When the 1965 DKW Hummel 155 motorcycle was introduced to the public, the European motoring press dubbed it the "Tin Banana." Its appearance was indeed a radical departure from any contemporary bike's.
DKW, "Das Kleine Wunder" (the little wonder), began assembling powered cycles in 1919, and in 1932 became a partner in the Auto Union conglomerate.
Most of DKW's earlier units were built with engines of at least 98 ccs of displacement, but they were always two-stroke designs.
In addition to the swoopy, avant-garde body work of the Hummel, the motorcycle set itself apart from the competition by having a three-speed gearbox. With only a 50-cc engine producing 4.2 horsepower, the 155 was able to cruise at 45 mph.
This example is fitted with a conventional foot shifter, though a hand shifter was available as an option.
The styling might have been a big hit in the U.S., but the Hummel was never exported. Being readily available across Europe was not enough to elicit strong demand, and it never sold in great numbers.
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