced in the golden years. Not only complete vehicles, but also frame kits were sold. In principle, a frame could be built for each engine, but the lion’s share was clearly made up of Japanese four-cylinder engines.

Egli-Yamaha Fritz W. in the driving report

Anniversary model for the 51st.

Fritz W. Egli and Alexander Frei

Over the years, the series chassis coped better and better with the engine power, and the demand for new Egli chassis fell sharply. And sometime in the late 1980s, the last complete bike was laid down. The second mainstay, the restoration of predominantly English classics, ensured the continued existence of the company. At some point, the import of MZ and later that of the Indian Royal Enfields was added.

It would have gone on like this forever if the paths of Fritz W. Egli and Alexander Frei hadn’t crossed in 2014. One was looking for a successor for his life’s work, the other a balance for his entrepreneurial existence. It was time, so Frei, to build a real perch again. And it should be street legal and all pipapo. Which is much more difficult to achieve in 2016 than 30 years ago.

Yamaha XJR 1300 as a base

The basis in the form of the Yamaha XJR 1300 was set quickly, as it is one of the last to carry a fat air-cooled in-line quad. Good for the targeted optics as a classic naked bike. Since the necessary tests and reports on the frame and swingarm, which by the way also fit into the original XJR frame, were extremely complex, the entire XJR drive from the beginning of the air filter box to the end of the muffler was taken over unchanged . The fully adjustable chassis comes from Ohlins, the brakes from Beringer, the wheels from Kineo. Everything is neatly assembled, even in hidden corners there is meticulous order. So much good things take a while, which is why the original start date for the company’s 50th anniversary could not quite be kept. This also explains the number on the start number board and the price of an exquisite 51,000 Swiss francs. Six (by the way the cross sum of 51) copies, all of which are already in firm hands, were built.

All the greater the joy of being able to drive one of the rarities. The handlebars are low, the thin seat upholstery high. The drive is typically XJR, ergo beefy, the chassis taut but sensitive, the brake a two-finger poem. The Fritz W. effortlessly follows the rider’s instructions, navigates corners precisely and stably and shows that it could do much faster than the Swiss regulations allow. This is how we stay cool and enjoy the visual experience.

Who is behind the project??


Alexander Frei, the man behind the Egli-Yamaha Fritz W project.

Alexander Frei, born 1954 in Solothurn, is a Swiss entrepreneur and works in the water treatment industry. The trained micro-engineer was looking for a new challenge at the very time when company founder Fritz W. Egli was looking for a successor for his company. Frei took over all assets except for the real estate and continues to run the company in the old style at the familiar location. The import of Royal Enfield motorcycles as well as the care and restoration not only of Egli racers will be continued. Quite successful, by the way, as a look into the well-filled workshop and the covered waiting room in front of it shows.

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