Despite existing for some 90 years, Göricke-Werke AG has only been heard of by a few riders. The company was first founded in Bielfeld, Germany on Christmas Eve of 1874, initially going under the name Maschinenfabrik August Göricke (translated from German as “August Göricke Machinery Factory”). In the beginning the German outfit focused primarily on sewing and milking machines, but by 1895, Göricke had turned its attention to producing bicycles. Four years later the company would change its name to Bielefelder Maschinen- und Fahrradwerke AG, August Göricke (Machine and Bicycle Plant, August Göricke).
Around the turn of the century, the idea of strapping motors onto bicycles was taking off, and with a full bicycle production operation already underway and decades of experiencing producing small components, Göricke’s decision to enter the motorcycle production business was seemingly a very natural one. By 1903, the company debuted its first motorcycle model, and unlike the majority of marques, Göricke jumped straight into producing (what was then considered) larger displacement bikes. The brand did however, utilize professional competition as a means of both developing and promoting its offerings, leading to steady sales which enabled the manufacturer to develop additional models.
For the company’s first decade of moto production, it manufactured single-cylinder and V-twin powered models with displacements up to 500ccs. In 1907 Göricke unveiled an admittedly cooky three-wheeled car design, and though it didn’t do very well, it also didn’t leave the company financially strapped as it still had the necessary R&D funding to create a machine that in 1909 reportedly claimed the first ever motorcycle world speed record, albeit I couldn’t confirm this anywhere, plus, I was under the impression Glenn Curtiss clocked a world speed record in 1902.
With the outbreak of the first World War, Göricke shifted its attention to producing military products, forcing the company to cease production of civilian goods. Around 1921, Göricke returned to regular production, this time under the name of Göricke-Werke A.G.. While Göricke’s motorcycles were solid, modern machines upon their release, by the mid-1920’s its offerings were looking increasingly long in the tooth. Göricke had innovated very little, and was essentially selling “warmed over” versions of its existing singles and V-twins. In 1924 Göricke acquired the Fabula Company and started producing rebadged versions of the failed company’s flagship offering. From ’27 through ’33 Göricke built bikes powered by 346cc and 496cc MAG engines, though it would later source its power plants from Blackburne and Villiers as well.
Like the rest of manufacturers, Göricke was rocked pretty hard by the Great Depression, though it managed to survive a bankruptcy in 1929. That same year Göricke was acquired by a German-Netherlands consortium, at which point the German operation started mainly focusing on its bicycle production, seemingly thanks to the lower overhead and R&D costs. From ’33 to ’39 the company still produced motorcycles, although they were all of the lightweight commuter variety. At the dawn of the second World War, Göricke reverted to producing military hardware for the war effort. In ’41 Göricke-Werke merged with Maschinen- und Apparatebau Erich Nippel, becoming Göricke-Fahrrad-und Maschinenfabrik, Nippel & Co.
After the war, Göricke restarted regular production, again focused on small displacement motorcycle and mopeds as there was a dire need for cheap, economical transportation in post-WW2 Europe. Starting in ’49, Göricke began offering bikes powered by two-stroke Sachs and ILO (sometimes rebranded as Monark) mills ranging from 50cc up to 200cc’s. Despite the small displacement market being incredibly oversaturated and therefore competitive, Göricke managed to stick out from the crowd with its GÖ 175 model in ’53. The 175 remained in production for 6 years until Göricke introduced the comedically named 50cc “Super Sport”. The company also found success with an interesting three-wheeled motorcycle model powered by a 50cc Fitchel & Sachs lump (single wheel in back and two up front supporting a large utility basket/crate) that became a popular delivery/industrial vehicle.
Göricke also achieved satisfactory sales numbers with its range of mopeds, including the Diva and Regina models. The company attempted to go head to head with Adler, NSU, and DKW when it began developing a bike powered by a 250cc, ILO engine, though prior to it seeing production, the plug was pulled on the project. Unfortunately for Göricke, it seemed smooth sailing was now behind it, and around the late-1950’s, the global motorcycle market experienced a marked decline in sales. By 1964, Göricke was acquired yet again, this time by Pantherwerke AG.
Pantherwerke allowed its new subsidiary to continue producing bicycle models under its own name until the company ultimately closed its doors. Supposedly, a Göricke motorcycle was gifted to three-time President of Argentina, Juan Peron, who reportedly had the German bike reverse-engineered in an effort to kick-start the Federal Republic’s motorcycle industry. In 1983, after nine decades of production, Göricke finally closed its doors.
In the years that followed, Göricke motorcycles have become increasingly rare finds. In all fairness, Göricke’s bikes were average as hell. They didn’t boast any innovative technology or mechanical breakthroughs (at least not in its production bikes), and they were powered by Sachs engines. This makes Görickes that much more average, as Sachs was supposedly the largest producer of two-stroke motorcycle engines in Germany throughout the ‘50s and ’60s. Minimal information is available about Göricke machines, and what is out there is mostly in German.
After examining photos of all of the company’s tenth-liter models (the GÖ 98, GÖ 98TD, GÖ 98TH, GÖ 100, GÖ 100K, GÖ 100TH, GÖ 100/3K, GÖ 100/4 S), it would appear this particular example that is currently for sale is a GÖ 100/4 S, however the VIN plate says its a GÖ 100 S. The side panels, double bench seat, and Denfeld luggage rack point to this being a 100/4 S, though my guess is some accessories were tacked onto a stock 100 S, or the /4 S was an optional package or something.
The 100/4 S’s name was derived from the 6.9hp (at 5,750rpm), air-cooled, two-stroke, 97cc Sachs engine that powered the German scoot. According to advertising materials from Göricke, the 100/4 S’s Sachs mill was married to a four-speed transmission and had a claimed top-speed of just under 50 mph. Other standard features on the model included 16 x 3.00 wheels, a double tube frame, front telescopic fork with dampened spring legs, 2.9 gallon tank, “swing crank” kick-starter, two-person double bench seat, and 115mm front drum brake. The 100/4 S was supposedly only available in a color Göricke called “Metal Effect Anthracite”, though I think that may be a translation error, actually meaning “Metallic Anthracite”.
The current owner says they acquired this example while overseas in Germany last year where it was reportedly purchased from the bike’s original owner. This meant the sale included the original repair manual, a factory sales advertisement, and what the seller calls “other important documents”. The current owner also claims this Göricke still wears its original factory paint, which if true, is pretty awesome as the gold pinstripping, two-tone black and grey livery, and Göricke logos are all in pretty stellar shape for a 54-year-old motorbike.
The bike’s ad says this ’64 example underwent a professional restoration in Germany prior to being shipped to the US. The seller does openly admit this 100 S could still use some attention in specific areas such as the forks (which are said to show pitting). Having said that, the bike is reportedly very complete (including the original air-pump) and in running condition. Plus, only 12,558km (7,803 miles) have been put on the odo in the Göricke’s more than six decades since leaving the factory.
This 100 S is currently for sale and on display at Old Metal Classics, a cafe in South Florida that exhibits a myriad of rare vintage examples. You can find this 1964 Göricke 100(/4?) S (VIN: 54881) for sale here on Craigslist in West Palm Beach, Florida with a price of $3,850.