1981 Simson Schwalbe KR51/52 from Republic of Ireland


Brilliantly simple engineering at its best


Gear lever was almost sheared off when I got the bike, so ordered a new one straightaway. Nothing else.

General Comments:

These bikes are closely related to MZ, also from East Germany, and the 'Schwalbe' scooter is a bit like a cross between a Honda 50 and a Vespa. These scooters were built to last, with simple, almost unbreakable mechanics, and a durability and toughness that comes from rugged, simple engineering.

The engine always starts easily, and you can dispense with the choke almost immediately upon start-up. The two stroke burble is a delightful sound that one never tires of hearing.

The bike has 16" wheels, which is great as I'm over 6 feet tall and heavy build. I can ride the bike fine, which is rarely the case for me and small bikes. My bike is the 3 speed version and seems very fast for a 50cc bike, although the two stroke engine helps.

These scooters a true classic and fast disappearing nowadays. Get your hands on one and cherish it. If thinking of buying a Honda Cub or a Vespa, think again and buy a Schwalbe. They're better built and better to ride, and a lot less common.

Would you buy another motorcycle from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 29th April, 2012

30th Apr 2012, 04:44

Meant to add to the above review, the bike does 40 MPH and averages over 100 MPG. The large tank under the seat holds 7 litres, so you're not running to the garage every time you go for a spin.