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When Radmeister came to the Netherlands


The Radmeister Family. By: Jan Preuthun

In addition to cars, DKW Auto Union also made motorcycles. Perhaps inspired by Hitler’s idea of "cars for everyone", Auto Union designed an everyman’s motorcycle called Radmeister before WWII. It never reached production, however, as Germany’s heavy industry came under the strict control of the Wehrmacht soon after.

After the War, German engineers were exported to the allied countries’ flagging industries, as part of the war reparations.


One of these engineers was Bernhard Neumann from Auto Union, who came to Holland to do service there. He had managed to "save" the blueprints for the Radmeister from DKW – Auto Union.


The illustration to the left doesn’t show the original, but the version which was completed in Holland and later manufactured in both the UK and Germany.

Above: the finished M14 version of the German motor wheel in the English embodiment that went under the name of “CycleMaster” (I’ve “borrowed” the pictures somewhere on the Internet, but I’m afraid I can’t remember where).


However, a crisis prevented the development of the M14 model from being completed, so the engineers simply mounted a friction wheel on the motor unit and, hey presto, a VeloSolex copy had been created.


The model was named “Berini”, after three of the project members, viz. Bernhard, Rinus and Nico, and was given the model designation M13.


The motor could also be used for other purposes.

Thus, an outboard boat motor, the BoatMaster M15, (left) was created, and also a stationary motor called the LandMaster M17 (above).

The above two pictures are borrowed from the writer of the interesting and beautyfull book “Rijwielhulpmotoren - de collectie van Jan Bosveld” ISBN : 978-90-902759-8, by Joost Heesakkers. You can buy it here

An adaptation of the same motor allowed it to be used as a crank-mounted motor with roller transmission. This is the Dutch Berini CycleStar M19.

Another possibility was to merely alter the mounting of the motor wheel a little, allowing the M14 motor to be mounted on the crank of a bicycle.


This picture shows the English version, which had chain drive and went under the name of CycleMate.

In Germany, the Rabeneick M53 with belt drive.


It was imported to Denmark by Nellemann & Drewsen, who christened it “Hunter Master”.


The picture to the left shows a specimen currently on display at the Museum in Sæby.

For the front suspension, one of the German engineers, Oskar Siebler from Schweningen - Holland, developed this simple swinging-fork suspension.


The patent archives reveal that he worked for Auto Union in Chemnitz before and during the war. Following his stay in Holland, he worked for Auto Union, which had relocated to Ingolstadt/Donau after the war.


DE840361 Federung insbesondere für Fahrräder mit Hilfsmotoren und lichte Motorräder.

Application filed December 7th in Germany.

Bernhard Neumann worked for Auto Union A-G in Chemnitz until and perhaps also during WW2. Patent applications from Auto Union from that time show that he was mainly involved in car design.


The patent DK84676C was granted in 1958; suspension device for auxiliary motor with friction-wheel drive for bicycles.

An initial application had already been filed in Germany on December 2nd (DE909416)


No Berini models came out of this idea.


Nico Groenendijk arrived at the egg-shape of the Berini M13’s tank by soldering two headlights together.


In Holland the motor has earned the appropriate nickname of ‘Eitje’ (=egg).


The reserve function is achieved by simply having a wall inside the tank, so that not all the fuel has direct access to the tap.


Should the need arise, the bike can simply be tipped on its nose, giving enough fuel for a further 10 km.

Willy Patzelt, who I have unfortunately been unable to find more information about, is listed as the inventor of GB669268


A bicycle driving set mounted in the spokedrum of a hub of a driven roadwheel. Patent filed on September 5th 1950.


The idea of the patent for the mounting of the large sprocket so that it takes up as little space as possible across the width of the bike.


In the preferred embodiment shown far left, the sprocket is also a stressed element in the construction.

The motor had a rotary valve.


It could inadvertently be incorrectly assembled by being turned 180 degrees after a repair.


As the concept “politically correct” had not yet been invented, this was an acceptable method for checking the valve’s function.


Picture translation:

5) Blow air (prefferably mixed with smoke) into the admission tube.

6) Turn the flywheel in the same direction, as the engine rotates, until the smoke passes through the orifice in the crossmember.

Here is the Danish version of the Berini M13.


As can be seen on the picture, it was imported by Axel Ketner of Copenhagen.

I’d been wanting to do a little picture series on the Berini M13 and its happy owner for a long time ......


..... and I was finally able to on December 10th 2006. Luckily the sun was shining from an azure blue sky that day.


I had been asked over by musician Niels Jensen, who wanted to demonstrate his Berini, which he uses regularly for ever-day transport:


“Well that’s what it was made for, isn’t it?”, he says.

I just want to get a side view before it’s taken out for a spin...

...and from the other side.


The bike has a good and sturdy frame.


Many veteran enthusiasts would probably find the non-period carrier box and wire lock innapropriate, but says Niels:


“it is practical to be able to lock the moped securely and carry things on it”.


The setting is “De Gamles By” in Copenhagen.

Now it’s time to see it go, so the petrol tap is opened...


Note the handsome aluminium front wheel with drum brake.

10 meters, and it springs to life.

It’s difficult to keep up your pessimism when riding this wonderful machine on a sunny day.

It makes no more than a faint purr, when it goes past at full throttle.

After an enjoyable morning, one detail still remains to be demonstrated. The petrol cap has an in-built measuring cup, making it easier to get the oil/petrol mix right.

When Radmeister Came to Holland. By: Jan Preuthun


In addition to cars, DKW Auto Union manufactured motorcycles. Perhaps inspired by Hitler’s idea of “cars for everyone”, Auto Union designed an everyman’s motorcycle before WWII called Radmeister. It never made production, however, as Germany’s heavy industry came under the strict control of the Wehrmacht” soon after.


Development of the motor wheel wasn’t continued until after the war, but ended up giving rise to a whole little family of machinery. The common trait of the family lies in the driving unit, i.e. the cylinder and head, piston, crank and rotary valve. The “children” of the family are the various primary and secondary drive mechanisms and positionings of the drive unit on the bike. This will be further explained below.


After WWII, Germany was to pay war reparations to the allies. Both Ivan and Uncle Sam were eager to use the skilled German engineers for the rebuilding of their industries. Those Germans who were able to fled to the west, and at least two of them ended up as prisoners of war in Holland, where the allies had set up the organization “INTERPRO”, International Ingenieursbureau voor de Ontwikkeling van Industriele Projecten N.V., Den Haag”, whose job it was to support Holland’s ailing industries and help get the most out of the work of the Germans.


Bernhard Neumann and Oskar Siebling, who had both worked for DKW Auto Union, ended up working for car and motorcycle importers HNG (Hart, Nibbrig & Greeve NV), Parkstraat in Den Haag. They were to help complete development of a small 2-stroke car from Auto Union, but the project stranded due to lack of finances. Meanwhile, Bernhard Neumann had brought with him from Germany the blueprints for the Radmeister, which was a rear wheel for a bicycle with a built-in motor, tank and exhaust.


HNG liked the idea of building a motorwheel for bicycles, so they had their own designers Rinus Bruynzel, Nico Groenendijk and Willy Patzelt (I’m not sure whether the latter was Dutch or German) continue development with Neumann and Siebling to realize the idea. However, development problems led to a change of direction for the project, so a motor that was almost identical to the one in the motorwheel ended up being mounted on a bicycle front fork with roller drive to the front tyre a la VeloSolex. This construction was named Berini M13 after three of the men working on the project, namely Bernhard, Rinus and Nico.


For production, HNG established the company “Motorenfabriek Pluvier” on May 31st 1949

(The word Pluvier means plover (the bird))-

In addition to using the little M1 motor themselves, they also exported it to a German bicycle and moped manufacturer, who mounted it in a bicycle and called the product “Panther Baby”.


In November 1949, when production and sales of the small (it weighed a mere 7 kg) motor had got going, development of the motorwheel was continued. It was introduced to the public at the Utrecht industrial show in April of 1950 and given the designation M14.


INTERPRO soon sold licences for production of the motorwheel to August Rabeneick of Germany, where it was marketed under the name “Taxi”, and to EMI Ltd. in England, who were faithful to its origins in simply calling it CycleMaster.


In 1952, the HNG marques launched CycleStar M19, where the motor had been adapted to crank mounting with roller transmission to the rear wheel. The front forks were sprung using rubber bands according to a patent created by Oskar Siebling.


The motor could also be used for other purposes however. Thus, an outboard boat motor, the BoatMaster M15, was created, and also a stationary motor called the LandMaster M16.


With a few modifications to the mounting, the motor gear unit used in the motorwheel M14 could also be crank mounted, as it was in the English CycleMate with chain drive to the rear wheel and the German Rabeneick M53 with belt drive to the rear wheel.


The motor was a great success in the first half of the ‘50s, as it was small, light and inexpensive. Despite its smallness, it had plenty of torque due to the rotary valve.


The company Axel Ketner imported the M13 in the form of a complete Berini moped, i.e. a sturdy ladies’ bicycle with a small engine mounted on the front forks. This came to compete directly with the VeloSolex 330. I still fail to understand why it didn’t win that race, as the Berini was much easier to ride than the 330. And the Axel Ketner version also had other advantages, such as aluminium rims, which don’t rust, and a drumbrake on the front wheel, which, unlike the Solex’s poor rim brakes, also works in rainy weather.


Another Danish company, Nellemann & Drewsen, imported the German M53, which they called “Hunter Master”.

Thanks to

Pictures of BoatMaster M15 and LandMaster M17 are borrowed from the writer of the interesting and beautyfull book “Rijwielhulpmotoren - de collectie van Jan Bosveld” ISBN : 978-90-902759-8, by Joost Heesakkers. You can buy it here

Writer Joost Heesakkers, The Netherlands

email: hulpmotor@hetnet.nl

Picture of the CycleMate.

Smith’s Autocycles http://www.autocycles.co.uk

Picture of Berini M13 pamphlet.

Tom Nielsen, Tejn

For demonstration ride and morning coffee.

Niels Jensen

For research, translation and proof reading.

Erik Nurup

For historic proof reading and pictures.

Joen Jensen

For translation of this article into english.

Niels Coley

Dear reader. Should you have any information that can shed further light on this subject, please write to: preuthunATveteranknallert.dk