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Corrupting our Youth: The Return of Kreidler

Kreidler 125 cafe racer by Niels-Peter Jensen
If you grew up in postwar Germany and developed a taste for small and very noisy racebikes, you’ll know the Kreidler name. The small manufacturer from just outside Stuttgart was a major force in racing in the 60s and 70s, but went out of business in the early 80s.

Things are now looking up again for Kreidler. A bicycle manufacturer acquired the rights to the name a few years ago, but there’s now a motorcycle division too—with a range centered on some very funky-looking 125s aimed at the huge European youth market.

Kreidler 125 cafe racer by Niels-Peter Jensen
Kreidler has now called in mountain biker and extreme sports TV presenter Niels-Peter Jensen to provide input into its designs. ‘NPJ’ has always been a keen motorcyclist (as we discovered when we had a chat at Wheels & Waves in France a couple of years ago).

Jensen’s mission is to ‘make Kreidler cool again’ and bring back the quality. “I’m trying to get the younger generation onto bikes,” he says, “and so far it’s working great.”

Kreidler Dice CR-125i NPJ Edition
The first shot in the war is a limited edition called the Dice CR-125i NPJ Edition (above), priced at a very favourable €3,300 (US$3,750). That’s well under the sticker of even a Yamaha TW200, and Kreidler sold its entire stock of 99 NPJ Editions in just two days.

The specs are simple, but a bullseye on the Euro youth market: a 125cc four stroke with a USD fork, and disc brakes front and rear. Power is 11 horses from the aircooled Euro 4 compliant single, but the NPJ Edition weighs only 112 kilos—a mere 246 pounds.

Kreidler 125 cafe racer by Niels-Peter Jensen
Jensen has now built a custom version for his own use, shown here, with stylish paint by Danny Schramm of Schrammwerk. There’s also a shorter rear subframe, Fox Street Performance RC1 shocks, a revised swingarm to fit said shocks, and a Mikuni 28 carb to extract the maximum out of the engine—which is now good for 135 kph (83 mph).

He’s bumped the front wheel up from 17” to 19” and the rubber is Avon’s classic Speedmaster. There are custom foot pegs hand made from stainless steel and brass, and the custom seat is covered in the same leather that Audi uses for its R8 supercar.

Kreidler 125 cafe racer by Niels-Peter Jensen
It wouldn’t break the bank to copy these mods if you’re a teenager with a CR-125i in the garage, and they don’t compromise the practicality of the bike—over the past year, Jensen has ridden his Kreidler from Hamburg to Biarritz, and Hamburg to Oslo.

Right now, he’s finishing off a flat tracker to race at Dirtquake in England this weekend. The ultimate goal is to make a street-legal version of that flat tracker, “manufactured in Europe and sold for a good price,” says Jensen, “so we can get more young people onto cool bikes.”

Kreidler 125 cafe racer by Niels-Peter Jensen
It’s exactly what the motorcycling world needs: stylish and well-made bikes that younger riders can afford. We’ll be watching these developments with interest…

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Kreidler 125 cafe racer by Niels-Peter Jensen