The latest in what seems like a never-ending line of old Marques brought back to life is Horex Motorcycles. The Rex Glassware company was located in Bad Homburg, Germany, and when it decided to get into the motorcycle manufacturing business in 1923, it determined that the best name was a combination of company and location called Horex. Founder Fritz Kleemann is said to have coined the slogan “Built for Bikers by Bikers”. The company established itself as a maker of quality single and twin cylinder bikes. In 1925 they acquired their engine maker Columbus. Capacities increased up to 800cc through the 1930s until the war suspended motorcycle production.

cybermotorcycle.comIn 1948, Horex resumed motorcycle production with the “new” motor developed right before the war. The new model was called the Regina, and it did fairly well for the company. It was the first Horex with rear suspension, as well as improved brakes, and the more powerful SB35 motor.  Horex then went on to introduce the Imperator and the Resident in the mid 1950s. However, these were being introduced into a climate of declining sales. Mopeds and scooters were produced to supplement sales, as well as parts for automaker Mercedes Benz. Despite all of these efforts,  Horex could not survive, and in 1960 they were acquired by Mercedes Benz, and two-wheeled production ceased.

But that is not the end of the story…In 2007, rights to the name were acquired, and earlier this summer, the new motorcycle was unveiled. This is not the best timing for introducing a new motorcycle, but there are some impressive partners involved including Volkswagen and Bosch. The new bike sports a ground breaking engine. It is a triple camshaft supercharged 6-cylinder engine !! The motor is a VR6 (sound familiar VW fans?) and the narrow profile and extra cyclinders allow for good packaging and 175+ HP. Europe is the initial market, but other countries including the USA are envisioned in the near future.

It turns out that BMW is not the only German motorcycle manufacturer rolling out six cylinders this year. However, while the BMW is already in well-established showrooms, the Horex is hoping to get to that same place at some point soon..

4 Replies to “Horex Motorcycles”

  1. Dear Classic Velocity Blog (Wayne T):

    One cannot help but notice certain design characteristcs of the Horex 1955 Imperator and a BMW "Toaster." One has to wonder which came first: the Oreo or the Hydrox Cookie. SAnd I would be curious to see the Horex 6-cyclinder up close and personal, as it seems to utilize the familiar hump-back look, but minus the "Transformer" monster bling.

    Well-written as usual. I am going to buy one of your hats.

    Fondest regards,
    Jack • reep • Toad
    Twisted Roads

  2. My friend Dave is always buying and selling motorbikes. About 4 or 5 years ago, he had this vintage Horex that he offered to sell to me. I took a look at it and it was all there and in very good condition but I did not buy the bike and for the life of me, I don't know why. It was a very interesting and intriguing motorbike. This is one of my bigger regrets. That one and the………… '51 BMW R51/3, the ''61 BSA Goldstar DBD34, the '67 Triumph 650 TR6,…….etc. etc.
    Keep up the good work. I love reading your moto-blog, it is the best in my opinion.

  3. Dear Jack,

    I continue to find strong similarities between the German machines of old. There had to have been some fraternizing at the old biergarten. Cheers.

  4. Dear Todd,

    I am way behind on responding, but thanks for your comments. I can see by your list of regrets that you have great taste. However, I know you must have some excellent "find" stories where you ended up making the purchase. So many bikes, never enough time and money eh?……Cheers

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