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Sokół 125

Sokół 125, the first postwar Polish motorcycle. Manufactured from 1948 to 1950. (See also Sokół 125 for another example.)


Polish automotive industry after WW2 was nonexistent. Technical documentation and factory equipment were destroyed or requisited. Luckily many ingenieurs managed to survive. When new goverment decided to start a motorcycle production – the resolution was passed on 1 July 1946 – constructors came to work at once. Time was short, so new motorcycle had to be based on an earlier succesful construction. DKW RT 125 was chosen; no doubt a good choice. IFA, Moskwa, BSA, even Harley-Davidson also have copied from it. New motorbike was named Sokół („Falcon”) to continue tradition. Sokół was most famous pre-war Polish motorcycle.

Two CBT teams worked on this vehicle (CBT stands for Centralne Biuro Techniczne, Central Technical Bureau). Bielsko division (guided by Fryderyk Blümke, who was chief engineer at Stránský & Stainhagen before the war) was responsible for the engine. Warsaw division, guided by Stefan Poraziński, designed the rest of the vehicle. Documentation was ready in 1947 and four prototypes were built. Sokół 125, as it was called, was a three-speed lightweight machine with 123cc two-stroke S01 engine, 4,3 HP. 4,3 HP isn't much, but the vehicle weighted only 70 kg, so it was sufficient power.

[img] On 22 July 1947 two prototypes were presented in Ministry of Industry and Trade by Tadeusz Heryng, an ingenieur from pre-war Sokół team (to the left you can see Heryng and Cegłowski with Sokół 125 prototype). Prototype was approved and production was started soon. Engines were manufactured in aerial industry factory near Wrocław, frames – in a bike factory near Katowice, and the final vehicle was assembled in Warsaw. Sokół 125 motorbikes were sold from 1948.

[img]Sokół 125 was a simple, yet well-designed and trustworthy machine. It had low fuel consumption and it was able to cope with bad country roads. All Sokół 125 motorbikes looked the same, except for a few racing or exhibition specimens; they were painted black, with white stripes and white-gold-red logo on both sides of fuel tank. Very few parts were chromed. There was only one saddle in a standard version, passenger's seat could be bought separately. A thick lamp glass was marked with A.Marciniak logo (first 1500 motorbikes) or ZWAO sign (later).

When Sokół 125 was introduced, production of pre-war SHL motorbike was resumed in Ludwików Steelworks, Kielce. Post-war SHL 125 had the same S01 engine (pre-war model was sold with made-under-license Villiers engine) but its frame was much simpler. It was welded from c-shaped bars, while Sokół 125 frames were made from imported seamless steel pipes. That's why SHL turned out to be much cheaper, and production of Sokół 125 was discontinued in 1950. About 2000 of them were manufactured.