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Classic Velocity Blog

Filtering by Tag: Goricke

On the Trail of the Panther

Classic Velocity

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Panther is one of those brands that seem to have been used by a motorcycle manufacturer on almost every continent. England, France, Indonesia, Argentina, etc. In this case, Pantherwerke AG of Madgeburg began producing motorcycles equipped with Fichtel & Sachs engines in 1896, making it among the earliest manufacturers. However, bicycles and sewing machines were also among the early products. The firm stopped motorcycle production after WWI and resumed in the 1930s until WWII when they ceased motorcycle production again. After the war, it took some time to rebuild a new factory, but they resumed production in 1948. Small motorcycles and mopeds were the new products, powered once again by Fichtel & Sachs, but joined in some cases by ILO engines.

In the early 1950s, Panther developed a machine which was a cross between a motorcycle and a scooter. It had large wheels with a step-through design and ample storage. However, it was a strange looking machine, and never made it to production. In 1953, Panther acquired rival brand Anker and began to produce badge-engineered versions for each brand. Panthers were also produced in England under the brand Leopard Bobby, due to a conflict with the British P&M Panther. Models like the Panther KS150 and the KS175S sold well in Germany. However, tough economic times took their toll, and Panther eventually ended motorcycle production in 1962. Bicycle production continued and the Goricke brand was acquired (see Goricke). Panther remains in business today producing bicycles. 

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Goricke

Classic Velocity

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In the late 19th century in Bielefeld Germany, Goricke came into being with a focus on bicycles, sewing machines, and milking machines. In 1903 they jumped into the motorcycle production business, and established themselves as a high quality manufacturer. Unlike most, they went straight into producing larger machines, and used competition to advertise and to improve the product. In 1909 they reportedly captured the first motorcycle world speed record. They also produced a 3-wheeled car in 1907.

With the outbreak of hostilities in World War I, Goricke transitioned to military products, and did not re-enter the motorcycle market until around 1920. They produced singles and V-Twin configuration machines which some claimed were just pre WWI machines warmed over. In 1924 they acquired the failed Fabula company, but did little with the products. Goricke stumbled along through the hard economic times of the 1920s and 1930s, surviving a bankruptcy in 1929, an acquisition, and then supported largely by their bicycle business. And then came another war, and another transition to producing military equipment.

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Following the war, Goricke produced small displacement motorcycles and mopeds. A breakthrough came in 1953 with the Go-175 motorcycle. It lasted for 6 years, and did reasonably in a very crowded market segment. They then introduced a 50cc model that they ironically called the Supersport. Simultaneously, Goricke was doing even better with other types of machines. A 3 wheeler (2 wheels in front with a large basket) powered by a 50cc Fichtel & Sachs motor and intended for work duty did well. Mopeds became a success  with the Diva, and then the Regina models. They did attempt to introduce a "big" bike,  meaning 250cc powered by the popular Ilo motor. However, it died before getting to production, as it was up against much more powerful and popular models from AdlerNSU, and DKW.

The late 1950s saw the dramatic decline of the motorcycle business for everyone including Goricke. In 1964, they were acquired by Panterwerke, who continued the Goricke brand, but only in the bicycle business all the way up until 1983.