BMW Motorrad Spezial

Opel Motoclub

Opel Motoclub motorcycle
While browsing the addictive LoudPop Voyager I stumbled across a bike I hadn’t seen before. It was an Opel Motoclub, an unusual 500c thumper from between the Wars. This machine was one of the highlights of the 1928 Berlin Automobil und Motorrad show: designed by Ernst Neumann-Neander, one of the pioneers of pressed-steel construction, it looked like no other motorcycle on the market.

The metalwork was cadmium plated, and most of the leather and rubber was red—right down to the tires. Even more strangely, Fritz von Opel built a rocket-powered version too. According to historian Paul d’orleans of The Vintagent, “The rider activated the rockets with a foot pedal, after using the motorcycle’s engine to reach 75mph; Opel calculated that 220km/h (132mph) was then possible”.

Opel’s plan to break the world land speed record was unfortunately thwarted by the German authorities, but the more sedate, regular Motoclub lives on. If you’re tempted, there’s a lovely 1928 model for sale at the Dutch dealer Yesterdays for €24,500—around US$33,000. [Image via German website]

  • I’m left wondering where one would find red replacement tires in today’s market.

  • chopsnyc

    Didn’t they have to dig the smoldering remains of a Dodge Dart out of the side of a mountain in the Nevada desert a while back? Maybe being thwarted by the German authorities wasn’t such a bad thing…


    Gorgeous bike — “red replacements???” was my first thought too…

  • dave

    Oh yes.. Lovely motorbike. One of my personal all-time faves. FWIW you can get red replacement tires. Per the excellent book on the subject of Opel Motorbikes, the reason was not aesthetics; Rather, the compound of the original Metzeler tires was red, proir to the addition of Carbon Black to the rubber. As Carbon was (for whatever reason) unavailable for a spell, tires for the Motorclubs were red.
    I’d LOVE to get my filthy mitts on one… But Not one fully restored, thanks.

  • TeeBee

    This is quite possibly the loveliest motorcycle I have ever laid eyes on

  • Kozzy

    I saw a modern V-twin version of this bike on the web somewhere. Sounds odd, but it was AMAZING! Wish I could find it now…

  • Wow, really different! It’s nice to see something completely unexpected in vintage motorcycles.

  • kim scholer

    The JATO-pack-Dodge-Dart-hits-mountain story is fortunately (or unfortunately?) an urban legend, but Opel did fine with a rocket propelled race car as well as a glider. The motorcycle only had six rockets strapped to it, so it would have been too dangerous.

    One of the other notable features of this oddball motorcycle is the inflatable rider’s seat.

  • sgeechee

    I guess the bike previous commenter Kozzy refers to is another Neumann-Neander construction; he built some sort of an universal frame for different enghines, AFAIR, up to an 1000cm-JAP-V2. The looks and aesthetics of his constructions are quite unique, so i guess this should be it. Would also be worth a feature on be, i think. Lovely.

  • unleash

    Search for “Neander Fahrmaschine” – a car-like vehicle with a plane-like cockpit and steering horn. This was powered by a JAP V-engine. It looks like Darth Vader*s helmet on wheels.

  • incredible bike

  • That bike is beautiful! Love its lines and the red accents on the silver. Just great looking!

  • Thomas

    As one owner of 4 Opel motorcycles I reissued a small series of those red tires. If someone is interested in some, please contact me at opel(at)