BMW Motorrad Spezial

Killinger und Freund

The strange pre-WWII Killinger und Freund motorcycle
This is one of the most unusual motorcycles I’ve seen in a long time: it’s a ‘Killinger und Freund’ built in 1935 in Munich, Germany. The art deco styling is obviously eye-catching, but it’s hiding something even more interesting: this machine has a driven front wheel, like the Rokon. And underneath that huge front fender is the engine itself. The motor is a sizeable 600 cc two-stroke triple—or perhaps three one-cylinder engines joined together. Yet the bike was reportedly very light, at just 135 kg. There’s obviously a story behind this picture too: is the soldier an American who found the bike in the dying days of the war, and posed for a picture taken by a colleague? The Allies rolled into Munich on 30 April 1945, and Wikipedia reports “One motorcycle was discovered by the US Army in the spring of 1945 at a German military installation, but it is not known if this was the original prototype or another Killinger und Freund Motorrad.” If you can cast any further light on this oddity, please let us know. [Thanks to Adam Zerbib.]

  • Turgut

    Woah! I thought that Megola Racing Model was the only bike of this sort. That one had a 640cc 5 cyl rotary engine, with different sized wheels! But this killinger und freund is much more stylish, thanks for bringing it up.

  • Turgut
  • pg

    More specifically, the Rokon is a 2-wheel-drive motorcycle. I don’t know of any Rokons that are only front-wheel-drive.

  • Badseed

    Thank you for this beautiful and weird piece of mechanical ingenuity!

  • robweeve

    just saw this video – electric bike with motor on front wheel

  • JS

    Excellent. I remember seeing this in the Tragatsch Motorcycle Encyclopedia (Is there any other that is even close?)

    As such an unusual and ill timed design I always assumed it was basically an experiment and never really was for sale.

    Seems like that was likely the case.

  • Kevin

    Look at how skinny that guy is!

  • Gazzer

    I think the engine is actually inside the wheel itself.×323.JPG

  • Wow, pretty cool! German engineering never fails to amaze me… whether it’s back then or in modern times.

  • mistralu


  • mistralu


  • sumarlanto

    It is very artfull because I’ve been looked once, I think is limited edition in the universe, good shape and softly for ride