Victoria was a manufacturer of bicycles in Nurnberg, Germany that manufactured motorcycles from around 1901 until 1966. A lesser-known, unrelated Victoria Motorcycle Company in Glasgow, Scotland that manufactured motorcycles between 1902 and 1928 should not be confused with this.
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In 1920 Victoria introduced the KR 1 model, which is fitted with a 494 cc BMW twin-cylinder side-valve flat twin (boxer engine) mounted longitudinally in the frame. The engine produced 6.5 bhp (4.8 kW), and a two-speed gearbox transmission.
When BMW started producing its own bikes, Victoria decided to produce its own engines. In 1923 Victoria introduced its KR 2, a flat twin overhead valve (OHV) producing nine horsepower (6.7 kW). This was followed in 1924 by Victoria with the KR 3, which produces 12 horsepower (8.9 kW) and has a 3-speed gearbox. In 1925 Victoria designed the first forced induction engine in Germany, and in 1926 a 496 cc Victoria set a 165 km / h (102.5 MPH) Land motorcycle speed record. Victoria launched the 596 cc KR VI or KR 6 in 1927. The factory offered a high-speed sport model with twin carburetors based on this model, which produced 24 bhp (18 kW), later called the KR 7.
In 1932, Victoria won the European Hill Climb Championship sidecar class with a 600 cc unit, and subsequently sold a 20 bhp (15 kW) model and a four-speed gearbox as the KR 6 Bergmeister. At the same time, it sold the KR 15 and KR 20 Z models with 150 cc and 200 cc two-speed engines supplied by ILO.
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In 1933–1945 Victoria introduced a parallel twin of 500 ccs, the KR 8. This had a side-valve engine almost horizontally inclined downwards with its cylinder head. This put the valves underneath the head of the cylinder, where the exhaust valves had been overheated.
In 1934, the National Socialist government prohibited the importation of foreign components which ended the use of Sturmey-Archer engines by Victoria.
In 1935 Victoria revised the peculiar exhaust over inlet (EOI) valve arrangement of the KR 8 engine, and named the resulting model the KR 9 Fuhrmeister. Using EOI on an almost horizontal engine, the exhaust valves were put at the front in cooler air, and overheating was solved. Unfortunately, the difficulty and expense of production and maintenance increased as well. After 1935, Victoria ceased the KR 9.
The 350 ccs KR 35 B and KR 35 G versions with Lackler proprietary cylinder heads were also launched by Victoria in 1935. The first KR 35 Sport with Columbus engine was built in 1937. In the same year, Victoria introduced a new two-stroke KR 20 LN Lux and KR 25 S Aero models which were developed by Richard and Xaver Küchen with flat-topped piston engines. In 1938 Victoria offered the KR 35 SN (18 bhp) and KR 35 SS (20 bhp) Columbus-engined versions. Simultaneously Victoria extended its two-stroke repertoire with the lightweight V 99 Fix, V 109 Fix (which was a female variant of the V 99 Fix), KR 12-N and KR 15-N.
The production of the KR 35 Pionier nearly stopped in 1939 during the Second World War, though limited development continued until at least 1942. The production hall at Victoria factory was seriously damaged in 1945.
Victoria began production again in 1946 with the 38 cc FM 38 bicycle engine. The company resumed the manufacturing of the pre-war KR 25 Aero model in 1949. In 1950 Victoria introduced the 99 cc V 99 BL-Fix, and with a telescopic front fork modernized the KR 25 Aero. The company also manufactured the Vicky I and Vicky II models using the FM 38 bicycle engine. By the end of the year, KR 25 Aero production was 14,000 per year, and the model was fitted with Jurisch plunger rear suspension from 1951 on.
Victoria further evolved its famous model as the KR 26 Aero in 1953 and extended its range with the new V 35 Bergmeister, designed by Küchen. The V 35 is a four-stroke V-twin, which produces 21 bhp (16 kW), 350 cc OHV. The V 35’s powertrain incorporates primary chain drive to the gearbox with rear-wheel shaft drive. The Bergmeister was highly built and very costly to buy. Because of poor sales, only about 1000 motorcycles could be produced before the model was scrapped. The Bergmeister is today one of the world’s rarest motorcycles with only a few known survivors.
Victoria launched the Peggy motor scooter in 1955, which has a two-stroke, 200 ccs fan-cooled engine, and an electric starter. Even in the same year, the company sold the technically advanced-but ultimately costly-motorcycle KR 21 Swing.
In 1957 Victoria introduced a new model imported from Parilla in Italy with a four-stroke 175 cc OHV engine: the KR 17 Parilla.
Victoria merged with DKW and Express Werke AG in 1958, creating Zweirad Union, which continued the name Victoria for mopeds like the Vicky and motor scooters. Hercules took over Zweirad Union in 1966 and finished the production of Victoria.