Polish Motorcycles

Today in Motorcycle History

CWS M55 Motorcycles

The first mass-produced motorcycle in Poland was the CWS M 55, designed by Lieutenant-Eng. Boleslaw Fuksiewicz. ("Lech" motorcycles from Opalenica Wlkp., whose production - however on a smaller scale - started a little earlier, will be discussed in the group of information series and prototype motorcycles). Fuksiewicz, employed at the Central Automotive Workshops in Warsaw, received an order from his authorities to design a heavy motorcycle based on the well-known American designs - Indian (engine) and Harley-Davidson (chassis).

In accordance with the received guidelines, the design work consisted in accurately dimensioning all the elements of the mentioned vehicles, with only minor changes to the external dimensions, which was supposed to create the appearance of originality of the structure. No strength and technological tests were carried out, the fit tolerance was to be selected during assembly.

Prototype motorcycles were built in 1929 (this is the most likely date, although other sources say 1928) and the production of the first 50 vehicles, the so-called SO series. Meanwhile, road tests revealed a number of defects in the engine and chassis. The most common defects were breaking off valves, knocking out valve seats, abrasion of the surfaces of the timing cams, cracking of springs in front suspension and sidecar mounting bracket. Minor but significant defects also included the incorrect location of the kick starter lever - between the sidecar and the motorcycle - which was the cause of frequent foot and knee injuries.

Military recipients (because motorcycles were intended mainly for the army) began to file complaints, revealing distrust as to their further production. In the Central Car Workshops, consideration was given to suspending production or even scrapping the vehicles already made. However, a different concept was implemented. It was decided to remove the most important errors and continue production in order to get at least a return on the sums invested.

Failure-prone analysis, especially of engine details, was entrusted to a young employee with extensive domestic and foreign practice - Eng. Stanislaw Malendowicz. After its implementation, significant changes were made to the engine. In the timing assembly, which improved the engine's operation and improved its durability. The new, modernized series (which also included improved copies of the previous one) was designated S-III. It can be assumed that by the time production ceased in 1931, 100 CWS M 55 engines of both series and 11 sets of spare parts had left the factory. Motorcycles were mainly made of domestic materials, only the electrical installation, tyres, carburetor, bearings and speedometer were imported. Most of the elements were produced on site at the Central Car Workshops, but the services of subcontractors were also used.

CWS M 55 series III motorcycles, equipped with sidecars of a special design (supposedly 50 pcs.) were purchased at the turn of 1931/1932 by the Warsaw post office. Vehicles from the Central Car Workshops also participated in numerous rallies throughout the country, e.g. in the rally "Around Poland" on the route of 1300 km and took part in exhibitions and beauty contests. Few copies have survived to this day and are only in the hands of private owners.

Technical data
Engine: four-stroke, V-twin, port valve: drives the rear wheel by means of a chain
Displacement: 995.4cc
Compression ratio: 4:1
Power: 13.2 hp at 2000 rpm. (14 hp at 2500 rpm)
Clutch: wet, multi-disc, pedal operated
gearbox: with three gears, manually controlled
Ignition: spark
Frame: tubular, double, closed
Front suspension: HD type trapezoidal fork
Rear Suspension: rigid
Tyres: 27 x 3.85
Empty weight: 200 kg (with sidecar 260 kg)
Maximum speed: 100 km/h (sidecar - 75 km/h)
Fuel consumption: approx. 10 l/100 km

Source: Polish History Archive