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Simson – a bike as a cult


In the mid-80s, about 800 mopeds per day left the Simson factory site in Suhl and turned the model into the European market leader. One had to wait up to eight years for the top-seller “Schwalbe” due to resource shortage in the GDR. More than five million small two-cycle motorbikes had left the assembly hangars since 1955. After the German reunification, the disposal numbers decreased dramatically, which – in spite of several rescue efforts – led to the compulsory auction and the end of the Simson Zweirad GmbH in 2002.

With the end of the Simson Zweirad GmbH, a cult was born. “Schwalbe”, “Habicht”, “Star” and “S50” are the names of the most popular type series with the retro look. The “Schwalbe“ is the most popular amongst them. Today the East moped has more and more lovers in Germany. The internet search engine Google finds more then 4.7 million entries for the keyword “Simson”. The moped’s low purchase cost, robustness and repairability make the young and the young at heart love it. The two-wheelers are bought, restored, tuned up, collected, sold or simply driven. Spares for the 3.6 horsepower engines are more in demand than ever thanks to the high popularity. The company Meyer Zweiradtechnik Ahnatal GmbH today has the fabrication authorization for the hot spares; they are delivered from Suhl and Kassel to retailers throughout Germany.

Eastalgia, the nostalgia for former East Germany, is fascinating more and more people in Germany. That also explains the high demand on Schwalbe & Co which second-hand spare retailers in West Germany experience. The internet plus the numerous Simson clubs, associations and regulars’ tables provide platforms for the enthusiasts. Every year, the Simson lovers meet at numerous gatherings to celebrate their two-wheelers, hold races, go on round trips and gaze at the babes of others.

The interest in Schwalbe & Co doesn’t decline. The older they are, the more popular they become.