Motorcycle Types Adventure / Dual-Sport MZ Motorcycles... A Look Back

MZ Motorcycles… A Look Back

MZ Motorrad History

Maschinenfabrik Zschopau (Machine Factory Zschopau–MZ) history goes back more than one hundred years. In 1919, MZ developed the first two-stroke engine to be used on a bicycle.

In 1922, MZ built the first motorcycle with a two-stroke engine and branded it DKW. Between 1922 and 1936, DKW motorcycles won 45 championships and Grand Prix races.

During the 1960’s, MZ motorcycles were one of the most successful brands in competition, winning the Six Day Motocross Championships in 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1969 while also celebrating numerous victories in Road Racing.

MZ motorcycle production flourished behind the iron curtain, reaching 2 million units (combined) by 1983. However, when the Berlin wall came down, the MZ motorcycles were not competitive with their Japanese and Western European counterparts.

Between 1992 and 2008, MZ struggles through liquidations, ownership changes, and high production costs. In 2008, former World Championship motorcycle racers Martin Wimmer and Ralf Waldmann, both German, formed a partnership and purchased MZ.

In 2010, MZ enters the Moto2 World Championship with one ambition, to prove that MZ is capable of building world class motorcycles once again and to introduce a new generation of motorcyclists to the MZ motorcycle brand.

MZ appears to be back. The MZ factory in Germany is busy preparing their third generation Moto2 chassis, running the required Honda 600cc spec engine, for the inaugural 2010 Moto2 season.


Ron Lieback
Ron Lieback
One of the few moto journalists based on the East Coast, Ron Lieback joined the motorcycle industry as a freelancer in 2007, and is currently Online Editor at Ultimate Motorcycling. He is also the author of "365 to Vision: Modern Writer's Guide (How to Produce More Quality Writing in Less Time).

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