The largest publicly accessible collection of East German motorcycles in the world! So says the brochure for the 1 Berliner DDR Motorrad Museum, that is only a stones throw from the apartment we are renting in Berlin. I love classic motorcycles so, once I saw this place, there was no way that I’d miss a visit. Over 140 classic East German motorcycles in one place. All in immaculate condition and lovingly displayed. This is a ‘must-see’ for any motorcycle enthusiast.
Prior to this visit, my knowledge of East German bikes was very limited. In the mid 70’s I was familiar with the MZ 250cc bikes that were being sold in the UK. It was the in the midst of the Japanese motorcycle invasion and the MZs of the day couldn’t compete, either on looks or performance. In fact, they had a bad reputation and no self-respecting teenager would be seen dead riding one. I had a Suzuki GT250 myself and would never have bought an MZ. Many years later, I did own a more recent MZ 125cc bike in Bermuda that was a decent bike.
My limited knowledge of East German bikes left me totally unprepared for some of the absolutely beautiful machines that I would find in this museum. The design of the bodywork on some of the sidecars and scooters is awesome. I’ve no idea how reliable they were mechanically, but esthetically, they are gorgeous!
Here are a few more photos of the wonderfully designed bodywork on some of the East German sidecars and scooters:
But sidecars and scooters are only part of the museum’s exhibits, which are spread over two floors and over 800 square meters. Fellow members of the Bermuda Classic Bike Club will be interested to know that there is also a selection of 49cc mopeds on display.
Also amongst the exhibits are several military and police issue motorcycles.
MZ and Simson motorcycles make up a sizable segment of the exhibits, most of which I have never seen before.
This is an outstanding museum that is well worth the €6.50 admission fee. There was a sign requesting an additional €1 in order to take photos but, when I offered to pay, I was told that I didn’t need to. These days, people entering museums expect to be able to take photos. The owner would be better off removing the signs and just increasing the admission fee to €7.50. A motorcycle enthusiast is likely to take two hours to walk through this museum, examining different bits on each machine. Just taking a casual look at each bike could easily take an hour (that would be more than 2 bikes per minute). Some of these bikes are pieces of modern art. Time well spent!
The museum is tucked away and not easy to see unless passing, but is is an easy walk to get there from either Hackeser Markt or Alexander Platz. Definitely worth seeking out. Details can be found on the museum website.