Condor - 5 HP
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Condor D2-492-54-09
Photo ou archives : F-M. Dumas

Capacity : 750
Model : 5 HP
Production : 1905 - 1906
Category : (R) Street Bike


750cc Zürcher - 1905

Swiss record-breaker

Condor of Courfaivre (Jura) built its first motorcycle in 1901 , and after making a number of singles, the marque launched a series of powerful V-twins with ZL engines.

Dual Personality

ZL engines (also known as Zedel) were made at Saint-Aubin and took their name from the initials of the two founders of the firm, Ernest Zürcher and Hermann Luthi. The company's main sales were made in France, so in 1905, the partners established a French subsidiary just over the border in Pontarlier to avoid customs duties. In 1907, Zürcher, who had been running the Pontarlier factory, returned to Saint-Aubin, where he built a new factory for the production of cars and motorcycles.

Works Racer

This racer – allegedly the personal bike of Ernest Zürcher – was specially built in 1905 to capture Swiss national records. With it, in 1906, Kaspar made a record of 10 kilometers in 7 minutes, 7 seconds (52.4 mph) on the banked cycle track at La Hardau in Zurich. Its Swiss-made ZL power unit was related to the Pontarlier-built F-head racing V-twin engine, fitted between 1906 and 1911 to the French Griffon racers. But, unlike the French unit with conventional cams, the Swiss Zedel "Zürcher Special" engines had two superimposed face cams, one operating the side exhaust valves and the other actuating the overhead intake valve through pushrods and rockers. A flexible drive taken from the same shaft drove the commutator for the twin-coil trembler ignition, mounted beneath the flat -tank.


Engine: 707cc (75x80mm) air-cooled 45 degree V -twin four -stroke

Valves: side exhaust; overhead intake

Fuel System: Zedel carburetor

Transmission: direct drive by leather belt

Suspension: leading-link controlled by enclosed helical springs (front); rigid (rear)

Brakes: none

Wheels: 26x2.5 inch wire clincher (front & rear)

Weight: 121 lb

Maximum Speed: 50 mph

The mechanical intake valves of the Condor racer's ZL engine are very much an additional feature; the intake pipes are otherwise identical to those fitted with automatic valves.

Motorcycle encyclopedia Moto Passion, realised by François-Marie Dumas, include almost 2000 photos presented with an exhaustive history of the motorcycles exhibited.

This unique collection has been realised with the participation of many specialists. With many thanks in particular to Yves Campion, Michael Dregni, Didier Ganneau, Jean Goyard, Helmut Krackowizer, Michel Montange, Christian Rey, Bernard Salvat, Mick Woollett, etc

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