German Motorcycles

Hildebrand and Wolfmuller

In 1889, Heinrich and Wilhelm Hildebrand of Munich, made a prototype motorcycle using a small steam engine.

After their prototype steam motorcycle, the brothers joined with Alois Wolfmuller to manufacture a design patented by Wolfmuller and Hans Geisenhoff, in 1894. It is considered to be the first production motorcycle and it was made in both Germany and France until 1896. The engine was a twin-cylinder, water-cooled, four-stroke with 1488cc. The pistons travelled together (firing alternately) with their connecting rods pushing cranks on the rear wheel, like a locomotive engine. The rear wheel acted like a flywheel and it used rubber bands to pull the pistons back up the cylinders.

There are still many examples of the Hildebrand and Wolfmuller Motorad in the Deutsches Zweirad-Museum, Neckarsulm, Germany, the Science Museum in London, England and the Henry Ford Museum in Detroit, USA. Sources: Graces Guide

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