French Motorcycles

Zurcher Motorcycle Engines


Zurcher 1910 250cc 2hp
Photo by Hans Denzel

A Brief History of the Marque

Ernest Zurcher and Hemann Lüthi met at the Vélo Club de Neuchâtel in Switzerland and became friends. Lüthi developed an igniter and a spark plug for a petrol engine and they began to manufacture 1 ½ HP motorcycle engines in 1895 under the name Lüthi-Zürcher.

In 1898 they set up workshops in Saint-Aubin-Sauges and in 1901 the Z.L. brand was established, then in 1902 or '03 the partners built a new facility across the French border in Pontarlier in order to avoid import tariffs. In 1905 the Swiss factory was closed, and the Zedel marque effectively became French, producing rather fine automobiles until the onset of WWI.

In 1907 the Swiss factory resumed production, but closed again in 1908.

Automobiles were produced again after the first war, in 1919 and 1920. The company name was changed to Donnet-Zedel and continued to build cars at the Pontarlier factory until 1928, when the Zedel name was dropped and the company moved to Nanterre. Donnet was sold to Simca in 1935.

Zedel had a French subsidiary based at Ferrière sur Jougne which was acquired by Alcyon in 1906.

After WWII the marque was revived. The French address was:
Ste des Moteurs Zurcher
36-44 rue d'Aboukir
Courbevoie

Zurcher engines were fitted to many motorcycles including:

Zurcher Engines

Pre-war Models include:

  • AS (100cc)
  • AS2 (100cc)
  • K (175cc)
  • L (250cc)
  • M (350cc)
  • MT (350cc)
  • MS (350cc)
  • CS (500cc)

  • Zurcher Engines (post-war)

    Year Type Bore/Stroke Capacity (cc) Clutch Gears
    1948~1953 25 52/58 125 no
    1948~1953 45 52/58 125 yes 3
    1948~1953 98 50/50 98 ABVEC 2
    1948~1953 100 48.5/54 100 yes 2
    1954 25 52/58 125 no
    1954 45 52/58 125 yes 3
    1954 98 50/50 98 yes 2
    1954 100 48.5/54 100 yes 2
    1954 100 48.5/54 100 no
    1955 50 40/38 50 no 1
    1955 100 48.5/54 98 no 1
    1955 125 52/58 125 yes 3
    1955 230 66/66 230 yes 4
    1956 50 40/38 50 no 1
    1956 100 48.5/54 98 no 1
    1956 125 52/58 125 yes 3
    1956 230 66/66 230 yes 4
    1957 50 40/38 50 no 1
    1957 100 48.5/54 98 no 1
    1957 125 52/58 125 yes 3
    1957 230 66/66 230 yes 4
    1958 50 40/38 50 no 1
    1958 100 48.5/54 98 no 1
    1958 125 52/58 125 yes 3
    1958 230 66/66 230 yes 4

    Sources: Tragatsch, Wikipedia, Cycle Memory, Zabytkowemotocykleirowery, la-moto-francaise, et al.


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