Today in Motorcycle History

EMW Motorcycles

Eisenacher Motorenwerk

Historical Notes

When the Soviets occupied the eastern sector of Germany after WWII, they took over one of BMW's factories in Eisenach and began building motorcycles and cars under the BMW marque. BMW sued successfully in 1952 and the East German factory changed it's product name to EMW, and also changed the logo design and it's colour from blue to red.

Early in the war Munich suffered severe bombing raids from the allied air force, causing BMW to move the engine production to their Eisenach factory where previously the Dixi car had been built. At war's end Eisenach came under Soviet occupation, and the products were sent to Russia. The pre-war BMW R35 singles and R71 twins were produced unchanged, with the BMW name still on the tank.

Around the same time BMW in Munich was granted permission by the Americans to resume production. As a result, the Eisenacher factory was renamed EMW. Initially EMW continued to use the blue & white BMW emblem, with EMW the ID plate on the frame. Before long the logo was changed; the blue areas became red and the letters "BMW" were changed to "Eisenacher Motoren Werk".

Production of the R71 (EMW M72) was discontinued but the EMW R35 remained in production for ten years, with minor changes.

Until 1950, the motorcycle was built unchanged, with the type designation BMW R35/2. The frame retained the blue and white BMW logo, and the nameplate on the steering head stated "BMW" as the manufacturer.

From 1950, "AWTOWELO Werk BMW Eisenach" was listed as the manufacturer on the nameplate. In 1952 a foot-operated gear change was adopted, the model designated BMW R35/3, retaining the BMW logo.

In 1953 plunger rear suspension was fitted and the designation became EMW R35/3. The red and white EMW logo was adopted and ID plate gave "VEB Eisenacher Motoren Werk Eisenach" as the manufacturer.

Source: Motorpaul NL

Fri, 20 Oct 2017
steve_otter at live.com.au
EMW R35/3

Looking for parts, mainly frame and rear wheel or hub. Thanks
Steven Otter
Brisbane/Queensland Australia

Sun May 28 2017
stef_michiels at hotmail.be
EMW for sale
I inherited a EMW R35 from my grand dad and i want to sell it.
But i don't know how much it is worth and where to sell it can you help me please?

For valuations see the page on Vintage Motorcycle Prices. The Publications section of Bikelinks lists auctions, classifieds and magazines.

Sat Sep 06 2014
sofro at luukku.com
Do you have this part? EMW R35

Component appears to be a kickstart pawl stamped EC80. Admin.

Thu Sep 20 2012
Spare part to IFA EMW R 35-3
IFA EMW R 35-3
We are looking for con rod bearing, and bearing which is in the cylinder block. Please see attached picture

Fri Mar 11 2011
Parts EMW R-35
I will sell the check point case.
The fair seller.

Fri Sep 12 2008
joeorfe at aoldot com
transmission and parts
I have a 1953 r-35 and need some transmission parts as well as a few other to finish my restoration, any ideas or help? THANKS JOE

Fri Oct 30 2009
reddyhead at verizon.net
1946 emw m72
emw m72
was there such a motorcycle produced?
la, ca. usa

Mon Dec 03 2007
vrodriguez at structuretone.co.uk
Post war - East German Police
Hi. Trying to find a bike BMW/EMS used by East german police up to '70's Told it is called a 'Kovravet' or something similar? Has an 859 boxer engine. Can anybody help?

Fri Oct 19 2007
gaspar-csaba-lex at yahoodot com
emw r 35 1952
i like to sale the motorcycle if every one is interested he cold contact me an e mail i sorry i have not pictures of the motorbike but is in very good condition
Tirgu mures romania

Sat Jan 13 2007
oximoto at yahoodot com
EMW 350 to sell
EMW 350
Hy,I own an EMW 350,in a bad condition, but good for selling parts from it. If somebody is interested then write please.

Sat Sep 30 2006
leonardomizzi at gmaildot com
Technical manual
I would like to know if it is possible to purchase a technical manual of the EMW R35 ?
Bari, Italy

Sat Sep 30 2006
vrodriguez at structuretone.co.uk
East German Police Motorbikes
Hi. I am trying to find out what motorbike the East German Police used in the 70's onwards. It had a BMW twin wngine that was rated to 800cc. Can you help?

Fri Dec 02 2005
jhoffner at gcfincdot com
Eisenach Motor Works
I have been trying to find informaion on the EMW cars built after WWII. They must be similar as the cars also have the red and white roundel. Would you be able to point me in the direction for material?
John Hoffner

Sat Sep 24 2005
panthershaun at btinternetdot com
French BMW copy
On a recent trip to France I had the pleasure of seeing inside an old barn, amongst other things in the barn was a side valve, plunger framed BMW copy, very similar to a Chinese Cheng Shing. Do you have any information on these bikes as I have never seen one before and I thought it was Russian bike.

[Probably an EMW. Ed.]

January 24, 2002
Did they make a EMW R-71 after the war? Thanks
Otto Braun
Ron -- MRCAMARO at webtv.net

January 1, 2002
Hello Mr. Coe, my name is Dave Robinson and I am working with American military-dependant teens in Germany. This morning I met a man with a few vintage motorcycles (3 1956 BMWs, 1 or 2 1956 EMWs, 1 1956 MZ) and he offered to sell a 1956 EMW to me for US $900. He said it is complete and would need only a lot of cleaning and polishing to make it like new, and I think he's a very honest man. He struck me as a potential surrogate grandfather if I stay over here for a while. I like old motorcycles, but I'm more of a car guy. I think the resto would be very simple and fun--any sobering up I have to do?

I think I'm asking for any input or guidance or resources for restoring this beautiful bike that looks exactly like yours (sans sidecar). Also, any and all photos would be much appreciated as I can see how it is really supposed to look. I don't want to trailer it around everywhere, but would get pleasure shining it up and riding it in good weather every week or so, and then ship it back with me to the States when I return. Any idea about prices for parts and/or what the motorcycle is worth in original, complete, needing restoration condition? Also, where in the world do you get replacement seats? Do I need to make them myself?

Thanks for any and all information you can provide. I was so excited to see the photo on the EMW Motorcycles page!
Dave -- David.Robinson at cmtymail.98asg.army.mil

Darryl Coe's EMW

Here I am at the Hillsborough Concourse a couple years ago. They had no Mc entries. I showed in the Delmar the same year and won a 2nd. Took first at the Vintage days in Hanford. Its a fun bike and of course every time I show it every one thinks they know its a BMW. When I write down EMW its always changed to "BMW." The Stoya has a small flag holder on the front. The only problem is finding a small DDR flag, so I use D flag. I have picked up some large DDR flags and some EMW workers banners. I have the original paper work on my 1955 bike and I made a DDR plate with the original number to this bike. Hope you enjoy the picture. I don;t know how you put a value on a bike that has no others around .
Darryl Coe -- DARRYLCOE at aol.com

January 3, 2000,
I have an EMW R35 and would like to know more about it, can you help? It was purchased in Romania and hence heavily "modified", the communist style. Yours sincerely -- Yossi Moskovitch -- r5ag at mail.dntis.ro

From Sheldon: Do you have a photo?

January 29, 2000
Have enclosed a picture, as you can see the bike is ripe for a restoration project. I also own a BMW R35 in similar condition, and hope to restore them both.

Now I am in Romania on business, here I have two Dneper MT11, with side cars. I bought the second machine for spare parts for the first, but felt sorry for the machine, and instead it will be customized. Both machines are "domestic quality" and present a challenge for me and my Chemical Metal tubes. -- Best regards -- Yossi

This was on another list (WWII reenacting) that I'm on. I thought it was interesting.
Jay Williams -- jay at azalea.net

(the EMW was produced in East Germany just after the war. They made something like 20,000 of them with the only differences being speedometer graphics, out of range serial numbers, and one or two other, minor differences) The EMW is a fine bike, just as good for reenacting, but is not as valuable as a collectors bike. >>

In 1939, the Germans moved BMW's motorcycle assembly plant from Munich to Eisenach in order to build airplane engines in the Munich plant. At the end of the war, Eisenach ended up in the Soviet sector. In the plant were many unbuilt motorcycles, including the R35s. The Soviets took these parts and built the first BMWs to be produced after the war.

As to the R35s, there were two types produced by the East Germans after the war. One being completely from wartime parts and being monikered "BMW". The other used up the remaining stock of R35 parts, but also changed the rear end to have a plunger type suspension rather than the fixed rear end found on wartime models of the R35. These bikes were produced towards the end of the R35 run and about the time that the Munich operations were putting out their postwar bike, the R24. These last R35s, with the postwar produced plunger rear end, were labeled "EMW" for Eisenach Motorwerks. EMW continued in operation until it depleted the entire stock of wartime parts.

The postwar manufactured bikes are not as highly prized by collectors as the wartime bikes. However, if you are looking for a bike that is a exactly a wartime bike, the postwar R35 produced by the East Germans is a good choice.

Parts are readily available, if you don't mind the wait.

If you have a query about EMW motorcycles please contact us