Motorworld’s newspaper №70

Motorcycles made in Leningrad were not very easy to find on the roads in the Soviet Union, unlike machines manufactured in Irbit, Kiev, Izhevsk, Kovrov, or Minsk. But in fact it was in the fall of 1939 that the first production lot of Soviet motorcycles got manufactured in Leningrad.

Л-300

Experimental work in this field was done in the Soviet Union at an earlier stage. In 1929 several experimental models were produced at the Izhevsk Factory, but the first serial batch production was started at the Krasny Oktyabr [Red October] plant in Lenningrad.

Л-300

A group of engineers under Pyotr Vladimirovich Mozharov, a highly qualified engineer who conducted his experiments in Izhevsk at an earlier stage, developed design drawings of a motorcycle that got dubbed as L-300. The group of engineers consisted of designers A. A. Ivanov, A. M. Luts, B. A. Ivanov, N. S. Golovin, A, G, Revkov, G. I. Gusev and V. V, Bekman.

Model L-300 got the name Krasny Oktyabr and today it is very rare museum piece indeed.

Л-300

Single-cylinder 2-stroke engine of the L-300 with a capacity of 293 cc could achieve the rating of only 6-6.5 h.p. at 3000 rpm. Motorcycle’s maximum speed was 75-80 km/h, its mean gasoline concumption was 4-4.5 l per 100 km. Dry weight was 125 kg. Roller chains were used as engine chain drive and rear-axle drive; they were both protected on one side by pressed fenders. A hand shift lever was installed directly on the 3-speed transmission.

Л-300

The least advanced was the system of electrical accessories. A flywheel generator had one bobbin serve the ignition, and the other two bobbins were connected to a small electrical light. The motorcycle did not have a rear light or an electrical signal. Using such a simplified setup gave the advantage of having a pretty bright light when driving at first speed, but the lamp would quite often burn out at high torque. When changing to a higher speed, the light intensity was noticeably lower, which was, of course, quite inconvenient.

Л-300

There were problems during assembly, too. From start to finish, these motorcycles were assembled in stationary positions, to which all components were gradually supplied—about the same process as with assembling a ship on the stock. This, however, resulted at times in many days of delays if some components were not available right away. Plus the fact that parts and components had a rather inferior quality. Most problems existed with transmission chains. Poor quality of the steel, its inaccurate thermal treatment made the chains rather quickly stretch and even break. As a result, motorcycles of the same series provided quite different dynamic characteristics and lack of stability, etc.

Л-300

Judging from today’s level of technology development, it is quite easy, of course, to criticize previous models, especially the first models. One should not forget, however, that at the time thousands got their first chance of getting into a motorcycle seat. But most importantly, both regular factory workers, and designers, and process specialists could accumulate their hands-on, practical experience that became a basis for organizing the production of later, more advanced motorcycle types.
L-300 thrust the doors open to join racing sports for many young people: before the war it was widely used for road races or racing track contests, for cross-country races, record breaking attempts and long-distance runs over thousands of kilometers. The Krasny Oktyabr was often a winner in these contests, competing as an equal with motorcycles of non-Soviet makes.
 

Manufacturer ЗKrasny Oktyabr [Red October] plant, Leningrad, USSR
Years of manufacture 1931-1940
Quantity produced, units 1 669
Price 3 360 rub.
Today’s value 10 244,37 $
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION
Type Single-cylinder, 2-stroke type
Engine capacity, cc 293
Bore and stroke, mm 74 х 68
Engine rating 6.5 h.p. at 3000 rpm
Sparking Dual-purpose, hjigh-tension magneto in fly wheel
Carburetor Framo type
Battery N/A
Clutch 3-plate, with cork inserts
Transmission 3-speed
FRAME AND WHEELBASE
Frame type Duplex, pressed, steel
Front suspension Sprung
Rear suspension Rigid
Brakes Internal, side-friction type, on both wheels
Wheel size 3,25х26
DIMENSIONS
Length, mm
2 100
Width, mm
   830
Height, mm
   980*
Wheelbase, mm
1 320
Ground clearance, mm
   105
Seat height
   720*
Mass, kg
   125
Gas tank size, l
     14
Maximum speed, km/h
     80
Range, km
   265