MZ, Jawa and Planeta: Socialist workhorses

The world once smelled happy and carefree. With the Second World War in the back, things went economically uphill and 'everyone' went to motorized transport. Here in the Netherlands, that transport mainly consisted of endless herds of mopeds. 49 cc two-stroke with large wheels and pedals. There were numerous Dutch manufacturers who usually bought their engine blocks from ILO and Sachs. There were - then really expensive - Kreidlers and Zundapps.

Mixing is necessary

There were also motorcycles and cars that, from a cost point of view, were equipped with two-stroke engines with mixed lubrication. One liter of two-stroke oil went on every 25 liters of petrol. The idea was that the oil should burn as residue-free as possible. The blue oil cloud and densely charred exhausts showed that such a momentum was not yet going so smoothly. In between: In the past, not everything was better. With a good (mineral) two-stroke oil you can now easily mix 1 and 40 of these machines.

At the time, a Jawa was a highly modern and reliable motorcycle. A very modern thing too. From the same corner there were MZs and - from a bit further away - things like the 'Russian' Planeta twins. All that eastern bloc stuff came here in the hell when the Japanese came. Because the socialist and communist motorcycles did not add anything to the 'fun' and 'lifestyle' that had become motorcycling.

In the meantime, a brave smoking two-stroke will be spat at from the more environmentally conscious public. But that smoking is very easy with 1 in 40. And synthetic two-stroke oil burns completely without a flag, with the decarbonization of cylinder heads, piston rings and exhaust ports also being largely a passed station. And that those boring bourgeois Eastern Bloc mopeds didn't run much faster than 120? With that speed you can be brave and expensive nowadays when you get flashed.

Back to basic

A motorcycle with and on nothing that is not needed. No driving modes, no traction control. And the moderate brakes provide a natural ABS. In terms of technical ingenuity and degree of difficulty, those motorcycles are about the level of a plate of boiled potatoes. With the most basic knowledge you can perform all maintenance yourself. What if something really breaks? Then you just replace that yourself. There are clubs, manuals and Youtube. Easy. The parts supply for those free-range animals for which a mildly endearing interest is starting to grow is unexpectedly good. That has more than a little to do with the huge production numbers of parts from that corner. In the context of the various planned economies, what was needed was not made. Plain fat production was run and what was left over was stored or distributed. Somewhere. See you.

Exchange without crying

After the fall of communism, for example, a befriended entrepreneur found eight diesel engines for a police van that had never been delivered at a national police station. But according to the system, the police department in question was entitled to a new diesel engine every four years. At another DDR location there were 800 motorcycle tires for the three government MZs in use. Quite a lot was exchanged at that time. We heard about a triangle deal of MZ engines, oranges and tarpaulins. Complicated. But everyone was satisfied. On the spot, people are now talking about 'the good old days' and the term 'Ostalgie' is becoming legendary. The demand for the soap holder 'Sonja' has just not exploded.

The motorcycles in question have since come into a field of tension

350 cc Jawa's have become quite valuable. Because they are being bought back. Because in their day they were dream engines made only for export to the Rich West. MZs themselves are still cheap, but the parts trade involves serious money. Only those poor Planetas are still in a serious dip. This is mainly due to the fact that they were and are almost unknown here. And that for parts you really have to be in the former Soviet Republic. Most of the links are located in Ukraine. With various providers, delivery after payment falls a bit under the drawing of a chance card. Always exciting.

More articles about classic engines Through this link

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The Planeta that FB and real life friend Alex Janssen pulled out of his shelter is a real one delivered in the Netherlands


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  1. my first was a jawa bought from the brother of a friend of my sister for 85 guilders. Just 5 days 18 because before that time there really was no engine with us. That made me the first in school with a motorcycle in 67. Had fun with it and drove it just like on my moped. Practice permit was enough for half of the city in time. Until the ignition was no longer correct and sometimes that Jawa suddenly started to reverse after starting. And when I got my driver's license three quarters of a year later, the Jawa was succeeded by a BMW R25 that was collecting cobwebs from my father's cousin. And that's how it started.

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