Every time I've seen the handiwork of eccentric constructor Friedl Münch, I can't help but be impressed by the sheer scale of the Mammuts which bear his name. While every single one of his limited-production motorcycles is different from the rest, they have a remarkable consistency of build quality and use of trademark components, notably the NSU four-cylinder car engine used in the Prinz, from which all parts radiate.
|(Massive lump on the clutch side...)|
|An example of the super-tasty Horex cafe racers built by Münch before turning to NSU engines...|
By 1968, the capacity was increased to 1177cc with 88hp with the '1200 TTS' model, the state of tune reflecting the NSU car of the same name. Münch created the cast magnesium rear wheel with flat spokes which became a trademark of all later Mammuts, as even with robust 5mm spokes for his original wire wheels, the threads tended to strip on the spoke nipples. As well, the seat/mudguard unit, headlamp bucket, and chainguard were cast in magnesium, for lighter weight. Petrol tank and side panels were hand-hammered aluminum, and the single headlamp Sports models were joined by dual-headlamp Touring machines. Despite all the magnesium, the bike weighed in at a mammoth 295kg (650lbs); not far out of line with 70s/80s sports machines from Japan actually, but in 1970 sports bikes were still typically under 500lbs.
|Münch himself atop the Touring version with dual headlamps|
|A Münch on a perfect summer day in rural Germany...|
My Road Test machine is a 1970 model with 1177cc engine, set up in Sport mode with the large single headlamp and twin 40mm Weber DCOE carbs. These would have been hot stuff on any sports car of the day, so why not a 4-cylinder motorcycle? The instruments and switchgear are as per Honda, while turn signals and lamps are Bosch. The big engine starts up with a button, revving slowly and lumpily, and takes a little while to warm up as there's a lot of aluminum and steel lurking under that big red tank. The exhaust is subdued with Lafranconi-pattern silencers made in Frankfurt keeping things quiet. A rorty cafe racer this is not.
|The Münch could be mistaken for a Japanese four from the saddle, with Nippon Denso clocks|
|The cast magnesium one-piece tail/seat unit, and special 'vane' cast rear wheel|
|Münch's own special racing brake, a massive and powerful piece, capable of stopping the mighty beast|
|A Münch in the grass is better than two in the bush...|
|The Münch suits a 6' rider|