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Today in Motorcycle History

Columbus Motorcycle Engines

A Brief History of the Marque

Columbus Motorenbau AG developed from Motorenfabrik Oberursel (M.O.) which built Gnom stationary engines, and the parent company built Oberursel aero engines, including that used by the Red Baron in his Fokker triplane.

Fritz Kleemann had built Gnom motorcycles using M.O. engines until 1924. He began a new company, Horex-Fahzeugbau AG, the name derived from his hometown Bad HOmburg, and REX, his father Friedrich's glassware factory. The Horex was powered by Columbus four-stroke engines from Motorenfabrik Oberursel. In 1925 Horex and Columbus merged.

Columbus single-cylinder engines were available in capacties of 250cc to 600cc, and were joined in 1933 by 600cc S6 and 800cc S8 OHC parallel-twin models.

Columbus engines were employed by Bücker (Franz Bücker, formerly of M.O.), Diskus, Horex, Kaiser Microcars, Leopard, Sieg, Tornax, Victoria, Zürtz-Rekord and others.

An 800cc Columbus twin was fitted to a late model Goetz; Tornax fitted them to their V-28 of 1928.

Motorenfabrik Oberursel AG became part of the Rolls Royce enterprise in the year 2000.

Sources:,,, et al.

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