Simson Schwalbe KR 51

Simson Schwalbe KR 50 and the KR 51 pictured below was East-Germany’s answer to the Italian Vespa and to me is still the ultimate retro scooter. 153,500 KR 51 scooters were produced between 1964 and 1968 before eventually being replaced by a more modern SR50 model, but the KR family lived on till 1986 with a KR51/1 and a KR51/2 models respectively.

You don’t see these at all in Poland but there’s plenty of them riding around Berlin. Some of these riding samples are now pushing 50 years of age and they’re no longer the every day scooter but have instead become an acquired taste enjoyed by scooter connoisseurs and enthusiasts alike.

A typical Schwalbe rider knew exactly why I was staring and eventually giving him a thumbs up in return for a smile and an accepting head nod.

What does this have to do with me? Well, I want one, and I want it bad! I do of course have a secondary reasoning behind wanting to own it, as if it being the coolest retro scooter wasn’t enough. I may be able to electrify it!

Seen here is an electric Schwalbe made possible in part by GOVECS at the EICMA 2011 trade show in Milan, Italy, one of the biggest motorcycle trade shows in the world.

Photo courtesy of

Now all I have to do is bet my boss a cold beer that we can do one more and there’ll be an electric Schwalbe in Wrocław, too 🙂 Well, that and I have to purchase a Schwalbe first, but my family in Dresden is already working on that (thanks Gerd and Simone!).

All this dreaming aside, I prefer the Schwalbe look to the Vespa scooter. Don’t know why, but this just speaks to me more. Maybe one day I’ll be able to make this dream happen, until then, I’ll keep snapping photos of them on the road.

Photo courtesy of

One Comment Add yours

  1. roweeee says:

    I want one too even though my husband says “it’s still not a motorbike”.

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