1905 Herrenrad Victoria ‘Model 12’
Beaded Edge Tyres
This early German machine is one of the most ornately decorated bicycles I’ve seen. Although ornate gilt lettering throughout a bike was not uncommon in Germany at the time, it’s rare to find a 108-year-old example that’s so well-preserved. With so many bikes ridden into the ground, especially through two world wars, and the more recent destruction of original bikes through ‘restoration’ by hobbyists, this Victoria is a real treasure.
I found this machine in France; it was used during WW1. I bought it together with an American WW1 Columbia Military bicycle which was also in amazing original condition. They were parked in dry storage after 1918, and only recently saw the light of day.
The Victoria has now been serviced, and I managed to get 28″ beaded edge tyres sent to me by my friend in Germany. Although the size stated on the tyres is 28 x 1 1/2, they are a different size from normal 28 x 1 1/2 tyres!
The Victoria is ready to ride.
VICTORIA WERKE AG
The company started, like most motorcycle manufacturers, with bicycles. Founders Max Frankenstein Burger and Max Ottenstein started their company ‘Frankenstein Burger and Ottenstein Nuremberg’ in Nuremberg, in 1886. By 1888 they had manufactured 1000 Victoria bicycles. In 1895, the name became ‘Victoria Fahrradwerke AG,’ abbreviated to ‘Victoria Werke AG’ in 1899 and they made their first motorcycles in 1901, using Cudel and Fafnir engines. With the company’s success, the original founders, being Jewish, were forced out and replaced with Government-approved directors.
With the need, after WW2, for auxiliary engines (a limit was fixed on Germany by the Allies on how many larger-engines vehicles could be made), a 38cc Victoria FM 38 cycle-attachment engine was sold, between 1946 and 1954.