c.1921 Megola 640cc Touring Model
Registration no. Unregistered
Frame no. 428 (plaque)
Engine no. 428 (Plaque) 428457 to rear of engine
Genuine Megola engine
Replica cycle parts
Believed 86 kilometres since completion
Described by Dr Erwin Tragatsch as 'probably the most unorthodox motorcycle ever made on a commercial basis', the Megola was produced in Germany from 1921 to 1925. Designed by Fritz Cockerell, the Megola was powered by a 640cc five-cylinder radial engine that was built into the front wheel. The Megola was started by pushing, or alternatively by rotating the wheel with the machine on its stand. There was no clutch or gearbox, though the torquey engine easily made light of its lack of a variable transmission and was capable of propelling the machine to a top speed of around 70mph. The 'frame' consisted of a box-like steel fabrication, welded and riveted together. Its front section contained the fuel, which was pumped to a header tank mounted on the right side of the leaf-sprung front fork. Touring and sports versions were made, the former having bucket seats, the latter saddles, while some models boasted leaf-sprung rear suspension. Despite its unlikely appearance the Megola performed well in competitions there was even a works team the racing version having a top speed of around 85mph. It is estimated that only some 2,000-or-so Megolas were completed during the four years of production, and today the few survivors are highly prized by collectors. Approximately 15 original machines are known to exist, plus a few replicas made in the 1980s (at least three) while more recently an estimated five more have been made.
Built approximately four years ago, this example was purchased from a prominent private collection in 2014, at which time it was still undergoing restoration by 'Oldtimer' specialist Armin Frey, an expert in the rebuilding of bevel-drive BMW racing engines. Found in Brno in the Czech Republic, the engine is an original Megola unit while the frame is a replica built by Hans Keckeisen. The carburettor and magneto are original also. The machine currently displays a total of 86 kilometres on the odometer, which may well be the distance covered since the rebuild's completion. Fitted with a Lucas lighting set, this ultra-rare German motorcycle is offered with restoration photographs, photocopy sales literature, starting instructions, and the purchase invoice (for 180,000). We are advised that Armin Frey is happy to assist the new owner with regard to the special starting technique.