The Big Car Database

Kreidler Motorcycles

Kreidler is a German manufacturer of bicycles (electric and non-electric), mopeds and motorcycles.

They are part of the Cycle Union group based in Oldenburg, Germany where bikes are built and distributed to dealers mainly throughout Europe.


Kreidler's electric bikes have generally received positive reviews from testing organisations such as Stiftung Warentest.

Kreidler was originally based in based in Kornwestheim, between Ludwigsburg and Stuttgart. It was founded in 1903 as "Kreidlers Metall- und Drahtwerke" (Kreidlers metal and wire factory) by Anton Kreidler and started to build motorcycles in 1951. In 1959 one third of all German motorcycles were Kreidler. In the 1970s Kreidler had very great success in motorsport. Especially in the Netherlands the riders Jan de Vries and Henk van Kessel were successful.

Kreidler went out of business in 1982 and the rights to the trade mark were sold to the businessman Rudolf Scheidt who had Italian manufacturer Garelli Motorcycles make mopeds under the Kreidler name until 1988. The rights to the Kreidler brand were subsequently acquired by bicycle manufacturer Prophete.

Alfred Kreidler began building 50cc twostrokes in 1950, having re-established his father's Stuttgart factory after war's end in 1945. The last real Kreidlers were built in 1983, although Garelli produced some mopeds in 1988 with a Kreidler badge, and a Dutchman was still producing small numbers of special order Floretts after 2000.

Kreidler was active in Grand Prix motorcycle with great success in the 1970s and 1980s, scoring eight world champion titles in50 cc class:

  • 1971 Jan de Vries
  • 1973 Jan de Vries
  • 1974 Henk van Kessel
  • 1975 Ángel Nieto
  • 1979 Eugenio Lazzarini
  • 1980 Eugenio Lazzarini
  • 1982 Stefan Dörflinger
  • 1983 Stefan Dörflinger

50 cc Grand Prix motorcycle racing

The 50 cc class was the ultra-lightweight class in Grand Prix motorcycle racing, and formed part of the Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM) World Championships from 1962 until 1983; when the class was replaced by 80 cc.

History and development of the class

The relative low cost and increasing availability of 50 cc motorcycles in the post-war period, spawned a number of club road racing events for this size of machine in the early 1950s. With the earliest events being held in Italy and in the UK. The potential of this class for providing entertaining but affordable racing was soon recognised with several national championships and in 1961 the FIM introduced The Coupe d' Europe, a series of international events for 50 cc machines, each with a minimum duration and run to established Grand Prix rules and regulations. The series attracted a variety of entries, but the dominating force were the works Kreidler team bikes. Based on a standard Kreidler Florett road bike, their single cylinder Kreidler Renn-Floretts featured lightweight frames, a special cylinder head and barrel, twin 16 mm Bing carburettors feeding the engine through rotary valves and improved suspension and brakes. By the end of the season, with the addition of rudimentary streamlining and the increase of carburettor size to 17 mm, the 9 hp (6.7 kW) four-speed two-stroke bikes could top over 85 mph.

World Championship Status

See 1962 Season, 1963 Season, 1964 Season, 1965 Season, 1966 Season, 1967 Season

In 1962, the FIM followed up the success of the Coupe d Europe by giving the 50 cc class World Championship status. As well as the works entries of existing European manufacturers like Kreidler and Tomos, this development also attracted entries from Japanese manufacturers with both Honda and Suzuki entering full works teams. The SpanishDerbi factory also entered a single works bike for the Spanish Grand Prix.

The Kreidlers were now fitted with three speed overdrives controlled from the twistgrip, which coupled to the standard four-speed gearbox gave twelve gears to help keep the engines at maximum power. Engine development also increased power to 10 hp (7.5 kW) at 11,000 rpm. The Kreidlers development would be hampered however by the factory's insistence that the race bikes remained fundamentally based upon their standard road machines. Suzuki and Honda knew no such limitations.

Hondas commitment to four-stroke engines dated back to 1951 with the launch of its Dream E-Type

prior to this all Hondas bikes were two-strokes. The change and long-term commitment to the more sophisticated four-stroke technology came either directly from founder Soichiro Honda or indirectly due to pressure from managing director Takeo Fujisawa, who was said to be appalled by the noise and smoke that two-stroke engines produced and the additional hassle that Honda customers faced by having to mix oil with their fuel. Honda began their first 50 cc GP season with the RC110, announced at the Japanese Motor Show in 1961. Powered by a single cylinder, four-valve engine, and with gear driven double overhead cams, giving about 9 hp (6.7 kW) at 14,000 rpm. It was introduced with a five-speed gearbox, but by the time of the opening GP in Spain, the bikes were upgraded to six gears. Even so, they were badly outperformed. Rider Tommy Robb suggested that more gears might be the answer and was amazed to find a week later at the French GP that the gearbox had been expanded to eight speeds. This still wasnt enough to compensate for the machine's relative lack of power and three weeks later at the Isle of Man TT, nine gears were fitted and the rev limit increased to 17,000 rpm with output now up to around 10 hp. In that season, the machine's designation was changed to RC111, but Hondas records are unclear as to what precise change in the development this signified or when it was used.

In contrast, the Suzuki team were committed to two-stroke technology and their single cylinder RM62 machine featured rotary valve induction and an 8-speed transmission and produced about 10 hp (7.5 kW) at 12,000 rpm. Ernst Degner who had defected from the East German MZ team to Suzuki the previous year, brought with him the secrets of MZs two-stroke tuning success which undoubtedly helped him and the Suzuki team to secure the inaugural 50 cc World Championship.