Surprize in Slovenia

GeelKameel's picture

Points: 5


Recently I was fortunate to tour in Slovenia (what a wonderful country to experience!)


It was a very cold day. Halfway on our way from Maribor to Ljubljana (the capital city), we decided that coffee would be very welcome. We took the first exit road and saw a roadside restaurant. This restaurant was too crowded and we carried on along a minor road. Soon we drove into a town that seemed to be deserted. No sign of a coffee shop or restaurant. We stopped at a random parking area. The ladies saw someone walking and asked about local coffee shops. Yes, 100m back is a nice and cozy coffee shop. The ladies started walking there.

As I stepped out of the car to follow them, I saw a sign 10meters from me: Muzej Motociklov. Interesting, I thought --- Muzej = Museum and Motociklov = motorcycle. The door was closed, but many places have closed doors due to the cold and snow of the winter.

So, my friend and I walked into the open back yard and found a man working in a small workshop. We asked about the sign in front. “One moment”, he said, “I get the key”. A minute later he unlocked a door on the first floor and we stepped into the most amazing private collection of motorcycles. Two large rooms packed with well-maintained old and not-so-old motorcycles.

We spent about an hour there, slowly walking from one amazing exhibit to the next. When we were done, he was waiting at the door. “This is my store room, let me show you the muzeum”.


He took us downstairs and opened the door facing the street.


In front of us was a long room, packed with beautiful motorcycles!

Another hour went by . . .  here follows some of the interesting exhibits.


The Majestic is a strange two-wheeled machine from France, designed and built by George Roy. Quite different from contemporary motorcycles. A total of about 100 units were built.

You may be interested in a road test on the Majestic:

See if you can figure out the way the in-hub steering design works


The British Ner-A-Car (early 1920s) actually preceded the Majestic. This machine also had the in-hub steering system,  
(I wonder if the name is short for "Near-A-Car" or "Never-A-Car")


An ancient 1906 Puch. Preserved in a glass sarcophagus. Looks like a wheeled mummy!

Puch motorcycles (and bicycles and mopeds and cars and off-road vehicles . . . ) are from Graz in Austria.


Monet & Goyon was a French manufacturer from 1917 until 1959


Ariel from Britain is a well known name in bicycles and motorcycles. Ariel motorcycles were built from 1902 until 1970, when it was bought by BSA.


Rudge (in foreground) motorcycles were produced from 1911 to 1946.

Douglas (in background) was a British motorcycle manufacturer from 1907 to1957.

Production of the Douglas "Fee" motorcycle with a 200cc flat twin motor started in 1905.

The flat-twin lay-out of Douglas was copied in various forms by many manufacturers around the world --- amongst others Williamson (British), Indian Model O, Harley Davidson Model W, NSU and BMW.


The Wall Autowheel was a British invention that was a very popular device from 1909 and many years after that.

Interesting reading:


This Harley Davidson with side car has space for four pax --- a driver, a pillion and two passengers in the side car.


Austro Motorette ca1921. Another product from Graz in Austria. It was a single cylinder 82cc engine built into a spoked wheel of a motorscooter.


Indian. The original manufacturer was Hendee Manufacturing Company in USA, founded in 1901.

In 1928 the name was changed to Indian Manufacturing Company. The original Indian motorcycle was made until 1953.


The Italian Aermacchi aircraft manufacturer started to build motorcycles after WW II. Finding it very hard to compete with Vespa and Lambretta, 50% of the motorcycle division was sold to Harley Davidson. The business was again sold in 1978, to Cagiva.


Italian company Mondial built very successful racers from 1950 to 1957. Mike Hailwood won many races on his Mondial in Britain.


TOMOS is a Slovenian manufacturer that acquired a production license from Puch to produce moped models under the Tomos name in 1954. Having outlived many competitors, the company went bankrupt in 2019.


Only one BMW in the collection. A single cylinder 500cc ca 1920.



NSU Motorenwerke AG, or NSU, was a German manufacturer of automobiles, motorcycles and pedal cycles, founded in 1873. In 1969 it was acquired by the Volkswagen Group. VW merged NSU with Auto Union, ultimately to become Audi.

During the 1930s, and in the mid-1950s, NSU was the largest motorcycle producer of the world. In its peak year (1955) producing 350,000 machines. From 1951 to 1956 NSU held many world speed records in various categories.

The German KettenKraftrad used in WW II was also a NSU product

The Kleines Kettenkraftrad HK101 (better known as the Kettenkrad). It was powered by a 1500cc Opel Olympia engine.

Steering by the motorcycle front wheel was effective up to a limited angle, beyond which an automatic brake on the respective track would activate for steering a tighter radius.

The Kettenkrad was used to tow heavy loads and for transport in adverse terrain such as snow and mud. It was widely deployed because it was small enough to fit into the Junkers 52 cargo plane and could be air lifted quick and far.


Moto Morini, an Italian maker of motorcycles, was founded in 1937. In 1987 it came under control of Cagiva and in 1996 under the Ducati group. In 2011 the Morini name was bought back by Italian entrepreneurs and since 2012 the Morini motorcycle was back on the market.

Garelli Motorcycles was founded in 1919 by a young Italian engineer. He specialised in two-stroke engines. During the 1980's the Garelli motorcycles won six consecutive world championships in the 125cc class.

This is a Nimbus, mid 1955, 750cc 4 cylinder.

The history of the Nimbus is quite interesting:


The AWO Simson originates from Suhl in the former East Germany. Production started in 1952 and lasted until about 1962. The design of some post-WW II models has a strong resemblance to the BMW R26.


Condor A580. The Condor-Werke AG is a Swiss company, better known in military circles. They built their first motorcycle in 1893, earlier than the Hildebrand&Wolfmuller of 1894 (which was the first series production motorcycle that was sold to the public).

The A580 Condor is often referred to as "The Other Boxer".

see ​

The Schweizer Armee coveted the BMW boxer motorcycles used by German troops during World War II. The Condor-Werke was tasked to design a reliable, simple and robust motorcycle for use by the Swiss Army. An interesting feature of the A580 was the dual range gearbox – the four gears could be used in high range for cruising and in low range for field work.

The low/high range gear lever on the Condor gearbox.


The first Zundapp motorcycle was the model Z22 in 1921. It was dubbed the Motorrad fur jederman "Motorcycle for everyone".

The first heavy Zundapp motorcycles were made from 1933. The second World War had a deciding effect on their activities. The KS750 Wehrmacht version with side car was made specially for the German Wehrmach. The engine was a twin cylinder opposed unit similar to the BMW boxer.


The Harley Davidson WLA is a 740cc V-twin that was used in WW II.


If you ever have a chance to visit Slovenia (which is worth in itself), be sure to visit the Muzej Motociklov in Vransko.

From Vransko we travelled to Munich, where we visited the BMW Welt complex:

Here are some other very interesting links, for those readers that would like to explore

Muzej Motociklov Grom


Old motorcycles for sale (good pictures and some information on each)


Marseille motorcycle museum


List of motorcycle manufacturers (I stopped counting surprise )




zebra's picture
Joined: 2008/03/28

unbelievable - and you basically found it by accident, nogal!

A great read - a SERIOUS thank you for taking the time to write and post all these pics - fascinating reading, and I L-O-V-E the 1929 Majestic Frankryk - I can imagine POLISHING that body-work to  a shine!



Andyman's picture
Joined: 2007/06/22

This is not a post, its a reference in itself.
Thanks for taking the time and effort to produce this reference material.
Glad you are now retired so cna write up these gems.

Anyone can ride a bike fast....   But can you ride your bike real slow???

Froggy's picture
Joined: 2014/01/15

what an amazing find.

thanks for sharing.



Geoff Russell's picture
Joined: 2007/09/25

Fantastic GK.


Committee: Ride Captain

GeelKameel's picture
Joined: 2007/06/21

With the help of Wikipedia and Google and Excel spreadsheet, I made a list of motorcycle manufacturers.

In 2018 there were 189 motorcycle manufacturers in production.

The total number of manufacturers no longer in production is 252.

The list with all the names is 300 lines ---  a bit too long to include in this post. I do include a summary of the countries and number of manufacturers in each.

The list/numbers include both street and race/off-road motorcycles. It also includes some former motorcycle producers of noted historical significance but which would today be classified as badge engineered or customisers. It includes both companies that are defunct, those that still exist but no longer make motorcycles, and some that were acquired by other companies.


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« December 2019 »


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