Fearsome Four: Clymer-Munch Mammoth — Classic German Motorcycles — Motorcycle…

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Münch Mammut 2000

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My Motorcycle

1968 Clymer-Munch IV

Claimed power: 70hp @

Top speed: 135mph-plus (claimed)

1,085cc air-cooled OHC inline 72mm x 66.6mm bore and 9:1 compression ratio

Weight 539lb (245kg)

Fuel 4.5gal (17ltr)/30-35mpg

Price $4,000/$50,000-$75,000

Though the honor for first to propose an across the inline 4-cylinder motorcycle must go to Carlo Giannini and Remor for their 1923 race bike, it would another 45 years for the format to its way into a street bike. And it Japanese.

That bike was the of German Friedl Münch. in 1927, Münch was an engineering developing his skills in his father’s gas workshop and Horex dealership in Germany. Completing military as a technician in the Luftwaffe, Münch attended technical school, he won a scholarship and two achievement awards.

By Münch had completed his training in and electrical engineering, and soon his own shop repairing and tuning motorcycles.

A rider since age 6, intended to prepare race for his own use. He built a 500cc special with a double cam cylinder head and dry sump but a serious crash ended his for a racing career. In other hands, though, the Münch-Horex were so successful that offered Münch a job in their development department which he at declined.

But when Münch’s own business in 1955, he changed his mind.


When Horex production in the late 1950s, acquired a stash of Horex and tools and set about designing and his own motorcycles based on Horex’s cam 400cc Emperor twin, out to 500cc. But Münch dreamed of a sophisticated motorcycle with performance what we would to know as a “Superbike.”

His goal was an double overhead cam 4-cylinder state of the art cycle parts. had even designed an engine an experimental Horex cylinder with two Emperor cylinder But when a friend showed him the new NSU Prinz 1000 car around Münch saw that a simpler was at hand: He would build his around the NSU’s lightweight, 40 horsepower engine.

The NSU engine was a inline four with an cross-flow cylinder head and single overhead camshaft. mounted it transversely in a tubular frame of his own design similar to the then available the Norton but stronger. To transfer power he a modified Horex transmission the rear wheel by chain.

also tuned the engine for power.

At the front, Münch a conventional 40mm telescopic of his own design carrying a massive twin-leading-shoe drum, also of his own To keep weight down he the drum in Elektron magnesium with an iron liner. He used Elektron for the steering the oil pan and the primary/transmission housings.

Initially, used conventional 18-inch wheels front and rear, but in of using spokes as big as 5mm diameter, the from the NSU engine would strip the spokes out of the nipples. this was the first Münch-4 to the press in 1966, when it acquired the name “Mammut,” or

Enter Floyd Clymer

A prototype incorporated several and modifications. To overcome the spoke issue, Münch designed a new wheel with an integral drum brake cast in A fully enclosed chain also cast from formed one arm of the swingarm rear

Also cast from was a new rear body section the fender, and a headlamp cowling a pair of NSU TT car headlights. In spite of all the alloy used, the second still tipped the scales at to 600 pounds dry but it had phenomenal performance for the taking just 4.5 seconds to 60mph and hitting 112mph 20 seconds.

This was the bike at the Cologne motorcycle show in the of 1966, causing something of a NSU agreed to supply Münch engines, and Münch went limited production.

It was around time that Münch, who was in financial condition, attracted the of American publisher and Cycle founder Floyd Clymer, who with Münch to create Thanks to Clymer’s cash in 1967 Munch moved to larger premises and the Mammut was the Munch 4TT.

Clymer for U.S. distribution of the Munch, it the Clymer-Munch Mammoth IV and offering it in 1967 for the then astonishing of $4,000. At the same time whose real ambition was to Indian motorcycles, had Münch a “new” Indian Scout a 750cc Scout sidevalve benefiting from an electric and improved cycle parts. One was built (it still survives) and at the 1968 Los Angeles motorcycle

In early 1969 the European 4TT became the 4TTS, and not long it gained larger 41.3mm front forks and a new handmade gas tank (replacing fiberglass) could be sized to customer By 1970 Clymer’s health was and he sold his interest in Munch to Arthur Bell, who was looking for a business opportunity for his son George.

Bell commissioned a new factory in near Frankfurt, and acquired Helmuth Fath’s world-championship sidecar racing team. Horst Owesle went on to win the sidecar world championship a Münch-powered URS outfit.

Münch development, producing the 115 horsepower and the 125 horsepower “Daytona Bomb,” was aimed at beating Mike 1965 one-hour speed of 145mph, set on an MV Agusta. At Daytona, the was averaging 178mph, but no rear would last more four laps!

However, George Bell suddenly out and returned to the U.S. in 1971, was forced into bankruptcy. He a new business partner in the packaging Hassia, yet just when seemed to be going well Hassia pulled out at the end of 1973, Münch to declare bankruptcy yet The company’s assets, including the name, were bought by Heinz Henke.

Henke on to produce a number of Henke-Münch but they shared little the Münch 4TTS except the NSU

Münch continued developing his under the Horex GmbH (he had purchased the rights to the Horex in the late 1950s), including a turbocharged version of the fuel-injected producing more than 140 the 160 horsepower supercharged 1,800cc Titan 1800 and a liquid-cooled Titan 2000 with a plus reverse transmission.

Friedl Münch suffered a … in 1991, and while he recovered, production of his NSU-powered motorcycles effectively ended.

Keesecker’s Clymer-Munch IV

Almost 10 ago, well-known motorcycle Dale Keesecker found a 1968 Clymer-Munch IV in the southwestern with just 4,500 on it. As it turned out, it was the first Clymer-Munch, a claim that a little explaining to make

When Clymer took control of Münch’s enterprise in he changed the company name to Acknowledged Münch expert Kron in Germany provides parts and makes reproduction Mammuts. Kron calls the bikes up through frame TT 014 Series 1 machines.

Upon financial control, Clymer all machines be built badged as and for export only. Kron these the Series 2 machines, began with frame TT 015.

That’s the number on the of Keesecker’s bike, making it the Clymer-Munch. Period ads had no umlaut the “u” in “Munch,” nor did the badge on the gas Oddly, the speedometer, tachometer, and oil pressure gauges have (with an umlaut) on their and the bike’s build plate it as a “Clymer-Muench-Mammut.” And yes, the plate it “Muench,” with an “e.”

actually purchased it from the owner,” Keesecker says of his “He ordered it and brought it direct from Germany. It had stored in the open for a number of but because of the dry climate it wasn’t bad.” Keesecker continues the “A number of parts missing, and some were I’m a perfectionist, so we did a total We tore the engine apart, and it from top to bottom.

We were glad we took it apart. One of the bearings in one of the cases was cocked that would have a major problem.” Aside that, the engine showed wear, requiring only honing, new piston rings and new guide seals.

So how do you get parts for as rare as a Münch? “I was at one of the auctions,” Keesecker says, there was a business card on the floor. I stooped down to it up it was the business card of Mike It just seemed like was putting it there.”

Kron would be instrumental in the restoration. “Everything that was or was incorrect on it, he was able to supply,” says. “There were castings that were but Mike had them. They rough castings and we had to machine down to fit, but that real difficult.”

The two most parts of the restoration were the gas tank (later bikes had tanks) and the front brake Keesecker says. The gas tank had been shaped with a compartment at the rear to hold the with a lid over it, but the compartment had fiberglassed over.

“When I to Mike Kron about it, he ‘you absolutely have to put it original,’” Keesecker recalls. could see where the original lid so we rebuilt it just like it That was quite an effort.”

with the Elektron front drum was also a challenge. Keesecker polished it and re-laced it to the rim stainless spokes; but in a few months the had oxidized. Next, Keesecker a clear powder coat, but a year it had started to oxidize the clear coat. “So we it and took it all down again, and time we used a Hammertone on it, like the engine has, and been fine.

It was just so to have to do it three times,” says.

Rare as Keesecker’s may be, he’s not averse to firing it up for a “In its day, it was the biggest, motorcycle there was,” says. “But it’s You don’t have to get going fast, 8-10mph, and you would know it’s as big as it is. It’s fun to ride. It’s so smooth, and you get going down the road it nice.”

As to Münch’s famous racing brakes, “They’re not like today,” Keesecker says, for me, they’re above average for time period. And compared to my it’s much better. back then would go than the brakes could them compared to today you can lock the wheel up if you want

Keesecker also likes his Münch is essentially unique. told me that even the same series, there’s no two are alike,” Keesecker says, “a lot of people look at it at some people think so ugly, other people it’s really a work of

And that’s the charm of Friedl creation. Outrageous in its day, it the direction of motorcycle development and as a lasting tribute to its designer and Rarely is it possible to channel so the dreams and passions of a visionary as it is through the Münch Mammut. MC

Münch Mammut 2000
Münch Mammut 2000
Münch Mammut 2000
Münch Mammut 2000
Münch Mammut 2000
Münch Mammut 2000
Münch Mammut 2000
Münch Mammut 2000
Münch Mammut 2000
Münch Mammut 2000


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