When you think of rotary engines nowadays, Mazda is usually the first manufacturer to come to mind. In the early 70s, though, several companies were exploring the engine concept – three of whom were in the motorcycle space. Suzuki, Norton, and DKW all brought rotary-powered bikes to the market, but DKW was the first. Outside of the UK, it was sold as the Hercules Wankel 2000 (W2000), and while the engine was unconventional, everything else was as you’d expect. Bike magazine called it “an outstanding machine in its own right”, even ignoring the novel powerplant. Now we know that rotary power barely went anywhere, but this was a real breakthrough in the industry at the time.
The engine was actually a single-rotor air-cooled snowmobile engine built by Fichtel & Sachs. Displacing 294cc, the engine produced 23 horsepower (although that was later increased to 32.) Cooling was taken care of by a large fan that you can see in front of the engine. Build quality was supposedly excellent, and the rotary engine barely yielded any vibration. It was supposedly very comfortable to ride, even up to the top speed of about 95 miles per hour. Want to learn more? Check out this writeup from Frank Melling over at Motorcycle-USA.
This specific Hercules Wankel 2000 (VIN: 480000788) has just one mile! It’s never been titled and it comes with the MSO. There’s some minor cosmetic issues, including deterioration of the grips and rear luggage strap. But the seller suggests hat a little elbow grease with cleanup will go a long way. The seller also recommends a complete service before you take it out on the road – but I suspect that with just one mile on it, this bike is going to to spend the rest of its life in a museum or similar.
Find this Hercules Wankel 2000 for sale in Wadsworth, Ohio with bidding up to $6,500 and the reserve not yet met