Hercules W2000

The Hercules Company was founded in 1886 and began producing motorcycles in 1904. In 1974, Hercules became the first company to offer a Wankel-engined motorcycle for sale to the general public. A prototype was first shown in 1970 at the West Cologne Fall Motorcycle Show to a mixed reception, and the production bike was sold as a Hercules product except in the United Kingdom, where it was marketed as a DKW motorcycle. The W-2000 had a single-rotor air-cooled engine of 294cc that produced 23hp, later increased to 32hp. Cooling was achieved by a large fan placed in front of the engine (and the slipstream breeze while riding) and engine lubrication was achieved by manually adding oil to the fuel in the tank. In 1976, Hercules launched the W-2000 Injection in which engine lubrication was from a separate oil tank via a pump. It had 18-inch wheels, a front disc brake and a rear drum brake. According to a March 1976 review in Cycle World, the handling was good but the bike's low ground clearance limited its cornering ability. That review also declared the W-2000 to be a daily commuting bike, not a sport motorcycle. Hercules introduced a rotary-powered dirt bike (the KC-30 GS Enduro) in May 1975, but the model failed to sell due to its high price $2,900.

Source: Mecum Auctions as part of Houston auction in April, 2014

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