1921 400cc ABC twin

The 1919 ABC 

  The British ABC of 1919 featured some of the most advanced specifications of any motorcycle up to that time. Front and rear suspension, front and rear drum brakes, 4 speed gear box, multi-plate clutch, and tubular double cradle frame. Delightful to ride, quiet and comfortable the ABC found many prospective owners. But tragedy struck the factory and only 2000 were made before the company faded away, the victim of post war inflation and minor teething problems..




Pacing motorcycle


Motor pace racing was glamorous but dangerous.
Falls were common, largely because bicycle tires tended to burst at speed.
The riders wore neither helmets nor gloves.
They depended on fast reflexes, the rude health of youth, and luck.
Speeds rose and accidents became frequent.
For instance,the American, Harry Elkes, died of his injuries from a crash in front of 10 000 spectators at Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
His rear tire exploded at 100kmh and he was thrown under another rider’s pacing machine which “crushed the prostrate man in a dreadful manner.”. George Lander, of Chicago, USA, said “Only the clumsy get themselves killed” before starting a race at the Parc des Princes in Paris.
Leander was thrown five metres into the air after 80km, fell to the track, bounced into the seating and died 36 hours later.
A crash in Berlin on 18 July 1909 killed nine when a motorcycle went into the stands and exploded.
The biggest machines were built by the pacers, using parts from other motorcycles, with engines as large as 2,400cc / 150 cu.inch.
The pacers wore leathers, goggles and helmets but many riders wore a flat cap.
The world governing body, the Union Cycliste Internationale set regulations for pacing motorcycles in 1920.
Until then standards had been set by the police, or by the track promoters.
World championships were held annually, except during wars, for 100 years, often separately for amateurs and professionals.
The motorcycle for motor-pacing has a roller on a frame at the rear to create a uniform distance to the cyclist.
The pacer stands or sits upright to offer a maximum windbreak, and the handlebars are extended to facilitate the stance, in a standarized leather suit that allows for the same slipstream effect for any rider. Speeds of 100 km/h (62 mph) can be reached; the average is between 60–70 km/h.
The bicycles are steel, sturdy and have a smaller front wheel to let the stayer bend forward into the slipstream.
The whole pacer frame was specially designed to create a large slipstream for a racing bicycle and its rider.
This Pacer is equipped with a powerful BAC V twin-cylinder OHV engine.
It has a 2.4 litre / 150 cubic inch OHV engine with open exhaust.
Its magneto is well hidden behind the lower crankcases; the oiltank is fitted with a “drip feed” oil supply directly into the crankcases . This BAC Pacing monster comes from a privat French collection.
It has been used for many years on the cycle track around Europe.
The reason for the long term use of 1920s machines was that it was very difficult to find modern machines that could match their enormous flexibility: without clutch or gears such a machine could accelerate very steadily without jerking from almost walking speed to about a hundred kilometres per hour.



1953 125cc IFA – post war copy of DKW RT125

Folowing pics courtesy of Gabriel Iovescu

1957 350cc boxer engined shaft drive two-stroke machine -17 BHP

IFA motorcycles were built post war in communist East Germany in the former DKW factory. Most machines were single cylinder two-strokes although a unique two stroke flat twin with shaft drive was also produced. By 1960 IFA had become MZ.

What a wonderful motorcycle world

The virtual encyclopaedia of motorcycles? The virtual Tragatsch? The virtual museum of motorcycles? This is just an honest attempt at a listing of all motorcycles to share with all motorcyclists. If you know of any that should be included please drop me a line and if you have any photos of any brand that could be used to complete the index please send them to me, thanks.

Going strong since 1996 but as site gets older so do I and updates take longer. Such is life!