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Bike Review - Posted 11th January 2016
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CZ Type 488.4

Always interested in odd old bikes, Mark Holyoake finds a truly unusual two-stroke and presses it in to service as this year's winter hack. But Mark, look how shiny it is...

The Ceska zbrojovka company began building CZ motorcycles in 1935, was nationalised in 1946, merged with JAWA in 1948, enjoyed massive success in the 1950s, 60s and 70s in ISDT, motocross and enduro competition, and became a subsidiary of Cagiva in 1992. Cagivaís scheme was to build new versions of CZ and JAWA models, and to move some of their own production from Italy to the Czech Republic. That arrangement ended with Cagivaís demise in 1997 when CZ motorcycle production ended.

CZ Type 488.4

Just before the very end, the bike you see here was made. Itís a Type 488.4, and its immediate predecessor, the Type 488.3, was made back in the early 1980s. The Cagiva-era 125s received cosmetic updates (and even a floating disc brake, snaffled from its 350 sibling, right at the very end), while the old-fashioned 123cc air-cooled, single cylinder, two-stroke engine faithfully delivered its typical 10bhp at 5500rpm. Not an obvious choice for a winter hack, but MarkH is an adventurous fellow. Weíll let him continue the story from hereÖ

For some winter / commuting duties I have ventured back to an ageing two-stroke. Not another MZ, but its (almost) alphabetic bedfellow, a CZ. Stop it; stop it now, laughing and sniggering isnít nice. Itís a (late) 125cc model (stop it, stop laughing) lightweight that appears easy to manhandle. It has the strange JAWA/CZ auto clutch and seems to go well. Yes, it goes quite well... in a 125, winter hack sort of way. Itís certainly not a race replica, although it benefitted from Cagivaís ownership of CZ and, being a 488.4, has a drum front stopper and petroil lubrication.

CZ Type 488.4
Jawa-CZ (and others) on Now...

Since the photos were taken itís also benefitted from some new tyres; a pair of Heidenau ones that seem quite nice to use. These are similar to the ones fitted to older Beemers, Urals and such. This may mean that the rubber worth more than the rest of the bike! Iíve also fitted a new 6V battery. I am experimenting with a Lucas sealed gel/glass fibre mat type thatís supposed to be OK for standby and cyclical use (6V, 12ah), as used in kiddy cars and golf buggies. At under £15 itís not the end of the world if it doesnít work. Has anyone else used these batteries on their classic?

If those new components didnít cost more than the bike... then the surgery to replace the failed crank seals certainly did! Still, after that work and expense the CZ now seems to stop, start and go OK. I gather these machines always got a very poor press back in the day Ė well, not this actual model, Iíve never seen a test of one of these, but the CZs which preceded it werenít paid many compliments. Still, it cost a fraction of the price of a Bantam. So will this be a complete disaster or not? Time will tell.

CZ Type 488.4

It seems to be solid, rugged and not made from flimsy materials. Itís original, with matching numbers Ė but as itís a long way from being a traditional classic: who cares! So far it seems to be fine as a winter hack, and maybe will be pressed into commuting duties for 2016.

Maybe someone out there has some lore or knowledge on this model. Care to share? Once you have stopped laughing, of courseÖ

CZ Type 488.4

If you do have any useful info about the CZ 488.4 then ping a mail to RCHQ (RCHQ at realclassic.net) and weíll pass it on to Mark>


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