DKW – The Underestimate Superstars

Si gueh bingung… nonton discovey, the most famous motorcycle in the world… dan ternyata, si Hedjo gak masuk itungan sama sekali. Hhhmmmmm…. iya sih, risetnya emg tentang byk hal. Tapi, buat gueh si Hedjo masih tetep yang terbaik! hehehe… keukeuh. Simak ajalah sejarah panjang si Hedjo dan sodara2nya. Silakan…

dkw_logo_classic1DKW 1919 – 1970’s Danish engineer Jörgen Skafte Rasmussen was the originator of the DKW based in Zschopau, Germany. Designing a steam powered engine for a light steam car, which was produced in 1916 and then in 1919 started production with a small 2 stroke engine which clipped onto a conventional bicycle driving the back wheel by means of a leather belt.

  • Dampf Kraft Wagen (Steam powered vehicle)
  • Der Kadett Wunsche (The Schoolboys Dream)
  • Das Kleine Wunder (The Little Miracle)

The first and most likely derivative of DKW, Dampf Kraft Wagen (steam powered vehicle) came from the earliset manufacturing days. The term of Das Kleine Wunder (The little miracle) has been attributed to a small car designed in 1928 and the term Der Kadett Wunsche (The Schoolboys Dream) either to the racing success of small motorcycles between the wars or a small engine of 18 cm3 to animate scientific toys.

Production of DKW motorcycles started in 1922 and by 1928 their success led to DKW being the largest motor bike factory of the world producing over 60,000 machines a year, giving the company the ability to produce its first car with front wheel drive in that year.

Jörgen Rasmussen was innovative and came up with many fresh ideas. 1924 saw the introduction of the SM (Steel Model) model with 173cc engine and innovative Pressed Steel Frame, which has been copied by many other manufacturers. 1931 saw the Schürle patent enabling inverted scavenging (designed by Ing Schnuerle) and also a removable aluminium cylinder head for better cooling was introduced and in the racing world considerable success was gained by the split single design of Hermann Weber who died after the war in Soviet Russia. This was followed in 1932 by the firm becoming part of the Auto-Union combine and continued building cars and bikes until the war. The Auto-Union founded in Saxony consisted of DKW (Zschopau), Wanderer (Chemnitz), AUDI and Horch (Zwickau) with the trademark of four connected rings denoting the four companies. In 1938 Ewald Klüge became the first German to win the Isle of Man TT.

During the war years DKW produced the RT125 a lightweight motorcycle with a unit construction two stroke engine housing a three speed gearbox, the design for which was captured by the allies and the BSA Bantam, Harley Davidson Hummer, Moska 125 and eventually the Yamaha YA1 are all derivatives of this outstanding bike.

After the World War II with the partition of Germany by the allied powers, the DKW Company sat in the Soviet controlled eastern sector.

Post-war production began again in 1949 in the newly formed GDR in the factory at Zschopau under the brand name IFA-DKW and in 1956 the trademark MZ (Motorradwerk Zschopau) is introduced. Up to the German reunification in 1989, 80,000 motorcycles were produced on a yearly basis and were exported to over 100 countries. In the western sector DKW commenced production in 1949 but at the new headquarters in Ingolstadt on the Danube in Bavaria with the RT125 that now incorporated swinging rear suspension using coil springs housed in the fork blade and in 1951 a tele-forked version was introduced.

Equally outstanding 200cc, 250cc and 350cc machines of similar design using twin cylinder 2 stroke engines followed this. 1956 saw the introduction of Earles Forks denoted by VS. A moped called The Hummel (Bumble Bee) was produced between 1956 – 1959 and a 75cc scooter called Hobby between 1954 to 1957. But in 1958 independent production came to an end as the company came under the control of Daimler-Benz in 1958 when they bought the majority of Auto Union and motorcycle production was amalgamated into the Zweirad Union with Victoria and Express, the Victoria factory at Nurnburg being the headquarters although the Ingolstadt factory was retained. In1966 the Zweirad Union was sold to Fichtel & Sachs (“Hercules“), and this gave the DKW name a new lease of life as it was used to sell Hercules motorcycles into England and the USA as Raleigh cycles sold bicycles under Hercules brand name.

And finally purchased by the Volkswagen Group in 1964. The last DKW (car) was the F102 which ceased production in 1966; after this the brand was phased out. REST IN PIECES… :(

DKW motorcycles type (incl. scooter). More detail find out in “source”.

DKW Hobby-Roller

1965-1957

DKW Hummel

DKW Hummel ZU

1956-1958

1960

DKW RT3

1936-1940

DKW RT100

1934-1936

DKW RT125

1939-1944

DKW KM175

1930-1933

DKW Block175

1933

DKW KS200

1936-1940

DKW SB200

1933-1938

DKW SB200A(Luxus)

1933-1938

DKW KM200

1934-1936

DKW Block200

1931-1933

DKW TM200

1932-1933

DKW BM200

1933

DKW Luxus200

1929-1932

DKW NZ250

1938-1941

DKW SB250

1933-1938

DKW Sport250

1936-1938

DKW KS250

DKW NZ350

1939-1943-1945

DKW SB350

1934-1938

DKW 350 Prototyp

1936

DKW Sport350

1933-1934

DKW Block350

1931-1932

DKW UB350 Sport

1932

DKW NZ500

1939-1941

DKW SB500

1934-1939

DKW Block500

1933

DKW 250 Super Sport

??-1934-1939-??

DKW 250 Rennmaschine

1934

DKW ORS250

1939

DKW UL250

1938

DKW UL250

1937

DKW ULD250

1937

DKW URe175/250

1936

DKW US250

1938

DKW SS350

1939

DKW UL350

1938

DKW URM500

1937

DKW ULD500

??-1935-1936-??

DKW UL500

??-1934-1937-??

Pre-1932 models:

DKW Luxus200ZS

1930-1931

DKW Super Sport

1931

DKW Luxus300

1929-1930

DKW E206/200

1926-1929

DKW E300

1927-1929

DKW ARe 175

1925

DKW Reichsfahrmodell

1922

DKW Lomos

1921

Sayangnya, dengan segudang kelebihan bahkan walau menjadi patokan banyak pabrikan motor, DKW tidak termasuk jenis motor yang diunggulkan. Coba cek aja di beberapa website yang mengadakan pooling “famous motorcycle ever”, DKW tidak masuk di dalamnya.

Ya, mungkin memang tidak terlalu bagus… menurut para ahli permotoran itu. Btw, setidaknya menurut para pemotor tua di Indonesia (yang ternyata, rata-rata pernah punya dan menikmati DKW, terutama seri RT125 (Reichs Typ), biasa dipanggil UNION, dan Hummel ) DKW adalah motor harian bahkan motor touring yang enjoy, simpel dan bandel!!

Union… for me, its simply because DKW ngetemuin lagi si gueh dengan masa2 indah…masa2 mimpinya!

Teruslah melaju, Hedjo!

125-1

source: classicmotorcycle.org.uk, wikipedia-DKW, dkw-motorrad-club, audi indonesia, autogallery.org.ru,

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