Vintage Cycle Room Motorcycle Museum
Last October we told you about the remarkable and rare cold-war era motorcycles being located and preserved by Peter Kisgen. He not only preserves the vintage motorcycles, but puts them up for sale to collectors.
One of his regular customers is a Wisconsin collector named Carlo Krause, who with wife Ingrid and son Sven already had the created the Midwest Microcar Museum in Mazomanie, Wis. Krause’s Microcar museum already included some very rare and fine examples of the classic bikes Kisgen specializes in, but his interest in motorcycles has led to the creation of a separate museum less than a block away in Mazomanie.
Though the Vintage Cycle Room, as it is known, has only been in the creation phase for about a month, the Krauses have already stocked the facility with 24 as-new, seldom-seen vintage European cold-war era bikes. In addition to the motorcycles, the Vintage Cycle Room features displays of advertising art, period photographs and other display items Ingrid has organized, framed and hung to complement the bikes.
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In a special display area, Ingrid has created a diorama complete with an East German-uniformed manikin astride a 1980 150cc MZ police bike in a setting representing the Berlin Wall, complete with barbed wire. Across from the MZ display is another military bike, a 1974 Dniepr MT12 (Russia).
The other bikes are displayed in an open floor plan manner that allows museum guests to get close to the bikes and examine them from all angles.
The inventory includes models from Victoria, Miele, DKW, Heinkel, Göricke, Hercules, Radex, NSU, (Germany), Jawa (Czechoslovakia), Puch (Austria), Valmobile, Velosolex (France), Gilera, Biondi folding motorcycle (Italy) an 18cc Lohmann diesel bicycle motor (Germany) and even an uncommon Honda P50.
Ingrid Krause indicted there are at least seven more uncommon bikes soon to be added to the collection. She also hinted at an addition they’d like to make.
“We’d really love to get an Indian. The good ones tend to be very expensive, but it would be fun to have one,” she said with a smile.
The Midwest Microcar Museum is also a must-see for motorcyclists touring the southern Wisconsin area. The microcar arose out of necessity in post-WWII Europe due to lingering shortages of materials for manufacture, high costs and low wages. The microcar became the low-cost alternative to motorcycles and scooters, but many microcars are at least part motorcycle in that they used motorcycle engines and transmission packages.
Microcars fare best in low-speed urban environments and few were imported to the U.S., so they are uncommon at best. One of the best known microcars was BMW’s popular Isetta, which the Midwest Microcar Museum has an example of and many other rarer and even more technically exotic machines, as well.
For example, the 1955 Messershmitt KR 200, a three-wheel vehicle arranged similar to the Can-Am Spyder. Unlike the Spyder the KR200 has a clear fighter plane style canopy derived from the German company’s aeronautic history. The “KR” designation stands for kabinreller, meaning scooter with a cab.
Powered by a 10 horsepower, 191cc single cylinder Fichtel-Sachs two-stroke engine, it weighs only 230kg (507 lbs.) and has a transmission with four speeds forward and four in reverse. The two-seat monocoque body has a single gull-wing style door that lifts the entire canopy and part of the body. The cockpit with tandem seating clearly shows the Messershmitt’s aviation heritage .
There is no admission charge for either the Vintage Cycle Room or the Midwest Microcar Museum, though donations are welcome. They are open on selected days and by appointment. Group tours are invited, as well. Learn more about the Vintage Cycle Room and Midwest Microcar Museum.
With the two museums so close together, seeing both on your next tour through the upper Midwest makes a stop in Mazomanie, a convenient, international experience!
Photography by Gary Ilminen
Vintage Cycle Room Motorcycle Museum – Photo Gallery