Swiss Army Bike – 1974 Condor A350

In Less than 5k, Standard by Jeffrey PamerLeave a Comment

How often is a great product held back by a single component? Car makers, musicians, and companies throughout history sometimes could have made something great if they had outsourced one piece of their product. An amazing guitar player sometimes can’t write a great song to save their life, but if they play someone else’s great song, they might have a hit. Motorcycle manufacturers do it too. A company has a great frame, and they buy an engine from another company. I mean, why try to build an engine from the ground up if you can buy a bullet proof engine from another manufacturer? Take a great frame, add a great engine, and get a great bike. It also often makes the most financial sense for smaller manufacturers.

Swiss company Condor first started making motorcycles in 1900 under the name Sheffer Freres. They later changed their logo to a condor and soon after renamed the company Condor-Werke AH. The company made some civilian bikes, but mostly did government contract work until the 1990’s when they shut their doors for good. Condor made some of their engines in house until the 1960’s when the company made the move to only outsource powerplants to their bikes. The Condor A350 military bike was manufactured from 1973 until 1978, and for this bike they bought the engine from Ducati. The A350 single cylinder engine was from the Ducati 350 scrambler. Condor made some changes to the engine to suit the military service it would be used for. The most notable change was that compression was reduced so the bike could run-on low-quality fuel out in the field. This resulted in a power output of just under 17 horsepower down for the original 25 that Ducati sold the engine with. Condor also outsourced the fork, the rear shocks and portion of the electrical system. The result was a reliable and rugged military motorcycle, so much so that the bike was still in use by the Swiss Army in 2001. For more information, check out this fascinating write up of the Condor A350 in Rider Magazine by Clement Salvadori in 2006.

The seller of this 1974 Condor A350 claims that it is all original although the back portion of the exhaust is missing the matte white pain that was on the military spec bike to keep it as understated and glare free as possible. It has 16,200 km on it and is claimed to run well. The bike even has the Sig rifle mounts on it, although the rifles in the pictures are wooden fakes. Not sure if they come with the bike, but they might attract the wrong kind on attention on the road anyways.

Find this 1974 Condor A350 in Lancaster California for $4,700 here on Craigslist.