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Classic Velocity Blog

Durkopp - Motorized Cycles to Mopeds

Classic Velocity

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The Durkopp brand represents one of those circumstances where the path from simpler machines to more complex was More of a circle than a path from A to B. The company was founded in 1867 by Nikolaus Durkopp in Bielefeld Germany. They began as a manufacturer of sewing machines and later branched off into ball bearings and bicycles. As the turn-of-the-century approached, Durkopp naturally evolved to motorized bicycles and then began to produce motorcycles and automobiles as well.

The motorcycles were one, two, and even four cylinder machines which became known for their quality construction. They were simple yet elegant machines. However, motorcycle production paused between 1912 and 1927 as Durkopp concentrated on automobiles with great success after placing second in the 1911 and 1912 Monte Carlo Rallye. When they resumed motorcycle manufacturing, they opted for engines from other suppliers such as Sachs for their M10, M11, and M12 motorcycles which they produced into the 1930s. These were generally 100 and 200cc two-stroke machines based on a common frame.

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Production was again stopped along with sewing machine production for WWII. While bicycles and sewing machines resumed after the war, motorcycles did not resume until 1949. Initially they revived the M10, but soon moved on to produce the MF100 and the MF125 which were named for their engine displacement and used Sachs and Ilo engines. They also introduced the Diana scooter which proved popular. The most successful motorcycle model, however, was the MD150. It was introduced in 1952 and featured Durkopp's own engine and had a top speed of 90KPH.  It was soon followed by the MD200 which increased to speed to 96KPH.

Although almost 18,000 MD150 machines were sold, and 10,000 MD200 machines, the German economy was recovering well, and cars were replacing motorcycles as the vehicle of choice. Durkopp ended motorcycle and Moped production in 1954, although scooters continued until 1961. Sewing machines and bearings resumed their position as the most profitable lines of business, and following some acquisitions and mergers, Durkopp-Adler remains in business today as a producer of industrial sewing machines.

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