Czech Motorcycles

Today in Motorcycle History

Es-Ka Motorcycles

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 producing 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.

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