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DKW Wankel


Slowlycatchymonkey
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A repost from the wilderness hours aka Stu switched things off for a laugh :D


Previous posts let me know the DKW isn’t steam powered (the very thought blew my mind with images of jumbonormous engines producing zero power) but what happened to the rotary engine. Did anyone here ever ride one? If so what was it like?

I had a brief look, it seems a good idea, why did it fail?

 

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The Wankel rotary engines used by Norton were very successful in racing, but the road versions were not a commercial success.


Expensive to manufacture, and they burn petrol and oil as if fossil fuels will never run out. Nice and smooth and powerful enough, but a very small niche market.

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Also the rotor relied on tips to seal against the “cylinder” as opposed to valves and unfortunately these tips wore and so there was a loss of compression. A very smooth and powerful engine but lots of maintenance required.

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But this is more practical

still uses liquid fuel by the looks of it . What would be really practical would be a wood / coal burner .Then you could cook your breakfast on a shovel and make a brew thus avoiding highway robbery at the motorway services.
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but what happened to the rotary engine

Mazda continued development with the RX-7 and RX-8 cars, but constant nagging reliability issues and heavy petrol/oil consumption meant they were never a huge commercial success.


Unlike the words in the picture you posted, I understood that Norton had quite a lot of success with their rotary bikes (wikipedia agrees also) until the FIM decided they had an unfair advantage and banned them. At least, that's what I took away from reading far too many information plaques at the National Motorcycle Museum.


It's easy to say we'll likely never see these return, just like 2 strokes, but Mazda have run a rotary on hydrogen so coupled with constant progress in metallurgy to help the reliability who knows what their future is!

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The information pic is from the Haynes museum, maybe they need to rewrite that one.

Blimey according to your Wikipedia link they achieved 200bhp with the rotary engine.

I suppose something spinning is always going to wear faster.

How is it an unfair advantage? Was it copyrighted?

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I think it was because racing classes are set on engine capacity, which means similar performance for a class of 4 strokes or a class of 2 strokes. Suddenly rotaries turn up with loads of power for their CCs and it's not really fair.


In the car world rotary engines have to be half of the capacity of the 4 stroke machines they are racing against, I'm not sure what happened in the world of bikes. I only know about the cars thanks to playing far too much Gran Turismo as a kid!

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I think it was because racing classes are set on engine capacity, which means similar performance for a class of 4 strokes or a class of 2 strokes. Suddenly rotaries turn up with loads of power for their CCs and it's not really fair.


In the car world rotary engines have to be half of the capacity of the 4 stroke machines they are racing against, I'm not sure what happened in the world of bikes. I only know about the cars thanks to playing far too much Gran Turismo as a kid!

 

Well yes n no. Its only not fair if the other competitors couldn’t use a rotary engine because it was copyrighted. Otherwise they were free to turn up with whatever engine they liked which I think is quite fair.


It’s also how technology and innovation moves on, you come up to speed (boom boom) or lose. A bit like Nokia or the British bike industry of old!

Banning things for being too good isn’t progress.


Edit- meant patented not copyrighted.

Edited by Slowlycatchymonkey
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Rotary is double the size of its capacity, it's a four stroke that runs on a 2cycle basis, it consumes twice the amount of fuel for its swept volume per revolution, hence the crap fuel economy, the 1.3 mazda it in reality a 2.6, they make great bhp but torque not so good, some monstrous power custom triple and quad rotary engines and they love to rev, oil seals and rotor tips wear.

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I believe that the low vibration of a Wankel engine made it the ideal power plant for Goodyear airships that used to be used to film sporting events . You used to be able to get palm sized Wankel engines for model aircraft but electric power has largly taken over nowadays.

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Don't know anything about rotaries in bikes but I'd love to have a go on one.


This is my rx8 that I just use for playing...

 

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We've had three of these so far. Rebuilt the engines in two of them. The red one came with a dead engine for a track project. The silver one was my wife's and had that engine rebuilt when it died. Later transplanted the good engine in to a blue car with a dead engine but much better bodywork. Engines are tiny physically...

 

rx8-3.jpg.559cc27f23324cc5b115100ca239bd85.jpg

 

This is my previous track car. It's an ssc stylus that the previous owner built with an rx7 turbo engine in. Again, tiny engine but lots of plumbing...

 

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Had to rebuild the engine in that too. Real flying machine but required lots of maintenance.


Great engines. Poor reliability, really bad economy, not a huge amount of torque but they're amazing to drive as they just rev and sing and rev and sing.


Cheers,


Mark

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I really loved my RX8 and the rotary. So smooth, revvy. It felt like 600 supersports bike.


Mine returned 8mpg sadly, I used to make it beep often as I heard this was good at removing carbon build up. Adding pre-mix was no biggie but it did need attention and for the average Joe it never happened thus a lot were shagged by 40,000 or less.


Mine failed after about 1000 rebuilt miles but was fixed quickly by the company I bought it from, on idle it would poison all the kids on the street (not a bad thing tbh)


MoT stations that didn't know of them struggled to pass mine.


It would have been cheaper to run a V12


Motorbikes are looked after better, I would love one for sure.


Norton's are cool.


Mazda are I believe developing a hybrid rotary?


YouTube Mazda 787B for rotary goodness.

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All of ours varied less between different types of driving on the road although not so much on the track. You didn't get an awful lot more out of them when you took it easy. I think I read is was down to their poor thermal efficiency or something like that. It was the excuse I used to drive it hard.


They do kill ignition systems regularly though which makes them run very rich and stink on idle. Then the cat follows shortly after followed by the engine. Coils have to replaced pretty regularly.

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I had a mate who had a Suzuki RE5 back in the day.......super smooth and fast.....but ultimately a bit fragile........another friend of mine has a Norton rotary amongst his collection of bikes......currently awaiting a rebuild....... 8-)

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A repost from the wilderness hours aka Stu switched things off for a laugh :D


Previous posts let me know the DKW isn’t steam powered (the very thought blew my mind with images of jumbonormous engines producing zero power) but what happened to the rotary engine. Did anyone here ever ride one? If so what was it like?

I had a brief look, it seems a good idea, why did it fail?


091B18B0-1C17-49E7-B321-1DB6C712F92B.jpegD4BC48EE-1D4F-47E5-8DAB-250B1DFA9FF1.jpeg

 

I had read that DKW stood for Das Kline Wunder

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From my post lost in the server crash.


DKW (Dampf-Kraft-Wagen, English: "steam-powered car", also Deutsche Kinder-Wagen English: "German kids' car". Das-Kleine-Wunder, English: "the little wonder" or Des-Knaben-Wunsch, English: "the boy's wish"- from when the company built toy 2-stroke engines) is a German car and motorcycle marque. The company and brand is one of the ancestor companies of the modern day Audi company as one of the four companies that formed Auto-Union.[2]


This from Wikipedia.

DKW was translated to many things.

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