Yesterday we met Norbert Riedel’s two stroke starter motor for the Me 262.

As you might imagine there wasn’t much call for these after WW2 so Herr Riedel had to come up with something else. He considered his options. He knew two strokes. Post war Germany needed transport and didn’t have much in the way of money or materials. He came up with the Riedel Imme R100.

You could describe it as wonderfully retro except that it’s so old it was wonderfully modern at the time. Riedel’s business plan consisted of so reducing the cost of production that he could sell cheaply and capture enough of the market that he could get by on low margins. Sadly things didn’t go well due to reliability issues and the business collapsed after a couple of years.

Nevertheless his bike was genuinely innovative from the money saving point of view. Look at the front fork. See what’s missing? Half of it. It’s single sided. The gearbox had three speeds but no neutral (a clutch stop sufficed). The wheels were identical front and rear. The crankshaft had a bearing on one side only, which was the company’s undoing as it happens. The frame was built up from off-the-shelf 40mm tubing. Most things, including the battery, were extra. You could have it in any shade you wanted, provided initially at least that your desired shade was red lead. The most fascinating thing though was the exhaust.

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Let’s look closer, noting the optional pump, the equally optional spare wheel and the fact that this one has been restored to what must be far better than new condition.

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The exhaust multi tasked. Not only did it exhaust, but it served as the swing arm. You don’t see that every day.

Now we need to see and hear one in action. Note that the suspension essentially consists of the bike bending in the middle and that there’s a huge gap between the three gears. These, by the way, are arranged 2-1-3 because why not.