Ceska Zbroiouba was founded in 1918 as an armament manufacturer but didn’t turn to producing motorcycles until 1932 – and it wasn’t until Jaroslav Walter – one of the sons of the founder of Walter G.m.b.H. which built motorcycles from 1903 to 1942 – joined CZ in 1948 that the company began road racing in earnest.
Originally OHV 250 and OHC 350 designs that Jaroslav had designed in the late 1930s were used but a new OHC 350 was soon developed and this continued to be raced successfully up until 1954. The bike seen here is one of only two Type 860 42 0cc V4s known to exist and was photographed in the National Technical Museum in Prague.
The design was begun as a 350cc in 1965 by CZ engineer Frantisek Pudil but the first time the bike actually fired into life was in 1969, the day before the Czech GP! This lack of development meant that the team had to run an existing older model in the race. Further work during ’69-’70 saw the V4 become competitive, although reliability was a problem.
The Type 860 was generally the ‘best of the rest’ behind Agostini on the MV Agusta. The team’s main rider, Bohumil Stasa’s best result was a second to Jarno Saarinen at Brno in 1972. A total of 24 race wins in non GP events were achieved during 1971-1972.
In 1971 a 418cc version was built for the 500cc class. Some Western components such as brakes and tyres were used for the first time. In 1973 a front disc brake and Bosch ignition were fitted before the programme was cancelled later in the year when it was decreed that CZ should concentrate on off road competition with Jawa maintaining a Czech presence in road racing.
The V4’s design was basically sound but suffered from a lack of funds and the advanced materials available to Western (and Japanese) companies. the 420 weighed some 37 kg more than the MV while producing about 20 hp less. Output was 73 hp at 13,600 rpm with a weight of 142 kg, offering a top speed of 260km/h.
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