Friday, February 19, 2010

Old Builds 3# Simson Schwalbe

In post-WW2 Communist East-Germany, if you wanted a moped, you got a Schwalbe.

This is taken from Wikipedia:

Simson motorcycle manufacture ceased in the early 1960s when the GDR government decided that from then on all new private cars and motorcycles would be two-strokes. The GDR already had a two stroke motorcycle factory: the former MZ works at Zschopau. The Simson factory was therefore given a new task of building two stroke mopeds. From the 1960s moped production grew steadily in Suhl; up to 200,000 mopeds per year came off the assembly lines.

Series manufacture of the scooter KR51 "Schwalbe", fitted with a 3.4 hp engine, began in 1964. The year 1968 saw the merger of Simson and VEB Ernst-Thälmann-Werk Suhl to VEB Fahrzeug- und Jagdwaffenwerk Ernst Thälmann Suhl. Subsequently, the Schwalbe helped the company to worldwide fame, and in the GDR the scooter stood for the success of East German two-wheeler motor manufacturing.

To us, this looks a lot like a scooter. It's a 50cc Two-Stroke with leg shields, a manual lever clutch, and a 3-speed foot shift. It has a right-side foot brake.

If this is not the only one of these things in the states, it's one of a handful. I'm honored to have worked on it.

Karen from Bumpstart mag picked this thing up a couple years ago. When I first moved here, changing the tires on it was one of my first tasks working at P Town Scooters. It was covered in ugly metallic blue spray paint. The rims, controls, switches, everything covered in ugly blue metallic spray paint.

When she asked me about restoring it, it had started to backfire and randomly lose power.

JJ painted everything the closest blue that I could match from the non-spray painted portions.

I disassembled everything, cleaned it, and put it all back together. Lots of bits were missing from the carburetor, the head gasket was beyond blown, and the points were shattered.

Coming Together

All Done.

In the Datsun and Back to Karen.

1 comment:

  1. Eric, thanks for all the tlc you gave my '67 Simson Schwalbe. Here's some history on my East Germany moped: originally, a US soldier brought it back to Alabama after military service in Germany. I think he did the spray can job on it. The soldier sold it to a collector/dealer in Minnesota who put it up on eBay. I found it there when I was helping a co-worker sells his father's moped online. The seller had it listed as, "Not a Whizzer". I'm doing an article on the Simson for the next issue of Bumpstart and will go into more detail about its' history behind the Iron Curtain.
    Karen G.



About Me

Portland, OR Moped and Two-Stroke mechanic.