Polish Motorcycles

Today in Motorcycle History

Tornedo Motorcycles

Manufactured 1938-1939
Wilhelm Tornow established his bicycle factory in 1904 in Bydgoszcz, Poland.
Built lightweight motorcycles using 98cc engines from A. Steinhagen & H. Stransky of Warsaw. The war brought a halt to motorcycle production.

The results of the motorcycle race, which took place in Bydgoszcz on July 3, 1938, were a sensation of the current motorcycle season. In the heavily occupied class of "Setki" (hundreds), (light motorcycles of up to 100 cc), the winner was a hitherto unknown motorcycle of Polish production. After a fierce battle, it defeated machines with engines from such famous and reputable companies as Villiers, Sachs and Puch.

The winner of the race started on a Tornedo motorcycle (actually a moped, as it also had pedals), one of the prototypes of the latest two-wheelers from the well-known Bydgoska Fabryka Rowerów i Motori, founded in 1904. The owner of the company, employing over 300 employees in 1938, was Wilhelm Tornow - the name of the motorcycle is derived from his name.

The basic production of the Bydgoszcz factory were bicycles and bicycle frames, which were supplied to other manufacturers - in 1936, the production volume was 5,500 and 350,000 pieces, respectively. The factory therefore had trained personnel and appropriate instrumentation, which could also be used to build frames for light two-wheelers. It was too cumbersome and expensive to produce their own motorcycle engines, so engines were imported.

Design work and preparation for the production of the first motorcycle began in 1937. Initially, it was intended to be equipped with an imported engine from Fichtel and Sachs AG of Schweinfurt with a capacity of 125 cc and a power of 3 HP at 3600 rpm, coupled with a gearbox with three ratios, but a year later the plans were changed. The Tornedo motorcycle received a Polish SS-3-MR engine, somewhat similar to the Sachs. It was a small engine, built in the Auxiliary Factory for the Aviation and Automotive Industry in Warsaw. The company belonged to the company of Artur Steinhagen and Henryk Srtansky and from 1931 produced two-stroke engines developed according to their own designs with a power of up to 30 HP (24.5 KW), parts of aircraft engines and airframes as well as precision tools and measuring instruments.

The SS-3-MR engine, built in mid-1938, was intended for mopeds and light motorcycles. The assembly, weighing only 12.8 kg, consisted of a complete engine, clutch, gearbox and generator, of unit construction, along with a specially designed exhaust pipe and muffler.

The engine was well developed and was not inferior to foreign designs of this kind. Before going into production, long-term stationary tests were carried out: laboratory and workshop, followed by field testing in a moped. Experimental engines intended for test rides had special sight glasses to check the internal mechanisms without the need for disassembly.

The chassis of the machine (frame made of structural steel tubing, front fork of pressed metal) was typical in its class and did not present interesting construction solutions, while some engine elements are worth writing a bit more about. A depressurizer (decompressor) was placed in the aluminum alloy cylinder head which greatly facilitated pedal starting.

The cylinder is made of chrome-nickel material with good thermal conductivity and high wear resistance. The crankcase halves were cast from light alloys together with the gearbox housing. The crankshaft of the SS-3-MR engine was composed of three parts and was supported by three ball bearings. The shaft sealing system was designed in such a way that it was possible to easily dismantle the seals. The I-section connecting rod had a roller bearing for the gudgeon, and a similar solution for the bottom end. . Transmission of drive from the crankshaft to the clutch was done by means of gears. This solution, generally used in large-capacity engines, was much more durable than the chain transmission found on the great majority of small engines.

Of the basic elements of the engine equipment, only the Graetzin carburetor was imported. The magneto and generator were of their own design.

Spark gap interlocked with the flywheel. The magneto components - coil, capacitor and breaker - were placed under the flywheel, which was equipped with magnets made of cobalt steel, which also functioned as a magnetic wheel. The DC generator was located in the lower part of the engine and driven by a gear transmission from the clutch gear. The use of a DC generator enabled the use of a battery for position lighting with the engine turned off, as well as the use of strong light with constant intensity, regardless of engine speed - which was not possible with an AC generator. The generator was equipped with a voltage regulator that prevented "escape" of current from the battery at too low engine speed. It should be added that the lighting system could also function without a battery.

The Auxiliary Factory for the Aviation and Automotive Industry in Warsaw also built an improved version of the SS-3-MR engine, intended exclusively for light motorcycles. The new SS-3-LR model had several minor changes, the most important of which was the use of a foot control, the so-called kickstarter.

It is difficult to determine the production level of Tornedo motorcycles. From a press interview with the then Deputy Minister of Communications, Eng. Julian Piasecki shows that it was planned to launch 500 vehicles on the market in 1939, but other automotive magazines increase this number twice. However, it must be assumed that a smaller-scale program was much more realistic, especially since production began in late 1938 or early 1939.

Engine: single-cylinder, two-stroke, chain drive to the rear wheel (there was also a separate chain transmission driven by the pedals)
Bore x stroke / displacement: 50x50mm / 98.2cc
Maximum power: 3.25 hp at 4200 rpm sustained - 2.5 hp at 3500 rpm
Sustained Power: 2.5 hp at 3500 rpm
Clutch: wet, multi-disc
Transmission: with two gears, manually operated
Ignition: SS type spark plug
Generator: DC 4V-15W, type SS
Frame: tubular, single, closed
Front suspension: trapezoidal fork
Rear Suspension: rigid
tyres: Polish Tyre Stomil (tyre and vehicle dimensions - unknown)
Empty weight: approx. 60 kg
Maximum speed: approx. 60 km/h
Fuel consumption: approx. 2.5 l / 100 km
permissible load: 1 person

Polish History Archive
Zabytkowemotocykleirowery Poland