Awesome Vintage Motorcycle Rocket Science.

Don’t know what will be said in a century about some of today’s builders and custom bikes, but our motorcycle history is rich of crazy people having conceived insane and beautiful machines.

I learned that Adam Opel, the founder in 1863 of German automobile company Opel, had a grandson called Fritz Von Opel quite obsessed with rocket propulsion. Since he was always looking for ways to get publicity for the Opel brand (he was the company testing director), he got the idea to build a machine to beat the world land speed record. Sound familiar marketing approach to you?

The motorcycle was equipped with a 500cc single engine able to reach 75 mph, then when reaching this speed you could lit the side placed rockets via a foot pedal to boost the bike to an engineer calculated speed of 130 mph.

The Opel Motoclub 500 was exhibited at the 1928 Berlin Motorrad Show but apparently the German government forbid the landspeed record tentative because considered too dangerous. It seems that a few models (without rockets) of the Opel MotoClub 500 are still in existence and you will agree with me that 80 years later it’s still a Best Of Show. (via Vintagent & Motor Talk Germany)

9 Responses to “Awesome Vintage Motorcycle Rocket Science.”

  1. 1 Steve Kelly Mar 1st, 2010 at 8:38 am

    Great info, and great looking bike

  2. 2 raycwheeler Mar 1st, 2010 at 5:49 pm

    nice machine.

    raycwheeler usa

  3. 3 Paul Mar 1st, 2010 at 9:48 pm

    Looking at what was created ( style and vision ) almost a century ago .
    Doesn’t really say much of what is being produced
    by the majority of the builders out there in todays market.

  4. 4 JZ Mar 1st, 2010 at 10:39 pm

    Thank you, Cyril, for posting this. We need more history to understand where the industry has come from and The Vintagent is an excellent source. Kudos to you both.

  5. 5 jatinder pal Mar 2nd, 2010 at 2:15 am

    Cyril did it again…the info,the history of this bike is awesome. Its hard to believe that this motorcycle was built century back. Beautiful motorcycle.

  6. 6 Michael Schacht Crocker Motorcycle Co Mar 2nd, 2010 at 8:11 am

    Great photo and very interesting history! It would be nice to see more pieces on vintage motorcycle history.
    Excellent work on your part, as always. Thanks Cyril!

  7. 7 cwglide Mar 2nd, 2010 at 12:12 pm

    Had no idea Opel had a motorcycle, for that matter was one of the first auto mfg in Germany. Is that a rigid? Bumpy ride at 130mph. Thanks Cyril for sharing this!, incredable.

  8. 8 Ed Youngblood Mar 3rd, 2010 at 9:37 am

    The designer of the Opel MotoClub was Ernst Neumann-Neander, one of the most creative and visionary designers in motorcycle history. I recently posted a story about Neander on my Motohistory web site, written by German historian Ralf Kruger. To check it out, go to, then scroll down to the story dated 11/24/2009. Thanks, Cyril, for always offering something unique and unusual. I did not know about the rocket-powered MotoClub.

  9. 9 maroco Mar 5th, 2010 at 10:10 am

    Amazing bike! at the time certenely an advanced project.
    Front suspension very interesting, first time i see one of this.
    (pendular suspension system)

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Cyril Huze