History of MZ East Germany from 1956

MZ Motorrad- und Zweiradwerk GmbH was a motorcycle manufacturer located in Zschopau,Germany. MZ an acronym, stands for Motorradwerk Zschopau (German for motorcycle factory at Zschopau) in the Erzgebirge region of Saxony. From 1992 to 1999 the company was called MuZ an acronym for Motorrad und Zweiradwerk (German for motorcycle and two-wheeler factory), latterly MZ stands for MZ Motorrad- und Zweiradwerk GmbH .History
1906 Jørgen Skafte Rasmussen (Denmark) bought an empty cloth factory in Zschopau
1917 invented the Dampfkraftwagen (German for steam-powered car) also known by its trademark DKW
1920 motor-assisted bicycle
1923 renamed in DKW
1927 started racing activities
1928 DKW takes over the Audi factory at Zwickau
1929 60000 motorcycles leave the Zschopau factory, and DKW is the largest motorcycle manufacturer in the world
1931 introduced DKW small cars
1932 The Auto Union was founded, created from Audi, Horch, Wanderer and DKW.
1939 developed the RT 125
1948 renamed in IFA (a state-owned enterprise in GDR)
1950 The Zschopau works begins production of the RT 125 model, developed before the war, under the trademark IFA (Industrieverwaltung Fahrzeugbau). This model became patent free after the war as part of war reparations [1]and was further developed in Britain (BSA Bantam), USA (Harley Davidson Hummer), Russia ( M-1A Moskva), Japan, Italy and West Germany.
1952 the BK350 appears, the first two stroke shaft drive.
1956 The works is now called VEB Motorradwerk Zschopau, or MZ for short.
1962 The ES 125 / ES 150 starts manufacturing. Up to the present day (2004) it is the most-built German motorcycle. It was also the first motorcycle with an asymmetric low beam headlight pattern.
1970 the millionth motorcycle rolls off the conveyor belt, an MZ ETS 250 Trophy Sport
1972 MZ takes over manufacturing of sidecars from Stoye.
1983 the 2-millionth motorcycle rolls off the conveyor belt, this time an MZ ETZ 250. With disk brakes and 12 volt electrics the MZ had reached the modern standard in motorcycle design.
1989 MZ ceases manufacture of sidecars.
1990 MZ is privatised, on 1991, 18 December.
1993 MZ goes under receivership, and the ETZ patent sold to the Turkish firm Kanuni which continued producing models 251 and 301. The MuZ company is formed from the rest.
1996 MuZ was bought by the Malaysian Corporation Hong Leong Group
1999 the u is finally dropped from the name MuZ.
2008 On 9 June, Motor Cycle News reported that MZ is to cease operations at the end of 2008 because the company’s Malaysian backers withdrew their financial support after years of continuing losses.
2008 On the 12th December the MZ factory in Zschopau closed[2], bringing a halt to motorcycle production that had lasted for 88 years in the same town. The old ‘East German’ factory became a night club, called MZWerk[3].
2009 Former GP stars Ralf Waldmann and Martin Wimmer buy the MZ motorcycle brand. The deal went through on 23rd March 2009 for a reported four or five million Euros. The cash is being put up by the Hong Leong Group. The new board will consist Ralph Waldmann, Martin Wimmer, Dr Martin Hager, Helmut Lichtenberg and Otto Elbers. Wimmer will take over the role of MZ Managing Director with immediate effect. There are rumours that the firm is going to produce a 600cc road bike based on the Moto2 GP project bike [4][5].
The Zschopau works was one of the oldest motorcycle factories in the world, producing motorcycles since 1922. The most well known models were the two-stroke 125/150 and 250 series, with the variants ES, ETS, TS und ETZ. MZ was one of the few producers that made motorcycles with sidecars, though prior to 1972 sidecars were manufactured by Stoye.

Sports
Activities started in 1927

Enduro
Winner of International Six Day Trial (a form of off-road motorcycle Olympics): 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1969, 1987.

Road Racing
1958 first wins in 125/250 cc and an over all second championship 250 cc
The MZ two strokes, developed by engineer Walter Kaaden have influenced motorcycle racing for decades. His 1961 125cc race engine design was the first engine to achieve an output of 200BHP/litre[1]. His revolutionary two stroke system was copied widely in the sixties by Japanese manufacturers. Yamaha and Suzuki two-stroke engines became competitive in motor sport only after they gained possession of MZ design secrets. MZs were ridden to 13 GP victories and a further 105 rostrum places between 1955 and 1976[6]
Sadly, the East-German government did not exactly support the international racing aspirations of MZ. The defection to the West of grand prix rider Ernst Degner, complete with a set of secrets, started the end of the glory years of Kaadens bikes.

The Skorpion Sport 660 cc single got its own MuZ-cup racing series in several countries at the end of the nineties. It is famous for its precise handling. It is still a popular mount for clubracing and Supermono racing. Its withdrawal from the official factory program is much mourned by fans.
The Yamaha-based engine can be reliably tuned to 150% of its original performance. At that stage, it can become competitive in Supermono racing classes and in single and twin cylinder racing classes.

Notable models

MZ RT 125/3, 1959–1962
MZ TS 150
MZ ETZ 250

MuZ Skorpion Tour 660 (1995)
MZ RT 125RT 125: 1939-1962 and 2000-today
ES250 : Utilized a pressed steel body with Earles type front suspension.
ETS250 : Sports version of the ES but with more traditional type of tank and telescopic forks. The disitinctive five gallaon fuel tank makes this model a desirable classic motorcycle.
TS125/150 Direct descendents of the RT125, and the last MZs to use “premix” fuel and a 6 volt electrical system.
TS250: Developed from the ES/ETS machines but with a new frame. The engine hung from the top beam pivoting at the rear with no front down tube. Early models were 4 speed machines with the vertical finned cylinder head but the later machines had the flat top engine and five speed gear box, the basis of the later models. Thes models were all 6 volt and pre-mix fuel.
ETZ250 : the first road going MZ to include a disk front brake and automatic oil injection. There has been a special model ETZ250A which equipped the GDR’s army and has been exported in several countries of the former east block.
ETZ251 : derived from the ETZ250 but with modifications to the motor and chassis. A 300cc version was also marketed.
ETZ125/150 : similar to the ETZ251 in appearance but with an updated 125/150 motor, now with the flat topped cyclinder head, five speed gear box and autolube. The design of the engine was still derived from the original DKW design, apparent from the concentric kick start and gear lever arrangement.
500R : MZ’s first four stroke motorcycle, essentially an ETZ251 with a Rotax 500cc engine fitted, although the engine was no longer rubber mounted and a front down tube provided extra support.
Skorpion :The 500cc Rotax engine used on the Seymour-Powell designed prototype was replaced with a 660cc Yamaha water cooled engine on the production vehicle.
1000S : MZ’s biggest bike, and their first “in-house” four stroke engine.
Most recent models
MZ manufactured a line of 125cc 4-stroke motorcycles using an engine that was designed in-house. The MZ 125 produces 15 brake horsepower (11 kW) and almost 10 lbf·ft (14 N·m) of torque. It is a liquid-cooled, dual-overhead-cam design with four valves, high-voltage electronic ignition and an 11.000 rpm ignition cut-off. This is officially the most powerful 125cc 4-stroke engine that has been mass-produced. This engine was used in four models, all of which share a common frame. The frame is a tube-steel backbone with the engine as a stressed bottom member. Differences in the suspension, fascia, gearing, and equipment make the four models relatively distinct, despite the shared platform. All four bikes feature a 6-speed transmission and dual disc brakes.

The RT-125 is a mini naked sport bike.
The 125-SM is a Supermotard style bike with taller street tuned suspension, tallish gearing, and reduced weight.
The 125-SX features the same appearance as the SM but has a suspension tuned more for off-road use, enduro-style tires, and slightly lower gear ratios.
The 125 FunX is a minimalist light-duty moto-cross bike.
All four 125s are capable of speeds over 65 mph (105 km/h), with the fastest being the RT and SM, both of which are capable of 75 mph (120 km/h) sustained speeds.

MZ also used a Yamaha-built 660cc single in the Baghira line of mid-displacement Enduro/DualPurpose/Motard bikes.

The last new MZ model was the 1000S which featured a novel 1000cc, DOHC parallel twin designed and built by MZ. The 1000S is a sport-tourer by design. The 1000S’ unique engine is exceptionally compact for its displacement. The range includes a naked (unfaired) version and a full tourer with luggage, higher handlebars, and lower footpegs for comfort. Both of these are retuned, with less outright horsepower than the ‘S’, but with more torque.

In addition for the 1000S, MZ also produced the naked version of the 1000S, known as the 1000SF, and the sports touring version known as MZ1000ST. MZ also produces its own lines of scooters known as MZ Moskito, powered by 2-stroke 50cc engine.

Besides scooters, MZ also produced its own line of underbone motorcycles, targeted for Southeast Asian market. Their debut underbone model was the MZ Perintis 120, launched in 2002. The Perintis was succeeded by the MZ Mantizz series, launched in 2004 – which design is based on their flagship 1000S model. The Mantizz series have 2 displacement options – 125cc and 110cc. All MZ underbone models are powered by 4-stroke engines and are manufactured in MZ’s Malaysian plant in Shah Alam.

MZ also competed in the European GP-500 class with race-only models, and built several scooter and ATV models ranging in displacement from 50 to 185cc, as well as the Charlie electric scooter, the fastest stand-up electric scooter produced.

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