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 Universal - 500 Sport
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Universal Sport motocyclette motorrad motorcycle vintage classic classique scooter roller moto scooter
Photo ou archives : H. Krackowizer

Capacity : 500
Model : Sport
Production : 1938 -
Category : (R) Street Bike


500 Sport ·1938

Pure-bred Swiss

Universal, a famous Swiss motorcycle manufacturer, was founded at Willisau, near Lucerne, in 1928 by Dr. Antonio Vedovaborn in the Italian-speaking district of Ticino.

Working with JAP

The firm moved to Oberrieden in 1936, and established its reputation by working with English engine manufacturer J.A. Prestwich. A wide range of JAP singles and V-twins appeared in Universal bikes, and Universal's participation in hill-climbs - in competition against Motosacoche and Condor – was successful in the sidecar class with a 1000cc JAP V-twin outfit. Among the leading Swiss riders who rode for Universal were Kirsch, Haldemann and Hans Taveri (elder brother of Luigi, who became World Champion).

Own-Make Engines

When JAP cut back on racing engines to concentrate on speedway units, Universal was forced to develop its own power units, of which this ohv 500 was the final pre-WWII example. Universal manufactured a flat-twin, similar to the BMW, initially with side-valves (later overhead-valves), telescopic forks and rear suspension. This ohv 500cc single had little in common with the JAP engine. It had coil ignition rather than magneto, the valve gear was totally enclosed and the pushrods were concealed behind a large aluminum cover. The valves had hairpin springs, and, though the gearbox was still supplied from England by Burman, the dynamo was a Swiss-made Scintilla.


Engine: 491cc (86x85mm) air-cooled singlecylinder

four-stroke; dry-sump lubrication

Power Rating: 22 hp @ 5,000 rpm

Valves: overhead

Fuel System: carburetor

Transmission: 4-speed left-hand pedal-shift, chain final drive

Suspension: girder forks (front); plunger (rear)

Brakes: drum (front & rear)

Wheels: 3.25x19 inch (front); 3.50x19 inch (rear)

Weight: 408 lb

Maximum Speed: 81 mph


The 1938 Universal Sport was elegant from any angle. It had plenty of chrome and polished aluminum to delight the eye, and the big brakes and rigid frame guaranteed good road manners.

Le fichier Moto Passion réalisé par François-Marie Dumas réunit près de deux mille photos accompagnées d'un historique très complet des machines présentées.
Il sera progressivement mis à jour ici et toute information complémentaire est la bienvenue sur info@moto-collection.org.

Cette documentation unique, qui constitue sans doute l'encyclopédie la plus exhaustive jamais écrite sur l'histoire de la moto, a été réalisée avec l'assistance de nombreux spécialistes dont principalement Didier Ganneau, Christophe Gaime, Mick Woollett, Jean Goyard, Bernard Salvat, Christian Rey, Yves Campion, Helmut Krackowizer, Michael Dregni, Michel Montange, etc. que je remercie ici.

Disponible sur demande :
- Les fiches originales sur papier
- Les photos et archives signées de mon nom en haute définition ou les documents originaux.
Me contacter sur info@moto-collection.org pour les conditions et droits d'utilisation.