Zund Hard & Lev

The reveal. A bike's journey through time.

Now you know a little more about who owns and rides this combo, let's delve deeper into the history of the 'Zund Hard & Lev'.

At the end of the 1960s, a motorcyclist living in the Ile de France area was riding along on a good old WWII Zundapp KS 601 and as always happens in this world, nothing is forever. What was bound to happen, one day or another, did of course happen and this Germanic grandmother, already very old and tired, gave up the ghost due to engine failure.

Her owner, however, due to the pressures of work, parked the now redundant machine in a corner of his garage and there she slept, comatose-like, a 'Sleeping Beauty' of her day.

Sometime later, there occurred a car crash, (a Panhard PL 17), not far from his home and the resultant write off went up for sale. You can probably guess what happened next...

The motorcyclist in question then decides to embark on the mechanical challenge presented to him by the intervention of fate and a plan begins to form in his mind.

Rebirth of the broken Zundapp KS 601

He bought the damaged Panhard PL 17 for a 'song', removed the parts he needed for the project, stripped down the broken and now very dusty KS 601 and altered its frame so as to widen it to fit the Panhard M5 engine.

It just fits with a shoehorn, but it fits all the same

As you can imagine, the task was not at all easy. One of the most difficult challenges is obviously that of fitting a 'ring' between the Panhard engine and the Zundapp gearbox. But nonetheless, he eventually overcame the many obstacles and finally achieved his goal.

For the motorcycle part, he improves it by adding a Ratier fork and a 750 Cemec front wheel and mudguards. Then, little by little, he refines the design and engineering aspects of his bitza until he is satisfied with the results.

The Panhard engine seen from above. It was produced by the French manufacturer from 1959 to 1965

One of the problems to be solved is the kick start which can't be used and the starter itself cannot be driven by a motorcycle battery. He solved it by buying a brand-new Dnieper sidecar, attaching it to his bitza and installing a car battery in the sidecar body.

Now everything is working.

There is only one last major obstacle to overcome. He needs to have the machine tested by the 'Service des Mines' to obtain the certificate of conformity control essential to get the registration certificate for his bitza.

He succeeds.

A change of owner for the Zundapp

As luck would have it, circumstances dictate that he needs to move to another region of France and is forced to part with his Zundapp bitza by putting it up for sale.

It is subsequently bought by a motorcyclist from Reims, apparently a rallyist, since he will go to the Elefantentreffen meeting four times with this machine.

Its new owner travelled on the Zundapp bitza beyond France, going four times to the great winter gathering of the Nurburgring, as evidenced by the stickers

Then about six years ago, this biker from Champagne made the decision to purchase a much more modern combo, (a BMW), and thus decided to part with the old Zundapp bitza.

Much to the delight of our friend 'Bocu' who has dreamed of owning a Panhard engine bitza for many years. The deal is done. 'Bocu' at last becomes the new, and current owner of the machine.

The bitza had barely arrived at his home before 'Bocu' is already thinking of ways to improve it, customising it to his liking. In fact, the last six years have seen the machine in constant development and much like good wine, it gets better over time.

The Zundapp bitza, still registered in Champagne, at the time it was acquired

She underwent, over the years, a succession of various minor mechanical improvements as well as some cosmetic surgery at the hands of the highly qualified motorcycle physician 'Professor Bocu'.

Sidecar side view

This enigmatic bitza combo, is not just the typical combination of a car engine mounted in a motorcycle. This one-off is made up of so many diverse parts from anything and everything, that it's pretty much an 'alien' and would have no trouble finding a 'bitza' part in a 'Men In Black' sequel.

Technical sheet

To stay within the limits required for this article, I need to limit the detailed listing of this 'multi-brand' combo bitza.

To name just the essential:

Almost everything is there to enable a moon shot launch!

'Bocu' posing by his combo that always attracts onlookers and raises many questions

Initially the machine was fitted with a Moto Guzzi fork head fairing. It was subsequently replaced by an old Technoplast fairing fitted since 1973 on several of his motorcycles

Latest improvements done these past 15 days:

The shovel seen at the back of the machine in winter mode, just behind the top case, is to this bitza what the umbrella is to the Rolls-Royce Phantom


You now know pretty much everything about 'Bocu's bitza.

A combo that he only takes out on the roads in winter to enable him to go to the rallies organised in the colder months.

With 35 motorcycles in his possession, he is spoiled for choice when it comes to choosing one for an outing. The Panhard engine bitza however only comes out in very cold weather, snow and ice

"What is it? What country is it from? "

On each side of the machine's tank, a sticker made by Bocu indicates the make of its machine: 850 ZUND HARD & LEV

What make of motorcycle is that?

What country is it from?

Two questions that keep coming back and are frequently asked. Sometimes posed by onlookers intrigued by the brand of this vehicle which is a mystery to most. Sometimes by very young bikers who have never seen one like this in bike magazines or on the internet.

And you, dear reader?

Did you know how to read between the lines and manage to guess the reason for the brand ZUND HARD & LEV, totally invented by 'Bocu' for his bitza?

As I mentioned in the introduction, the definition of bitza is 'the art of combining various diverse bike parts and assembling them together'.

It was therefore logical that Bocu would do the same for the name of his bitza.

The brand of this one being made up of parts taken from the names of the two main brands making up his machine:

ZUND [app , pan] HARD & LEV[assor]

- Jean-Francois Helias

Start of quotation Very interesting article, Fanfan!

Speaking of the Panhard engine, here is the original flat twin dating 1939 and on display at the Museum of the Armored Vehicles of Saumur. It is an armored car engine which could run as quickly in reverse as forward.

Designed specifically for the Panhard EBR armored vehicle, the six-litre 12-cylinder horizontal Panhard 12H 6000S gasoline engine (with twin carburetors and 6.6: 1 compression, enabling it to run on low-octane petrol) developed a maximum power of 200hp at 3700rpm. When it was created, the cylinder-piston group and the block from the two-stroke twin-cylinder engine of the compact Panhard Dyna car were taken as a basis.

For a motorcycle bitza, of course, only two of the twelve cylinders should be used...

End of quotation

- Michel Baubet
(MC Dragons)

Are you suggesting that we have enough here to make six specials?