“Four wheels move the body. Two wheels move the soul.” When we see a car, we often ask if it is front wheel driven or rear wheel driven or all wheel driven. But when it comes to motorcycles, almost all of us take it for granted that a motorcycle is a rear wheel driven vehicle.

The mere fact that we have always grown up seeing the same kind of bikes with almost identical architecture and little changes to the basic construction is the reason behind it. Well, there are motorcycles which are front wheel driven! And here, I present to you the Killinger and Freund motorcycle from Munich.

The Killinger and Freund motorcycle was built by a few tech-crazy German engineers in 1935. The better aerodynamics, light weight and more power are some of the attributes of this motorcycle which made it popular among the motorcyclists of that time. The K&F sports a 600cc three-cylinder two-stroke powerplant and weighed just under 135kgs with fuel!

Thats incredible considering that the weight of most of the present Indian premium segment motorcycles is more than 150kgs (with fuel). The motorcycle had a differential two-speed transmission and a conventional clutch system. The spokes of the wheels served the purpose of cooling the engine!

The Killinger and Freund motorcycle’s three cylinder engine is not a radial engine and the perfect balance obtained because of the three moving pistons eliminated the need for a flywheel and hence, the substantial decrease in weight. The front wheel was covered with rounded corners and the forks and the fuel tank too received a very innovative aerodynamic design.

The float-less carb, the light weight battery, the KS iron cylinders and the alloy cylinder heads made the design simplistic and lighter than most conventional models. The motorrad had a decent suspension with oil-filled shock absorbers at the rear.

The braking was taken care of by a hub mounted system at the front.

Though the model was intended for civilian production, the WWII put an end to the plans. There are rumours that a K&F was rescued by the US army at the end of the war in 1945. But, the current state of the vehicle is not known.


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  • Vivek Kavadia

    The Nazis were way ahead of their time in technology. I mean LOOK at that wheel!! Who would have thought that up??

    They’re even supposed to have come up with the swept wing design which is used on planes today. And they were the first to use a jet engine on a plane. Amazing stuff!

    • *Lone Wolf*

      You are right!
      Two races were brilliant then any other in the world.
      First the JEWS and the GERMANS.

  • fas

    I think front wheel drive will really not be as efficient as a RWD. Simply they were trying everything. What about an AWD?

  • anonymous

    A 600cc motorcycle weighed just 135kg! They are really ahead of their time. But front wheel driven bike,I think, was not a really wise design.

  • Ram

    In terms of engineering, the K&F is pure art. Some of the technology that is part of the bike is amazing. If you happen have access to the library archives of the older universities like Madras (chennai), Bombay (mumbai) or Calcutta (Kolkotta) you can retrieve some of the older text books on engine design and the K&F will be detailed. Another 1st is the use of alloys in the engine. If their are aeronautical engineers seeing the picture of the wheel they would recoginze the basics of a turbine intake system. Also the front hub mounted brakes paced the way for the development of disc brakes. Also the bike had aerodynamic body made purely from mathematical calcs and worked perfectly. No wind tunnel tests.

    Great post and a keeper.

  • rohan

    Awesome post man!!! The tech these guys can create is amazing!!!!