- 1906 Jørgen Skafte Rasmussen (Denmark)
bought an empty cloth factory in Zschopau
- 1917 invented the Dampfkraftwagen (German
for steam-powered car) also known by its trademark
- 1920 motor-assisted bicycle
- 1923 renamed in DKW
- 1927 started racing activities
- 1928 DKW takes over the Audi factory at
- 1929 60000 motorcycles leave the Zschopau
factory, and DKW is the largest motorcycle
manufacturer in the world
- 1931 introduced DKW small cars
- 1932 The Auto Union was founded, created
from Audi, Horch, Wanderer and DKW.
- 1939 developed the RT 125
- 1948 renamed in IFA (a state-owned enterprise
- 1950 The Zschopau works begins production
of the RT 125 model, developed before the
war, under the trademark IFA (Industrieverwaltung
Fahrzeugbau). This model became patent free
after the war and was further developed in
Britain, USA, Japan, Italian and West Germany.
- 1952 the BK350 appears, the first two stroke
- 1956 The works is now called VEB Motorradwerk
Zschopau, or MZ for short.
- 1962 The ES 125 / ES 150 starts manufacturing.
Up to the present day (2004) it is the most-built
German motorcycle. It was also the first motorcycle
with an asymmetric low beam headlight pattern.
- 1970 the millionth motorcycle rolls off
the conveyor belt, an MZ ETS 250 Trophy Sport
- 1972 MZ takes over manufacturing of sidecars
- 1983 the 2-millionth motorcycle rolls off
the conveyor belt, this time an MZ ETZ 250.
With disk brakes and 12 volt electrics the
MZ had reached the modern standard in motorcycle
- 1989 MZ ceases manufacture of sidecars.
- 1990 MZ is privatised, on 1991, 18 December.
- 1993 MZ goes under receivership, and the
ETZ patent sold to the Turkish firm Kanuni
which continued producing models 251 and 301.
The MuZ company is formed from the rest.
- 1996 MuZ was bought by the Malaysian Corporation
- 1999 the u is finally dropped from the name
The Zschopau works are one of the oldest motorcycle
factories in the world, producing motorcycles
since 1922. Most well known models were the
125/150 and 250 series, with the variants ES,
ETS, TS und ETZ. And MZ was one of the few producers
that made motorcycles with sidecars, though
prior to 1972 sidecars were manufactured by
Sports activities started in 1927
Winner of International Six Day Trial (a form
of off-road motorcycle Olympics): 1963, 1964,
1965, 1966, 1967, 1969, 1987.
- 1958 first wins in 125/250 cc and an over
all second championship 250 cc
- The MZ two strokes, developed by engineer
Walter Kaaden have influenced motorcycle racing
for decades. His revolutionary two stroke
system was copied widely in the sixties by
Japanese manufacturers. Yamaha and Suzuki
two-stroke engines became competitive in motor
sport only after they gained possession (??!!)
of MZ design secrets.
Sadly, the East-German government did not exactly
support the international racing aspirations
of MZ. The defection to the West of grand prix
rider Ernst Degner, complete with a set of secrets
(!!!), started the end of the glory years of
- The Skorpion Sport 660 cc single got its
own MuZ-cup racing series in several countries
at the end of the nineties. It is famous for
its precise handling. It's still a popular
mount for clubracing and Supermono racing.
Its withdrawal from the official factory program
is much mourned by fans.
After World War II, the German DKW factory,
universal leader in the building of two stroke
engines, found itself on the wrong side of
the Iron Curtain in East Germany, and was
renamed first IFA, then MZ. ("Motorradwerke
The 1952 BK 350 was one of the first models
to bear the new MZ badge, and it remained
in production until 1959, with an important
modification in 1956, when Earles leading
link front forks were fitted. The BK 350 was
an example of that great rarity, the flat
twin two stroke. Its highly advanced construction
made use of such techniques as shaft final
drive, but its commercial success was restricted
by the depressed state of the market.
In 1956, it was shouldered aside
- and ultimately replaced - by simpler,
more economical single cylinder
two strokes. As a prelude to it'sgreat
sporting success in speed and off
road events, and in its first years
of existence, the MZ factory at
Zschopau utilized the BZ350 for
its first entries in ISDT -International
Six Days Trial - where in 1956 Horst
Liebe won a gold medal riding a
BZ 350. Apart from its cross country
equipment, this bike was no different
from the standard machine.