Sunday, January 30, 2011

1894 Hildebrand and Wolfmuller, 1st Motorrad

It started on a dreary rainy day with a visit to the


Trev Deeley Motorcycle Exhibition which is located inside their large Harley-Davision dealership


It had been a few years since we have visited their museaum which used to be located in their Richmond warehouse and was not open on the weekends. Now that they have moved into their new building on Boundary Road they brought their bikes here and are now open on Saturdays.

From the moment you walk inside you cannot help but notice the older models of HD all restored and on display


Brand new models of HD and accessories are straight ahead, and the exhibit is on the left


This is the current exhibit which will be changed from time to time. When the complete collection was housed at their previous location bikes were scattered onto two floors.


The bikes are grouped in a sort of logical order by dates of manufacture or by type and there is a timeline of motorcycle development


They are grouped by type being; during the war, dirt track, racing and purpose built bikes for hill climbing


My camera was going nuts clicking away. I like to see old technology from the turn of the century. There were many rare bikes, more like bicyles with engines during the early development of motorized power.

and then I saw IT . . . a Hildebrand & Wolfmuller, 1894 model


I don't know what attracted me to it. Perhaps because it did not look like a bicycle like the others. It resembled something more related to a scooter in design with the step through frame

This was the first vehicle to be called a Motorcyle, Motorrad. Introduced in 1894 it had an unusual engine design



Water for cooling is in the fender, and the lubricating oil is inside the frame tubes


The rear wheels are driven on each side by connecting rods in locomotive style.

here is a closer view of the drive


That rod is the connecting rod and you can see the bottom of the piston which is more or less open to the atmosphere


This is the linkage system which enables the rider to pull to located TOC for starting. It is not an easy engine to start. First you have to light a flame, locate TDC then you need to run with the bike to get it started. hard to believe that the engine is a 1498cc 4-stroke, twin cyclinder water-cooled engine


That irregular do-nut ring is the camshaft, which pushes on the camshaft rod

I don't think you want to be going too fast on this particular machine as it only has friction block brakes on the front (only)



There were also some sidecar rigs for Charlie6 and Chris



The left foot lever is for engaging/disengaging the clutch. You hit it on the back to disengage, the move the shift lever, then push the front pedal forward to engage. The left handlbar lever is for the front brake. The pedal on the right is for the rear brake


Another thing I learned today is that the shift lever is on the left for Harleys and on the right for Indians


This is one of the bikes that you are allowed to sit on for photos


A few months ago back in August 2010 Bucky visited Vancouver and came to the Deeley Exposition. He is technically more adept than myself. He must have brought a voice recorder or a large pad of paper and lots of pens, or he has a photographic memory as his descriptions are so detailed. There is no use to reinvent the wheel so here is a link to his report (<-- click)

He had come such a long way and I really wished he had let me know he was coming. I hope there is a next time . . .


  1. Wow! That Hildebrand & Wolfmuller is a great old bike. I love the drive mechanism. The engineer in me makes me wonder how the valve train works as the valves need to cycle at half the crank speed. Was there a planetary gearset built into the hub? And thank you for the link to Bucky's blog post and videos of the bike running.

    Great write-up. Does visiting the Harley dealer help dampen the Ténéré desire?


  2. Very cool bikes there. Wow, Bucky's report is thorough. Museums are great and that one looks like fun.

    Your comment about bicycles with motors gave me a flashback to motorbikes in the 60's. People would weld a plate in the middle of a bike frame and mount a lawn mower engine and make it belt driven. A suicide clutch and your good to go.

  3. Bob

    Have you ordered "it" yet?

    I tried one for size last Saturday and it fits. The 660 version also fits rather well but no ABS version in UK this year.


  4. Bob, that Hildebrand & Wolfmuller made the Ural looked like it had "space age" technology.

    thanks for the pics


    Colorado Motorcycle Travel Examiner

    Redleg's Rides

  5. I'll have to go down and check it out one of these days.

  6. I love the Hildebrand & Wolfmuller. Great little concept machine! need to come visit Barber Museum in Birmingham...


  7. Great pics and post! And ditto on what Lori says about the Barber museum.

  8. Dear Bobscoot:

    Thank you for a moto-focused blog at a time when the ice and snow here is driving me crazy. The ground hog came out earlier this week, looked around and cut his own throat.

    Your pictures are dazzling and make me feel as if I am on the tour. And while this seems to be a diverse collection, nothing has the verve and panache of a Harley — vintage or otherwise.

    The larger Harley dealerships can be really amazing... There is one here in Willow Street, Pa, that has a full outdor traing range, classrooms, and a cafeteria used for special events. They have a small collection of Harleys going back to the 20's, but not on the scale of this pace in Vancouver.

    What is keping you from buying the new bike? There will never be a better time to squeeze a deal.

    Fondest regards,
    Jack • reep • Toad
    Twisted Roads

  9. RichardM: for some reason I love all internal combustion driven vehicles. I think I will wait a bit longer and get more utility from my Strom

    Mike: Bucky is very detailed in his posts and must spend a lot of time researching

    Nikos: I am very short, like you, and I have no difficulty in reaching the floor, flat footed. I can even bend my knee a bit. It feels much easier to balance than my 'Strom

    Charlie6: There was another bike that had a pusher engine mounted behind the rear wheel, with twin 500cc cylinders on each side. There was a lot of experimentation going on at the turn of the century

    Wayne: I'm still waiting for you to collect your "free breakfast", anytime

    BeemerGirl: sounds like a deal ! you send the tickets and I'll be there

    Ken: Maybe one day when I get down to that area. I've seen photos. Too bad it wasn't closer

    Jack "r": no deals on newly introduced models. You put your down payment and when it arrives you pay full MSRP++ I found a Speedtriple for sale but too much power for me. I wanted the Street Triple.

  10. Excellent report, Bob. You covered many aspects of the old Hildebrand that I didn't.

    Deeleys changes the displays periodically, so you saw many bikes that I did not.