German Motorcycles

Megola Motorcycles

Megola 1922.jpg
Megola 1922

Megola 1922 640cc 5Zyl Tourenmodell
Photo by Hans Denzel

Made in Germany
Manufactured: 1921-1925
See also Cockerell

The famous Megola was designed by Meixner, Gockerell and Landgraf (Me Go La). It had 640 cc a five cylinder radial sidevalve 14hp engine in the front wheel. It was built in Munich from 1921 to 1925.

The bike had no clutch and transmission or neutral gear, and the high torque of the engine allowed to accelerate from (almost) zero mph to full speed with one gear. At stops, the engine had to be turned off, then you had to push the bike to get it started again. Imagine this in a modern city with thousands of red traffic lights...

The frame was made of welded and riveted sheet metal. The tube of the front wheel had a special design: the tube was an open circle, so it could be changed without taking the front wheel (and the engine!) out.

The Megola was successful in races with drivers like Toni Bauhofer, Josef Stelzer and Albin Tommasi. The SPORT Megolas had a top speed of 140 km per hour.

Only 2000 units were built. Today the Megola is one of the rarest and most interesting vintage motorcycles.

Courtesy Hartmut Schouwer

Olympia Show, 1921

One of the novelties of the show is the Megola, with five-cylinder rotary engine built in the front wheel. This machine has already been described in The Motor Cycle. The cylinders, which, naturally, have all their rods connected up to one crank, have a bore of 52 mm. with a stroke of 60 mm., the general principle of construction being like that of the well-known Gnome aviation engine.

A pressed steel open frame is used, with semi-elliptic springs for the rear; this type of construction gives a rather long wheelbase. Instead of the usual saddle there is a comfortable-looking armchair, the back of which is combined with the mud-guard over the rear wheel.

The Motor Cycle, October 6th, 1921

Sun Jun 21 2009
bmwrider at terra.com.br
Megola pricing
Please, is there any average pricing figure for a Megola motorcycle that runs OK ?

Thank you !!

Tue Feb 13 2007
singh-karan at hotmail dot com
Information request for Megola
Please send me any information/links that detail how the Megola works. Its absolutely facinating!

Thu Dec 21 2006
lith-talon at yahoo dot com
megola racer
I've seen pictures of this bike, and I am looking to find more info. As a drafting student, this bike really interests me. I know how it was made and the wheel diameter, what I am looking for is the wheel base and heights.

February 4, 2002
I am an old "Rotary/Radial" fan and have had many years experience with reciprocating, internal combustion engines and being educated in the theory and practical application of BMEP (volumetric efficiency) and having operated and flown aircraft equipped with the Rhone Monosaupe (165 HP) engines, when I first saw a photo of a Megola, a question arose in my mind that I was unable to answer for a number of years. It bothered me, knowing that an internal combustion, reciprocating engine, in order to run smoothly and produce sufficient Horse Power, had to attain a certain minimum RPM.

The Megola machine had performed in competition very well, meaning that it had to have been capable of producing substantial horse power.

And Knowing that a 640 cc engine, (just 10½ cubic inches) in order to produce the necessary horse power to perform as it certainly did, the engine would have to attain a RPM of a minimum of 3,000 rpm. to produce enough horse power to attain a speed in excess of 80 mph (130 kph).

What I am driving at is the diameter of the front wheel of this machine is approximately 27 inches and has a circumference of pi x 27" or 84" or 7 feet. This translates to 754 wheel revolutions per minute at 60 MPH. At this low RPM a 640cc engine could not possibly produce sufficient BMEP, or HP for this to be so.

For years I was puzzled by this apparent incongruity, and each time it would pop up in my head, I would dismiss it from my thoughts. It really bothered me. It violated almost all the engineering laws I believed in.

There was a solution to this dilemma. And I found it on the internet.

Inside the crankcase, there is a planetary gear train with a ratio of 5:1 that reverses the internal engine rotational direction and allows
for a RPM that is commensurate with BMEP and HP output that would make this kind of performance possible.

It calculates this way. 754 wheel rpm X 5 = 3,770 minus the crankcase rotation 754 = 3,016 engine RPM

No engineering laws are being violated and I sleep better also.

I am not certain, but it is very concievable that a clutch and or multi speed gear was possible. This is speculation. The rest I have described is real and factual.

Ralph Lindsay -- Ralph-1 at webtv.net

March 20, 2001
Please send me any information about the megola motorcycles. Can you tell me more about this.
Thank you very much
Josef Beil -- My e-mail adress: hotel-rex at hotmail dot com

July 10, 2000
Congratulations for your site. I am collecting motorcycles in Greece, and I sell the most regular models to Germany, like BMW, NSU, Horex, etc; till today I sold about 200 bikes and many tones of original spares. But the Megola is my secret dream, as I know that I will probably never find one that is for sale. I've contacted people all over the world to find any bike or even spares ; till now I've found only one front stay of the engine-wheel (!). The Megola is the most unorthodox motorcycle ever built, showing a personal vision of the design future that has never ever being followed again from anyone. The development of the Megola, was an attempt that remained as a prototype in about 1938 from 2 students in Germany, Killinger & Freund. The bike had a magnificent 2-stroke 3-cylinder Radial engine and a 3 speed transmission, as a marvelous streamline shape. Also just before the end of Megola production , Cokerell had ready a clutch-equipped version. If you know anything about Megola that is for sale, please send E-mail to : maratosp at otenet.gr

If you have a query about Megola motorcycles please contact us

Phil Aynsley Photography
Phil Aynsley Photography
Thousands of quality photographs featuring Ducati, Moto Guzzi, MV Agusta and numerous other marques. An index to many of the amazing galleries on his site is available here:
Phil Aynsley's Motorcycle Photos