Sunday, March 20, 2011

The beginning of the Zundapp KS journey

I'm not sure what drew me to becoming a Zundapp Owner. Maybe it is the rarity, maybe it is the fact I've always been a sucker for the obscure. Well the planets finally aligned....Actually I've only ever seen two Zundapps in person. The one below at the Mid America Las Vegas Motorcycle Auction last January and the one that I just purchased.
I have never yet heard one running.

This one was a beautiful specimen. I believe it was a 1953 Model KS-601
I read the auction results and apparently this sold for $15000.00. I would venture to guess that the restorer had a lot more than that invested.

My employment takes me all around the Western US so I am always on the lookout for old bikes. For the past 15 years I have been a BMW nut. I have owned 12 or more BMW's of which 5 -6 ran. I parted out many hulks and built a sidecar tug from a trio or more of donors.

I stopped to visit a BMW rider in Montana a few years ago. He had purchased a rolling chassis BMW I had for sale and I was delivering it. He decided to show me around to look at some of his bikes. He has quite a collection of different projects; BMW's, Moto Guzzis, sidecars and other machines.

The thing that caught my attention was an old, somewhat out-of-place motorcycle sitting in his shop. I had never seen anything like it.
It hadn't been moved in many years. Apparently he purchased it from a relative years ago and just never got around to doing anything with it. The old bike had a pair of alloy aftermarket fenders installed so he obtained a pair of original fenders...in Costa Rica of all places. He also acquired a missing frame mount tool box and a nice pair of air intake tubes. He threw out a selling price which was way over my head so after photographing it, I just sort of forgot about it for a number of years.


1954 Zundapp KS-601 Sport
The aftermarket fenders are likely English made Wassell alloy fenders. The tail light mount is a Lucas design for sure.

I looked at the photos from time to time and thought what a fun ride it would be.
For some reason I decided to give him a call this winter and ask about the old Zundapp. He informed me that it had not been moved / touched since I viewed it three years ago.
"How much is it today" was my next question. To my surprise the price had been dropped 40% from what his previous price was three years ago. I knew I had to have it.
I spent a couple of days researching the Zundapp sites on the Internet and talked to a couple of Zundapp Gurus. Come to find out that the asking price was a good purchase price for a mostly complete bike.
I sent off the above photos to a few different folks and was informed that this is a 1954 Zundapp KS-601 Sport. The Sport model had slightly higher compression and a couple more horse power.
So I spoke to the owner and committed to purchase the machine. Meanwhile I listed my cherished old 1973.5 BMW R75/5. The bike had been a labor of love for many years but had been left sitting, in favor of my latest BMW sidecar project rig.
A buyer was quickly found and the funds were secured to purchase the Zundapp. I also ended up with another solo BMW bike as part of the /5 sale.
So all is well.....I still have a BMW solo bike, my sidecar rig and a broken down old rusty 1954 Zundapp KS-601 Sport.
I've been furiously pouring over the Internet trying to soak up all things Zundapp....It doesn't take very long as there just isn't a huge amount of Zundapp information out there. I'm finding that there exists a sort of "Zundapp Underground" around the planet. I spent a lot of Internet time digging into links, vintage sites, and various suppliers. I've found a half dozen or so parts sources but the prices are not cheap. No "one stop shopping" for Zundapp KS parts.
The machines were manufactured from 1951 -1957 if my sources are correct, and only about 5000 of them were produced.
My bike is still sitting in its' long resting place in Montana and I am in Arizona. I will finally be reunited with the bike in 10 days or so......and the "check is in the mail" so let the journey begin!


I began the journey by working on clearing out my Pay Pal account. I've already purchased a couple of missing pieces (front shock, gasket set, lower front fender stay) and some Zundapp literature. These bikes utilize a separate front, central shock absorber in addition to the standard forks. This shock mounts to the upper triple tree and sits on the top of the front fender.

So my initial goal will be to inspect and begin a clean up of the old bike. Care will need to be taken to preserve any patina that remains. After major cleaning, my initial goal will be to get the bike running. This will likely be quite a while down the line, depending on the engines condition after its' 30 year rest.
So I will re post as things evolve and especially when I actually take possession of the old treasure.

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