Motorworld’s newspaper №45
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In the early 1950s, the Central design bureau for production of motorcycles (Serpukhov, the Moscow Region) got an assignment for development works. The bureau had to design two types of road bikes having opposed-piston engines (500 cc displacement) that should be unified with mass produced M-72 machines. Two motorworks (Irbit and Kiev) manufacturing M-72 motorcycles were subcontracted for this task. It was decided that Irbit Motorworks starts the manufacturing of 500 cc bikes (the machine unified with M-72) and Kiev Motorworks starts the manufacturing of a brand new bike.

M-72 from the «Motorworld by V.Sheynov» collection

Irbit Motorworks built the first test M-52 in 1954. Its engine was designed by the Central design bureau. Let’s take a look at the Central design bureau’s official report: “Engine is based on an M-72 engine for maximum compatibility with spare parts; a mass produced crankcase having some minor modifications made at the last production stages is used. Diameters of the crankshaft necks & piston pins, piston rollers and separators are all unified with corresponding parts used in M-72. Valve train, which is taken from proven hardware, is almost similar to one used in BMW R-51/3; additionally, it has some technological advantages. Aluminium-cast cylinders has cast-iron liners…”.


Manufacturing of M-52S, a road racing model, has started in 1957. This machine had an M-77 chassis; the front fork was equipped with an M-52 wheel axle displaced forward. The engine was an upgraded mass produced M-52 engine. As for the speed performance, the bike was equal to the legendary BMW R37 that considered one of the best motorcycles during 1930s and after the WWII.


M-52S engine had an unique valve cover with three longitudinal stringers. By using the compression ratio 9.0 and twin carburettor configuration, the engine capacity increased to 35 h.p. at 6,200 rpm, which speeded the machine up to 160 km/h. In addition, high octane fuel had an impact on speed.


From 1957 till 1961, 20 machines were manufactured and every M-52S was hand assembled.

Manufacturer Irbit Motorcycle Plant, Irbit, USSR
Years of manufacture 1957-1961
Quantity produced, units 20
Price N/A
Today’s value N/A
Type Twin-cylinder, horizontally-opposed
Engine capacity, cc 494
Bore and stroke, mm 68 х 68
Engine rating 35 hp at 6200 rpm
Sparking Magneto M-90
Carburetor К-93 for each cylinder
Battery N/A
Clutch Dry double plate
Transmission 4-speed
Frame type Duplex tubular
Front suspension Spring-mounted, with hydraulic shock absorber
Rear suspension Candle-type spring-mounted, with no shock absorber
Brakes Drum type
Wheel size 3,50 х 19
Length, mm
2 160
Width, mm
Height, mm
1 000
Wheelbase, mm
1 435
Ground clearance, mm
Seat height, mm
Mass, kg
Gas tank size, l
Maximum speed, km/h
Range, km