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January 25, 2016

Motorcycle collection of the National Technical Museum Prague

The National Technical Museum Prague founded in 1908 has various themed expositions: astronomy, chemistry, printing, transport and other aspects. We are here for the Transport section, which occupies a large pavilion. It showcases automobiles, motorcycles, steam locomotives and even aircrafts. We, of course, will concentrate on the motorcycles. The exhibits include vehicles from all over the world, but the most interesting are undoubtedly Jawa, Slavia and other national brands produced in Czechoslovakia.

The collection features the most interesting motorcycle exhibits of the 20th century. Let’s start with the first production motorcycle, the Hildebrand & Wolfmuller of 1894. It is not a very powerful motorcycle, its engine of 1488 cc only provides 2.5 hp and can produce a maximum of 45 km/h speed.

We continue with the Czech motors Slavia Bz and Slavia CCR. They were both manufactured by Laurin & Klement at the very beginning of the 20th century. The first makes do with an engine of 2.5 hp, but it can produce 60 km/h, and the second possesses a 812-cc V-twin motor of 5 hp. It brought the speed limit up to 85 km/h, which at the time was a competitive race speed.

The next exhibit stretched the speed limit even more: a 1915-made Indian became one of the most advanced motorcycles of its time. Its 980-cс motor produced 7 hp and allowed a speed of up to an incredible 90 km/h.

In 1927 it was outperformed by the British Scott 600. Its main feature was the double-cylinder two-stroke fluid-cooled motor of 24 hp, and it could produce an unbelievable speed of 1136 km/h.

There probably isn’t a single motorcycle collection without a Harley Davidson. The National Technical Museum Prague presents a 1928 HD with an air-cooled V-twin motor, a broad curved handlebar and a drop-shaped gas tank – all the traditional features of a typical Harley Davidson.

Apart from the fast and powerful bikes the exposition features several rare and extraordinary exhibits, some of them – touring models. A very unusual prototype, the 1942 Dalnik 250, was supposed to offer the comfort of an automobile combined with the service costs of a motorcycle. The prototype has a 248-cc motor of 9 hp.

It might take several days to see all the exhibits, but be sure not to miss the Jawa motorcycles. There is a great diversity of motors of this brand in the museum. You’ll find pre-war models such as the 1931 Jawa 500 OHV of as well as postwar cross-purpose models (for everyday rides, touring and racing). Among the everyday models we’d like to draw your attention to the 150-cc Jawa-ČZ produced in 1954, and among sport bikes be sure to see the Jawa 350 — 673 and Jawa 500 – 891 prototypes that were made specially for motorcycle racing and which brought victory for many a racers in motocross and speedway.

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