Warehouse Find: 1953 Zundapp KS601

051716 Barn Finds - 1953 Zundapp KS601 - 1

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The seller mentions that this Zundapp was found in a warehouse fifteen years ago and it has never been restored, and it hasn’t even been started since they’ve owned it. This 1953 Zundapp KS601 is on eBay in Westfield, Indiana with a current bid of $5,100 and a day and a half left on the auction. There are less than 5,000 miles on this one.

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In 1917, Zundapp was founded by Friedruch Krupp and Dr. Fritz Neumeyer as a munitions company. Mr. Krupp left the company soon after and in 1919 they started producing motorcycles. In 1921 produced their first model, the Z22. By 1938 the company had produced more than 200,000 motorcycles. Enter WWII.

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As a German manufacturer, the company was pressed into service making motorcycles for the German military, with some aspects being helped along by BMW. The KS600 twin engine came out in 1938 and it was replaced for wartime by the KS750, which was actually a 170-degree V4, not a horizontal configuration as it appears.

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The KS600 engine returned to their lineup after the war in the late-1940s when the KS601 model was introduced. This particular example was tinkered with a few years ago by the current owner who started to get it in shape to start it, but it was never finished. They rebuilt the carbs and put in new plugs and it turns over but they didn’t go any farther with it. They have the original crash bar and everything else that went with this bike originally. They’ll also crate it for another $500 for shipping. This looks like it would be a nice project, although with the price already over $5,000 and lots of work that needs to be done if a person is going to totally restore this one, the return on investment may not be as big as it could be. But if a person were just going to get everything working like new and ride it as it looks here, that might be the way to go. That’s what I would do for sure. Would you restore this one or just get it working and ride it as is?

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  1. HoA Howard AMember

    Sure is an interesting bike. I never really cared for “opposed twin” motor. That, along with the shaft drive contribute to some odd handling quirks, that I suppose one would get used to. ( a friend had a R90S) My GoldWing, while somewhat similar, had odd handling as well, but the motor was much more refined. I bet this was a pretty fancy bike in ’53 in Europe. I’m sure it had plenty of power and would have no problem “burying the needle”.( if you could hang on to it, that is) This particular bike seems pretty straight forward and simple. Be great for a collection, I’m just not sure I’d want to ride it every day. There’s better bikes for that. Great find.

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  2. z1rider

    Seems to me that if your name is Zundapp all of your engines should be two strokes. Doesn’t saying the name out loud sound a bit ring-dingy.?

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  3. Mark S

    I’ve had two goldwings and a Ural patrol sidecar rig. My first wing I bought new in 1982 and I found it to be a solid reliable bike as for handling it was no problem. But you have to understand it was a twin shock touring bike, But a could corner that thing with running boards scraping on the road. The Ural was fun to own but slow and underpowered, it was also unreliable and I found myself fixing it all the time. It was also bought new in 2008. My second wing was bought only 4 years ago it is a 1977. I rode one year as it was when purchased and found it to be just like the first one. It now has a custom side car on it and is a solid stable ride. This Zundapp will be like the ural constantly breaking down. It will be a fun bike to ride on occasion but don’t go out to far from home. If it were mine I’d put on new tires and get it running. Nice old bike.

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  4. Dave

    I like this bike, I wouldn’t restore it at all, just clean it up and get it running. It would make a great conversation piece at the local coffee shop or bike show. I like the horizontally opposed engine, having owned 6 goldwings, they run great. I’ve included a pic of one of my goldwings, it’s a ’78 I did in a cafe style. I got this bike for $100

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  5. Van

    Good looking bike.

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    • Joe

      Agree 100%. I’d love to have it.

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  6. Joe Howell

    Nice old bike.

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  7. geomechs geomechsMember

    That must have been imported by the owner. I don’t think that Zundapp sent bikes over here until the 60’s, and those were small bikes. I could be wrong though. I like this bike, but like Howard and Mark both said, pancake engines seemed to have some peculiar handling issues. My biggest fear would be to tip one over and seriously damage a cylinder.

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  8. Steven C

    Don’t know about this one, but if it is like the old bmw’s you’d have to lay it down hard at speed to mess up the engine.

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  9. Alan Brase

    Lay it down hard at speed and the cylinder may not be the thing to worry about.
    Someone said constantly breaking down. I really don’t think so. 50’s German stuff was very well made. I had a friend that had one of these in 1961. It was spooky smooth and quiet at idle.
    Me, I’m with the guy said put new tires on it. Next winter, pull off a few bits and rechrome them. Maybe change the oil.

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  10. Ed Willaims

    I had a friend who had a KS601 that was in very good condition. They had a very interesting transmission which had roller chains connecting the gears rather than having the gears meshing against one another. He also had a Sunbeam S7 which he let me ride once and a while. It was a very clumsy bike which was heavy and was hard to handle in the curves. I didn’t like it very much.

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