Edgars Ērmanis EKE-1

Edgars Ērmanis – The Quest for power

Edgars Ērmanis was a legend of Soviet moto sports and record breaking, along with the likes of Nickolay-Shumilkin

Edgars Ērmanis was born in Latvia on 15 October 1918. He died on 23 March 1988. He was a noteable and exceptional Latvian mechanic and moto racer during Soviet times.

Surviving the war, Edgars was enthusiastic and determined to not only be a participant in motosport, but to develop extraordinary technical and engineering skills.

Edgars Ērmanis (left) pictured in July 1946
Edgars Ērmanis pushing NSU-250. Technical failure. Forest park. 1947
Edgars Ērmanis , IZ-350, Mezaparks, 1950

then the thunder struck!

Edgars Ērmanis testing record-breaking motorcycle engine EKE-1 on the power test stand
Edgars Ērmanis regulates record engine in Serpukhov, 1952
30.05.52. C.K.B. Serpukhov. Memory of joint work. E.K.E. 500 cm3
memory card 30 May 1952 eith signature
500cc EKE-1 on test stand Serpukhov 1952
Modified piston of Edgar Ermanis record motorcycle ÉKE-1 engine.
Edgars Ērmanis with his motorcycle in 1951, built on the basis of the BMW R51. The engine was charged and highly modified.
Edgars Ērmanis breaking USSR record in 10 km distance (2 back and forth times). motorcycle EKE-1. Simferopol. July 1953

However the insatiable quest for power and speed continued. In 1954 Ērmanis reached 207 km per hour. Later, in 1955 he reached 222 km per hour.

Finally the speed of 250 km/h was realized

Then suddenly the USSR motorcycle federation was not included in the international motor sport federation. Therefore these Soviet records would not be recognized world-wide.

The photo above is to remember two celebrities, Edgars Ērmanis on the left with his record EKE-1, and Nikolay Shumilkin on the right with his Comet-3. Both of these devices are configured – not as a tribute for fashion, but a necessary aerodynamic development for course stability at high speeds from the logic of such structures of the times.

Remember this name, Edgars Ērmanis


Designed to set speed records over short distances, this motorcycle was built by USSR sports champion Edgars Ērmanis based on the BMW R-51 engine with significant extreme modifications.

Today it is difficult to determine whether Ērmanis used original BMW production elements and/or Soviet moto elements, or made copies of them both into the design.

As some of this information indicates tests were being conducted at Serpukhov, the main Soviet design bureau, then the EKE-1 was likely more than one man’s “kitchen designers” dream, or at least he had a team of technical experts to assist in gaining good results for the Soviets.

The EKE-1 500cc overhead valve pushrod engine developed 78 hp at 7950 rpm. Top speed 248 km/h. Other sources say 250 km/h was reached or exceeded.

Results: in 1952 – at a distance of 1 km from a flying start – 166 km / h. In 1953 – at a distance of 10 km from a standing start – 180 km / h. In 1954 – at a distance of 5 km from a flying start – 207 km / h (world record). In 1955 – at a distance of 5 km from a flying start – 222 km / h.

The motorcycle of Edgars Ērmanis has been preserved and is on display at the motormuseum Mezciems. During previous expositions it was displayed with the fairing removed and displayed separately, then with the fairing installed in its place.

Edgars Ērmanis is buried in the Forest Cemetery in Riga, Latvia. Latvian military and political figures are traditionally buried in the Forest Cemetery. There are many monuments and sculptures there.


  • Andris Matisāns
  • Motosporta arhivs
  • grandson of Edgars Ērmanis
  • Antique Automobile Club of Latvia (AAK)
  • RIgas Motomuseum MEZCIEMS
  • USSR sportbikes
  • АП
  • MyRiga
  • Timenote
  • expanded from B-Cozz archives