1972 Zundapp GS125
Being a vintage motorcycle enthusiast has its pitfalls. First, some vintage bikes are really expensive to buy and to maintain (I’m not big into ‘restoring’, just make them rideable), second, there are way too many of them that are so appealing that the bank (wife) keeps putting limits on what you can buy…”don’t you have enough project bikes already??” and of course, can you even fit one more bike into your shop/garage? In my case…no, on all accounts. Every now and then however, you find a neat little bike that would fit nicely into your (my) collection that isn’t too expensive and really requires very little work. These are the bikes I love to find.
I do want a new Enduro bike but can I afford $7-10K for one? No. Can I ride it to its full potential? Again, No. Would I really rather have a cool vintage enduro? YES. I have had Spanish and Swedish enduro bikes in the past and loved (?) them, but never a German off-roader. Maybe it’s time.
On ebay today I found a really nice Zundapp, and in typical fashion I started doing my research, so here you go…Zundapp history 101 (the Readers Digest version). Founded in 1917, Zundapp was making gun parts, after WW1 they changed over to making motorcycles and in 1931 along with Dr. Ferdinand Porsche, developed the ‘Auto Fur Jedermann’…the car for everyone, Volkswagen. Dr. Porsche preferred the flat opposed 4 cylinder, Zundapp worked with a radial 5 cylinder, that flat four won out. In 1932 there were three prototypes running around and all were lost in the war.
In 1940 Zundapp developed the KS750 model which was used by the German military because of it’s driven 3rd wheel sidecar design. Now here is something very cool about Zundapp, the K800 model was selected as one of the 100 motorcycles of the 20th Century. Why, its mechanical layout showed up decades later from Honda, the Gold Wing. Zundapp designed the horizontally opposed four with a shaft drive in 1933. It’s a beautiful motorcycle.
After World War 2. Zundapp decided they needed to make something more weatherproof than a motorcycle and went back to designing a car. this time they went for pure simplicity. A single cylinder 250cc motor mid engine ( they really did put the motor between the front and back seats but what was really interesting was that the car had a front and back door..literally the front and the back. It was called the Janus after the two-faced Roman god. The car was only made from 1957-58 and less than 2000 of them at that.
There is a lot of great history with Zundapp and it was good way for me to waste another early morning. Zundapp finally went belly up in 1984 but has kept going building Honda motor based small bikes in China and India.
I found a really nice GS125 on ebay this morning, it reminds me a lot of my old Bultaco Matador. This little bike is in great shape for its age. The owner has a slew of extra parts for the bike and there are a lot of internet resources for parts and information. This really would be a great addition to somebody’s (my) vintage collection, it can also be street registered. The little Zundapp has a pretty high price tag but you know what, I’ll bet we have all spent more and gotten less.
Click on the pics below for a little more info and a bunch more pictures.