August Rabeneick started a manufacturing company near Bielefeld (which was the origin for multiple bicycles and motorcycling manufacturers) in 1930. Initially, he produced grinding machines, and then went on to produce bicycles. It did not take very long for him to transition to motorcycles in 1933. Like many others, he transitioned the ability to make steel frames into a motorcycle business using engines from other companies such as Fictel&Sachs and Ilo.
The first machines were small displacement at 75cc and 98cc. Post-war, that transitioned to 125, 175, and eventually to 250cc two-stroke machines. Rabeneick further developed the relationship with Ilo to one that allowed him to brand their engines as his own. As the 1950s began, Rabeneick also went to smaller 50cc mopeds to make sure that the segment of the market needing very basic and efficient machines wa covered. They also produced a line of scooters which they rebranded as Binetta in the UK (sounds very Italian, si?).
Keeping with the theme of rebranding, Rabeneick struck a deal to produce the shaft-driven 500cc boxer twin from a company called….wait for it…..Universal, out of Switzerland, as his own. This gave him a complete range of machines from sub 50cc moped to the largest popular displacement at the time. Diversification was an attempt to stave off a declining market. The strategy was good enough to attract the attention of Fichtel&Sachs who then purchased Rabeneick in the late 1950s. However, the factory eventually closed and was sold to Hercules, although the brand lived on into the 1960s on a few mopeds.
2 Replies to “Rabeneick Rules Rebranding”
Interesting acquisitions and how various marques evolved to be competitive.
Todd, the more research we do, the more you discover how intertwined the marques were. It is particularly true in the mid-late 1950s when the post war efforts and the emergence of affordable cars forced mergers, acquisitions, and failures ! Thanks for your comments.