Friday, June 22, 2012
Photo via; Theworldofmotorcycles.com
The Imme motorcycle was only built for a few years, I first saw one in the Guggenheim Museum book, The Art of The Motorcycle. While they were a pretty simple design and not very fast, the innovations that were built into them was pretty astounding. The front fork and rear wheel suspension only had one side to them and the rear wheel pivot also acted as an exhaust pipe. It also had a single mono-lever rear suspension, all way ahead of its time. I have found over the years that the little European motorcycles were very cleverly designed and are like little jewels.
Here is some history on Imme's from Bernies Bike Shed site, I quote.......
"During World War 11 Norbert Riedel had designed a two stroke starter engine for the first **LUFTWAFFE jet fighters.
After the war he moved into motorcycle design,he’s first design was the Riedel R100.The American army desperately wanted his jet starter engines ,so gave him the production tools and equipement which could be used for motorcycle production.His R100 was design with some restraints in place. ie it had to be cheap,easy to build,and he only had about 75% of the raw materials he needed(all of Germanys steel works were bombed by the RAF)
The frame and fork tubing is all the same diameter. The egg- shape engine 99cc and 4.5BHP.The cylinder and the head were one piece.The transmission had no neutral gear.Only one front fork leg and the rear leg is also the exhaust pipe,3 speed handlebar gearchange(engine goes up and down with the rear wheel)Around Christmas 1947 Riedel started the first test drives.
In1948 Riedel found a production factory in IMMESTADT(Bavaria).IMME is a German word for BEE,and the logo and name for the motorcycles were found.Production started in 1949,but only 80 were made in the first year.In 1950 numbers had reached 1,000 a month ,although the motorcycles were selling the works had some financial and warranty problems and the IMME AG went out of business.The numbers of R100 built was around 12,000 today they are very rare bike with less than 20 in Germany and only 1 in the UK.Riedel had designed a new egg- shaped twin 150cc engine and had planned a comeback with an improved version of the IMME.But in 1951 the factory was shut down again."