Münch (motorcycles)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Münch Mammut 4 1200 TTS
Münch Mammut Motorradmuseum Ibbenbüren.jpg
The Münch Mammut 1200 carburetor model with 10 in (250 mm) front drum brake
Also calledMammut (German), Münch 4 1200
PredecessorMünch-4 TTS 1100
Successor4 1200 TTS-E
ClassSport touring
Engine1,177 cc (71.8 cu in), inline transverse four cylinder SOHC with two twin-choke Weber carburetors[1]
Bore / stroke75 mm × 66.6 mm (2.95 in × 2.62 in)
Top speed137 mph (220 km/h)
Power88 bhp (66 kW) @ 6,000 rpm
Ignition typeBattery and coil, Bosch 400 watt, 6 volt generator
TransmissionGear primary-drive to four speed gearbox with wet multiplate clutch, enclosed-chain final drive
Frame typeTwin loop cradle
SuspensionTelescopic front forks and rear swinging arm
Brakes10 in (250 mm) front drum,[2] rear drum
Weight656 lb (298 kg) (wet)

Münch was a German motorcycle manufacturer which, during the 1960s, produced the Mammut, a four-cylinder motorcycle using an NSU car engine.

Hugo Wilson wrote of the founder Friedel Münch [de]:

Münch produced many prototype and racing machines, but the Mammoth is his most famous motorcycle – it was simply the fastest, most powerful, most expensive bike of its time.[1]

Limited production began in 1966. The 'Mammut' name was never used officially as the "Maschinenfabrik Berner & Co" owned the copyright to the name after having used it in the interwar years. Münch's motorcycles were sold as "Münch TT" instead.

Early history[edit]

Friedel Münch began his career as a mechanic and engine tuner in the late 1940s, working especially with Horex motorcycles.[3] The Horex factory noted the success of his home-tuned racers, and offered Münch a job in their competition department.

When Horex ceased motorcycle manufacture in 1956, Friedel Münch purchased the remaining stocks of motorcycles and spares, and sold his own race-tuned Horex cafe racers from his workshop in Altenstadt, Germany.

Early Mammuts[edit]

Machines were hand-built to order from Münch's workshop in Nieder-Florstadt, Friedberg, West Germany.

Friedl Münch was given a commission to build in 1966 a special for Jean Murit, a famous French former sidecar road-racer, who was then-President of the BMW Club of France and organiser of the Chamois Rally, a summertime motorcyclists' gathering at high altitude in the Alps.[4]

Münch used a 996 cc air-cooled NSU Motorenwerke engine having a chain-driven single overhead camshaft housed in a specially-built, brazed-up steel tube frame based on Norton Featherbed principles. Customers could choose from one, two or four carburetors, with options for 43 or 52 bhp. A four-speed gearbox connected to a gear primary-drive and enclosed-chain final drive, and the front brake was one of Münch's famous 10 in (250 mm) units.[2]

In July 1966, Murit rode his new bike at the head of a procession from the Val d’Isère up to Col de l'Iseran, Europe's second-highest mountain pass.[5]


Münch 1200 TTS-E right side

In 1966 he created the Mammut, installing an NSU 996 cc overhead camshaft, 4 cylinder automobile engine with 55 hp into a tubular loop frame of his own construction. The machine weighed a reasonable 480 lbs, with a maximum speed of 115 mph – good for the era. The front brake was a massive 10 in (250 mm) magnesium casting.

Münch 4 1200 logo.JPG

In 1968, Münch used the new 1177 cc NSU TTS car engine for a revised machine, which he called the Münch4 1200TTS. The new engine gave 88 hp, and the machine was prone to break the heavy-duty spokes on the rear wheel, so Münch developed a unique and much stronger cast magnesium rear wheel, while retaining a spoked wire wheel up front. The fuel tank and side panels were made of hand-hammered aluminum, while the seat, headlamp binnacle, wheels and brakes were magnesium. Despite the extensive use of lightweight materials, the Mammut weighed 650 lbs. American motorcycle entrepreneur Floyd Clymer invested in the Münch brand from 1968, marketing the bike in US as Clymer-Münch Mammoth IV with the slogan "Built up to a standard, not down to a price". Clymer died before serious production could commence.[6][7]

Münch 1200 TTS-E left side

The Münch, being a hand-built machine, was always expensive, and in 1969 sold for $3,995, while the BMW R69S sold for $1,695.[8] Built to order after a $1,000 initial payment, the total price included duty, excise tax and air freight to any location in the United States.[7]

1200 TTS-E Einspritzer showing belt-driven Kugelfischer fuel injection pump with injectors fitted into manifold

The 1200TTS model was originally fitted with a pair of Weber 40DCOE carburetors, but by 1973 Kugelfischer mechanical fuel injection was available (designated Model 1200 TTS-E – Einspritzer – the German word for injection), which gave 100 hp.

It is estimated less than 500 machines were produced.[8]

Notable Münch owners in the USA include Jay Leno and the late Malcolm Forbes (two, one of which he gave to Elizabeth Taylor).[citation needed] The 2010 French film Mammuth follows Gérard Dépardieu's character Serge Pilardosse on a journey through his past, riding a Münch "Mammut" 1200 TTS. George Barber owns a 1972 Munch Mammut TTS and is on display at Barber Motorsports Museum in Leeds, Alabama.


  1. ^ a b Wilson, Hugo. (1993) The Ultimate Motor-Cycle Book pp.54-55 Münch Mammut 4 1200 TTS. Dorling Kindersley ISBN 0751300438 Accessed and added 2014-07-08
  2. ^ a b Motor Cycle, 3 February 1966, pp.142-143 On the Four Winds by 'Nitor'. Accessed and added 2014-07-08
  3. ^ "Friedel Münch".
  4. ^ Motor Cycle, 3 February 1966, pp.142-143 On the Four Winds by 'Nitor'. "Other orders are said to have come from England, Switzerland and Germany. For anyone interested, Münch's address is 6361 Nieder-Florstadt, Friedberg (Hessen) West Germany". Accessed and added 2014-07-08
  5. ^ Motor Cycle, 29 July 1966, p.121, pp124-125 Rally in the clouds by Harry Louis. Accessed and added 2014-07-08
  6. ^ Motorcycle Mechanics, January 1968, p.17 Looking Ahead. "From the States comes news that the Indian Scout is to make a reappearance! The initial production figure is 1,000 machines and the man behind the deal is Floyd Clymer (same man who started the NSU Mammut machine).". Accessed and added 2014-07-10
  7. ^ a b Clymer-Münch Mammoth IV sales brochure. Floyd Clymer Products - World Distributors — Mammoth Motorcycles, 222 N.Virgil Avenue, Los Angeles, Calif., 90004 Accessed and added 2014-07-10
  8. ^ a b Hofmann, Otto (August 1, 2011). "The Münch Mammoth: 45 Years With Germany's First Superbike". Retrieved December 5, 2014.


  • Winni Scheibe: Die Legende Friedel Münch und seine Motorräder, German/English, 176 pages, 21 x 32 cm, Festeinband, with about 160 colour photographs, about 40 Photos b/w. Rösrath: Art Motor Verlag 1995, ISBN 3-929534-15-0.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]