The 250 TS (along with its badge engineered twin, the Benelli 250 2C) was the first all new design to emerge from Moto Guzzi after the de Tomaso take over in 1972. It was released in 1974 and remained in production until 1982.
Powered by a 231cc 2-stroke parallel twin, the TS differed only from the 2C in using alloy cylinders with chromed liners, whereas the Benelli used cast iron.
Power output was 24.5 hp at 7570 rpm, which combined with a 137 kg weight to allow for a top speed of 161 km/h.
Points were replaced by electronic ignition in ’75 and the original double-sided single leading shoe front brake was changed to a single disc the following year. Otherwise very little development took place during the production run.
The bike seen here is a 1978 model and is completely original, having only 3km on the clock! However due to poor storage conditions by the previous owner its finish has deteriorated.
In 1956 he moved to FB Mondial, then after they quit racing at the end of 1957, he and Joseph Pattoni continued the race department under the Paton name. He then designed for White (a Bianchi offshoot) and Gilera during the ‘60s before being made the technical director at Moto Guzzi in 1967, where he headed the V7 Sport project. At Guzzi he went on to create the ‘small block’ V35 & V50 motors as well as many different prototypes.
His work at Guzzi didn’t curtail him to that firm’s products only however. In 1967, together with long time associate Alcide Biotti, he saw an opening for a privateers’ bike for the 500cc GP class where the Manx and G50 were running a distant second to Agostini on the MV. He took two Aermacchi 250 singles (which despite only being a pushrod design were competitive and reliable) and combined them into a parallel twin!
Using the barrels, heads, pistons and rods from the Aermacchi, mated to a bottom end and crankcase of his own design provided a motor that proved to be more than a match for the British singles (61hp at 9,800rpm with the bike weighing the same as a G50), if not quite up to the MVs.
The high revs resulted in a switch from the original 180º crankshaft to a 360º design but vibration continued to be a problem with primary gear and chassis weld failures occurring.
In 1968 two prototypes hit the track with Alberto Pagani finishing 2nd in the East German GP. For the 1969 season production of a batch of 15 bikes (possibly only 8 were completed) was begun, with two of them being for ‘works’ riders Pagani and Aussie Jack Findlay.
These works bikes featured magnesium crankcases and 40mm carburettors (in place of the standard 36mm items). Ceriani suspension and Fontana brakes were used. Power was now up to 64hp. Pagani won the Italian GP on the bike seen here and Gyula Marsovszky finished the season in 2nd place to Agostini.
Phil Aynsley’s last column featured the ultimate Ducati V-twin superbike – the 1299 Panigale Superleggera (Link), while this week our resident Ducati expert thought it would be fitting to have a look at its spiritual precursor – the 916, especially as this year marks its 25th anniversary!
While an argument could well be made that the 851 (Ducati’s first four-valve V-twin production bike) was the company’s original “modern” superbike, I think that the impact of the 916 on the motorcycling world was such that it can truly be regarded as the first really “modern” Ducati superbike.
With the introduction of the 916 Strada in 1994 Ducati took the two-wheeled fraternity by storm. No doubt it is Massimo Tamburini’s most acclaimed (and copied) design. While Tamburini himself acknowledged that he took inspiration from the 1992 Honda NR750 (Link) – particularly the underseat exhausts, his design was an even more attractive one!
The motor was a development of the 851/888, with the stroke increased from 64 to 66mm, keeping the bore at 94mm. A new engine management system was used.
The rest of the bike was new and resulted in a considerably smaller bike than the 851, both physically and visually. The design certainly had a great impact on not only the public but also other manufacturers, as evidenced by the proliferation of underseat exhausts and ‘styled’ headlights.
In combination with its 996, 998 and 748 derivatives, over 63,000 were built until it was eventually replaced by the 999/749 in 2002.
Power of the original 916 was 114 hp at 9000rpm, with a weight of 198 kg, and the 916 was good for a top speed of 260 km/h.
The bike in all but one of the images seen here is the first to arrive in Australia. As a committed Ducati fan I thought it appropriate to commission an Italian village themed backdrop for the shoot I did for REVS magazine.
The addition of a suitably Latin looking model was a bonus! The overhead shot of a 1996 bike is included purely because it is a particular favourite of mine!
The ultimate model in a long, long line of Ducati V-twin superbikes – the 1299 Panigale Superleggera.
The 1299 Superleggera (Superlight) was first shown at the EICMA show in late 2016 and deliveries began in mid 2017. The two major changes from the previous 1199 model were the increase in capacity to 1285cc and the use of carbon fibre in place of magnesium.
In fact it was the first production bike to have a carbon fibre frame, swing arm and wheels. The larger capacity was surprisingly (given the 1199 already had the most radically over-square bore/stroke of any street legal twin cylinder motorcycle at 112 x 60.8mm) achieved by enlarging the bore to 116mm.
Additional engine improvements included a higher compression ratio (13:1), larger (titanium) valves and new pistons, heads and camshafts. New, more advanced electronics were also fitted.
Other interesting touches are the signed plaque (by the mechanic who timed the Desmodromic camshafts), on the rear cam chain cover and the use of matte finish paint for the bodywork.
The bike was supplied with a “race” kit which included the titanium Akrapovic exhaust system (as seen here), as well as the parts required to clean up the removal of the number plate hanger, side stand, mirrors etc. Also a paddock stand, bike cover and racing screen were all included.
The dry weight of 156kg was 10kg less than the standard Panigale, with the wet weights being 178kg and 191kg respectively. Power was up to 215hp at 11,000rpm compared to the standard bike’s 205hp at 10,500rpm.
This bike is one of the 31 (of the 500 built) that was exported to Australia, originally carrying an RRP of $109,990.
The BB1 Supermono was Bimota’s only single cylinder motorcycle. First displayed at the Cologne Show in 1994, production began the following year with 524 made, including 140 of the Biposto version (with pillion seat and painted dark blue in production from 1996).
The BB1 used the same Rotax 650cc four-stroke motor that was used by BMW for their F650. The twin carburettor motor made 48 hp at 6500 rpm and gave the 145 kg machine a top speed of 177 km/h.
A single front disc was standard but a second was an option. One interesting design feature was the placement of the fuel tank under the motor for a lower centre of gravity.
A €10,000 race kit was offered that included magnesium wheels, upgraded suspension, fuel-injection and other go-fast bits.
Bimota campaigned a modified BB1 in the Italian Super Mono series which used a 725cc motor that made 75hp.
Aermacchi saw a GP renaissance in the ’70s with their 250 racers
The name ‘Aermacchi’ tends to bring to mind their famous four-stroke horizontal single (or if you are of a different bent, their fabulous Schnieder Cup racing floatplanes). Two-stroke Grand Prix bikes, not so much.
Add the name ‘Harley-Davidson’ to the mix and you really are in strange territory. However in the mid ‘70s the company dominated the 250 class with three consecutive championships (plus one in the 350 class)!
Work was started on a two-stroke 250 in 1971 using the company’s Ala d’Oro 125 single as the basis. The air-cooled twin used a traditional piston port design.
Renzo Pasolini was the factory rider and in the 1972 season finished second to Jarno Saarinen by a single point, winning three races in the process. On a bored and stroked 350cc version he finished third to Agostini and Saarinen in the larger class. The 250 was good for 50hp and weighed 108kg.
After Pasolini’s death at Monza in ’73, Walter Villa took over riding duties for 1974 and proceeded to win the ’74, ’75 and ’76 250 championships, not to mention the ’76 350 championship.
The factory bikes received water-cooling in ’73, with privateer bikes following in ’74. Also in ’73 the bikes became known as ‘Aermacchi Harley-Davidson’ RR250/350s.
Development continued with Bimota frames appearing in ’77 and a rotary-valve motor in ’78, although HD sold its interest in Aermacchi to Cagiva before the new motor saw action. Cagiva continued to campaign both the 250 and 350 with Marco Luchinelli as their rider.
This bike was bought directly from the factory in 1976 by Spanish rider Jose Maria Mallol and raced in the domestic championship that year before being sold to José Benaigues, who in turn sold it to its present owner. Power was 58hp at 12,000rpm, with the bike boasting a top speed of 250km/h.
A 500cc twin was also developed from the 250, beginning in 1973. Development was shelved for two years after Pasolini’s death but in ’75 the now water-cooled motor was installed in a Bimota frame.
Of particular note was the use of four carburettors from the outset of the project. Output was 90hp at 9,000rpm and weight 127kg, offering a top speed of 280km/h. Another interesting feature were the twin front discs, which were gear driven to rotate in the opposite direction to the wheel. Only four 500s were built (this one was photographed in the Barber Museum) making them a very rare steed.
And for those wondering at the floatplane reference…
It seems hard to believe now but in the 1930s DKW was one of the largest motorcycle manufactures in the world, with over 20,000 employees. It had been a fast rise since its founding in Zschopau, Germany in 1916 by Danish engineer Jørgen Rasmussen.
Rasmussen originally produced steam fittings before turning his hand to a steam powered car which he named the company after (Damf Kraft Wagen – “steam motor vehicle”).
When this didn’t take off the company developed a 18cc toy steam stationary engine that sold well enough to fund the design (in 1921) of a 118cc 2-stroke auxiliary motor that could be fitted to a bicycle. Their first complete motorcycle, a 142cc 2-stroke, appeared the following year.
By 1928 Rasmussen was doing so well that he purchased a controlling share of the small car manufacturer Audi Work AG. DKW continued to concentrate on 2-stroke motors for both bikes and cars (including forced-induction V4s fitted to some car models in the 1930s).
In 1932 the Great Depression forced the merging of DKW, Audi, Horch and Wanderer into the Auto Union company (the four-ring logo of which is still used by Audi today).
It was in the late 1920’s that DKW began development of the forced-induction two-stroke motorcycle engines that they become renowned for. These “Ladepumpe” (charging pump) designs used the Bichrome principle where the swept volume of the crankcase was reduced as the supercharging piston (set at 180º to the main piston) moved up, compressing the intake mix in the crankcase.
This was timed to occur as the main piston moved down, thereby forcing the mixture into the combustion chamber. The ARe 175cc and ORe 250cc singles were introduced in 1928 and were the first of a long line of successful DKW 2-stroke racers.
The next development was combining the Ladepumpe with multiple cylinders, in DKW’s case, split-singles. The split-single concept had been designed by Garelli in 1912, then taken up with success by Puch (winning the 1931 German GP with a 250cc water-cooled, supercharged split-single).
The split-single concept had two pistons, each in it’s own barrel but sharing a common combustion chamber. The pistons rise and fall in unison with the intake charge controlled by one and the exhaust by the other. For DKW the advantage was the supercharged intake mixture could be introduced into the combustion chamber without a lot of it blowing out the exhaust port.
The first of their new design was the 1935 URe 250cc which had the supercharging piston facing forwards at 90º to the main pistons. It made around 30hp at 5000rpm. A privateer version, the SS250, was also available. In 1938 the SS models were painted black and red to distinguish them from the silver and grey UL factory bikes.
Also in 1938 the 350 motor was redesigned (along with the 500, 600 & 700cc versions used in sidecars) with the Ladepumpe cylinder back at 180º, facing down.
These twin split-singles had a total of five pistons and six conrods, all mounted on a common crankshaft! The bikes were notorious for both the noise that made and their high fuel consumption – around 15mpg or 15lt/100km.
The 350 SS seen here was good for 32hp at 5000rpm and had a top speed of 170km/h.
Think Ducati. Think two-stroke? Way back in the ‘60s and ‘70s the company produced a wide range of two-stroke bikes (also a pair of scooters and 3-wheeled delivery vehicles) ranging from 48cc to 125cc.
Most were cheap, basic transport – but being Italian some models went a step further.
The 50 SL/1 is actually one of my favourite Ducatis. How could anyone not embrace its ‘boy racer’ aesthetics coupled with its diminutive size?
It was released in late 1966 as a replacement for the not quite as over the top 48 Sport. In typical Ducati fashion a ‘standard’ version, the 50 SL, appeared first.
This had the newly designed 50cc two-stroke motor that made 4.2hp and dispensed with the fan-cooling the last model 48 SL used.
A four-speed foot change gearbox replaced the three-speed twist grip change of the 48. The pedal assistance of the earlier motor was also dropped.
The SL/1 used a different head and had a higher compression ratio, which together with additional porting and 18mm Dell’Orto carb (4mm up on the SL’s) boosted the output to a heady 6hp!
With a dry weight of 58kg a top speed of 80km/h was possible and both low or high level pipes were available.
The most obvious difference to the SL was the styling. A long, narrow tank was fitted that featured very sporty twin filler caps. Together with the short solo seat and exposed front fork springs the look screamed “racer”.
The not quite as good looking SL/1A was released for 1968, which was the final year of production for the model.
As the SL/SL1 were only intended for the domestic market very few have found their way outside Italy.
The one seen here was imported to the US a few years ago and is in completely original condition.
In Part 2 of our look at the Hockenheimring Museum we travel up to the first floor… You can visit the first part here: The Hockenheimring Museum | Part 1 (link)
Some overall views of the machinery on display, the majority of which are road bikes.
Koehler-Escoffier is a now almost forgotten French manufacturer that actually produced bikes from 1912 up until 1957. Their first design was an OHV 42º 500cc V-twin (known as the Mandoline due to the shape of the crankcases).
The Tourism and Sport versions were produced from 1922-1928. The Sport featured a hemispherical combustion chamber with valves at 45º (25hp) compared to the Tourism’s parallel valves (10hp). A Sport won the 1922 Marseille GP.
Karl Resse from Denzlingen built this four pot homemade racer in 1965 using Kreidler cylinders. It displaced 208cc and made 26hp at 10,800rpm. The rider was Kiochi Shimada, who had been sent to Germany at the age of 15 in 1950. A highly respected racer and businessman, he, among many other things, established European Honda Trading GmbH.
Tuner Fritz Kläger from Freiburg built two FKS 350cc water-cooled 2-stroke triples in 1970. He had constructed three 250 twins, also water-cooled, the previous year. The 350 made 65hp at 10,500rpm (the 250cc 50hp at 11,000rpm).
While the crankcases and block were his own design, the Höckle crankshaft was identical to the DKW 350. Bultaco pistons were fitted. A Dieter Busch frame was used.
The 1912 Wilkinson TMC, was produced in small numbers (around 250 of all models) up until 1916 by the famous Wilkinson Sword company, the design was shown to the British military in 1908. It was originally powered by a n air-cooled transverse V-twin and featured a Maxim gun mounted on the handlebar.
After failing to impress the armed forces a redesigned 676cc four cylinder model was shown the following year, called the TAC (Touring Auto Cycle). In 1912 the TMC (Touring Motor Cycle) entered production with a water-cooled four cylinder 848cc side-valve motor of the company’s own design.
A replica 1938 Vincent HRD TT Series A and the same years’ road-going Comet.
A 1937 ex-works Excelsior Manxman 250.
A 1948 Walter-Horak 250. Built by Jan Horack using a JAWA frame and a Walter motor.
A 1926 Wooler 500.
Two IMZ race bikes (better known these days as Ural). The 1946 750cc M75 (behind) was scheduled for series production but only 150 were built between 1946-1951, all for racing. 35hp. It was an OHV version of the earlier side valve M72, a BMW R71 clone. The 1954 750cc M77 (foreground) made 45-50hp and only 70 were produced from 1954 to 1959.
A 1930 Majestic 350.
A 1904 Laurin Klement 500.
Two of the four Mercury motorcycles built! These 1937 bikes were designed by Laurie Jenks of Croydon as the ultimate touring bike and featured an alloy chassis & bodywork (only the guards were steel) and a ‘duplex’ front suspension (a type of hub-centre steering). Water-cooled Scott motors were fitted. The price of £115 was the same as a 1100cc JAP powered Brough-Superior!
This blue La Mondiale is a 1929 vintage Belgian machine that used a French Chaise OHC 500cc single motor. Several different manufactures’ engines powered later La Mondiale designs. The Ardie Silberfeil (Silver Arrow) was made from 1931 to 1934 and featured a Duralumin alloy square-section frame. A JAP OHV 500 single was used.
A fine example of the 1935 Gnome Rhone Model X. Built from 1935 until 1939, the Model Z used a 724cc OHV flat twin motor that made some 30hp at 5,500rpm, while the bike weighed 180kg and had a top speed of 135km/h.
In 1937 the Model X set several world speed records including the 24 hour – at an average speed of 136km/h. In 1939 a group of 12 French Army officers rode one for 19 consecutive days/nights, travelling a distance of 50,000km at an average speed of 109.4km/h!
The Osborn Engineering Company was founded in 1901 and up until 1921 they produced bikes for Burney and Blackburne. They became involved with racer Claude Temple and in 1926 an OEC Temple Anzani set the World Motorcycle Speed Record at 121mph.
In 1927 the company introduced a patented steering system (a sort of hub-centre design) that was called the ‘Duplex”. A range of bikes then followed powered by various capacity motors from JAP, Villers, Bradshaw and others. OEC even introduced a two-wheeled car, the Whitwood, powered by motors ranging from a 150cc Villers to a 750cc JAP.
Motorcycle production was interrupted by the war but resumed in 1949 and continued until 1954. This particular example is powered by a 750cc Austin four cylinder car motor.