1959 Kyiv Ukraine…. The factory conveyor belt moves slowly. The frame – the skeleton of the future motorcycle – gradually grows with details. The engine is installed, the handlebars, the wheels, shields are attached. Where the ceremonial tape breaks to workers cheers, there it stands, gleaming with bright blue paint, a finished vehicle with the brand KMZ – Kyiv Motorcycle Plant.
With the release of the new motorcycle K-750, factory workers began the first year of the seven-year plan.
At the plant, they look at everything, many experiments follow. It is difficult to say where this manifests itself more – in the development of new designs or in the improvement of production technology. In any case, the plant has grown in recent years, from lagging behind it to the number one of producing enterprises of the Ukrainian SSR.
In the office of the director of the plant Pavel Fedorovich Nekhoda, there is not quite an ordinary motorcycle – but fitted with a special box instead of the usual passenger sidecar. This new car is called simply a “motorcycle” here.
The motorcycle is designed to provide mobile technical assistance ability in the field to the mechanics and collective farms, as well as for the foremen of tractor brigades. From serial machines, it differs in a special body, where equipment and specialist tools are placed.
The sidecar body is rectangular, welded, has a hinged lid with a bracket for a spare wheel. In the rear part, a locksmith vice is mounted on the lifting workbench-panel. The lid also has a lowering panel to which a box with a set of thread cutting tools is attached. If necessary, the panel is lowered, and it, relying on special body slats, forms a working table on which you can lay out the necessary tools and parts of the repaired mechanism.
In the office of Pavel Fedorovich there is also an album of photographs taken during the prototype testing of a motorcycle in the field.
There is no doubt about the possibilities of this “ambulance motorcycle assistance”. She is not afraid of snow, rain, dirt, and because the drivetrain has a driven on the wheel of the sidecar
The sidecar drive mechanism is a differential with cylindrical gears and a locking device that is turned on and off using lever. This mechanism is the subject of a separate article, Suffice it to say this is an early version of the later developments by KMZ in sidecar drive, which is again a separate topic.
The wheel of the sidecar, as well as all other wheels of the motorcycle, has a lever suspension with spring-hydraulic double-acting shock absorbers, providing high average driving speeds in bad weather conditions.
When visiting the collective farms of Ukraine in 1959, Comrade Premier of the USSR Nikita Khrushchev, himself a native of Ukraine, personally inspected the repair motorcycle and gave it a positive assessment. At the same time, he pointed to the need to create greater convenience for people using this machine, and, in particular, to protect them from the effects of precipitation.
In 1961, two years later, the design of a new all-terrain motorcycle was developed. A mock-up sample of a motorcycle designed for operation in rural areas was made. A five-speed gearbox with reverse is introduced into the design. The first gear would be stronger than in the production boxes, and the motorcycle will be able to easily overcome difficult sections of the road. Fifth gear provides high speed at rated engine speeds.
The motorcycle was equipped with a windshield, deep knee pads, closed footrests. In bad weather, the driver and passenger would be protected by an easily removable canvas awning, a “landau”.
But the promising developments of the Kiev engineers were never given the green light – this motorcycle remained “on the shelf of projects”, as well as many of their counterparts …
In total, at the Kiev Motorcycle Plant in 1958-1959, three prototypes of the mobile workshop and one “modernized” model were made in 1961.
Based on an article by S. Zuev. Using archival materials “Za rulem”, photograph from private and personal collection.