Megola

Megola

The Megola was a German motorcycle produced between 1921 and 1925 in Munich. Like Bimota, the name is a portmanteau derived loosely from the names of its designers Meixner, Cockerell, and Landgraf.

An Unusual Design

The Megola had a unique design: it boasted a Monosoupape rotary engine mounted within the front wheel. The engine contained five cylinders with side-mounted valves and it displaced 640 cc (39 cu in), a total size equivalent to many modern bikes. The crankshaft was the front axle, which remained stationary while the cylinders rotated with the wheel. A hand-controlled butterfly valve was located in the hollow crankshaft to regulate throttle. Power output was a meagre 14 bhp (10 kW) but was applied directly to the wheel. This arrangement produced a very low centre of gravity and provided for excellent handling.

"The 5 cylinder star-engine was mounted in the front wheel, and the wheel turned around six times slower than the crankshaft did."

The engine was very flexible, lacking both a clutch and a transmission. Starting it required a person to either spin the front wheel while the bike was on its stand, or to push-start. The cylinders could be disassembled without having to remove the wheel spokes in order to service the engine. The tires were tubed with the front inner-tube being a circular sausage shape rather than a complete doughnut so that it could be changed without removing the wheel and engine. The box section frame contained the main fuel tank which fed by gravity a smaller tank mounted on the axle. The front suspension was comprised of semi-elliptical springs.

The top speed was 85 km/h (52 mph) resulting in a win at the German Championship in 1924, while later, sportier models were said to be capable of 140 km/h (88 mph). A total of 2000 Megolas were built and only 10 rideable examples remain, with one existing in the Guggenheim Museum in New York, USA.

Killinger and Freund

In 1935 there was an attempt by a group of engineers to make an improved version, the Killinger and Freund Motorcycle, but World War II put an end to their plans.

Sources

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