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To the viewing hall as a moped and back as a motorcycle


Elektro Partner got a fun task

It doesn't happen very often that we get assignments on older vehicles, but it does happen. In the spring of 2020, we were contacted by a man who knew that there are several people in Elektro Partner with knowledge of old mopeds and motorcycles. The question was: "I have an old Kreidler RMC from 1977. It has been sitting idle for many years. It is a Danish moped, which in its time has been converted to ride as a motorcycle. The electrics no longer work and it cannot start. Can I get you to make it and have it inspected and registered again?”

We talked a little about it, and it wasn't exactly busy in the month of April, so why not? It could be a bit cozy then. The decisive factor was actually that an employee had had one himself, and he was willing to take on the task.

It turned out to be an extremely fine and original 3 gear RMC from 1977, which in 1982 had been converted to a motorcycle. There was something reminiscent of the original 5.5 hp tuning kit on it.

Just Kreidler was one of the mopeds from that time that could be converted into a motorcycle

The person who had done the conversion in his time had let the task go easily. So we could quickly make a list of what needed to be done. All rebuilt wiring had to be redone. A new blinker relay had to be found (which was not easy), and a front brake lever with an electric switch to turn on the rear brake light had to be made. The engine had to be restarted as it would not start. So a manageable task, especially since its owner was in no rush to get it back.

Old machine brought back to life

When you are given such a task, you want to disturb the machine's originality as little as possible, and of course use original parts where possible. We also chose to retain all original parts, such as the front and rear lights, so that it could be rebuilt into an original Danish moped if someone later wanted to. We therefore chose to build the brake switch into the original grip and rebuild the turn signal relay, as a new original could not be obtained. We found a modern electronic turn signal relay that could be built into the original relay housing. We found a switch that was small enough to fit into the original brake lever. We chose to reuse the small (albeit not pretty) position light, which was already sitting under the headlight when we got it. The busyness of the summer did not allow us to proceed with it. In October we had time to look at it again, it could be fun to get it going again. The old petrol was drained, the petrol tap and carburettor cleaned. But it was still difficult to start, and it could hardly pull itself. We judged that there was a little too low compression on the engine, but that this was probably not the only reason why it ran so badly. It turned out to be a fault with the choke function that was the main cause.

To the viewing hall as a moped and return as a motorcycle

A time was booked for viewing and the first drive went to the viewing hall at 30 km/h as a moped in second gear. It passed inspection, but even though we had the original registration certificate, plates couldn't be put on straight away. Tax first had to approve that it had to be registered again on the basis of the photo documentation submitted by the inspection hall. The old vehicle registers before 2000 no longer exist, so anything as old as this must be manually approved, and it must be verified that the certificate and vehicle match. Approval for re-registration came after a few days.

With the number plate on, you could take the old machine out on the road and give it gas like a motorcycle. It was very surprising that the old machine could go 80 km/h at 8000 revs in 3rd gear. Fun to be able to follow the cars on ordinary roads on a moped.

Requirements for mopeds that must be registered as motorcycles

Both front and rear brakes must be able to turn on stop lights. There must be horns that can be heard at a distance of 30 metres.

Small motorbikes may, but must not, be fitted with parking lights, and there is no requirement for asymmetrical dipped beam.

Furthermore, it seems that the year 1977 is a dividing line for several small things, as e.g. only from this year is the requirement for a blue control lamp for high beams and side indicators.

Knallert which in turn was approved for conversion to a motorcycle are, for example, the Honda CD50, Honda Dax, Yamaha Fs1 and Kreidler.

German quality

After the Second World War there was a large market for mopeds and small motorcycles all over Europe. There was a transport need that had to be solved in the cheapest way possible. The Knallert was the solution for many, and 50 cubic meters was what the legislation allowed in most countries. From Germany it was NSU, Kreidler and Zundapp who were the big ones, and NSU in particular gained enormous popularity in this country, perhaps mostly because it was cheap and reliable. NSU chose to focus on Mofa, i.e. mopeds, and in addition also real motorcycles. Kreidler, on the other hand, bet more on Kleinkraftrad, i.e. motorcycle of 50 cubic meters. In return, some of the very best were built. Kreidler Florett was the name of what was to become an almost iconic moped, which in the best German style was improved as it was updated. It was Alfred Kreidler who took over the responsibility of continuing Kreidler after his father Anton, who had died during the war. Alfred restarted production in a completely newly built factory, and mopeds and small motorcycles were the product. The first models were Junior and Amazone. The Florett entered the German market in 1957, and the Kreidler quickly became Germany's best-selling small motorcycle.

Kreidler in Denmark

The Florett model came in a super model in 1965, and that was also the year when the brand got a Danish importer. The importer was J. A. Hansen Holbæk. The TS and GT models were added, and over time Kreidler mopeds became widely used in this country. The Danish importer was skilled at marketing the West German quality machine. It was an expensive moped and it was for those who wanted the best. Actually, it was a bit of a bulky machine to look at with its enclosed fan-cooled engine, but it was a stable and durable moped. The TS and RMC models were the dream of many young boys in the 70s. The RMC Elektronik model was the first moped with electronic ignition as standard. Some bought Kreidler as a 15-year-old to have it registered as a motorcycle at 18. This was possible as it was type-approved as an MC. Many looked with envy when the Germans came to visit on their fast mopeds in the summer, or when you visited Germany yourself.

Kreidler and motorsport

Kreidler marketed itself through motorsport, and Kreidler won virtually everything entered in motorsport on two 50cc wheels. But in the 60s you got tough competition from Suzuki and Honda, who had the means to build some wild 50cc machines with 2 cylinders and up to 14 gears, so Kreidler had stiff opposition in the 50cc class in road racing. It was like that until the rules were changed, and there could be a maximum of 1 cylinder in this class. Then Kreidler struck and dominated the class for a decade, winning the World Road Racing Championship a whopping 8 times. So in the 70s there was no doubt at all, Kreidler was the fastest moped in town.

Kreidler used the time in the mid-60s, when the Japanese were at the forefront of road racing, to set speed records, and it resonated all over the world when, in 1965, they succeeded in getting a 50 cubic record machine up at an incredible 210 km/h on the Bonneville salt flats in the USA. It was quite an achievement, and they thus beat NSU, who in 1956 had reached a whopping 196 km/h at the same place. It was quite an achievement to break that record, and Kreidler's record stood for many years. The highest speed measured over a 1 mile run with a rolling start set with a Kreidler motorized streamliner was set in 1981 and the speed reached was 222 km/h. Incidentally, the record has since been increased to a whopping 233 km/h. This using a highly tuned water-cooled Minarelli AM 6 engine. A lot has happened in two-stroke technology and lubricants since Kreidler closed.

In 1965, Kreidler used an air-cooled engine with 2 carburettors, rotary valve and as many as 8 gears, which produced 15 hp. It should be noted in this connection that these records were not set on a normal moped, rather they were set with the rider surrounded by a cigar-shaped chassis (streamliner) with the least possible air resistance and special super-narrow tires manufactured for the purpose. Incidentally, the highest speed that was measured in connection with Kreidler's record attempt was a whopping 220 km/h. The trick, in addition to fine-tuning the engine, was to find the optimal weather conditions where the salt surface on Bonneville was not too wet, because otherwise the machine could not pull out in 7th and 8th gear due to the increased rolling resistance. A two-stroke engine tuned to those degrees only pulls over a very small range, typically it's within the 500-1000 rpm range that it all happens. So there must be enough gear available.

The end of an era

All this of course boosted Kreidler's reputation and right up until Kreidler closed in 1982 it was the moped you had to buy if you wanted the best within 50 cubic 2 strokes, in fact in the 70's you could buy an original 10 hp tuning kit for your Kreidler, if you could afford it. With that kit, a Kreidler could get over 100 km/h on a normal country road with a normal sized person in the saddle. 120 km/h was within reach in favorable conditions and with the right 5-speed gearing. Unfortunately, the Danish mopeds had the approved 3-speed gearbox with indirect shifting, which was not quite optimal for more than 5.3 hp, which was standard for a Florett.

There were no other mopeds that could hold up to driving the tune in the same way as a Kreidler. It turned out to be a mistake for Kreidler to focus only on small motorcycles, because the market for this type of machine disappeared within a few years. If Kreidler had had some nice little 125cc machines on the program, the factory might have existed to this day. The rights to the name were sold on to Garelli, and there have since been companies that have used the name for both bicycles and small motorcycles. But it has nothing to do with the honored German moped factory!

To this day, there are still grown men who spend time and money building the optimal Kreidler engine, - 20 hp is said to be possible.

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