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Daimler Reitwagen Wooden Motorcycle Replica Hits The Auctions!

This replica of the Daimler Reitwagen wooden motorcycle from the 1880s is expected to sell for around $20,000!

An exact replica of what’s often considered to be the world’s first wooden motorcycle is about to hit the auctions. This copy of the Daimler Reitwagen is expected to sell for a whopping $20,000 – which is not bad money for a replica. It might be a copy, but it’s in full working order and pays homage to the early days of motorcycling. The original Daimler Reitwagen was a wooden motorcycle built in 1885 and came powered by a small 264 cc air-cooled, four-stroke, single cylinder engine. And that’s exactly what makes the Daimler Reitwagen so special – there are older motorcycles out there, but the Daimler was the first that wasn’t steam powered. Sources do argue on that matter, but the Daimler is generally considered to be the first of its kind.

The FIRST wooden motorcycle? The Daimler Reitwagen?

It was originally built as a rolling test bed for engine tuning, a wheeled machine that could be tuned on the go – however, it was such a success as an invention that the idea naturally evolved. While it wasn’t a performance powerhouse, boasting a meager 0.5 hp at 600 rpm and a top speed of 6.8 mph, it was the start of something revolutionary that would change the world. Unfortunately, Gottlieb Daimler’s original Reitwagen was destroyed by fire back in 1903. Fortunately, thanks to the work of an unnamed aficionado who meticulously studied drawings and photographs of the old machine, a faithful replica has been created. Built in 2015, it’s now going to auction at the National Motor Museum, Beaulieu, in Hampshire in the United Kingdom, on September 2.

Here’s what an auction house spokesperson had to say about the interesting item: “The Reitwagen was the first modern motorcycle and thus of great historical significance, so it’s no surprise that someone was compelled to build a replica […] There is an even greater demand for examples such as this because the original was destroyed in a fire, so no one will ever get their hands on it.

“The build of the one we’re selling now has been completed to an exceptional standard, the craftsmanship is quite incredible. It would have taken countless man hours and endless dedication to complete. Something like this will be of interest to any motorcycle enthusiast as well as those interested in the early history of vehicle production.”

This replica stands as a fitting tribute to the work of Daimler and Maybach, and it has been built with incredibly accurate details, from the steel reinforced timber frame, to iron tired cart wheels, and a good old fashioned horse type saddle. It also comes with the pre-requisite stabilizers to keep the rider upright. The wooden motorcycle made its maiden voyage back in 1885 when Daimler’s son rode it on a 7.5 mile round trip…but we don’t expect the new owners to be so bold with it. It’s a great collector’s piece, but we doubt that it’s much of a pleasure to ride…

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Joe Appleton
About Joe Appleton

I’ve done a bit of work here and there in the industry – I’ve even ridden a few bikes for actual money but what it comes down to is this: I ride bikes, build bikes and occasionally crash ‘em too. I like what I like but that certainly doesn’t make my opinion any more valid than yours…

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