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IFA BK 350 1956


IFA BK 350 from 1956. The motorcycle was produced in German Democratic Republic in former DKW factory. It was their first afterwar design. First shown in 1951 in Leipzig as „DKW-Zweizylindermaschine”. Mass production started in the end of 1952 and lasted until 1959 (see also: MZ BK 350). The motorcycle was fitted with two-stroke two-cylinder boxer engine 343cc with two carburettors, 15 HP at 5000 rpm, and Cardan shaft drive („BK' stands for „Boxer-Kardan”). Top speed about 120 kph.

[img]„As far as engine layouts go, you can’t get much weirder than the BK350′s air-cooled two-stroke boxer twin. But when you think about it, the format makes lots of sense, at least by the somewhat twisted Eastern Block way of thinking common behind the Iron Curtain.The lack of overhead valves helped keep the overall width of the horizontal cylinders fairly narrow, and the two opposed pistons provided perfect primary balance. Since the two cylinders shared the same intake timing and worked in concert to create the precisely timed vacuum/compression/transfer cycle required to feed air and fuel to the combustion chambers, they could therefore share a common crankcase cavity. As a result, the cylinder offset was unusually narrow for a two-stroke. This helped quell secondary vibration (or “rocking couple”) as effectively as a 4-stroke boxer, which is to say, better than any typical two-stroke.

Most importantly—given the prevailing social and economic conditions in Soviet satellite countries in the ’50s—it achieved this smoothness while remaining simple, simple, simple. The design for the 350cc BK350 was originally proposed to DKW during World War II, but the design was rejected as inferior to the four-stroke boxer designs already in production. Once the Reds gained control of East Germany, the utter simplicity and utility of the two-stroke design was viewed more favorably by Der Kommissar than it had been by those bourgeois engineers of the former Reich. By the time the BK350 went into full production in 1953, DKW had morphed into the commie-run IFA. The design would be produced until 1959, two years after IFA was renamed “ Motorradwerk Zschopau,” or MZ as it became better known. With only 15-17 horsepower, the 350cc boxer was no powerhouse, and the electrics were a bit crude, even by contemporary standards. But it was attractive, rugged, durable, easily fixed with basic tools, and could be had with either a standard 4-speed transmission, or a set of lower ratios for sidecar duty. The engine’s resulting appearance is minimalist, yet surprisingly pleasing, very sculptural and undeniably elegant.” from