Motorworld’s newspaper №83
This small German motorcycle manufacturer dates back to the early 1920´s when Franz Bücker started a motorcycle manufacturing plant in Oberursel. The plant he used had been the one in which engines for the famed WW1 fighter plane the Fokker Dr-1 of the former Imperial German Luftwaffe had been built. Since he had been a mechanic in that plant during the war years, his mechanical aptitude was quite outstanding and his motorcycles soon enjoyed fame far beyond the geographical confines of Upper Hesse, the state in which the picturesque town of Oberursel is located.
Franz Bücker realized that winning races was the one sure way to get attention and to gain acceptance for his make. Consequently, he entered a bunch of races, many of which he won on his own machines. One of the reasons for his success was the uncompromising quality of his machines, making them very reliable at a time when reliability in the motorcycle world was not necessarily a given. In order to gain the competitive advantage, he would raise the compression ratio of his street machines by welding a small dome to the head of the piston of the engine to raise the compression ratio and thereby obtain a higher power output. After the race, he would remove the little dome and voila, he had a street machine again!
Initially, Bücker, like several other German builders, used various British J.A.P engines for his bikes, the largest one being the 1000-cc J.A.P V-Twin putting out 22 hp, a huge amount in those days! For comparison, the German Horex S8 with the engine of its own design, considered a very prestigious race motorcycle, developed performance of 30 hp. at 5000 rpm.
Horex S8 from the collection «Motorworld by V.Sheynov»
This monster-bike attained a top speed of 170 KPH, an insane speed on the roads of those days; in fact it can be said without fear of contradiction that a driver had to have a veritable death wish to ride this fast on those pre-Autobahn roads. The Bücker thusly was quasi the equal of the two fastest road bikes in the world at the time, the Tornax 1000 cc and the ` Rolls-Royce of motorcycles´, the Brough Superior, one of the finest British bike of all time.
Brough Superior SS100 from the collection «Motorworld by V.Sheynov»
Tornax III/30 from the collection «Motorworld by V.Sheynov»
In the 1930s Bücker scaled down his model range and produced every-day-usage bikes using engines by Ilo and Fichtel & Sachs of between 125-cc´s and 250-cc´s, all two strokes. He never again attained the glory days of the monster 1-liter machine or the various victories at local races; to be sure, he entered local races throughout this time period with a 1933 Bücker racing bike powered by a J.A.P. engine but was not competitive against the more modern machines by NSU, DKW etc. Despite that, his bikes however sold very well in the upper Hesse-region of Germany and his name continued to be recognized as a builder of first-rate, reliable machines.
During WW-2 his plant build spare parts and was engaged in defense work. After the disastrous end of the war, his plant was used by the American as a repair facility for American trucks. This state of affairs lasted until 1948 when he was again allowed to re-start production of motorcycles.
As was usual for those desperate times, his first models were pre-war bikes, but he did not sit still. Amongst other things, he began to design and build his own brake systems, parts of the electrical plant, handlebars, saddles and suspension parts, making him a true manufacturer in his own right. In 1949 a Bücker bike (it must have been the 16-year old racing bike previously mentioned) won the first German Championship since the WWII.
He came out with the first all-new post-war design the Ilona One, featuring the single cylinder 250-cc Ilo two stroke, that trusty workhorse which powered so many other German, Belgian, French, Swedish and Dutch bikes. Due to its immense strength, they were bought and loved by numerous police departments in the upper Hesse region of Germany who used them with a Steib sidecar. Interestingly, the police version with Steib sidecar was the same one could buy at the local dealer. The strength of the standard machine was such, that no modifications were necessary.
МExports to points as far away as Greece, Belgium, Holland, and Italy were comparatively successful. This is particularly interesting since the factory had no money to advertise its wares in these countries. They were sold strictly on the strength of the `Made in Germany´ label as were so many other bikes manufactured by small German companies.
Unfortunately, Bücker was not immune to the crisis gripping the German two-wheeled industry and saw his production plummet despite his rock-solid reputation. When output reached 200 units a year (from an average of 500 previously) Herr Bücker decided to pull the plug. Due to his timely decision, thereby avoiding bankruptcy, he possessed plenty of funds to start a large Ford Dealership, which he expanded to selling Glas cars, becoming a very successful automobile dealer.
Franz Bücker died in 1980.
|Manufacturer||Franz Bücker, Fahrzeugbau, Oberursel, Germany|
|Years of manufacture||1925 – 1930|
|Quantity produced, units|
|ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION|
|Engine capacity, cc||1000|
|Bore and stroke, mm||85 х 85.7|
|Engine rating||22 hp at 3700 rpm|
|FRAME AND WHEELBASE|
|Wheel size||Front – 3,5х26, rear – 3,25х20|
|Length, mm||2 200*|
|Height, mm||1 000*|
|Wheelbase, mm||1 430*|
|Ground clearance, mm||120*|
|Seat height, mm||700*|
|Gas tank size, l||
|Maximum speed, km/h||