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Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Top 10 Coolest Vintage Motorcycles (Part-2)

Recently new motorcycles made to look vintage have become all the rage. This trend covers everything from cruisers to cafe racers to dirt bikes. While many of these bikes are really cool, they just aren't nearly as cool as the original.

Despite all of that show remarkable similarities, but nothing can match with following coolest vintage motorcycles,

5. Zündapp KS 750
Zündapp (aka Zuendapp) was a major motorcycle manufacturer in Germany founded in 1917 in Nuremberg by Fritz Neumeyer, together with the Friedrich Krupp AG and the machine tool manufacturer Thiel under the name "Zünder- und Apparatebau G.m.b.H." as a producer of detonators. In 1919, as the demand for weapons parts declined after the First World War, Neumeyer became the sole proprietor of the company, and two years later he diversified into the construction of motorcycles.

By 1939 Zündapp had built two 700cc prototypes that went to the OKH for testing. Incidentally BMW had also been asked to develop a similar bike but, after testing both, the Zündapp was found to be superior to the R75. BMW were asked if they would build the KS – which by then had grown by an additional 50cc – under licence but, not surprisingly, they refused, although later they did adopt the two-wheel drive and hydraulic brake system.
Zündapp KS 750. (Picture from: http://www.primeportal.net/)
The KS750 might have been technically perfect but they were expensive to build. At that time costs were of secondary consideration but it’s interesting to note that two VW Kubelwagens could be made for the same work and material as a KS750. These bike were produced nearly 18,000 units. They featured side cars with driving wheels and a locking differential giving true two wheel drive when supplied to the Wehrmacht. These bikes were flat twin engined and featured drive shafts. After the war they switched to mostly smaller uninteresting designs.

4. Harley Davidson WLA
Harley Davidson started producing the WLA for the U.S. Army in 1940, shortly before the U.S. entered World War 2. It is basically a militarized version of the WL model. There were several differences from the civilian models, mainly all painted surfaces were olive drab or black, and all chrome or polished surfaces were blued or Parkerized.

The fenders were modified by having the sides removed to reduce clogging from mud. Leg guards and windshields were installed on some models. The engine crankcase breather was modified to reduce the risk of water entering during fording. Blackout lights were installed.
1942 Harley-Davidson WLA. (Picture from: http://auto.howstuffworks.com/)
Many accessories were used including leather scabbards for Thompson sub machine guns, cargo racks for radio equipment, and skidplates. Unlike the Germans, the U.S. never used the motorcycle as a front line troop transport, so there are very few sidecar models. Production lasted from 1940-1945 and 1949 - 1952. In total 90,000 Harley Davidson WLA's were produced. 30,000 were sent to Russia as part of the Lend-Lease program. These motorcycles are iconic and in my opinion are the coolest.

3. BMW R32
The BMW R32 was the first motorcycle produced by BMW under the BMW name. An aircraft engine manufacturer during World War I, BMW was forced to diversify after the Treaty of Versailles banned the German air force and German aircraft manufacture. BMW initially turned to industrial engine design and manufacturing.

These bikes are extremely rare today. This was the first motorcycle made under the BMW name. It was the beginning of the legendary boxer twin engine and shaft drive layout that is still going strong on BMW's today. These bikes were only made from 1923 - 1926, so there are very few people living that have had the pleasure of riding one.
1923 BMW R32. (Picture from: http://roadtrackcaranddriver.blogspot.com/)
The bike was fairly advanced for its day using a wet sump lubrication system while most others had the archaic total loss system still in place. It had a rather large for the time 486cc engine that put out 8.5 hp, which may not sound like much, but was good enough for 59 mph and 78 mpg.

2. Ace
The Ace Motor Corporation was started by William G. Henderson after he sold Henderson Motorcycle to Schwinn. The Ace motorcycle was developed by brothers Tom and William Henderson, who began building their famous four-cylinder motorcycles in 1912.

After running into financial trouble, the brothers sold out in 1918 to Excelsior, the motorcycle arm of the Schwinn Bicycle Company. Yet within two years, William formed Ace to produce a similar four-cylinder motorcycle, though no parts were interchangeable with the Hendersons.
1920 Ace Four. (Picture from: http://www.motorbase.com/)
Ace produced a great product started in 1920 but proved to be a short-lived proposition. The firm was suffering financial setbacks when William was killed in a motorcycle accident in 1922, and production ceased two years later after a bankruptcy.

Indian Motorcycle Company purchased Ace in 1927, and continued to offer what was essentially the Ace four -- wearing Indian logos, of course -- until World War II. Because production only lasted for four years on the original run, these are very rare motorcycles.
1923 Ace XP4. (Picture from: http://www.flickriver.com/)
The Ace was powered by an F-head inline four displacing 77 cubic inches. Power was transferred through a foot-operated multidisc wet clutch to a three-speed transmission with hand shift. The leading-link front fork compressed a cartridge-type internal coil spring, but the rear wheel was attached to a rigid frame.

Weighing in at about 395 pounds, the 1920 Ace wasn't particularly light, but it proved to be both powerful and durable. Several transcontinental records were set on virtually stock machines, and a "hopped up" version called the XP4 set a record speed of 129 mph in 1923.

1. Ner-a-car
For a hundred years, motorcycle designers have been toying with different ways to connect the front wheel to the frame. And there’s always been someone trying to make hub center steering work. The machine you’re looking at here was probably the first attempt: called the Ner-a-Car, it was designed by American Carl Neracher during the tumultuous years of WWI.

After the war finished, production began in factories in England and the USA, with a seven-year run finishing in 1928. It’s an extraordinary piece of engineering innovation, and the steering was just one of many elements that broke the mold.
1921 Ner-a-car. (Picture from: http://www.bikeexif.com/)
The Ner-a-Car also had an infinitely-variable friction drive transmission, a foot-forward seating position and a perimeter frame chassis similar to that of contemporary cars rather than bicycles. Around 16,500 Ner-a-Cars were built, and there are just over 100 remaining today, in various states of roadworthiness.
Ner-a-car Model C. (Picture from: http://www.triumphrat.net/)
The Ner-a-car is the strangest looking bike I've ever seen. They were produced from 1921 to 1927. About 10,000 are believed to have been built in the U.S. with another 6,500 in England. This was the first motorcycle to used hub centered steering. It had an unusual variable friction drive transmission as well as an unusual monocoque frame (Jump to Previous-Part.)*** [EKA | FROM VARIOUS SOURCES]
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