Polish Motorcycles

Today in Motorcycle History

Sokol 200 Motorcycles

Sokól 200M 411

The Sokol 600 RT was a popular machine built by State Engineering Works in Warsaw. The new Sokol design with an engine with a smaller cylinder capacity was mentioned in the motorcycle press in early 1936.

The reason for speculation about the forthcoming machine was a statement by Eng. Tadeusz Rudawski, head of the Motorcycle Department of the PZInz Study Office (and an excellent constructor) stating that a modern Polish "two hundred" would soon appear on the market, an inexpensive machine for the average buyer. Admittedly, there were relatively cheap imported small-capacity motorcycles ("Setki" (hundreds)), but in the specific conditions of domestic operation, the opinion prevailed not to miniaturize too much.

However, construction did not begin until the spring of 1937, while the construction of prototypes was completed a year later, in April 1938. In accordance with the customs prevailing in this factory, prototype motorcycles were subjected to thorough laboratory and road-field tests (e.g. 10,000 km of "non-stop" driving of one of the tested motorcycles), carried out at the plant in the presence of the main constructor of the vehicle, Eng. Tadeusz Rudawski. These studies made it possible to evaluate the technical solutions used and, together with the actions taken to eliminate errors made during its development, they continued even in the first months of 1939.

Commercial Sokolów 200 series, because this is the name of the youngest "child" of Eng. Rudawski, was supposed to go on sale in the summer. In the second quarter, the preparation of subassemblies for 800 machines began, but in the tense political situation, only 78 motorcycles were produced from the collected components, which were successively released for sale, with the last copy leaving the PZInz assembly line on September 3, when war had already begun.

There is conjecture that after the evacuation of all finished motorcycles from the factory that some employees continued to assemble machines using the remaining stock of parts and, so that they would not fall into the hands of the enemy, they then removed them from the factory. Apparently this type of activity did occur in the first weeks of the occupation, but it was apparently limited to smuggling out parts and components, despite the controls carried out by German guards.

Sokól 200 M 411 was a touring motorcycle with a modern design, developed in such a way that its future user would be provided with the best possible conditions for operation and repair. The elements that directly affect the safety and comfort of driving include the frame and suspension. The frame, although externally looked rather typical - double, closed, made of steel elements with a C-section, admittedly not soldered, but joined together with screws - was an unprecedented solution, the advantages of which could be assessed during the ride. It was a spring construction, and to such an extent that the deflection of the frame under the saddle was tantamount to using the suspension of the rear wheel! This idea has been legally protected as a patent of PZInz.

The riders's seat and the trunk, factory-fitted for attaching a seat for a passenger, were fitted with springs, which, combined with the other elements, made for comfortable travel on the Sokol 200.

Another interesting solution, which greatly facilitated engine maintenance and repairs, was the method of mounting the three-speed gearbox, externally forming a single unit with the engine. The gearbox housing was bolted to the engine with four bolts, which was also used to adjust the slack of the drive chain using spacers of the appropriate thickness. This solution, as well as the suspension of the engine on rubber and steel bushings (which eliminated vibrations transmitted to the frame) was a patent of PZInz.

In order to ensure proper durability of the engine-clutch transmission, due to the relatively high power and high revolutions of the engine, a double-row chain was used, which is not generally found in foreign vehicles of this class. the engine was also equipped with two reliable devices of German origin: a Graetzin KF 205 carburetor with a throat diameter of 20 mm and a Noris MLZS 6V - 30W generator mounted on the engine crankshaft. The generator had a voltage regulator and a battery charging indicator (6V - 8Ah), and in its housing there was also an ignition coil and a circuit breaker. It should be added here that these were only imported elements

The Sokól 200 engine, made of high-quality materials, was one of the lightest in its class - it weighed only 25 kg, and the whole motorcycle by 75 kg more (for comparison, it is worth giving the data of the popular WSK with a 125 cc engine from the 1960s - these: engine - 21 kg, complete motorcycle 100 kg). The vehicle was economical, and therefore cheap to operate. A single filling of the fuel tank with a capacity of 12.5 liters was enough to drive over 400 km with a full load.

The price of the motorcycle was set at PLN 1,320, but in practice it was 20% lower, because this was the discount that every buyer of a Polish vehicle received. This sum could also be spread over the number of installments specified in the purchase contract, which meant that the Sokól 200 was to be available to a wide range of motorcycle enthusiasts.

Motorcyclists eagerly awaited the new vehicle. Already from the 18th Poznan Fair (May 1939), where it was presented to the public for the first time, and from the first "performance" in the capital - a beauty contest in Paderewski Park (today Skaryszewski), where it won the first prize (June 1939). Sales Department of PZInz. received a number of orders from individual buyers and sports and tourist clubs. As a curiosity, it is worth noting that the first Sokól 200 was purchased for his son by the then Prime Minister, General Dr. Felicjan Slawoj - Skladkowski.

Despite the short period of pre-war operation of a small number of Sokolów 200s, based on the accounts of their then users, it can be said that they were successful vehicles, and their operation did not cause any problems. Several motorcycles survived the turbulent period of warfare 1939 - 1945 and remain in private hands, and one of them - fully original and in excellent technical condition - is an exhibit of the Museum of Technology in Warsaw.

Technical data
Engine: two-stroke, single-cylinder, drives the rear wheel by means of a chain
Bore x stroke / displacement: 62 x 66mm / 199.2cc
Compression ratio: 6.5:1
Power: 7 hp at 4000 rpm
Clutch: wet, multi-disc
Transmission: with three gears, foot operated
Ignition: battery
Generator: Noris 6V - 30W
Battery: 6V - 8Ah
Frame: made of C-profile steel sections, double, closed, springy in the vertical plane (frame deflection under the saddle equivalent to rear wheel suspension)
Front suspension: Trapezoidal fork with friction shock absorbers for stroke and direction
Rear Suspension: rigid (springing function was taken over by a spring frame)
tyres: Poland Tyre Stomil 3.00 x 19" or 3.50 x 19"
Length Width Height: 2025 / 680 / 965mm
Wheelbase: 1315mm
Empty weight: 100 kg
Maximum speed: 85 km/h
Fuel consumption: 3L/100km
permissible load: no data

Source: Polish History Archive