Reference: A to Z classic reference: Cyc-Auto – CZ


125cc Jawa-CZ

Cyc-Auto 1934-56 UK
If you’re into autocycles and fancy something a little different thank Mr Wellington Butt for the Cyc-Auto. The engine, with its crankshaft in line with the frame, drives a reduction worm gear mounted in the pedal bracket by shaft with chain final drive. Butt initially fitted a 98cc three-port, deflector piston, two-stroke engine of his own design, which was soon replaced by a Villiers Midget unit. Cyc-Auto sold out to Scott in 1937 who installed a loop scavenge two-stroke unit of their own design. A motorcycle was planned but never went into quantity production.

Cyclaid 1950-56 UK
Lightweight ‘clip-on’ cyclemotor attachment manufactured by British Salmson Cyclaid Ltd. Mounted above the rear wheel, which it directly drove by a ‘V’ belt.

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Cyclemaster 1950-61 UK
The birth of the Cyclemaster was surrounded by the type of intrigue which abounded in war torn Europe. In 1948 German engineers from the Auto-Union/DKW plant were working in conjunction with Hart, Nibbrig and Greeve NV (HNG) of Holland on a two-stroke car project which never reached production. One of the Germans – Bernard Neumann – produced drawings of a motorised cycle.

Working with two designers from HNG, Rinus Bruynzeel and Nico Groenerdijke, a prototype was built but, like the car, was stillborn. The trio went on to use the same engine design mounted above the front wheel, calling the device Berini (BEnard RInus NIco).

Cyc-Auto power unit for bicyclesDue to European political control, the motorised wheel drawings went to the Interpuro Buro (established by former Allies to help Dutch Industry). Prototypes were built and displayed at the April 1950 Utrecht Industries Fair. The drawings then went to EMI in England who established the Cyclemaster Ltd factory to manufacture the motorised wheel. The drawings bore the legend RadMeister, which loosely translates to Cyclemaster.

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Launched in June 1950, the rotary disc valve, 25.7cc, two-stroke Cyclemaster developed 0.6hp at 3700rpm. Before Christmas 1952, over 100,000 units had been built and it had grown to 32cc. Sales dwindled by the mid-Fifties, as the Cyclemotor craze fell victim to the moped. Cyclemaster Ltd split from EMI in 1955, and was bought by Britax in 1960 who ended sales a year later.

Norman Cycles of Ashford, Kent began installing the 32cc Cyclemaster engine in a moped chassis called the Cyclemate in late 1954. Cyclemaster-type-units were built in many countries including China, Switzerland and Germany, who also made a moped version like the Cyclemate. While some may consider the Cyclemaster as a joke, remember, over 165,000 were built in the UK and over 200,000 worldwide! Although the slow cruising speed of 20mph may not excite, with care over 200mpg can be squeezed out of every gallon of juice. Masses of Cyclemasters survive and most spares are readily available.

Cyclone 1913-16 USA
Swedish born machinist Andrew Strand designed in his spare time an advanced 42-degree V-twin engine. Boasting bevel gear driven sohc, hemispherical cylinder heads and roller engine bearings the idea was bought by the Joerns Motor Manufacturing Co of St Paul, Minnesota who until 1913 had built the Thiem motorcycle. Each engine was cast with the legend ‘The Strand Motor’ in honour of its designer. Speed was the company’s marketing tool.

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Cyclones were campaigned at dirt ovals and board tracks across America. Early promise included a speed record of 111.11mph posted by Jock MacNeill in 1914. But although quick, the Cyclone suffered reliability problems including fractured frames and fuel tanks, poor carburation and snapped drive chains, which often sidelined them, giving the slower, but reliable, Indians and Harley-Davidsons the advantage.

The Joerns company filed for bankruptcy in January 1916. Detail specification varies, but all were 1000cc sohc V-twins supplied in either road or race trim. Survivors are rare, tasty and expensive.

Cyclotracteur 1914-c1923 France
Amongst the best of the rash of cyclemotors on the UK market after WWI the French built 108cc automatic inlet over side exhaust valve four-stroke Cyclotracteur from Levallois Perret went into production c1913. For mounting to the front forks of sturdy cycles, drive was by friction roller with the fuel tank mounted on the cycle's handlebars above the engine.

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In a blaze of publicity, Ernest Lyon of London, initially imported Cyclotracteurs into the UK and displayed demonstrators, which interested parties could try at the 1919 Olympia Show. Priced at £21 the role of importer had moved to The British Cab Company of South London a year later. It is believed a huge batch was brought into the UK with various dealers taking over the stock in the hope of turning a quick profit. By 1923 the Cyclotracteur was on offer at £5.25 and the last few were sold c1926/7 for £3.50 or less.

Despite the British public's reluctance in period, the Cyclotracteur is a nicely made attachment, with reasonable power and a comfortable cruising speed of 20-25mph. It helps to have practiced on loaded butchers' boys' bikes before riding a Cyclotracteur powered cycle. Surviving in moderate numbers they turn up occasionally at auctions or with dealers but don't be tempted to fit one to a drop frame ladies’ cycle as the plucky unit will buckle the tubing within a few hundred miles.

Cykelaid 1919-26 UK
Manufactured by the Sheppee Motor Co Ltd, 59 Thomas Street, York. Production comprised a 133cc 11⁄4hp (later marketed as 11⁄2hp) power unit attachment for pedal cycles, which drove the front wheel. The package included a fuel tank, controls, supporting fork assembly and exhaust system and the firm also supplied complete, similarly powered machines.

London 1950 and a Cymota is scrutinised by a group of potential customersCymota 1950-52 UK
Built by Clifford Motor Components Ltd and distributed by Blue Star Garages, the Cymota was a self-contained power unit with a streamlined cowl which mounted over and drove the front wheel of a cycle by a roller pressed on the tyre. The spares situation is poor, so only consider a complete kit.

CZ 1932-97 Czechoslovakia
Founded in 1918 as an armaments factory, CZ (Ceska Zbrojovka) began making cycles in 1930, followed by a motorised cycle. Their first purpose-built motorcycle, the 76cc single cylinder two-stroke CZ76, appeared in 1933, followed a year later by the CZ98. During the late Thirties the range grew to include up to 500cc motorcycles and matching sidecars. The German military occupied the CZ factory duringWWII. Motorcycle production restarted in 1946 with the twin port 125cc CZ125A followed a year later by the CZ125B. In 1949 CZ was linked with rivals Jawa under the control of the Czech Auto Industry (CSAZ). Although each continued to manufacture and market its own range for a few years, by 1954 the products were of the one company, Jawa-CZ, with the two-stroke lightweights adopting the neat unit construction engines Jawa launched in 1951. CZs were generally, but not always, of 250cc and under, while Jawa spanned much of the capacity range up to 500cc. Styling between the two marques sometimes differed, but on other occasions was remarkably similar.

Although modern in the Fifties, CZs looked dated a decade later – and positively old fashioned by the Seventies. Doubts existed regarding CZ quality but they provided cheap transport for thousands. The CZ ‘slick-shift’ clutch (similar to Triumph’s short lived idea), whereby the clutch disengages with movement of the gear lever, was novel.

CZ also made single cylinder trail models and scooters, including the 125cc Motokow launched in 1946, the 98cc Czeta Manet and 175cc Roller of the Fifties and Sixties. Lack of development led to dwindling sales, Cagiva bought the plant in 1992 for the assembly of their own lightweights but the idea failed and the factory closed in 1997.

Many considered the road-going CZ ordinary, but their road racing and off-road programmes were far from mundane – and the envy of many. A dohc, 248cc single cylinder works racer took Frantisek Bartos to fifth in the 1956 IoM 250cc TT and fourth a year later, while our own Sammy Miller was a works rider in 1958. ISDT successes were many but in motocross, ridden by the likes of Dave Bickers, Viktor Arbekov, Roger De Coster, Joel Robert and Paul Friedrichs, CZ ruled Europe and later the world. bike

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