|Successor||Zweirad Union, Hercules|
Victoria was a bicycle manufacturer in Nürnberg, Germany that made motorcycles from about 1901 until 1966.
It should not be confused with a lesser-known, unrelated Victoria Motorcycle Company in Glasgow, Scotland that made motorcycles between 1902 and 1928.
In its early decades Victoria in Nürnberg fitted proprietary engines purchased from various manufacturers including Fafnir, FN, Minerva and Zédel.
In 1920 Victoria launched the model KR 1, which has a 494 cc BMW twin-cylinder side-valve flat twin (boxer engine) mounted longitudinally in the motorcycle frame. The engine produced 6.5 bhp (4.8 kW) and transmission was via a two-speed gearbox.
When BMW started making its own motorcycles, Victoria turned to making its own engines. In 1923 Victoria launched its KR 2, an overhead valve (OHV) flat twin producing 9 horsepower (6.7 kW). In 1924 Victoria followed this with the KR 3, which produces 12 horsepower (8.9 kW) and has a 3-speed gearbox. In 1925 Victoria built Germany's first forced induction engine, and in 1926 a 496 cc Victoria achieved a motorcycle Land speed record of 165 km/h (102.5 MPH). In 1927 Victoria launched the 596 cc KR VI or KR 6. Based on this model the factory offered a high-speed sports model with twin carburettors that produced 24 bhp (18 kW), later named the KR 7.
At the same time Victoria also offered the 200 cc side-valve KR 20 and 350 cc overhead valve KR 35 models. In 1930/31 it added to its range the KR 50 (side-valve) and KR 50 S (overhead valve) models, which have engines imported from Sturmey-Archer in England.
In 1932 Victoria won the sidecar class of the European Hill Climb Championship with a 600 cc machine and thereafter offered a model with 20 bhp (15 kW) and a four-speed gearbox as the KR 6 Bergmeister. At the same time it offered the KR 15 and KR 20 Z models with 150 cc and 200 cc two-stroke engines supplied by ILO.
In 1933 Victoria introduced a 500 cc parallel twin, the KR 8. This had a side-valve engine with its cylinder block inclined forwards almost horizontally. This placed the valves under the cylinder head, where the exhaust valves suffered from overheating.
In 1934 the National Socialist government forbade the import of foreign components, which ended Victoria's use of Sturmey-Archer engines.
In 1935 Victoria revised the KR 8 engine to the unusual exhaust over inlet (EOI) valve layout, and called the resulting model the KR 9 Fahrmeister. Using EOI on a nearly horizontal engine placed the exhaust valves in cooler air at the front and solved the overheating. Unfortunately it also increased the complexity and cost of manufacture and maintenance. Victoria discontinued the KR 9 after 1935.
Also in 1935 Victoria introduced the 350 cc KR 35 B and KR 35 G models with Lackler-patented cylinder heads. In 1937 the first KR 35 Sport was built with a Columbus engine. In the same year Victoria introduced new KR 20 LN Lux and KR 25 S Aero two-stroke models, whose engines with flat-topped pistons were developed by Richard and Xaver Küchen. In 1938 Victoria offered the Columbus-engined KR 35 SN (18 bhp) and KR 35 SS (20 bhp) models. At the same time Victoria expanded its range of two-strokes with the lightweight V 99 Fix, V 109 Fix (which was a ladies' version of the V 99 Fix), KR 12-N and KR 15-N.
In 1939 the Second World War almost completely halted production of the KR 35 Pionier, although limited production continued until at least 1942. In 1945 the Victoria factory's production hall was severely damaged.
In 1946 Victoria resumed production with the 38 cc FM 38 bicycle engine. In 1949 the company resumed production of the pre-war KR 25 Aero model. In 1950 Victoria introduced the 99 cc V 99 BL-Fix and modernised the KR 25 Aero with a telescopic front fork. At the same time the company built the models Vicky I and Vicky II using the FM 38 bicycle engine. By the end of the year KR 25 Aero production was 14,000 per year, and from 1951 the model was equipped with Jurisch plunger rear suspension.
In 1953 Victoria developed its popular model further as the KR 26 Aero, and expanded its range with the new Küchen-designed V 35 Bergmeister. The V 35 is a 350 cc OHV four-stroke V-twin producing 21 bhp (16 kW). The V 35's powertrain combines chain primary drive to the gearbox with shaft drive to the rear wheel.
In 1955 Victoria introduced the Peggy motor scooter, which has a 200 cc fan-cooled two-stroke engine and an electric starter. In the same year the company also offered the technologically advanced - but consequently expensive - KR 21 Swing motorcycle.
In 1957 Victoria launched a new model with a 175 cc OHV four-stroke engine imported from Parilla in Italy: the KR 17 Parilla.
In 1958 Victoria merged with DKW and Express Werke AG, forming Zweirad Union, which continued the Victoria name for mopeds such as the Vicky and motor scooters. In 1966 Hercules took over Zweirad Union and terminated Victoria production.
In 1954 Victoria introduced the Vicky moped. It was designated ‘model III. Vicky had a 2-stroke 48cc engine. The Vicky III was imported into Great Britain from January 1956. In Sweden it was marketed as the MS50.
History of Victoria Motorcycles
Founded in 1886, Victoria built bicycles and began motorcycle manufacture in Nürnberg (Germany) in 1901, many fitted with Fafnirengines. One source says their first motorcycle was released for sale in 1905, with either Fafnir or Zedel engines.
During the very early part of the 20th. century they produced automobiles, with limited success. During WWI they built mostly small motor cycles and bicycles, and in the boom years of the 1920s the business blossomed.
The first Victoria model that became popular was presented in 1921 and had a BMW 494cc twin cylinder SV fore-and-aft flat-twin engine with 6.5 HP, later increased to 8.5 HP.
Other models used a variety of engines, including the Columbus and the Belgian FN.
In 1923 Victoria switched to OHV HO 497cc flat-twins of their own design, later increased to 597cc.These were developed by former BMW designer Martin Stoll.
1925 was the year when Victoria added a Rootes blower to the engine which experienced track success, and Adolf Brudes rode one at an average speed of 166 kilometers per hour (103 mph) in 1926. These bikes were successful only in short distance races due to overheating problems with the rear cylinder.
Sepp Moritz, Eugen Grohmann, Hans Hoefle, Josef Theobald, Wilhelm Hofmann and H.P. Muller were very successful in the 600cc sidecar category.
Some models with Sturmey-Archer engines (built by Horex-Columbus) were added in 1928. The Victoria flat twin engine was improved, and the 1930 KR VI model already had alloy pistons, enclosed valve train and a three-speed transmission with foot operated gear change. The thirties saw the introduction of many new models with Sachs, ILO and Victoria two stroke engines with capacities of 98cc to 248cc. The model with the Horex-Columbus 346cc single became the bestseller.
The KR 8 and KR 9 models had a new inline twin of 498cc.
In the early 1930s they presented a unique machine which was quite advanced for the day, featuring a totally enclosed body which afforded protection to the rider in inclement weather and protected the mechanicals of the bike from damage from road debris, a common problem in those days. It was powered by a 500-cc 4-stroke twin.
This motorcycle was entered in a competition for a military contract. The main reason it lost to the competition (BMW and Zundapp were co-winners) was its small gas tank which caused it to have a very limited range.
There is evidence to suggest that the bike was inspired by a much earlier Mars motorcycle, the futuristic White Mars of 1921, a behemoth with a 1000-cc Maybach engine of boxer configuration and a frame of pressed steel.
During World War II, Victoria supplied the German military with medium-capacity four-stroke machines.
In April 1945 the Victoria works were almost totally destroyed. In 1947 the rebuilding the bombed out factory commenced and soon the production lines were again humming. The initial production consisted of upgraded pre-war models.
The first post-war model was a 38cc bicycle engine which was a great success. Its fuel tank was situated underneath the luggage carrier. Then came the KR 25 model in 1950, powered by a 247cc two stroke single.
In 1951 Victoria had these models: a 99cc twostroke, the 248cc KR 25 Aero and the 38cc bicycle engine.
Motorcycle racer Georg Dotterweich achieved a world speed record of almost 50 miles per hour on a streamlined version of 38cc machine.
1952 another model was added to the production line: the 123cc Bi-Fix. The KR 25 came with a HM (high-output) engine option with 12.6 HP.
In 1954 the 346cc Bergmeister with a transverse V-twin OHV four stroke engine designed by Richard Kuchen was released after three years of designing and testing. This machine gained considerable success in hill-climb trials and was regarded as a suitable side-car machine.
The relatively powerful V-Twin with four speed gearbox and shaft drive had a unique crankcase which was large enough to house the carburettor and all of the electrical and ignition components.
It was, however, a very expensive machine to produce; the high price limited sales and heralded years of financial difficulty for the company.
The Bergmeister in many ways represents the pinnacle of post-war Victoria success, even though they had a lot more up their sleeve. They produced the futuristic Riedel designed 200-cc Swing as well as the lovely scooter 'Peggy', with electric start and an electric push button transmission, both firsts in those days.
In 1956 Victoria introduced a fourstroke model with a 174cc ohc Parilla engine (10 and 15 HP).Norbert Riedel, who had designed and built the avant-garde IMME joined the Victoria team and designed the 197cc Swing , which was presented in 1954/55, but the production costs of this beauty were too high and only a few units were sold. The scooter version of the Swing was the Peggy , which also wasn't very successful on the market.
The end of the fifties saw the end of Victoria: it joined the ZWEIRAD-UNION group and was swallowed by Fichtel and Sachs.
Some mopeds and 50cc motorcycles were the last Victoria models in the sixties. The brand vanished in 1968.
Adapted from an article by Hartmut Schouwer
Victoria saw the motorcycle market shrink and acquired the rights to designer Egon Brutsch's ‘'Spatz'' micro car, an attractive and tiny 3-seat roadster. This design, initially flawed, had been successfully re-designed by former Tatra chief engineer Ledwinka.
Victoria developed a proto-type with a removable hard top and gull-wing doors.
Victoria engines powered numerous marques including Sparta, and Viberti and Vecchietti of Italy.