1972 ZUNDAPP MC 125: THE GERMAN DETONATOR
MC 125 FACTS
WHAT THEY COST
Suggested retail was $749. Zundapps were
distributed in the USA by MED International
on the West Coast (this was an Edison
Dye-owned company) and by Rockford
Motors on the East Coast. Vintage Zundapps
are not high on vintage collectors’ lists, as
very few motocross models were sold in the
USA—thus American collectors have no
experience with them. MXA’s example has
never been ridden and is valued by the Early
Years of Motocross Museum at $6000.
MC 125 (motocross), GS 125 (enduro) and
KS 125 (street).
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
The MC 125 used quality components.
Collectors should look for Magura controls,
Metzeler tires and Bing carburetors. The
airbox has a naugahyde enclosure, rubber
front engine mounts, a steel fork brace, and an
artistic steel tank with a gold Zundapp logo.
Try Matt Hilgenburg at Speed and Sport at
www.speedandsport.com or by phone
at (530) 878-0700. ❏
Detonator? Actually, the Zundapp MC 125 was a sturdy little two-stroke machine that rose off the assembly line of a German company that started life as a producer of
detonators. Founded in 1917 by Fritz Neumeyer to build detonators
for the German World War I effort, Zundapp would soon turn its
attention to building motorcycles to satisfy rising demand for
affordable motorized transportation in the postwar years.
By 1933, Zundapp was building a “heavy motorcycle” that
featured an enclosed driveshaft and crankshaft. The Zundapp
KS750 used a flat-four boxer engine (a layout adopted by Honda
for the Gold Wing in 1974), and 18,000 were produced for the
German Wehrmacht in the Second World War.
In 1958, Zundapp moved from Nuremberg to Munich to
concentrate on building small two-stroke machines for civilian use
in Germany. To prove the quality and performance of their little
street bikes, the factory organized a race team to compete in the
International Six-Day Trials (ISDT). Considered the ultimate test of
man and machine, the ISDT was the proving grounds for European
machinery. While competitors like Hercules and Zweirad Union
chose bikes straight off their assembly lines and made small
improvements to them for the racers, every Zundapp factory-backed
ISDT bike was a custom-made competition machine that only
externally resembled the GS 125 it was based on.
Zundapp’s success at the ISDT was legendary, but very limited
in motocross. Their greatest motocross success was when Andre
Malherbe won the 1973 and 1974 125 World Cup Championships.
The 125 World Cup was held just before the class was elevated to
FIM World Championship standing in 1975. The Zundapp factory
was shuttered in 1984. However, the name was sold to the Xunda
Motor Company in Tianjin, China. Thus, there could be Zundapps
whizzing around Beijing today.
BY TOM WHITE