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Classic Velocity Blog

Filtering by Tag: Horex

Zundapp Citation

Classic Velocity


IThe Zundapp Citation was clearly a derivative of the Horex Imperator, and was reportedly only branded a Zundapp in order to work around the legal restrictions of the US importer Berliner Motors. The Imperator was a 400cc twin produced in the waning days of Horex before it was purchased by Mercedes (see Horex Motorcycles). The Zundapp version created an oversquare bore and stroke, and overhead cam to reach 452cc and to produce 40 hp. This was enough to market the it as a 500, and claim 100+ mph speeds. Not bad in 1958.  It was named the Citation after the triple-crown winning horse.


Despite good quality, performance, and design, timing could not have been worse. The bike was introduced into the teeth of a worldwide recession. On top of that, a series of marketing and legal issues impacted sales in the important US market. The Citation was limited to a 2 year life span from 1958 to 1960.

Horex Motorcycles

Classic Velocity


The latest in what seems like a never-ending line of old Marques brought back to life is Horex Motorcycles. The Rex Glassware company was located in Bad Homburg, Germany, and when it decided to get into the motorcycle manufacturing business in 1923, it determined that the best name was a combination of company and location called Horex. Founder Fritz Kleemann is said to have coined the slogan “Built for Bikers by Bikers”. The company established itself as a maker of quality single and twin cylinder bikes. In 1925 they acquired their engine maker Columbus. Capacities increased up to 800cc through the 1930s until the war suspended motorcycle production.


cybermotorcycle.comIn 1948, Horex resumed motorcycle production with the "new" motor developed right before the war. The new model was called the Regina, and it did fairly well for the company. It was the first Horex with rear suspension, as well as improved brakes, and the more powerful SB35 motor.  Horex then went on to introduce the Imperator and the Resident in the mid 1950s. However, these were being introduced into a climate of declining sales. Mopeds and scooters were produced to supplement sales, as well as parts for automaker Mercedes Benz. Despite all of these efforts,  Horex could not survive, and in 1960 they were acquired by Mercedes Benz, and two-wheeled production ceased.


But that is not the end of the story...In 2007, rights to the name were acquired, and earlier this summer, the new motorcycle was unveiled. This is not the best timing for introducing a new motorcycle, but there are some impressive partners involved including Volkswagen and Bosch. The new bike sports a ground breaking engine. It is a triple camshaft supercharged 6-cylinder engine !! The motor is a VR6 (sound familiar VW fans?) and the narrow profile and extra cyclinders allow for good packaging and 175+ HP. Europe is the initial market, but other countries including the USA are envisioned in the near future.


It turns out that BMW is not the only German motorcycle manufacturer rolling out six cylinders this year. However, while the BMW is already in well-established showrooms, the Horex is hoping to get to that same place at some point soon..