Zündapp (a.k.a. Zuendapp) was a major German motorcycle manufacturer
founded in 1917 in
Nuremberg by Fritz Neumeyer, together with the
Krupp AG and the machine tool manufacturer Thiel under the
name "Zünder- und Apparatebau G.m.b.H." as a producer of detonators
(Zünder- und Apparatebau is German for Igniter and Apparatus). In
1919, as the demand for weapons parts declined after World War I,
Neumeyer became the sole proprietor of the company, and two years
later he diversified into the construction of motorcycles.
Following World War II,
Zündapp expanded into the microcar, moped and
scooter markets. The company collapsed in 1984.
Zuendap.biz markets markets bicycle and electric bicycles using the
Zundapp name and logo.[better source needed] while
Zuendapp.com markets "enduro-sport" motorcycles under the Zundapp
brand.[better source needed]
1 Early history: 1919–45
2 Postwar: 1945–84
5 External links
Early history: 1919–45
Zündapp flat twin K500 shaft-drive motorcycle
A reconstruction of a
Porsche model type 12, Industrial Culture
Wehrmacht sidecar from the 1940s
Z9-92 powered LF-1 trainer
Zündapp K800 on display at the Barber Vintage Motorsport
Museum in Birmingham, Alabama
Zündapp motorcycle was the model Z22 in 1921. This was the
Motorrad für Jedermann ("motorcycle for everyone"), a simple,
reliable design that was produced in large series. Zündapp's history
of heavy motorcycles began in 1933 with the K-series. The "K" refers
to the type of drivetrain that these models used, Kardanantrieb,
meaning enclosed driveshaft with two universal joints. Zündapp
introduced the enclosed crankcase (then a novelty). The series
encompassed models from 200 to 800 cc displacement and was a
major success, increasing Zündapp's market share in Germany from 5%
in 1931 to 18% in 1937.
Zündapp KS600, first released in 1938, had a 28 hp
(21 kW) horizontally opposed twin cylinder motor with overhead
valves displacing 597 cc (36.4 cu in). The KS600 was
often coupled with a Steib sidecar, the BW38 (Beiwagen 1938). The
BW38, fitted with the B1 (Boot no. 1) sidecar body was produced
between 1938 and 1941 and supplied exclusively to the Wehrmacht. While
the KS600 was discontinued and eventually replaced by the
purpose-built KS750, its motor was to be the only remnant to live
beyond the destruction of war. When
Zündapp returned to motorcycle
production in the late 1940s, it chose to reuse the KS600's motor to
power the KS601 with few modifications.
Zündapp K800 had unit construction, flat-four engines with shaft
drive (a layout adopted by Honda for the
Gold Wing in 1974) and were
the only 4-cylinder machines used by the German armed forces in World
From 1931 Ferdinand
Zündapp developed the prototype Auto
für Jedermann ("car for everyone"), which was the first time the name
Volkswagen was used.
Porsche preferred the 4-cylinder flat engine, but
Zündapp used a water-cooled 5-cylinder radial engine. In 1932 three
prototypes were running. All three cars were lost during the war, the
last in a 1945
Stuttgart bombing raid.
From 1936 to 1938
Zündapp produced the KKS500 model. This was the
Zündapp with a foot gear change, and 170 examples were
built. From 1940 onward
Zündapp produced more than 18,000 units of
Zündapp KS 750. This is a sidecar outfit with a driven side
wheel and a locking differential, supplied to the German Wehrmacht.
Zündapp also made aircraft engines including the 9-092, which was
used in light aircraft, including the
Brunswick LF-1 Zaunkönig
Brunswick LF-1 Zaunkönig (1942)
ab initio trainer aircraft.
André Malherbe in 1974 aboard a 125cc Zündapp
Zündapp ZD20 1977
Zündapp Bella scooter
Zündapp Janus microcar
Zündapp sewing machine
After World War II the company transitioned to smaller machines,
notably the "Bella" motor scooter, which was a relatively heavy
machine for its type. In 1951
Zündapp released the last of its heavy
motorcycle models, but one of its most famous: the KS601 (the "green
elephant") with a 598 cc two-cylinder engine. From 1957 to 1958
the company also produced the
Zündapp Janus microcar.
In 1958 the company moved from
Nuremberg to Munich. Subsequently, the
company developed several new smaller models, discontinued the
development of four-stroke engines and only produced two-stroke
Zündapp experienced some success in motorsports with American
Dave Ekins winning an overall victory at the 1967 Greenhorn
Enduro aboard a 100cc Zündapp, defeating competitors on much larger
motorcycles. Belgian rider
André Malherbe rode a
Zündapp to win
the 125cc European motocross championships in 1973 and again in
Zündapp scooters and mopeds sold well, but
later sales declined and in 1984 the company went bankrupt and closed.
After the bankruptcy, the entire production line and intellectual
properties was bought by Xunda Motor Co., Tianjin, China. They
Zündapp motorcycles from 1987 till the early 1990s.
Zündapp is still in business, but makes Honda based 4-stroke
motorcycles and electric mopeds.
Zündapp also had a technical collaboration with Royal Enfield (India)
to build mopeds and motorcycles. A dedicated factory was built at
Chennai in the early 1980s to manufacture small,
lightweight two-stroke motorcycles to be offered along with their
flagship Royal Enfield Bullet. Enfield launched two 50 cc
motorcycles first, the step-thru Silver Plus and the 3-speed Explorer
motorcycle. Later, 175 cc Enfield Fury (based on
was introduced as a performance motorcycle. It had 5-speed gearbox, a
Brembo disc brake and a sleeveless hard chromed cylinder
barrel, all were a first on a motorcycle in that country.
Reiner Scharfenberg, Günter Sengfelder, Siegfried Rauch:
Band 1: Die Nürnberger Jahre 1922–1958. Motorbuch-Verlag, Stuttgart
1998, ISBN 3-613-01919-1.
Band 2: Die Münchener Jahre 1953–1984. Motorbuch-Verlag, Stuttgart
2000, ISBN 3-613-02034-3.
Siegfried Rauch, Johann Kleine Vennekate (Hrsg.): Zündapp. Neuauflage
Zündapp: 60 Jahre Zündapp-Technik. Kleine Vennekate, Lemgo 1996.
Thomas Reinwald: Nürnberger Motorradindustrie. Podszun, Brilon 2002,
Frank O. Hrachowy: Kleinkrafträder in Deutschland – die
ungedrosselten 50er der Klasse 4. Kleine Vennekate, Lemgo 2006,
Zündapp Modellgeschichte von 1952–1984. Ein Leitfaden
für Sammler. Heel, Königswinter 2009, ISBN 978-3-89880-504-9.
^ "1938 Zundapp K800 - Barber's Best".
Motorcycle Classics. Ogden
Publications. 7 November 2012. Retrieved 23 December 2013. The Zundapp
K800 is listed as one of the top 100 machines of the 20th
^ Greg Williams (July–August 2009). "1937 Zundapp KKS500".
Motorcycle Classics. Retrieved 2009-08-04.
^ Margie Siegal (July–August 2007). "1942 Zundapp KS750". Motorcycle
Classics. Retrieved 2009-08-11.
^ Roberts, Andrew (20 November 2011). "Classic Zundapp Janus". The
Telegraph. Retrieved 23 December 2013. The Janus was envisaged as a
'quality bubble car' and Jim Hacking, a microcar expert and proud
Zundapp owner, bristles with annoyance at the 2008 Time magazine
article claiming that the Zundapp was one of the 50 worst cars of all
^ "Greenhorn Enduro Winners". district37ama.org. Retrieved 22 February
^ "1973 125cc European motocrosschampionship final standings".
memotocross.fr. Retrieved 3 February 2016.
^ "1974 125cc European motocrosschampionship final standings".
memotocross.fr. Retrieved 3 February 2016.
^ Xunda Motor Co. Ltd. retrieved 12 Dec. 2010
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Zündapp.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Zundapp KS 750.
Zündapp Z 200 - Subtitles: German and English-
Motorcycle registry and database
Major and notable German motorcycle marques