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Classic Velocity Blog

Bucking the Trend

Classic Velocity

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Unlike many German motorcycle manufacturers, who started off in the late 19th century manufacturing bicycles, or typewriters, the story of Bucker motorcycles did not begin until after the turn-of-the-century. Franz Bucker was born in the late 19th century and was required to join the army as a young man at the beginning of World War I in 1914. He ended up working on aircraft engines, and following the war started a motorcycle repair and manufacturing business. For his own machines, he sourced engines from a number of manufacturers including MAG, JAP, Blackburne, and others. Bucker won a few street races, and gained a reputation for building fast and agile machines.

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Production increased steadily, as did the variety and size of the machines. They resisted the common trend at the time which was to begin producing your own engines, instead opting for a variety of well-known suppliers. By 1930, in another direction against the trend, Bucker was producing a 1000cc motorcycle producing 55 hp and capable of 170 km/h. Most manufacturers were sticking to half that displacement. Depression and then the war hit small manufacturers like Bucker hard, but they managed to survive. Following the war, they produced small capacity mopeds and motorcycles like everyone else, but they still sourced their engines from elsewhere. However, they did reduce their street engine suppliers to just two, Ilo, and Sachs.  A high point occurred in 1948 when Bucker won the 250cc road championship of Germany in the hands of Friedl Schon.

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Annual production numbers remained below 500 in total with specific models selling just over a hundred in some cases. This was despite introduction of several new models including the TZ line which had capacities 125cc to 250cc. Bucking the trend yet again of choosing 2-stroke or 4-stroke, Bucker chose to produce both utilizing the diversity of their engine suppliers. Unfortunately, none of this was able to stave off the rapid decline in sales, and eventually the company ceased production in 1954. Models continued to appear in years as late as 1958, but these were simply leftover models. Because of their small numbers, Bucker motorcycles remain relatively rare.