Motorcycles in the Soviet Union were produced almost as actively as cars. And if some models are known to almost every man in the street, then you can learn about others, perhaps if you deliberately seek information about them. It is to the latter that the PMZ-A-750 motorcycle belongs, which has a much more memorable nickname - "Soviet Harley".
The path of this, now little-known, motorcycle dates back to the thirties of the last century. Then the resolution of the Supreme Council of the National Economy, abbreviated as VSNKh, was published, which states the start of production of special motorcycles on the territory of the Soviet Union. In this case, it was about the development of this type of transport for the needs of the Red Army.
Among the projects that were developed within the framework of the resolution of the Supreme Economic Council was the concept of a heavy motorcycle, the authorship of a group of specialists led by Pyotr Vladimirovich Mozharov. It was supposed to create a two-cylinder transport with an engine capacity of 750 cc. The potential functionality of the new motorcycle included the ability to go off-road.
Engineers worked on the basis of NATI, so the initial index that the prototype received was NATI-A-750. The letter A was used to designate a vehicle that is equipped with a sidecar for use on highways and dirt roads, and the number 750 is a rounded indication of the engine displacement.
During the development of the motorcycle, some systems of foreign models were borrowed. So, for example, the prototype of the chassis design was taken from a BMW motorcycle, and the engine was based on a V-shaped low-valve 750 cc sample of the American company Harley-Davidson.
Design features and individual technical characteristics certainly deserve attention. So, the redesigned chassis was duplex, with a 21-liter gas tank embedded inside. The gearbox was mounted on top of the engine, with a manual shift lever, of which there were three, on the left side of the motorcycle.
The torque was transmitted to the rear wheel through a chain. Moreover, the PMZ-A-750 was the first Soviet motorcycle of the pre-war years to have an ignition switch - the latter's system started a battery and a DC generator - as well as an instrument panel. All this made the model innovative and advanced for its time.
Among other characteristics that are known about the PMZ-A-750 were indicators of its weight - 225 kilograms without a sidecar, engine power - 14 liters. with. at 3700 rpm, maximum speed: 90 km / h, fuel consumption - 6 liters per 100 kilometers. All these data made it possible to consider this motorcycle very promising, therefore, already in 1933, the first four prototypes were assembled in Izhevsk at the Avtodor Experimental Motorcycle Plant.
The first tests of the new motorcycle took place in the form of samples at the army training ground and the Izhevsk - Sarapul - Gorky - Moscow race. Successful test results of prototypes launched the mass production of the model, which they decided to deploy on the basis of the Podolsk Mechanical Plant (PMZ) - it was after this that the motorcycle received a new name - PMZ-A-750.
Interesting fact: The PMZ was built in the early years of the Soviet Union, just not at all for the production of motorcycles or transport in general. In fact, at first, sewing machines were assembled on it.
Initially, by July 1934, ten PMZ-A-750 units were built. At the same time, nine of them were presented to the People's Commissar of Heavy Industry of the USSR Sergo Ordzhonikidze. His motorcycle impressed, and so much so that he concluded: "There must be at least one and a half thousand such motorcycles!" This was three times what was originally planned to be produced. In total, 4,636 motorcycles were built between 1934 and 1939.
It was only after the motorcycle was on the market - and it was produced not only for the Red Army, but also for civilian use - the demand for it dropped quite dramatically. In real conditions, the PMZ-A-750 had one rather serious drawback: the ignition timing regulator was too unreliable, which is why the ignition system often malfunctioned. This situation arose almost everywhere, which is why the people came up with a funny decoding of the abbreviation of the model - "Try to turn me on!".
Among other shortcomings noted by the owners of the PMZ-A-750 were difficulties in shifting gears, poor balancing of the model, as well as the occurrence of the phenomenon of progressive vibrations of the front wheel. Moreover, according to the editors of Novate.ru, sometimes the latter were so strong that the driver could not hold the steering wheel in his hands, and the motorcycle simply turned over.
Another obstacle to the acquisition of PMZ-A-750 was its high cost: it was, on average, twice as expensive as other models that were on the market at that time. All these problems and shortcomings led to the fact that "Soviet Harley" ceased to be produced in 1939, after which he sunk into oblivion. Today it is easier to see it in the expositions of transport museums than even among motorcycle enthusiasts.
Want to know more about the legendary American bike manufacturer's current range of models? Then read: 5 weird Harley-Davidson motorcycles that don't look old-fashioned at all