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Vintage Motorcycles: Münch Motorrad of Germany

Vintage Münch Motorrad Motorcycle

Münch Motorcycles & Friedel Münch

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Münch Motorrad was founded in 1956 by engineer and designer Friedel Münch (1925—) in Frankfurt, Germany. Münch, (aka Friedel Müench) became known for building some of the most interesting and unusual limited-production motorcycles ever created, which were built at a factory which he purchased from defunct Horex Motorräder.

Horex was founded in 1923 by Fritz Kleemann in Bad Homburg vor der Höhe, near Frankfurt. The company was a spinoff of the Rex glassware company in Bad Homburg, leading to the name Horex (Ho)mburg (Rex). The first Horex motorcycles used single-cylinder (einzylinder) engines made by Columbus Motorenbau AG in Oberursel, near Frankfurt. In 1925, Horex and Columbus merged, and the company began to build a several einzylinder models from 250 to 600 ccs. By the late 1930s, Horex began building parallel twin-cylinder engines for their 600 cc model "S6" and 800 cc "S8."

After the conclusion of WWII, Horex resumed production with the single-cylinder 350 cc "SB 35 Regina." By the early 1950s, Horex reintroduced the parallel-twin, in the form of the 500 cc OHC "Imperator" (Emperor) road bike, and 500cc OHC twin racer.

Horex became known for their racing motorcycles, such as the 500 cc Horex S5 racer which achieved an average lap time of 147.2 km/h at the 1948 Hockenheimring Baden-Württemberg Grand Pix.

Münch Purchases Horex

By the mid 1950s, Horex was facing financial difficulties due to low sales numbers, and the company was broken up by its parent company Daimler-Benz. In 1956, Friedel Münch purchased one of the Horex Motorrädern (Motorcycle) factories from Horex-Fahrzeugbau AG, a German motorcycle manufacturer which

The first Friedel Münch production motorcycles were the 500er Münch Straßen (Münch-Road) Horex, and the 500er Münch-Renn (Münch-Racing) Horex, which was also known as the "Münch-Spezial" (Münch Special). In 1964, Münch also invented a 250 mm, ventilated 'duplex' front brake called the "Münch-Rennbremse" (Münch-Racing Brake) which had the stopping power of the soon-to-be-introduced disc brake.

Münch 4TTS 'Mammut'

In the late 1960s, while the Japanese were just beginning to contemplate entering the field of large-displacement multi-cylinder street-bikes (vierzylinder strassenbikes), Münch was already building a four-cylinder monster that would go down in history as one of the bulkiest and most powerful motorcycles of the time.

1967 Munch Mammut 4TT
1967 Munch Mammut TT

In 1967, Friedel Münch produced his behemoth under the name 'Munch 4TTS.' The 4TTS, which was marketed in the United States as the "Clymer Munch Mammoth IV" used a modified 4-cylinder NSU 1200 TT from a NSU Prinz automobile, giving the 4TTS the pet nickname of "automotorcycle."

1967 Munch 4TTS 'Mammut
1967 Munch 4TTS Mammut

The stock NSU 1200 TT engine — from an NSU Prinz — was capable of producing 65 bhp at 5500 rpm. Münch added faster camshafts, ported and polished intakes, and raised the compression ratio from 9.5:1 to 10.5:1. These modifications produced 88 bhp at 6500 rpm, and a 4.5 second, 0 to 100 km acceleration time.

Munch 4TTS 'Mammut' 1200cc 4-Cylinder Motor
Munch 4TTS 'Mammut' 1200cc 4-Cylinder Motor - Zoom

Munch 4TTS NSU 1200cc 4-Cylinder Motor
Munch 4TTS 'Mammut' 1200cc 4-Cylinder Motor - Zoom

The name "Mammoth," or "Mammut" in German was added to the 4TTS for its "giant" size and bulk. The Mammut 4TTS was offered in a normally aspirated version with twin Webber carbs, and a fuel-injected version. Final drive was via a fully-encased oil-bath chain. Another distinguishing feature of the Münch-4 was the twin Elektronguss headlamps from an NSU Prinz.

Münch Indian Scout & 'Titan' Series

Friedel Münch also manufactured a hybrid "Indian Scout" in 1968, using a Indian 1200 twin engine. In 1973, Friedel's company went bankrupt, but was reborn in 1976 under the name Horex-Motorrad GmbH. By 1997, Münch was already conceiving new multi-cylinder behemoths such as the "Polo Bike" with a VW engine. His new cast and machined "Gussrad" alloy wheels with their "spoke-look" were works of art in themselves.

Another iteration from this period was the 125 hp Münch TTS 4-E 1300 Turbo, using a Kühnle, Kopp & Kausch (KKK) turbocharger, and the TI 1400 Horex Turbo which produced 143 hp. In 1987, the "Titan" series was introduced, starting with the Titan-1600 (1600cc), the Titan-1800 (1800cc) which was built in 1988, and the Titan 2000 (2000cc) which was introduced in 1989.

The Munch 'Mammut 2000' Superbike

The rights to the "Mammut" name were now owned by Thomas Petsch, a mechanical engineer in Würzburg, who in 1997 partnered with Friedel Münch to reincarnate the Münch 4TTS as the "Mammut 2000." This curious, naked "superbike" had a 1998cc turbocharged four-cylinder motor that produced 260 bhp, with 218 ft lb of torque, and used a five-speed transmission. Sadly only fifteen Mammut 2000s were ever built, and production ceased in 2002.

Münch Motorcycle Links

Münch Motorrad Technik GmbH Website

La Münch Titan 2000

The Friedel Münch Story

Friedel Münch Museum

HOREX Motorrädern (Motorcycles) & Friedrich Kleemann

Horex Motorrädern

Jay Leno's Garage - Münch 4TTS

Friedel Münch and the later Turbo, Horex, and Titan models

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