Fearsome Four: Clymer-Munch Mammoth

In its day, the Clymer-Munch Mammoth was the biggest, fastest production motorcycle there was.

| March/April 2014

  • Clymer-Munch Mammoth
    A 1968 Clymer-Munch Mammoth IV.
    Photo by Richard Backus
  • Air-Cooled Car Engine
    The air-cooled NSU car engine was considered huge in its day.
    Photo by Richard Backus
  • Clymer-Munch handlebars
    A 1968 Clymer-Munch Mammoth IV.
    Photo by Richard Backus
  • Air Cooled Clymer Munch Engine
    The air-cooled NSU car engine was considered huge in its day.
    Photo by Richard Backus
  • Right-side view of Clymer-Munch Mammoth
    A 1968 Clymer-Munch Mammoth IV.
    Photo by Richard Backus
  • Left-side view of 1968 Clymer-Munch Mammoth
    A 1968 Clymer-Munch Mammoth IV.
    Photo by Richard Backus
  • Front brake of Clymer-Munch Mammoth
    Huge front brake was Münch’s own design.
    Photo by Richard Backus
  • Clymer-Munch Gauges
    Both gauges marked “Clymer-Münch.”
    Photo by Richard Backus
  • Front-View Clymer-Munch Mammoth
    The NSU car engine actually makes for a clean fit except for the huge primary drive for the clutch/transmission assembly on the right side.
    Photo by Richard Backus
  • Rear-View Clymer-Munch Mammoth
    The NSU car engine actually makes for a clean fit except for the huge primary drive for the clutch/transmission assembly on the right side.
    Photo by Richard Backus
  • Dale Keesecker on his bike
    Owner Dale Keesecker enjoys riding his restored Clymer-Munch.
    Photo by Richard Backus
  • Twin Headlights of the Clymer-Munch Mammoth
    Twin headlamps were originally destined to be half an NSU TT car’s 4-headlamp system.
    Photo by Richard Backus

  • Clymer-Munch Mammoth
  • Air-Cooled Car Engine
  • Clymer-Munch handlebars
  • Air Cooled Clymer Munch Engine
  • Right-side view of Clymer-Munch Mammoth
  • Left-side view of 1968 Clymer-Munch Mammoth
  • Front brake of Clymer-Munch Mammoth
  • Clymer-Munch Gauges
  • Front-View Clymer-Munch Mammoth
  • Rear-View Clymer-Munch Mammoth
  • Dale Keesecker on his bike
  • Twin Headlights of the Clymer-Munch Mammoth

1968 Clymer-Munch Mammoth IV
Claimed power: 70hp @ 6,000rpm
Top speed: 135mph-plus (claimed)
Engine: 1,085cc air-cooled OHC inline four, 72mm x 66.6mm bore and stroke, 9:1 compression ratio
Weight (wet-approx.): 539lb (245kg)
Fuel capacity/MPG: 4.5gal (17ltr)/30-35mpg
Price then/now: $4,000/$50,000-$75,000

Though the honor for being first to propose an across the frame inline 4-cylinder motorcycle engine must go to Carlo Giannini and Piero Remor for their 1923 Rondine race bike, it would take another 45 years for the format to find its way into a street bike. And it wasn’t Japanese.

That bike was the creation of German Friedl Münch. Born in 1927, Münch was an engineering prodigy, developing his skills in his father’s gas station workshop and Horex dealership in Nieder-Florstadt, Germany. Completing military service as a technician in the Luftwaffe, Münch also attended technical school, where he won a scholarship and two achievement awards. By 1948, Münch had completed his training in mechanical and electrical engineering, and soon opened his own shop repairing and tuning Horex motorcycles.



TONYC
3/13/2014 8:17:09 AM

I recall seeing my first Munch parked at the Laconia races in New Hampshire in the early 1970s. It was huge! I couldn't imagine how someone could ride a bike that weighed more than 500 pounds. How times have changed.




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