Friday, October 17, 2008

1885 Gottlieb Daimler Reitwagen replica!


From left: The original 1885 Gottlieb Daimler Reitwagen, and the 2008 replica
Via: MC24

Over the last two years, we’ve featured all kinds of racer-replica GSX-Rs, Fireblades, R1s and ZX-10Rs etc here on Faster and Faster. But this is one replica that’s really different – it’s a replica of the 1885 Gottlieb Daimler Reitwagen, the very first motorcycle ever made!

Shown at the Australian Motorcycle Expo, in Melbourne, the Gottlieb Daimler replica has been built by one Phil Mumenthaler, who says it took him about 850 man-hours and around $100,000 to replicate the 123-year-old original.

Mumenthaler says he started with a plank of wood bought from a local store, and 18 months down the line, with a huge amount of money spent on hundreds of custom-built parts, the Gottlieb Daimler replica was ready.

For those who need a quick reminder, it was German engineer Gottlieb Daimler who invented the first petrol-engined motorcycle in 1885. With its wooden ‘chassis’ and wheels, the 1885 Gottlieb Daimler Reitwagen (‘riding car’) was fitted with a single-cylinder, four-stroke petrol engine.

With an engine capacity of less than 100cc, and a power output of around one horsepower at 600rpm, the Gottlieb Daimler Reitwagen could hit a top speed of almost 12km/h. The rest, as they say, is history…


123 years ago, bikes started with 1bhp at 600rpm and 12km/h top speed. Now, looking at the 2009 GSX-R1000, it does seem things have moved on a bit since then...

Also see:
Significant firsts in motorcycling...
Hubless wheels for motorcycles...
Front end funnies: Some bikes that went down the alternative front suspension street...
The MonoWheel: An idea that never really took off...
A motorcycle that's not afraid of SUVs, trucks or Volvos...!

Elsewhere today:
Food for the biker's soul...?
Transformers: Bikebots from China!

4 comments:

Simon Evans said...

"It does seem things have moved on a bit."
Hmm, let's look a bit more more closely then, shall we...

Low slung engine, heavily contoured frame, ridiculous riding position, bicycle chain drive, high headstock. I could be talking about either!
Are you sure things have actually come very far? Gottlieb started by putting an engine in a bicycle frame, and I can't really see that apart from the unappealing plastics replacing the delighful chamfered wood, that the Gixxer really does show any significant advance.

After all, if you compared Daimlers cars of old with the equivalent sports cars of today, then the technology would hardly be recognisable: Space frame chassis, monocoque construction, massive drag enhancement, airflow management, cooling optimisation, active suspension. I could go on...

Frankly, you could make that wooden chassis in ally and sell it to the average biker as a Straight Through Chassis and they'd swallow it.

Nope, what this shows is precisely how little things have moved on...

Ricky_G said...

Precisely how little things have moved on?! Isn’t that being just a bit… pretentious? 180bhp engines, ABS, traction control, tyres that stick, brakes that stop, bikes than handle… isn’t that sufficient progress?

Anonymous said...

yeh i'd even say bikes have evolved beyond what many (most?) riders can actually handle. on the scale of evolution, bikes have outstripped human beings...

Anonymous said...

The Gottlieb Daimler Reitwagen's chassis reminds me of a lot of Bimota frames over the years, where the spars run from the headstock to the swingarm pivot in almost one straight line. Using wood to build the chassis? Hmmm... maybe someone like Mr Britten could have made it work on modern bikes ;-))

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