A two-stroke bobber from the founding city of MZ…
MZ, which stands for Motorenwerke Zschopau (Zschopau Engine Works), began building motorcycles in 1922, making them one of the world’s oldest motorcycle manufacturers, and the factory would be a leader in two-stroke engine development up through the 1950s, spearheaded by race engineer Walter Kaaden. In fact, the factory race team looked like they might beat Honda for the 1961 125cc championship until their star rider, Ernst Degner, defected from East Germany and took Kaaden’s plans and secrets to Suzuki — a spy scandal detailed in one of our favorite books, Max Oxley’s Stealing Speed.
The ETZ 250 was the company’s first road-going machine to boast automatic oil injection and a front disc brake. The ETZ 250A was built for the GDR (German Democratic Republic) military forces, and was exported and used in several other Eastern Bloc nations as well. Today, this two-stroke single remains a popular club-racing mount in the UK, as championed by the BMZRC or British MZ Racing Club.
Enter our new friends Konstantin Moser of Wertvoll Engineering and Andreas Bellmann of Bellpali Motorradmanufaktur, who have a workshop in Chemnitz, Germany, just 15 mins from the original MZ factory in East Germany. Konstantin began building bikes to help finance his engineering studies, and has been collaborating with Andreas of Bellpali for about a year. Together, they’re combining their skills in engineering and hand-craftsmanship to build custom bikes.
Given their proximity to the legendary MZ factory, they decided to build a custom ETZ 250. They kept the engine and iconic “buffalo” tank so the bike would remain recognizable as an MZ, but the frame and swingarm are completely custom. Gone is the factory twin-shock setup, replaced with a mono-shock chassis and custom Hyperpro shock absorber. They bored the engine to nearly 350cc, so this two-smoker has around 40% more displacement than stock — quite the punch!
Below, we get the full story on this East German smoker, along with more stunning shots from photographer Peter Heger (@peter_deepkult).
MZ ETZ 250: Builder Interview
To the motorbike, this Mz Etz 250 comes from a cooperation between Wertvoll Engineering (Konstantin Moser) and Bellpali Motorradmanufaktur (Andreas Bellmann). I (Konstantin Moser) used to build bikes on my own and used them to finance my engineering studies.
For one year I have been working together with Bellpali Motorradmanufaktur, and we are trying to combine handicraft and engineering. Since we have our workshop in Chemnitz (former DDR East Germany and founding city of MZ), we thought to upgrade the old east sheet metal.
The MZ comes with its complete handmade frame and swingarm. We kept the engine and the buffalo tank to keep the recognition value. The optimally-tuned chassis with the two-stroke engine bored to almost 350 ccm makes riding really fun. We are still at the beginning of our story and have big projects in the pipeline — I think it will be fun to follow us!