This blog started when I owned and MZ Skorpion Traveller and a bike magazine dismissed it with the phrase 'you can't tour on a single'. The Skorpion's gone and I now have a Triumph Bonneville, but I can't be bothered changing the title of the blog!
This rare beast was built by a British company called Barron Eurotrade. Approx. 120 bikes were built between 1976 and 1981, and I can still remember the adverts in the magazines.
It was a strange mixture of parts - Polish built WSK 125 frame and cycle parts, Italian Motori Minarelli engine, and British MP (Metal Profiles) forks, and the side panels featured the flags of the supplying countries.
I never saw one when they were available, but about 5 - 10 years ago I was working in the Highlands and stopped at a petrol station. After buying fuel I used their toilet round the back of the shop. In the rear yard there was a selection of rusting wrecked cars and against the wall, half covered by old wheels and scrap metal, was the remains of a Barron!
Found this video of one running.
"Torinese engineer Salvatore Majorca created the revolutionary Moto
Major straight after WWII. Apparently it was an engineering rather than
styling exercise, but 60 years on, its shape is still breathtaking. The
wheels, in particular, would not look out of place on many modern
motorcycles."..."The Major, born in 1948 on a draft of an engineer in
Turin, Salvatore Majorca. Its aim is very clear: to create a very
exceptional art, both stylistically and mechanically. As for
aesthetics, one can not but look confirm the opinion of all those who
see the Major is ahead about ten years compared to its contemporaries.
The study of the creature is extraordinarily accurate, the line creates a
unique form from which emerges only handlebars and wheels. And if you
believe that the project was born after the Second World War, when there
are so many is the Guzzini, one can imagine the emotion aroused by the
Mayor at the time of his presentation."
Apparently the bike had no suspension as such, the 'spokes' of the wheels had rubber inserts to dampen any shocks!
Last of the bikes I considered before buying my SR 500, the most oddball, and the one I thought about for the shortest time before ruling out.
Hercules (DKW) W2000
This was built by German firm Hercules, but marketed in some countries (including the UK) as DKW. Raleigh Industries (the bicycle company) owned the rights to the name Hercules is some countries, hence the change.
It had a nominally 294cc single rotor Wankel engine built by Fischel and Sachs, which I think originally had been made for a snowmobile. As part of the deal with NSU (owners of the rights to the Wankel engine) the engine was limited to 30 hp, so the bike wasn't that powerful.
Early versions had petroil lubrication, but later had a separate oiltank mounted above the rotor and covered with an metal plate.
At the time I thought about one, I had only read about them in magazines, and this was the era when Wankel engines were 'the next big thing'. However, as we now know, that didn't work out as planned. A few years later I saw one in a bike shop and to be honest, the quality of equipment and finish were pretty poor.
Here's a cutaway engine and you can see just how small the rotor is.
I've only seen a couple since and they were both in museums, so I've never actually seen or heard one going. I found a bit of video that'll give you some idea of the sound.
The W2000 sold in very small numbers, but I believe that the engine was 'doubled up' and became the basis of the Norton Rotary. (Anyone confirm this?)
This one's from Russia where the driving style takes no prisoners. A rider spots an elderly man (possibly blind or partially sighted - is that a white stick?), and shepherds him to the side of the road.