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Which Bike? Comments and Questions on what is the best bike for YOU, for YOUR trip. Note that we believe that ANY bike will do, so please remember that it's all down to PERSONAL OPINION. Technical Questions for all brands go in their own forum.
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  #1  
Old 14 May 2008
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Question MZ 250: crazy?

Much reduced in circumstances - posh talk for flat broke - I find myself looking at MZs. My 'round the world Transalp was stolen a while back unfortunately.

I have just got a MZ ETZ 125 for about town and am impressed. Not without its faults, but for strength economy and simplicity it is brilliant. Good front brake too. But a bit small for touring in Europe (the lightweight GF might manage though).

So I am thinking about upgrading to a 250 ETZ and making it my do-everything bike. Performance and looks have never been important to me (nor to my girlfriend, ho ho). I like the characterfulness of it. That's the biker shorthand for ugly brute loads of trouble yes? There's something cheerfully curmudgeonly about old MZs. You can put on the cheapest nastiest tatty luggage and it will fit right in. No wallet-withering touratech nonsense. Everything fabricated from old tin cans, emergency roadside engine rebuild with a hammer and spanner in less than an hour, that sort of thing. And boy are they cheap.

That's a disservice really. The most impressive aspects of the 125 is the engineering. They are designed to take knocks, keep going, run on low grade fluids, handle bad roads, be cheap to run, be easily serviceable and go speeds that people need. Realworld use, to fall back on a Bike mag cliche. That's a triumph.

It's exactly the absence of crappy overdesigned plastic that makes them attractive to me. The side faring is metal and lockable. How neat is that? The DDR must have been using a different dictionary to the west. Design was defined by utility, not fancy looks. This made for some miserable architecture - all that brutal concrete, whew - but in vehicles it is kind of refreshing. Being a 40-something male I am sick and tired of the useless designer crap that intrudes into my life. The MZ ETZ is the town-centre car park of bikes.

I am happy to put some work in to get it in shape; in fact, it's the best way to get to know the machine. It's about time I learnt how to overhaul a top end. Planning to slow tour Europe on this (funny how slow in this part of the world means faster than most people have been in their lives). Looking around the net I see they can make motorway/autoroute speeds - although not for all day - and those east Europeans having been greenlaning on them for years. So: they're versatile.

GSers weep.

Dissuasion. Am I in need of some?

Simon
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Last edited by Simon Kennedy; 14 May 2008 at 08:09.
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  #2  
Old 14 May 2008
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Go for it!

As a lifelong MZ'er I think you've got it spot on. The big tank, enclosed chain, stupidly simple mechanics etc. make these real world bikes. Get yourself hooked up with the MZRC via Yahoo if you didn't already and see if they'll send you a copy of this months mag. Chap there crossed the Andes on one he built out of 5 army cast off's.

The only thing that I really worry about is the condition of bikes that are now at least mostly over 10 years old (even if you include Kanuni's). If people abuse two strokes by having leaks or incorrect timing they fight back. If you've lived with a 125 you know all this though, the only mechanical change with the 250/251/301 is that the clutch is now crank mounted.

I hate to do this as you say dosh is an issue, but if you plan to tour I'd double the value of your average MZ and go for a 301 with MZ-B ignition.

The great news is that MZ prices are rising. £500 for a runner is giving half the MZRC nose bleeds! It's a good line for other halves "It's not a shed, it's an investment"

Andy
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  #3  
Old 14 May 2008
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Go for it - my second bike was the MZ 125 - I learn't everything on it and came off heaps of times - but it kept going and going and going - even after I dumped it into the back of a car at 30mph. It was in much better shape than me.

Seriously.... you've got me thinking now....

m
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  #4  
Old 14 May 2008
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Well as some one who grow up in the west of Germany, I always been very sceptical about the "DDR MZ's" may regarding the public propaganda or so... dono....

Since the wall is gone and I'm now living in the east part of Berlin my picture regarding the MZ's is changed slightly..... and I'm not a sort of nostalgic bloke anyway.

Now.... last year my female neighbour (grown up and trained in east German live stile)... well she wanted a bike so badly.... but very short on money as usually... after a while searching around she found a very nice 87's MZ-ETZ 250 for 650-Euros with registration, as runner, German-TUV and the lot... just hoped on and drove it home... we than had a few small trips around Berlin, to get here used to the bike and I could have a look at the technical side.... (honestly.... there is nothing much of technically that can go wrong) even that I'm still sceptical... but quite impressed about this MZ, dose not need a lot of fuel, a bit smelly if you have to ride behind on your own bike....

As a tip... yes the average price for MZ's is rising a lot regarding there are many MZ bikes or the rest of the DDR-heritage get restored and soled up to 2500-Euros or so... a MZ with side wagon can be picked up for 1200-Euros as start price, the reason is this "DDR retro style youngster's get in to" even tasteless old crappy DDR furniture and what not is getting sold out on the streets to young student Americans here in Berlin... they love it.. and pay a lot for it........ dono why....

any way the conclusion... get the latest MZ-ETZ 250 or MZ-ETZ-301 with front disk brake, may cost a bit more but is a good start.

a few links for parts in Germany where to get original "DDR-parts" for MZ

MZ-B, Ersatzteile MZ und JAWA, Deutsche Version

MZ Motorräder des VEB Motorradwerk Zschopau (MZ) - MZ-Händler

Ost2rad Zweiradersatzteilhandel Ersatzteile MZ Simson Jawa

Gabors MZ Laden

.:: Bereifung Shopartikel bei Sausewind Onlineshop ::.

as a golden role if you call this guys.......
don't expect them to speak English, may some of the mail-order shops do, they may understand Russian but don't like it........ they are grown up behind the iron curtain and try to keep the MZ tradition up after there own world is gone lost in space and time after 1990......... they blindly know there MZ's.... where sucking there portion of 2-stroke with there Mothers milk for decades.......

good luck

Quote:
Originally Posted by Threewheelbonnie View Post
It's a good line for other halves "It's not a shed, it's an investment"
Andy
ohh yeah.... definitive......
she is pushing me now to go out for a ride with here..........
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Last edited by spooky; 14 May 2008 at 11:16.
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  #5  
Old 14 May 2008
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I own a similar vehicle in the car world - a Lada. It's tough, easy to work on and, if needed, easy to walk away from to continue a journey.

Actually, that last part isn't true. I love my car to bits and it would break my heart to leave it.
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  #6  
Old 14 May 2008
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why not a new URAL it's even cooler

well... just a question.... about getting a old MZ or new URAL bikes for almost the same money ?

As I mention in my last post.... the MZ is OK... but old...

even if I think that the MZ's are usable for every days need.... if I would have to make a choice.... I would go for a really cool URAL instead.... they are fabricated new, solid as a tank, 4-stroke, and a even better style and can be repaired on road side as well........ I think it would make a better WTR base than a MZ.....

Prize wise... a new URAL beats any other brand... and can be a bikers dream bike.
may not as common in Europe but the rest of the globe in big quantities...

Ural | Russian Motorcycles

F2 Motorcycles UKl

URAL-Team germany

as I say only my opinion about eastern bikes as such.

If I look up and down the street I'm living in, there are about 4x BMW-GS, 10xMZ's, 2xURAL with side wagon, 1xYamaha, 2xHonda, 2xKTM LC4, and may some 10xothere brands parked up, additional there are hundreds of scooter all over the place.... as I say only in my street....
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Last edited by spooky; 14 May 2008 at 12:09.
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Old 14 May 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by teflon View Post
I own a similar vehicle in the car world - a Lada.
Actually, that last part isn't true. I love my car to bits and it would break my heart to leave it.
I can share your view...... yeah you are back in the old world where things are made to last......... sort of........

right the LADA......... yes I had a 4x4 LADA years ago...... very solid, don't shine to pull any buglers, a down to earth vehicle........

had a roll over on the motorway in it with a speed of 120-kmh landed on the roof upside down in the ditch....... the only thing broken was the windscreen, the roof a bit pissed but I was OK no bruise what's ever hanging head down in the belts....... the recovery vehicle pulled this beast up on to the wheels and I was even able to drive my way home for some 400KM....... the cops could not believe it.....

Years later I had a double roll over in a Range Rover......... that was a write off... and I had to walk home........
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  #8  
Old 14 May 2008
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Ural

Ural, which I've also owned is slightly different. MZ's were "right" straight out of the box. I got mine in 1993, did nothing mechanical to it for nine years except nail it up and down the M-1 from Leeds to London at full throttle and commute in the city and outskirts. I then left it at the back of my mums garage until last year when it went back on the road with nothing except the consumables required to un-sieze a clutch and tidy up some corrosion. That is IMHO the German engineering "gene" in action.

I hear similar stories of Jawa and CZ.

My Ural was new in 2002, only ever ran on one cylinder and after 9 months was heading for the shop keepers window due to the bits of bearing you could hear moving in the gearbox! This I am told is normal for a Ural not set up by the likes of F2 who can spot and replace or set up rubbish Russian bits. With the 750's there is less of this to do as they now use Japanese electrics, bearings etc. That said I've seen a 750 with a crank that moved about 5mm because a poor dealer hadn't reacted to the expressed symptoms and had let it destroy itself. They even have items on them know by the symptoms, the first type of alternator on the 750's for example is known as a hand grenade!

I you get a Ural, you need to know a lot of it's history, preferably know the seller is a real expert and then you need to learn how to perform major surgery as required. I think they are great bikes, but only long distance tools in the right hands.

The weight of even a solo Ural 750 brings the performance down to a similar level to a 300cc MZ. Of course many prefer the lower reving twin to a frantic stroker.

Not all "Eastern" bikes are the same IMHO, but apologies to any Ural owners I just upset regardless

Andy
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  #9  
Old 14 May 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Threewheelbonnie View Post
Not all "Eastern" bikes are the same IMHO, but apologies to any Ural owners I just upset regardless

Andy
Ural: Been there, done that, never EVER again... Now, an MZ or Jawa outfit, on the other hand...
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Old 14 May 2008
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Yes, my vote also goes to MZ, had a few 250's in the early 90's and I put a ETZ front end on one and it totally transformed the braking, no longer did I need to book an appointment to stop. Joining the MZ riders club is a must, full of very knowledgeable and helpful owners who actually ride 365 days per year, instead of polishing and being armchair travellers.
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Old 15 May 2008
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My vote too goes towards MZ....the real DDR made ones!took my test on a TS125 then hopped straight onto a TS250 supa5 which took me all over the country several times,won me special gold awards on every ACU national rally between 1989 and 2004,did 2 Lands end-John o'Groat's trials before being sold on to my travelling buddy who got knocked off it by some drunkard in Andora,where it caught fire and burnt to a cinder! RIP YBX 107V....
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Old 15 May 2008
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I owned am MZ ETZ250 for 5 years. I rode it in all weathers commuting, 2 up holidays around the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, a wee bit of off road and even cleaned it now and then. It was not without it's annoying faults, breaking rear wheel spokes, blowing bulbs and water tracking down the throttle cable to make it stick in bad weather, but, I bought it with just under 12000 miles on the clock and sold it with over 42000 miles on the clock. I replaced various cables, tyres and drive chains, (MZ sprockets last a long time!) had it serviced once a year, and it just kept going. In the time I owned it, the cylinder head was never off, the exhaust was decoked once. As far as I am aware, the bike clocked up 42000 miles on it's original piston and rings.

Age is against them now, but a good one, sorted out properly would make a great do anything bike. Plenty of people used to make the pilgramige to Zschapau in DDR on them from the uk, and used them for continental touring.

Pete
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