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Czech Motorcycles

Motorcycles Built in Czechoslovakia

Notes on some of the rarer Czech marques

This page lists brands for which we currently have only an historical precis.
For a more complete listing visit the Czech Index.

A

Aero Sidecars

Manufactured by Aero, an aircraft factory in Vysočany, in the late 1920s.

Most of the Aero sidecars were fitted on the left as before WWII Czech roads were navigated on the left side.

Böhmerland offered Aero sidecars in their catalogues. The standard Aero had wire wheels, but Albin Liebisch fitted them with cast wheels, and later with disc wheels.

Source: South-Bohemian MC Museum


AHRA logo

AHRA
Established in Hradec Kralové by father and son team Vaclav and Karel Rathouski.
In the 1960s they produced a number of 50cc and 125cc road-racing machines. These continued into the 1970s, joined at times by 250cc models and a 175cc triple. In 2010, the firm announced a 5-valve supermono with 6-speed gearbox.
The marque has had many successes including a 5th place in the 1971 50cc Constructors World Championship.
Sources: cold-war-racers.com, motorkari.cz, ahra.cz, et al.


Avon
Marketed by Augustin Vondrich, Prague-Karlín, Vinohradská tr.9, a bicycle dealer, this was a rebranded Premier 98cc Sachs.
Source: South-Bohemian MC Museum, et al.


B

Babetta

Manufactured by Povazske Strojarne in Slovakia

In 1948 the arms firm sought other products, and formed an agreement with Jawa to build motorcycles. Their first machines appeared in 1949 named Manet.

The first batch of 100 Babetta mopeds was produced in 1970, after many years of hesitant development. These were exported by the sole Czech agent Motokov to numerous countries. In 1976 their "Babetta" model had sold 20,000 in Germany alone. Povazske Strojarne was a large factory, and by the early 1980s around a quarter of their workforce of 13,500 was devoted to to the production of mopeds.

The mopeds were sold under several names, the best-known of which is Jawa Babette.

Wikipedia SK has considerable information on the model range, and jawamoped.com has an excellent history of the marque.


Barry
Manufactured by the brothers Bardas in Moravia, 1932-1939
Friedrich Drkosch designed racing motorcycles with 247cc engines, and also the 98cc two-stroke "Barry Volksmotorrad".
Sources: GTU Oldtimerservice


Breitfeld Danek - BD


Bekamo (CZ)

The Czech branch of the German firm used the Westendarp & Pieper TX machines as the basis for their 129 cc and 173 cc motorcycles, using German Bekamo engines until 1925 when the engines were built locally. There is a suggestion of the use of frames built by Aeros of Kaaden.

The Bekamo factory in Czechoslovakia was active from about 1923 until 1930.

See also Bekamo of Germany

Sources: GTU Oldtimerservice, et al.


Bezdez

Manufactured in Bezdezem 1923-1926

The Czech factory built auxiliary bicycle engines and light motorcycles with 145cc single-cylinder engines.

Sources: GTU Oldtimerservice



Blata

Founded by Pavel Blata in Blansko, production began in the 1980s of scooters and minibikes. Blata himself had been a competition rider in off-road and endurance events. The firm remains active and markets 30 to 40cc machines.

Sources: www.blata.cz, wikipedia


Brilant-Alcyon

Built under licence to Alcyon using 98cc engines by the bicycle firm Fuchs & Co of Zuchmantel, only a small number were produced.

Source: Tragatsch p94


BV
Manufactured by Balzer & Vemola, Prostejova 1923-1930
The firm produced almost all components, including engines and gearboxes, in their own factory.
They built a 173 cc two-stroke, along with 346 cc and 496 cc single cylinder four-strokes, and in 1925 an OHC 496cc racing motorcycle, campaigned by Julius Vermola.
Sources: GTU Oldtimerservice, Tragatsch p99


C

CAS
Manufactured by Ceska Automobilova Spolecnost, Prague 1920-1924
Designed by J. Reichzeigel, the firm produced two-stroke motorcycles and scooters of 173cc and 225cc, some of which were distinctive with their full disc wheels. The scooter was lean, long and low, with the engine mounted behind the forks at the rider's feet, and were built under licence to Autoped of New York where the scooter became notorious as the getaway choice for the world's first bikey gangs.
Cas scooter (1921) - 180cc, 0.9 kW, 35 km/h max speed, weight 48 kg.
The same scooter was also built in the UK, and in Germany by Krupp.
CAS also built microcars powered by 129cc and 147cc boxer-twin engines.
Sources: GTU Oldtimerservice, Tragatsch p 101, oldbike.eu, et al.

CAS-1920-Lightweight.jpg
CAS 1920 Lightweight

Novel saddle suspension and two belt rim brakes working on a common pivot are distinctive points of the C.A.S. lightweight; otherwise it closely follows British lines.

CAS-1920-Scooter.jpg
CAS 1920 Scooter

The C.A.S. scooter; it is fitted with a flat twin engine.

The Motor Cycle in Czecho-Slovakia

Activity in the New Republic. British Design becoming Standard on the Continent. New Motor Cycles and Seat Type Scooters.

(By Our Special Correspondent.)

In view of the importance now attached to the export side of the motor cycle industry, it is interesting to know that British motor cycle design now sets the vogue in many countries where hitherto the motor cycle has not been at all popular.

Due to faulty development, poor engnie design, etc., local makes were not much sought alter, while the more advanced British types were speedily bought up by the public, who had a keen eye for the practical side of the pastime, and refused to ride the hopelessly top-heavy mounts supplied by many Continental makers.

British Influence.

At present, the latest models of the Continental makers have a strong British flavour, as is illustrated in the leading Czecho-Slovak make, the C.A.S.

The motor scooter, too, is popular here, which fact in itself speaks volumes for this new style of vehicle. For in such a hilly country the standard of efficiency for machines to be of any practical use must needs be a high one.

Both machines mentioned were exhibited at the recent Prague Show, where they met with much favourable comment, many orders being booked by the C.A.S. Co.

The Motor Cycle, October 28th, 1920. p492


Caslavia
Manufactured by Buhumil Hudec Velocipedy, Caslav 1902-1903
No further information at present.
Sources: GTU Oldtimerservice


D

Dálník


Manufactured by Jan Anderle, Prague
Dálník 250 Prototyp (circa 1942) 248.5cc, 9 hp, weight 120 kg.

Jan Anderle was born in 1900 in Vyškov, near Brno. After WWI he developed his skills as a pilot and also built innovative motorcycles, many of which reflected his love of flying. Anderle's prototype dálník appeared in 1937, during the German occupation, and soon the first working model appeared, powered by a Jawa engine. When the war ended in 1945 development halted, and Anderle returned to flying and became a prominent figure in the aviation industry. On one occasion he delivered a new aircraft to France, and took the new owner on an unauthorised trip to Africa to teach him to fly it. The communist authorities took a dim view of this, and charged him with treason (or espionage - sources vary). As a result he spent the next 15 years in prison. He was disbarred from flying in his native land. Towards the end of the 1960s Anderle left Czechoslovakia, driving a dálník he had designed and built across much of Europe before settling in France. There he returned to flying, now in his 70s, and partnered with fellow pilot Arnold Wagner of Peraves in Switzerland to produce new vehicles. Production of these returned to the Brno region in 2009.
Sources: GTU Oldtimerservice; Dalnik at brnoregion.com
NB. The word "Dálník" was coined by Anderle by combining "dáka" (distance) and "dálnice" (highway). It has become a generic term meaning cabin motorcycle, referred to in German as "einspurauto".


Druzeta Sidecars

In the late 1950s JF Koch built a very original sidecars designed exclusively for use with Cezeta 501 and 502 scooters. Although very attractive, it was limited by its high weight which resulted in poor performance when fully laden. It did not enter production.

Source: South-Bohemian MC Museum


E

Eisler
Manufactured by Tovarna na Stroje, Eisler & Spol., Morava 1920-1926
Established as a manufacturer of agricultural machinery, production of auxiliary bicycle engines began around 1920. These 148cc two-strokes were used in their motorcycles which had a bright red chassis.
Sources: GTU Oldtimerservice


ERA Sidecars

Manufactured by Eduard Jíra, Prague VIII., Královská tr.

Production included lightweight sidecars suitable for the Jawa 350, and a swinging model (possibly a one-off).

Mesrs. Strommer Uhr rode through Africa on a Praga BD fitted with an ERA sidecar.

Sources: South-Bohemian MC Museum


Es-Ka

Ambros Swetlik and Heinrich Kastrup, both senior managers at the Premier bicycle factory in Cheb, formed their own company in 1911. By 1914, they had produced 21,000 bicycles and that year began experiments with bicycle attachment engines. At that time the company name was changed from Kastrup & Swetlik to Es-Ka.

Their first motorised bicycles appeared in the early 1920s.

In 1923, Es-Ka became an equal partner in the Tripol company of Rokycan and began supplying them with most of the components required for bicycle assembly. In short order, Tripol also began building motorcycles.

Heinrich Kastrup died in December 1929, and Ambros Swetlik died in January of 1932. Kastrup's wife took over his duties, and Swetlik's son Wilhelm, who was well-educated, became the company president.

The firm began producin lightweight motor bicycles in 1931 powered by 74cc Sachs engines. These were sold under a number of different brand names including Efbe, Standard Luxus and Avon.

By 1933 the machines were fitted with Druid-style forks, and there were numerous design changes. In 1935 a 98cc Sachs version appeared with a new frame, 6 litre fuel tank, balloon tyres and Bosch lighting.

In 1936 Es-Ka acquired the Eitrich Terra bicycle factory in Varnsdorf, and this too produced motorcycles.

1938 saw the introduction of Webb forks, a triagulated frame and a 9 litre petrol tank. That year the Nazis occupied the Sudetenland, using similar pretexts to those used by Putin's forces in Ukraine some 70 years later. Cheb was now part of Germany, and as a result the type designation was changed to Mofa 98 (Motorfahrrad). The Es-Ka appeared at the Leipzig Fair in 1939. Production ceased in 1941 and the factory was forced to produce military equipment.

Some 10,000 motorcycles were produced between 1931 and 1941.

There is an Es-Ka veteran motorcycle club.

Sources: motorkari.cz, South-Bohemian MC Museum, et al.


ESO


F

Favorit Sidecars

Built by Josef Tuma, Praha XI - Žižkov, Podebradova 103.

Production is thought to have begun in 1932 of left- and right-hand sidecars based on other popular designs.

Josef died in 1939. Production resumed after the Second World War with his wife running the factory. Then the business was nationalised and Motex took over. The last of the Favorit sidecars was produced in 1956.

Source: South-Bohemian MC Museum

N.B. There was a German firm of the same name which produced sidecars in the 1930s: Favorit DE


G

GH
Built by Gustav Heinz 1924-1925 using 172cc Villiers engines. Heinz was also the creator of the Sirocco and Velamos marques.
Source: Tragatsch p145.


Grizzly
Built in 1925-1932, designed by Joseph Matyas. Models included a 246cc two-stroke, and IOE and OHC 348cc MAG-engined models.
Source: Tragatsch p152


H

Hurikan

I

Itar
Manufactured by Jaroslav Janatka, Automontage, Prague, 1920s
Itar motorcycles were initially supplied almost exclusively to the Czech armed forces, but orders ceased in 1926 and the firm experienced difficulties. It was taken over, and construction was limited to single cylinder models of the British fashion. Production stopped in 1930.

Itar Models include:
Itar 710 of 1924: 706 cm3, 14 hp, 90 km/h max speed, 170 kg weight. Boxer engine positioned longitudinally. Engine is possibly by Walter.
Itar 1926-1930. JAP ohv engine, 350cc and 500cc, Burman Gearbox, drum brakes front and rear from 1929.

Source: South-Bohemian MC Museum


J

JAC
Manufactured by Tovarna na Motocykly, JA Cvach, Horazdovice 1929-1932
The motorcycle has a unit-construction 498cc engine with cardan shaft drive and a steel frame, and a very low saddle.
Sources: GTU Oldtimerservice


Jelinek
Manufactured by Josef Jelinek, Vyroba Motocyklu, Prague 1902-1908
The motorcycles used engines from Orion, Minerva and Fafnir. A Fafnir model is on display at the Museum Burg Kámen.
Jelinek 1904 397cc, 2.5 hp, 60 km/h max speed, 65 kg weight. An example of this machine is exhibited at the National Technical Museum, Prague.
Sources: GTU Oldtimerservice


Jules
120cc bicycle engines built in 1929-1934, they were also sold complete with Praga bicycles (no relation to Praga motorcycles). They had rudimentary leaf-spring rear suspension.
Source: Tragatsch p181


K

Kilear
Built in Brno 1924-1926 using 247cc 3-port two-strokes of their own manufacture.
Source: Tragatsch 184.


Koch
Built in 1934-1935
When Praga ceased motorcycle production the chief designer, J.F. Koch established a factory building limited numbers of advanced OHC machines.
Source: Tragatsch p185.


Kohout

Manufactured by Petr Kohout & Co., Brno 1905-1906

The firm Petr Kohout & Spol was established in 1896 as a bicycle factory.

Motorcycles were built using single-cylinder Minerva and Fafnir engines of 2.5 hp and 2.75 hp. In 1905 they also built automobiles with engines of up to 8hp.

Sources: GTU Oldtimerservice


Kuberg
kuberg logo
Electric MX, street and junior motorcycles. Introduced at the Munich Motorcycle Show 2012.

Resources: kuberg.com, fb.com/kubergmotorcycles


L

Linser & Zeus

M

MAT
Built in 1929-1930
Shaft-drive four-cylinder sidevalve machines built by Bugatti racer Milos Bondy. The engine was a very compact square four but suffered from overheating.
Source: Tragatsch p202, François-Marie Dumas


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MB
Built in the Avia factory of Milos Bondy. The 498cc engine, designed by Slechta, had a rotary valve head similar to the Soyer face-cam design. It did not achieve production and was replaced by another Bondy marque, the MAT.
Source: Tragatsch p205.


MC
Built 996cc V-twins designed by Vladimir Guth in 1924-1927.
Source: Tragatsch p205


Merfait
Manufactured by Bedrich Merfait, Prague 1905-1916
Presented the 2hp belt-drive v-twin motorcycle at the 1905 Prague Motor Show,
Sources: GTU Oldtimerservice


Meteor
Built by František Radvan, 1909-1926
Initially they built bicycle attachment engines of 211cc, and these were followed by 3-port two-strokes of 147 and 169cc. After 1924 they built the Radvan using DKW engines. Production ceased in 1926 due to hyperinflation.
Source: Tragatsch p208


Motex Sidecars

Manufactured by Motex, výrobní družstvo, Reckova 6, Praha 11

After the Soviet takeover, many firms were nationalised including that of Tuma Žižkov, producer of the Favorit sidecar. Motex built modified versions in 1950s for Jawa 250, 350 and 500cc motorcycles.

Source: South-Bohemian MC Museum


Motor Company

motor-company-prague


Built by Motor Company, Prague
These were the most expensive motorcycles built in the country at the time. They used JAP engines, Sturmey Archer transmissions and Brampton forks. Production figures were low.
Motor Company 1000 (1924) 980cc, 22 hp, 100 km/h max speed, weight 177 kg. An example of this machine is exhibited at the National Technical Museum, Prague.

N

Nawratil
Manufactured by Emanuel Nawratil, Dombrová 1907-1908
The 3 hp motorcycle ran an evaporative carburettor.
Sources: GTU Oldtimerservice


Neco
Built small numbers motorcycles powered by 346 and 490 JAP SV and OHV engines from 1923 to 1927.
Source: Tragatsch p225.


O

Orlice

Manufactured by Rudolf Stásek, Týniste nad Orlici, 1904-1908

These were single cylinder machines typical of the era, with magneto ignition. The firm also produced bicycles, first advertised in January 1901 and continuing until 1939. These were offered under the "RTS" brand, as were ball-bearings which were produced from 1926 at a new factory in Sitiny.

Sources: GTU Oldtimerservice; veteranforum.cz; muzeum-tyniste.cz.


P

Pavlicek
Manufactured by Hynek Pavlicek, Tischnowitz 1909-1913
Using Kohout engines, the firm built motorcycles with a very long wheelbase requiring very long handlebars as the saddle was situated well to the rear.
Sources: GTU Oldtimerservice


Perun

Peta
Between 1921 and 1924 the firm built small numbers of lightweight motorcycles and scooters using 170cc two-stroke engines.
Source: Tragatsch p248


Polanecky
Manufactured by Zdenek Polanecký, Prague 1913-1915
The small firm produced motorcycles with its own patented engines.
Source: GTU Oldtimerservice


Poustka

poustka-logo


Built by František Poustka, Prague, 1924-1934
Poustka 150 (1923) Villiers 147cc, 4.7 hp, 60 km/h max speed, weight 68 kg.
Source: jawaczclub.nl



Premier of Czechoslovia

P.T.

Manufactured by Laurin & Klement, 1902

Destined for export markets, this was a cheaper version of the L&K motorcycle. It is not clear whether it entered production.

Source: libormarcik.cz


R

Radvan
Built in 1909-1926
Fitted DKW two-strokes 145 and 174cc. Radvan also built the Meteor.
Source: Tragatsch p258.



Republic

Rösler & Jauernig
Manufactured in Aussig 1903-1907
The Rösler & Jauernig bicycle factory created an automobile and motorcycle division in 1903. Motorcycles came in three single-cylinder versions: 2.5, 2.75 and 3.5 hp, with a capacity of 317cc or 427cc. They were fitted with a modern carburetor, Bosch magneto ignition and, unusual for the time, chain drive.
Sources: GTU Oldtimerservice


R&K Richter & Kroboth, 1924-1926


Rozehnal
Manufactured by Vladimir Rozehnal, Paskau 1905-1909
The entire motorcycle including the engine was built in the small factory. The engines were vertical singles with an external flywheel and transmission was by belt.
Sources: GTU Oldtimerservice


Rulliers
Built in 1924-1929. Fitted with Villiers engines of 147, 172 and 346cc.
Source: Tragatsch p267


S

Sagitta
Built a small number of motorcycles using Villiers 247cc engines betweeen 1928 and 1930
Source: Tragatsch p268


Satan

satan-logo


Built by Šikýř-Rott (Sikyr-Rott), Prague
Satan (1930) 540cc sidevalve, 10 hp, 90 km/h max speed, weight 158 kg. Saddle tank and two seats each suspended by long thin shock absorbers.
Sources: South-Bohemian MC Museum, Tragatsch p269, et al.


Schmidt
Manufactured by Adolf Schmidt, Bohemian-Leipa 1901-1902
The second-oldest motorcycle firm in Czechoslovakia, their machines used frames from Dürkopp and Styria fitted with Kelecom engines.
There was also a Schmidt marque in Germany in the 1920s.
Sources: GTU Oldtimerservice


S-Fortis
Built a small number of motorcycles in 1929-1931 fitted with 598cc OHV Sarolea engines.
Source: Tragatsch p272


Sibrava Trimobil

Manufactured by Jaroslav Šibrava in Prague, 1920 to 1925 [1]

The tricycle had a single wheel at the front and was powered initially by an air-cooled 1248cc v-twin engine. Later versions had boxer engines.

It was available as an open two-seater sports, a four seater, a landaulet (taxi), a utility with a tray and as a van.

The firm also built automobiles which were developed from the three-wheelers.

Notes. 1. Sources differ. Possibly produced as late as 1929.
Sources: Wikipedia DE, et al


Sirocco
Built by the Gustav Heinz using Villiers engines of 147cc to 346cc. Heinz also built the Velalmos
Source: Tragatsch p274.


SKO
Frantisek Skopec built a 498cc two-stroke 3-port single in limited numbers, 1924-1926.
Source: Tragatsch p274.


Slavia

Stefania
Manufactured by Möldner & Skreta, Liberec 1903-1904
The Czech bicycle factory briefly built motorcycles with 305cc engines.
Sources: GTU Oldtimerservice


SRK
Stanislav and Rudolf Kubicek from Ceské Budejovice built a single example of a two-stroke motorcycle. It is worthy of mention because of the interesting tale with which it is involved.
Source: South-Bohemian MC Museum


Sumava
Built by Jaroslav Pichner, Klatovy, Šumava, 1938
The small firm produced a lightweight pedal-assisted 98cc Sachs machine.
As the machines were very similar to the Tripol of 1938 built in nearby Rokycany, it is likely that the two firms co-operated. Both were bicycle manufacturers.
Sources: South-Bohemian MC Museum, http://historickakolapisek.cz.


T

TAP

Manufactured by Adolf Tlustoš of Prague, 1930s

"Adolf Tlustoš was not only an exceptionally good craftsman, but he was also well aware of the effects of advertising, so he advertised his sidecars quite intensively."

Source: South-Bohemian MC Museum


Torpedo


Tragatsch
Built in Czechoslovakia 1946-49
Erwin Tragatsch built long and grass-track and speedway machines along with road racers powered by mostly JAP speedway engines of 348 and 498cc. He is the author of the book which resides on every motorcycle historians shelf and is a primary source of reference.
Long before the book Schindler's Ark was written by Australian author Tom Keneally and subsequently turned into a film of the same name by Stephen Speilberg, Tragatsch wrote a piece on Oskar Schindler which was only discovered long after Erwin's death.

More information:


Bibliography
Galloni
Moto Guzzi 1928 250SS
The Phantastic Oskar Schindler



tripol logo

Tripol
Built by Tripol Fahrradfabrik GmbH., Rokycan (near Pilsen), 1925~1938
The small firm produced motorcycles with 246 cc Villiers engines, and in 1938 marketed a pedal-assisted 2-speed 98cc Sachs machine.
Sources: South-Bohemian MC Museum, Tragatsch p284.


V

Vechet
Manufactured by Vojmir Vechet, Nymburk 1906-1908
The majority of the motorcycles produced by the factory were sidecar combinations with engines which were most likely from Laurin & Klement.
Sources: GTU Oldtimerservice


Velamos
Built by the Gustav Heinz, who also built the Sirocco, the motorcycles were powered by their own 3 port deflector piston type two-stroke engines of 246, 346 and 496cc. They were raced by Kliwar Zesper and Heinz. Production of bicycles continued after the Russians seized control of the country.

After WWI brothers Josef and Gustav Heinz sold and repaired bicycles and motorcycles in Rapotín. In 1924 they bought land and established a factory, and by 1928 were producing 100 bicycles annually. They formed an agreement with Puch and imported parts from Austria, with production rising considerably.

During this period the firm invested considerable amounts to ensure the health and security of their employees.
Sources: sterba-bike.cz, Tragatsch p.259, petrovnaddesnou.cz


Velox
Built in 1923-1926 by motorcycle racer Hynek Vohanka using 147cc Villiers and 123 and 174cc Bekamo engines.
Source: Tragatsch p291.


VM Motor

The Praga company was bought by Vladimír Vácha in 2004, and using the Praga equipment developed the VM Motor 610F Motocross model.

It is not clear whether it was ever brought to market, but they fielded a team for the 2009 Czech Championship. Their website gives no further news after 2009, nor does their Facebook page. Their main product is go-kart engines. (October 2020)

See also: vmmotor.com


Vulcan (Vulkan)
Manufactured from 1904 to 1907 in Turnau (Turnov)
Founded by cousins Josef and František Žďárský (Zdarsky), the firm changed hands in 1906 with Karel Růžička (Ruzicka) the new owner. Models include the single-cylinder Type B 3.5 hp and the Type CD 4.5 hp V-twin, both of 1904, and a Type C 3.5 hp single in 1905.
Tragatsch gives manufacture dates of 1904-1924, and indicates that Josef Zdarsky then built Perun motorcycles until 1926.
Sources: GTU Oldtimerservice, idnes.cz, Tragatsch p293.


W

Wacek
Manufactured by Augustin Wacek, Pecha 1908-1914
The small firm marketed modified rebadged Orlice motorcycles.
Sources: GTU Oldtimerservice


Wagner
Built in 1930-1935, these were fitted with sidevalve, ohv, ohc and two-stroke engines of 98 to 499cc. It appears that none survived the ravages of war, but there is documentary evidence of their existence.
Source: Tragatsch p294.
N.B. There was also a Wagner of Minnesota.


Walter

Weber & Reichmann
Manufactured by Weber & Reichmann, Maschinen- und Kettenfabrik, Warnsdorf (1923-1926)
Built 142cc and 172 cc two-stroke motorcycles with pressed metal frames under DKW licence.
Source: Tragatsch p295




Y

Yuki
Established in 2006 the marque produces motorcycles using 50cc, 125cc and 250cc engines.
Source: en.yuki-club.net


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