German Motorrad

Columbus Motorcycle Engines

A Brief History of the Marque

Founded in the 1880s as Motorenfabrik Oberursel AG (which still exists as a manufacturer of components for Rolls Royce) it then became Columbus Motorenbau AG, Oberursel. Columbus merged with Horex and became Horex-Columbus-Werk K.G. in 1935 and then Horex-Werke KG in the mid-1950s.

Owned by Friedrich Kleemann, Motorenfabrik Oberursel (M.O.) built stationary engines and the parent company built aero engines, including that used by the Red Baron in his Fokker triplane.

Friedrich's son Fritz Kleemann had built Gnom motorcycles using M.O. engines until 1924. Fritz began a new motorcycle company, Horex, the name derived from his hometown Bad HOmburg, and REX, his father's glassware factory.

Columbus engines were employed by Bücker (Franz Bücker, formerly of M.O.), Diskus, Horex, Kaiser Microcars, Leopard, Sieg, Tornax, Victoria, Zürtz-Rekord and others.

An 800cc Columbus twin was fitted to a late model Goetz; Tornax fitted them to their V-28 of 1928.

Sources:,,, et al.

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