2005-04-23 at 4:05 am #11070
April 28, 2000
Thanks very much to those who sent me pictures and suggestions for finding a Z-98, but I’m feeling a bit like I’m in the “Twilight Zone.” I admit I don’t have documented proof, but I THINK I’m sane, and I DO remember seeing Zundapp motorbikes by the dozens in Ohio in 1956-59.
They were called Z-98s by the dealers (in Wilmington, where I lived, they were sold in hardware stores with the bicycles and lawn mowers). They were not Zundapp Bellas (the motorscooters), and they were not Zundapp Kombinettes (the mopeds). A Z-98 looked just like a little motorcycle (tank between the seat and the handlebars, between the rider’s legs) with pedals. It had a tubular front fork and a hardtail rear (heavily sprung single-rider seat). It had a stamped steel package tray over the rear fender, which was sometimes fitted with a padded seat for a passenger. The Z-98 had 2 chains (one to the engine, the other to the pedals) and a 2-speed transmission. Clutch was on the left hand, front brake on the right, the transmission switch a lever on the right handlebar. Rear brakes were activated by back-pedaling.
The problem is that no one knows what I’m talking about. In the late Fifties and early Sixties, I had a motorbike & scooter literature collection. It was quite a pile, several feet high. I was trying to get literature on every motorbike and scooter in the world. I had stuff on Peugeot scooters, Maicoletta rollers, etc. Anyway, even in those days, when the Z-98 was around, I was unsuccessful in getting a picture. I wrote to the Zundapp company, and they replied they were out of Z-98 brochures. A Z-98 was pictured on their letterhead, however, but it was a fuzzy photocopy.
As I grew older, I grew out of motorbikes, but I never forgot the Z-98. When I was a soldier in Germany in the early Seventies, I visited a Zundapp dealership in Nuremberg. No one there knew anything about a motorbike Zundapp produced some 20 years earlier.
Now I’m feeling other-worldish. NO one has ever heard of a Z-98! I do have a witness, though. My cousin, who also lived in Wilmington, clearly remembers Z-98s and his buddy, Dickie Caplinger, used to own one.
On the other hand, maybe Wilmington, Ohio, was overrun with Saturnian aliens in those days, and the so-called Zundapp Z-98 was merely a Jupiterian transportation vehicle used by aliens escaping after the saucer crash in Roswell, New Mexico.
Thanks for your help and suggestions. The search goes on.
Regards, — Tim Guymon — norikus at earthlink.net2005-12-05 at 11:21 pm #12858
the year was 1957 in zanesville,ohio.ihad a zundapp z98.they were all over the place,was maroon with foot pedals.top speed was 40 mph.grear motorcycle sales sold them.they sold triumph,zundapp ,aerial square 4.a friend had a cushman.we burned the streets up that summer of 1957.the engine was a single cylinder,two cycle,two speeds forward,and had the time of my life.2005-12-17 at 8:15 am #12859
I believe you might find an image of a Z98 on the Zundapp Fool web site, page two of Visitor’s Bikes. This is one of two photos I was sent of the beastie and the better one of only two such machines I have ever seen. I am pretty sure that the person who sent me these photos said that this was a Z98 from 1956 or there-abouts. Happy Holidays everyone!
ZF2008-10-14 at 5:54 pm #12860
I had a ’56 Z-98 back in ’59-’60 in Ohio. I got my motorbike license soon as I turned 14 and rode the Zundapp until I graduated to cars on my 16th birthday. I bought the Z-98 used from a couple in Columbus who had bought it for their daughter. At the time I lived in Granville, OH, 30 miles northeast of Columbus.
When I got the motorbike I didn’t know much about ‘cycles. I soon discovered that the prev. owner had put in “new” clutch plates – homemade ones cut out of cereal boxes! A Newark, OH Harley shop found the right plates somewhere and got me fixed up.
I also had the feeling that my Zundapp lacked power. I had to pedal to help it up hills, and even though it was only 4 HP I felt that it should have more “oomph” than it did. I took the Z-98 to a bike shop (not, unfortunately, a Zundapp dealer) in Columbus to find out what could be causing the lack of power. A week or so later the shop called to say the bike was repaired and ready for pickup.– I have to interrupt here to express my upmost gratitude for the patience and help of my mother. Since my dad was at work every day, it was she who would have to rent a U-Haul trailer every time the Z-98 had to be hauled somewhere — once when we first brought it home from Columbus, then an additional four times for trips to repair shops — Thank You, Dear Mother!!
Well, as I was saying…. The Columbus ‘cycle shop told me that they replaced all the seals in the engine because they were leaking and that was why engine power was lacking. Well, what did I know — obviously not much because that repair shop had just managed to put one over on me! I didn’t see any improvement in power for the $25 or so the repair cost ($25 was a LOT of money to a 14 year old who only made 75 cents an hour mowing lawns in the summer and a few bucks shoveling sidewalks in the winter!). Well, we live and learn don’t we — life’s lessons don’t always come cheaply!
Since I really couldn’t afford any more ‘cycle shop repairs I began to tinker with the Z-98 to learn on my own how I could fix and maintain it. I discovered that the engine didn’t have a head gasket. Now I knew about head gaskets because I had tinkered with lawnmower engines and knew that they had them. Naturally I thought my Z-98 should have a head gasket, too. I made gaskets from several different materials on hand: tin cans, asbestos cloth, gasket paper, silver-paint-coated grocery bags, etc. The results — no boost in engine power. In fact, years later I would realize that, if anything, the gaskets reduced power because they lowered the compression ratio. Finally, one day I was doing the “gasket thing”, tinkering around, scraping carbon out of the cylinder head, etc. I happened to notice a small machined hole in the cylinder head, just forward of the spark plug. Even the novice mechanic that I was back then, I didn’t think the hole in the head was a good thing so I plugged it with a big flathead nail, inserted from the inside that I then bent over on the outside to keep it in place. In hindsight I realize that a better fix would have been a machine screw and nut combination but the nail was on hand – the screw and nut were not – and to get back to ridin’ was the important thing!
What an improvement!! WOW!! — new found power with a twist of the throttle! I suspect that the engine was losing half or more of it’s power due to the hole in the cylinder head. What was that hole there for anyway? Later, I’m not sure just when, I learned that the Z-98’s had a decompression device – I suppose to make it easier to start by pedaling in gear. Why it had been taken off and by whom I don’t know. Whoever removed it would have to have removed the cyl. head to do it and you would think that they would have had the sense to then plug the hole. And the bikes’ rider surely would have noticed the drastic drop in power. Oh, well, guess I’ll never know the answer to those questions… but no matter, at last I now had all 4 horses working for me!!
Wear and tear took its toll on my Z-98 — with added help from a few spills we took together. Its tires were worn down to the cords (I coated the exposed cords with rubber contact cement to keep moisture out), and both chains had worn out/missing rollers. One spill resulted in the throttle twist-grip being broken completely off. From then on I had to work the throttle by pinching the cable end fitting between my finger and thumb while resting the heel of my right hand on the remaining stub of handlebar — thusly, I could pull the throttle cable to accelerate. It became a bit more complicated when I needed to work the shift lever that was also mounted on the right handlebar. “Where there’s a will, there’s a way”, so of necessity I developed the skill necessary to accomplish the simultaneous tasks!
Several year after I had sold the Z-98 to a friend I learned that Grear Cycle in Zanesville, OH sold Zundapps and had parts for the Z-98. Grear’s was only about 30 miles from where I lived in Granville – but it might as well been 3,000 miles since I wasn’t aware of the shop. And remember, this was back just after stagecoach days and 30 miles was practically a day-trip – especially on my Z-98! Well my buddy got everything fixed up like new on that bike. I don’t know what he eventually did with it but I sure wish I had it back now! My Z-98 was the only one that I ever knew of around my “neck of the woods” and I only recently came across a picture of one while browsing around on the Internet. If you’re still looking for a pic try this address:
http://www.cybermotorcycle.com/gallery/ … 8_1956.htm
Keep your feet on the pegs and the bugs out of your teeth!
Parker2008-10-17 at 4:15 pm #12862
brough: I could only see half of the Z-98 in the picture you posted. I’m sending as an attachment to see if I can put up a more complete picture. Parker2008-11-12 at 7:38 pm #12863
I have read the Zundapp Z98 exchange with interest. I bought a new one from Joe’s Cycle Shop in Lebanon, Ohio at age 14 (1957), and rode it all seasons till a sexier 5hp machine was available (Jawa 125). There were so many around southwest Ohio I continue to be surprised at their complete absence.2008-12-02 at 5:27 pm #12864
I find it interesting that most of the zundapp Z-98 bikes seem to be from or in Ohio. The Zundapp was my first motorcycle and I too lived in Ohio. My dad got it from a co-worker for about a hundred bucks if I remember correctly. It was titled as a 1953 model and mine had footpegs instead of the moped style pedals.
There must have been some importer in Ohio who brought a bunch of them over from Germany in the 50s.2013-09-25 at 10:52 pm #12865
I had a Z98 in about 1961 or 1962. It was my first motorcycle. I rode it everywhere on back roads and some highways. I lived on a farm just north of Cambridge Ohio. It was a bluish green color and was used when I got it but in very nice shape. I was 13 or 14 years old. I had an old whizzer before the Z98 but never got the whizzer to run right. The Z98 was a lot of fun and I remember my cousin rolling up his shirt as a pad to sit on the carrier on the rear fender. I then went to a Yamaha 250, then to a brand new Honda Super Hawk, then to a Honda Scrambler. I went to Vietnam and served in the 9th Infantry. During an R&R in Bangkok Thailand I took my drivers motorcycle(can’t for the life of me remember what it was) and took my own tour of the town!! He was pretty mad when I got back that evening but he got over it! LOL Once home I went through a couple BSA’s and a Norton before I got my first Harley, a 1949 Panhead. I tore it down to the frame and rebuilt it in a chopper style, this was 1970. It was a beauty!! I now ride a 2009 Harley Street Glide. I can not really say how many bikes I have had in my lifetime but my Zundapp Z98 started my love of motorcycles. I have mentioned the Z98 to several motorcyclist over they years an no one knows of this motorcycle! I can’t believe such a nice little bike was a hidden treasure. I am going to search through some old photos to see if I can find a picture of it.2013-09-26 at 8:27 am #12866
Look forward to seeing the pics. If you have trouble posting them, drop me a line.2014-01-27 at 4:42 am #12867
Just found this forum. I have a 1953 Z-98 Motorbike. I found it in central Kansas years ago. It is the model without the pedals, just has the Sachs motor. I contacted the Zundapp Fool site a couple years ago and the moderator stated he was not aware of this model. I have found several spares and literature over the years. I can send photos to whoever is interested. You probably know more about this bike than I do!
Jim Robinson2014-01-27 at 11:00 pm #12868
I’d be keen to add any photos you can supply to the gallery, particularly sales literature, jerobzund.2014-01-28 at 2:50 am #12869
I will try to post photos and more info in the next week.
Thanks.2014-02-16 at 4:33 am #12870
I just uploaded two photos of my Zundapp Motor Bike to my Gallery. I will upload better photos in the future. I will also upload a couple sales brochure pages here soon.
Jim Robinson jerobatjuno.com2014-02-16 at 7:51 am #128712014-02-20 at 4:31 am #12872
I posted a couple more photos to my album. I will also attach a sales brochure page here.
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