1978 Hercules W-2000 Wankel With 3 Miles for Sale!

1978 Hercules W2000 L side

The Hercules W-2000 is a curious footnote in the history of motorcycling, one of only a handful of machines powered by Felix Wankel’s liquid smooth rotary engine. Thanks to Mazda, the rotary has come to be associated with performance applications, but a major advantage of the design is that it has so few moving parts, making it reliable and very economical engine to manufacture. In theory, at least.

1978 Hercules W2000 Dash

And while the W-2000 does have an unusual, eerily-smooth character and a 6-speed gearbox, it’s pretty clear that this machine was never intended as a sport bike. Really, it was more of a sophisticated commuter, one that certainly appealed to people with an eye for unusual technology.

I’d bet people that collect these also like Citroens and air-cooled Volkswagens, stuff that’s cool without necessarily being particularly fast.

1978 Hercules W2000 L Engine

Unfortunately, that whole “reliable and economical to manufacture” thing didn’t work out too well, and then The Government decided to tax it as a much larger-displacement machine, making the whole exercise basically pointless. The W-2000 is largely forgotten now, but does have a following.

1978 Hercules W2000 Headlight

From the original eBay listing: 1978 Hercules W-2000 for Sale

Condition:

This is as nice as you will find. This bike is a true survivor. It is a 3 mile original. Look at the photos and decide for yourself. One not this nice sold down under recently for 15K US. It was not an oil injected bike. This is an EXCEPTIONAL example of an oil injected bike.

THIS BIKE HAS NEVER BEEN REGISTERED AND IS STILL ON THE MSO

This bike has been properly stored as part of a large collection and will need only the most cursory service to make it road worthy. These bikes are very rare in the US and worldwide as total production was 199. They are almost never seen in public and some in private collections are modified. The Wikipedia photograph W-2000 is a nice bike, but it is a custom. It is not even close to factory original. This is as close as you can get to stepping into a time machine and stepping back to 1978.

To help clarify, Hercules produced 2 versions of the W-2000. A pre mix bike (Total Production about 1800) and an oil injected bike, total production 199. The motorcycle has no oil sump in the engine (and no, it’s not a two stroke) the only oil for the mains and seals (rings) comes through the fuel system. On a pre mix bike, you must mix oil at 1:25. A premix bike does it for you.

Finding a Hercules W-2000 is rare. Finding a premix bike is rarer still.  Finding a premix still on the MSO is unheard of…

The good news:

It’s all good… just look at the photos. You will be hard pressed to find a better one anywhere in the world… period.

THIS BIKE HAS NEVER BEEN REGISTERED AND IS STILL ON THE MSO

OIL INJECTED

The bad news:

NONE

Well that’s good to know: there’s no bad news. Other than the price, that is.The starting bid is at $15,000 with no takers and four days left on the auction. With miles this low, the bike is probably worth it, but it takes a very specific kind of buyer willing to fork over that kind of dough for an oddity like this, with no racing history, that was generally perceived as a noble failure.

1978 Hercules W2000 R Rear

Hopefully, someone, somewhere is taking a break from the garage where he’s rebuilding the  four-cam Maserati V6 for his ongoing Citroen SM restoration, stumbles across this time-capsule bike and decides it would go perfectly next to his Art Deco furniture collection.

-tad

1978 Hercules W2000 Tank

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2 Responses

  1. The Hercules uses a Fitchel&Sachs snowmobile engine; not exactly a specialist application, unlike the Norton rotary designed by David Garside, or the Mazda, all of which were licensed from Felix Wankel/NSU. I’ve been to Wankel’s Lindau design lab, which is an International Style masterpiece, owned now by Audi as their ‘advanced concepts’ lab… for more on Wankel bikes look here: http://thevintagent.blogspot.com/2011/11/short-history-of-wankel-motorcycles.html

  2. MrMan says:

    I think the seller is confused about premix and oil injection. He keeps saying this bike is oil injection and how much more rare it is than the premix versions and then says the premix models are more rare. Either way I’m sure it’s a weird ride.