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Motorworld’s newspaper №83
This small German motorcycle manufacturer dates back to the early 1920s when Franz Bücker had started a motorcycle manufacturing plant in Oberursel. The plant he used as a base for the own one had been the one which had been produced engines for the famed WW1 fighter plane the Fokker Dr-1 of the former Imperial German Luftwaffe. Since he had worked as a mechanic at that plant during the WW1 years, his mechanical skills increased a lot, thus his own motorcycles became famed 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 of the public and to gain some fame. Franz entered a bunch of races, most of which he won riding his own machines. The cause of his success was the uncompromising quality of his motorcycles which added reliability at a time when reliability in the motorcycle world was not necessarily a given.
In order to gain a competitive advantage, he had been raising the compression ratio of his street machines by welding a small dome to the head of the piston of the engine and thereby obtaining a higher power output. After the race, he had been removing the little dome and voila, he had a street machine again!
Initially, Bücker like several other German manufacturers used various British J.A.P engines for his bikes, the largest of which was a 1000-cc J.A.P V-Twin with a rating of 22 hp. It was a huge power in those days! For comparison, the German Horex S8 with the engine of its own design, known as a very prestigious race motorcycle, had a rating of 30 hp. at 5000 rpm.
Horex S8 from the collection «Motorworld by V.Sheynov»
Büсker’s monster-bike could reach a top speed of 170 kph – an insane speed at those days. In fact, the rider should have had a suicide desire to rode so fast on those pre-Autobahn roads. Thusly Bücker was as fast as the two fastest road bikes in the world: Tornax III/30 and one of the finest British bikes of all time – Brough Superior SS100.
Brough Superior SS100 from the collection «Motorworld by V.Sheynov»
Tornax III/30 from the collection «Motorworld by V.Sheynov»
In the 1930s Bücker had scaled down his model range and started the production of every-day-usage bikes with small capacity 2-stroke Ilo and Fichtel & Sachs engines. Never again Bücker attained the glory days of the 1000-cc monster or victories at local races. To be sure, he had entered a few local races throughout this time period with a 1933 Bücker racing bike powered by a J.A.P. engine but couldn’t compete with more modern NSU or DKW bikes. Nonetheless, Bücker bikes were sold very well in the upper Hesse-region of Germany and his name was synonymous with first-rate, reliable machines.
During the 2WW Bücker’s plant was manufacturing spare parts for different machines. 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 Bücker was allowed to re-start the production of motorcycles.
As was usual for those desperate times, his first models were same pre-war models. But among 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 motorcycle manufacturer. In 1949 a Bücker bike (it must have been the 16-year old racing bike previously mentioned) won the first German Championship since the end of WWII.
After the win, Bücker presented first all-new post-war model named Ilona One equipped with a single-cylinder 250-cc two-stroke Ilo engine. Ilo engine was a real workhorse, which powered so many German, Belgian, French, Swedish, and Dutch bikes. Due to its immense strength engines were bought and loved by numerous police departments in the upper Hesse region of Germany who used them with a Steib sidecar. You must know that the police version with Steib sidecar was the same one could bee bought at the local dealer. The strength of the standard machine was such a big that no modifications were needed.
Bücker motorycles were exported in Greece, Belgium, Holland, and Italy where were quite sucsessful. This fact is interesting because the factory had no money to advertise its bikes 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||