Hercules W2000 Rotary
The Hercules company opened its doors in 1903
Nuremberg with their first motorcycle being an engine hung on a heavy-duty
bicycle frame as many others were doing. Drive was direct from the engine to the
rear wheel via belt. Hercules outsourced engines from many other companies and
never did manufacture any of their own engines.
Hercules' main focus in its early years were small motorcycle/scooter design
with small capacity engines. They began to increase to larger machines in the
thirties and even saw some competition and long distance endurance success.
World War II resulted in heavy damage to the Hercules factory and production did
not resume until 1950. The company developed a number of new models and stuck
with those models for many years which helped them survive a downturn in the
German economy shortly after their release. Hercules became one of the largest
motorcycle producing companies in Germany. In 1966 the company merged with the
Zweirad Union which also included DkW, Express and Victoria. In 1974 Hercules
released the Wankel powered W2000 and were the first company to produce a
motorcycle with a Wankel rotary engine
The Hercules was only built from October 1974 to November
1975. 1784 were built and the leftovers were sold each successive year as that
year’s model, right up until 1979. The early ones had a
gas and oil mix, the later ones used oil
injection. The Hercules was one of only a few rotary engine motorcycles to make
it to market, the Suzuki RE5 being another as well as the very limited Norton
John Player Specials.