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    Junak M10 – what is worth knowing about this vintage motorcycle?

    This is probably the most controversial motorcycle in the history of Polish motoring. Some love it, others find it rather flimsy, to put it mildly. It is generally considered to be extremely difficult to seal, has quite a few design faults and is generally quite a modest machine when compared to European designs of similar capacity.

    The generation of motorcyclists at the turn of the 50s and 60s mostly considered Junak to be a pretty cool machine – certainly the most powerful, spectacular, fastest and at the same time the most expensive one produced in our country. Of course, it was far from the lightness of the Enerdish AVO on the one hand, and the armoured Soviet M-72 on the other, but let’s remember that those very motorcycles were almost exact copies of the best German models, and “Junkers” was created practically entirely from scratch by domestic designers.


    The story of Junak’s creation is quite interesting and untypical. First, they decided to build a motorcycle and only then did they start to think about where to start producing it. BKPMot engineers with the help of Warsaw’s WFM (Mechanical Equipment Plant – editor’s note) built the prototypes which were presented in 1954 in Wroclaw on the occasion of the 10th Anniversary Exhibition. Still, there was no decision on where the new motorcycle would be produced.


    Contrary to popular belief, it was not the Comecon leaders who decided to end the production of motorcycles in Szczecin. In 1964 the demand for these machines dropped dramatically, as Junak was very expensive (although apparently still in deficit for the factory), and the domestic competitor from Świdnik was getting bolder and its production potential was rapidly increasing.


    Junak was a heavy machine, but with relatively few failures, but certainly quite modern and fast. It is commonly believed that the excessive weight resulted from the fact that Junak, already in the initial conceptual assumptions, was to be a 500 ccm class motorcycle, so most of the components were designed in this direction. Only in the course of work, it was decided that initially, it would be only 350 ccm, but the chassis and the bottom of the “engine” were left so that in the future without major modifications a 500 could be installed there.


    Today, few people realise what difficulties Polish chopper builders had to face in the 1980s. Choppers, because other machines, as we would say custom today, have not yet been invented. There was no access either to accessory companies, airbrushes, CNC machine tools, or other modern inventions.


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