MZ Motorcycles History
The history of MZ, or Motorradwerk Zschopau, began in 1906 in Zschopau, Saxony, Germany, when Jörgen Skafte Rasmussen, a Danish engineer, bought a wooden goods factory there. The company initially began manufacturing steam engines before turning to motorcycle production.
The first motorcycles were produced in the 1920s. In 1923, Rasmussen presented the first two-wheeler called "Das Kleine Wunder", which laid the foundation for the coming motorcycle business. In 1927, the company introduced the DKW two-stroke motorcycles, which revolutionized the motorcycle world with their reliability and performance.
During World War II, production was switched to war materials and the plant suffered severe damage. After the war, the plant was located in the Soviet-occupied zone of Germany and was expropriated. The newly founded company IFA produced motorcycles under the name DKW.
In 1956, the company's name was changed to VEB Motorradwerk Zschopau, or MZ for short. In the 1950s and 1960s, MZ gained worldwide fame for its two-stroke motorcycles and racing successes. MZ motorcycles were especially known for their durability and performance and were exported worldwide.
The 1970s were a heyday for MZ, during which the company launched several innovative models, including the TS and ETZ series. These models were particularly known for their advanced two-stroke engine and excellent handling. MZ was also successful in racing during this period, setting numerous world records.
However, with the fall of the Berlin Wall and German reunification in 1989, MZ faced major challenges. Sudden competition from Western motorcycle manufacturers and economic difficulties led to a sharp decline in production and ultimately to the company's insolvency in 1993.
After several unsuccessful attempts to save the company, MZ was bought by the Malaysian Hong Leong Group in 1996. Under the new management, the company introduced a number of new models, including the 1000S, MZ's first four-cylinder motorcycle.
Despite these efforts, however, the company was unable to return to profitability and filed for insolvency again in 2008. After another takeover by a German investor in 2009 and another insolvency filing in 2012, production of MZ motorcycles finally ceased.
Despite the end of production, the MZ brand continues to live in the hearts of motorcycle enthusiasts around the world. MZ motorcycles are still appreciated for their quality and reliability