1904 Cyklon Cyklonette Trike

This intriguing Cyklonette trike was built by the Cyklon Maschinenfabrik GmbH in Berlin, who manufactured French motorcycles under license. Cyklon introduced the first of their three-wheelers at the Leipzig Motor Show in 1902. Their experience with motorcycles is evident in the unique layout of the Cyklonette - with the engine mounted over the front wheel, driving it via chain and controlled via a tiller with hand controls. The ultra-basic Cyklonette was marketed at the economy-minded consumer or first time motorcar buyer. It initially was powered by a 450cc single cylinder, air-cooled engine and provided seating for two ('ohne chauffeur und ohne mechaniker', according to original literature) under a rudimentary folding top. Soon after, a lager twin-cylinder engine was adopted, which helped the little Cyklon achieve at least moderate performance. The body minimalistic body is constructed of distinctive perforated metal coachwork with inlaid wickerwork detailing. A small trunk resides out back, with just enough room for a bit of luggage and perhaps a lap blanket.

A certain amount of manual dexterity is required to operate the Cyklon, as throttle, mixture and ignition controls are all mounted to the tiller steering, but once on the go it is easily mastered. The gearing is by a simple Crypto gear on low speed and fixed drive on high speed operated by a twist action on the tiller to engage gears. Cooling is via a friction driven fan, and it breaths through a Zenith carburetor. As the tiller is centrally located, it can be driven from either the left or right seat, a rather handy feature as driving duties can be handed off without stopping! Suspension is by simple cart springs and provides a reasonably comfortable ride on pneumatic tires mounted to wire wheels.

This fabulous 1904 Cyklonette has been very well restored. The black paint is beautifully applied and the wickerwork is fully intact. Driver and passenger sit on a bench seat upholstered in lovely buttoned brown leather. The plentiful brass trim has been expertly polished to a beautiful standard. A large, centrally mounted brass headlamp contributes to the unique looks, and it features a beautiful brass acetylene tank, body fittings and even brass convertible top bows.

The quirky little Cyklon actually remained in production until 1922, which makes quite a statement to the integrity of the original concept. This is surely one of the finest examples of its kind, and it would be a fine addition to any serious collection of automobilia, horseless carriages, a worthy competitor at the London-Brighton Veteran Car Run, or simply for anyone with eclectic tastes.

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