R.S. Stokvis & Zonen - DKW 2022.01.03 16:45:07

Royal Enfield and R.S. Stokvis & Zonen - DKW

1938 - 1950

1913 R.S. Stokvis
R.S. Stokvis ad of 1913
1939 500,000 DKW motorcycles sold
1939 500,000 DKW motorcycles sold

R.S Stokvis & Zonen was founded in 1849 as a continuation of the company of their father Raphael Samuel(R.S.) Stokvis (wholesale trade in English hardware and tools and Brabant cast ornaments). It became a large conglomerate of trading and construction companies and had, among other things, a large bicycle and motorcycle department in Rotterdam. They were at some time during the 20th century the Dutch importers for Peugeot, Minerva, Pope, Bradbury, Calthorpe, Harley Davidson, Gnome Rhone, Indian, Frances Barnett, OK Supreme, DKW, Ariel, BMW, Velocette and Matchless. The relation with the Enfield Cycle Co. Ltd. came from a different angle. In 1938, after the German Nazi-German government stopped the export of motorcycles to the Dutch firm because of their Jewish mangement, R.S. Stokvis was looking for a replacement for their best selling little DKW RT100 motorcycle and found Enfield prepared to manufacture it. The story of the Royal Baby and the relation with Royal Enfield started.

1939 Royal Baby at Stokvis
A picture from a Dutch newspaper of 25th of April, 1939
1939 Royal Baby manual
Cover of the Dutch instruction
manual of R.S. Stokvis

The original design of this motorcycle was by the German DKW in 1935, a 98cc 2-stroke known as the DKW RT100. In early 1938, the Nazi-German government instructed DKW to cancel its relationship with its Dutch concessionaire, R.S. Stokvis en Zonen of Rotterdam, after the Dutch company refused to force out its Jewish owners. In the Netherlands this DKW RT100 was a very popular light-weight motorcycle due to lower tax rates for motorcycles less than 60kg. (see Special Requests Royal Baby)

R.S. Stokvis searched for a factory that could manufacture and deliver large enough numbers of small light-weight motorcycles on a very short term. They came in contact with the Enfield Cycle Co. Ltd. and simply took an example of the DKW RT100 to Royal Enfield. Technicians of R.S. Stokvis who had a lot of experience tuning the 98cc DKW engine for racing purposes, designed a larger engine of 125cc with a so called Typhoon fuel flow system. Royal Enfield's chief designer, Ted Pardoe, was responsible for the faithful reproduction of the DKW RT.

Royal Baby Joop van Heusden
Joop van Heusden of R.S. Stokvis with management and engineers of both the Enfield Cycle Co. Ltd. (left) and R.S. Stokvis & Zonen (right), 1939

Two prototype versions of the RE125 were displayed in Rotterdam in April 1939 under the name "Royal Baby". A Dutch newspaper article of the 25th of April 1939 discribed this event and the bike as follows:

During manufacturing, the experience gained by the Stokvis company with those small motorcycles was amply utilized. For example, whenever there had been difficulties with certain DKW parts they were redesigned and replaced. There has also been searched for improved materials for all parts, so that weight savings are achieved, and the definite product of "the Royal Baby" weighs only 48.8kg. Fully equipped, a motorcycle must weigh less than 60kg for tax benefits, so that the Royal Baby, including petrol, oil, mirror, horn, pillion, remains below that weight limit. The material used for the Royal Baby meets the highest demands.

The engine is a two-stroke block engine of 124.8 cc cylinder content, bore and stroke 53.8 x 55 mm. A so-called Typhoon fuel flush has been applied, so that the engine keeps running 2-stroke perfectly, 4-stroking does not occur. Lubrication is achieved by oil mixing through the petrol. A flywheel magnet of completely new design has been used. The flywheel does not have to be disassembled for checking points or cleaning. A special muffler is fitted, which effectively dampens the sound. The Royal Baby has a completely welded tubular frame with pressed steel fork. The gearbox in a union with the motor crankcase has a drive gear on ball bearings, the other shafts on silent bronze bushes. There are three gears with manual gearshift, freewheel and kickstarter. Furthermore, the machine has internally expanding drum brakes and Dunlop balloon tires 2.50 x 19. Undoubtedly, the Royal Baby is an interesting machine with clever technical details and a neat appearance.

The first two machines arrived in Rotterdam on the 12th of April 1939, delivery starts the first week of May, 100 machines are promised and they hope to catch up on orders in June, after which they can be delivered from stock.

World War II interrupted plans for civilian production after only a few were made and only a few of the 10000 ordered, were delivered to the Netherlands and the rest was cancelled due to war production. That happened to be not bad for R.S. Stokvis company, because of the technical problems the prototypes had, especially the ignition and the piston, which were not constructed as van Heusden had designed. Because of this, the bikes had to be pushed into running most of the time and quickly overheated. The Enfield Co. Ltd. had not trust those foreigners with their progressive ideas, which actually were based upon years of experience with the DKW RT100. We see this model with little change as model WD/RE in the second world war. Even after the war ended, the starting problems were not solved and the RB was discontinued. In the Netherlands the Royal Baby was called the Royal Miscarriage. DKW started producing their much better RT125 in the western section of Germany in a much more modern factory than Enfield's at Redditch. If only Enfield had used the design of van Heusden...

A Danish engineer, J.S. Rasmussen (1878-1964), founded a company in 1906, initially manufacturing parts for textile machinery. In 1917 his company - "the Zschopauer Maschinenfabric", because of petrol shortages, produced a "DampfKraftWagen", a steam-engined car, or shortly - DKW.

In 1919 the first two stroke engine was designed, the little wonder or in German "Das Klein Wunder (DKW)".

In 1921 the company was renamed to "Motorcycle Works Rasmussen" (“Motorenwerke Rasmussen”), which built built its first motorcycle in 1922 and soon expanded. In 1926 the successfull E 206 DKW came on the market.

1926 DKW E 206
1926 DKW E 206

The E 206 had a single cylinder engine with a cylinder diameter equal to the stroke of the piston (64 X 64 mm) and a power of 3 kW at 3500 rpm. It was equipped with a flywheel magneto and a blower. A Framo carburetor was used to prepare the fuel-air mixture, the two-speed gearbox had a wet multi-disc clutch and a V-belt on the rear wheel. The front wheel was suspended in a swinging fork. The motorcycle had a curb weight 75 kg and developed a speed of 65 km/h. Soon the engine's displacement was increased to 247 cm3 and a new motorcycle, marked with E 250, received this power unit, already had a rear-wheel drive by means of a chain.

In 1929 the production of press-steel-frames was reorganised, which gave the company the opportunity for a production in much greater numbers. They were now the largest manufacturer of motorcycles on the world, producing some 100,000 units per year.

During the Great Depression of the 30’s DKW suffered a massive cease in trade and in 1932 on account of economical reasons they merged with the motorcars producers Audi, Wanderer and Horch to form Auto Union AG.

During the World War II the factory dispatched motorcycles for the German Army: the DKW NZ 350 and the lightweight DKW RT 125.

DKW NZ350
DKW NZ350 Despatch Rider Motorcycle

DKW RT125
DKW RT125 Lightweight Motorcycle

After the war the factory found itself in the USSR district of Germany and the factory was dismantled and moved to Izhevsk. There the production of the DKW NZ 350 continued as the IZh 350.

After the division of Germany, Zchopau was in East Germany and the factory was restarted as IFA with the production of the RT 125, and later MZ with their own two stroke history.

DKW logo
Postwar DKW logo East and West

In the west Auto Union also started the production of the RT 125 as the RT 125 W (West). The motorcycle was that good, that a lot of the allies took the design as war repairations. Harley Davidson 125, BSA Bantam, Moto Morini Turismo 125, Polish Sokol 125 and SHL M04 made their own versions.

By 1958 the motorcycle production of Auto Union was not very profitable and there was another merger with motorcycle companies Victoria and Express into Zweirad Union. Only in 1966 with another merger with Fichtel & Sachs (Hercules) into the Union, the production of Zweirad Union showed sporadically the DKW logo on some of their products. The use of the DKW name ended in 1970.

1954 Matchless G80C 1954 Matchless G80C
1
1954 Matchless G80C
Matchless-19540508-stokvis 1954 Matchless
2
1954 Matchless
1951 RoyalEnfield G2 1951 Royal Enfield G2 Bullet
3
1951 Royal Enfield G2 Bullet
Royal-enfield-19510210-stokvis-Bovag-Bakker-11 1951 Royal Enfield Bullet
4
1951 Royal Enfield Bullet
1936 Velocette MOV 250 1936 Velocette MOV 250cc
5
1936 Velocette MOV 250cc
Velocette-19360522-stokvis-MedLA 1936 Velocette
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1936 Velocette
1936 Velocette-MAC 1936 Velocette MAC
7
1936 Velocette MAC
velocette-19360619-stokvis 1936 Velocette
8
1936 Velocette
Ariel-1934-stokvis 1934 Ariel
9
1934 Ariel
Ariel-1932 1932 Ariel Square Four 4F 600cc
10
1932 Ariel Square Four 4F 600cc
Ariel-19320726-stokvis 1932 Ariel - voyage around the world
11
1932 Ariel - voyage around the world
Ariel-1930-B-sidecar 1930 Ariel B sidecar
12
1930 Ariel B sidecar
ariel-19300000-stokvis 1930 Ariel
13
1930 Ariel
1937 BMW R17 1937 BMW R17
14
1937 BMW R17
bmw-19370000-stokvis 1937 BMW
15
1937 BMW
1933 BMW-R2-200cc 1933 BMW R2 200cc
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1933 BMW R2 200cc
BMW-1934-stokvis 1934 BMW
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1934 BMW
1937 DKW 1937 DKW RT100
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1937 DKW RT100
dkw-1938-stokvis-10 1938 DKW
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1938 DKW
Joop_in_action 1938 DKW RT100
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1938 DKW RT100