Hercules W-2000

In a recent post we looked at the Norton Classic, a twin rotor Wankel engined motorcycle that probably should have become more popular than it was. Interestingly an example of the predecessor of the Norton Classic is currently up for sale on eBay with a couple of days left on the auction at time of writing. This bike is the Hercules W-2000.

The Hercules W-2000 was fitted with a Fichtel and Sachs single rotor Wankel engine.

The Hercules W-2000 was fitted with a Fichtel and Sachs single rotor Wankel engine.

The Hercules W-2000 can be said to be the predecessor of the Norton Classic because Norton purchased the design and tooling for the Fichtel and Sachs rotary engine from Hercules when Hercules ended production of the W-2000 in 1977. Norton then went ahead and built their own bike based on the single rotor engine, discovered it to be underpowered, and then did the obvious and assembled two of these rotary engines together to double the power which worked rather nicely. The Norton Classic that resulted from that design and development work went into production in 1987.

The Hercules W-2000 has its single rotor 294cc engine mounted longitudinally to maximize cooling.

The Hercules W-2000 has its single rotor 294cc engine mounted longitudinally to maximize cooling. This is a later model W-2000 with the oil injection facility to remove the necessity for the owner to pre-mix oil with fuel.

In order to mount two rotors and achieve the necessary cooling Norton engineer David Garside mounted the rotors laterally and created a system of vanes to literally ram air around them. The original single rotor Hercules W-2000 was better off having the rotor mounted longitudinally to allow a full air flow onto that hot little Wankel engine.

The longitudinally mounted single rotor Wankel engine drives a conventional chain drive though a right angle bevel gear.

The longitudinally mounted single rotor Wankel engine drives a conventional chain drive though a right angle bevel gear.

The longitudinally mounted Wankel engine of the Hercules W-2000 then transmitted its power via a wet clutch and six speed gearbox through a right angle bevel gear and then a conventional chain drive. Other than its engine the Hercules W-2000 was a very conventional motor cycle and reviews of the time described it as being expensive and underpowered. This then was a motorcycle for someone who was a bit of a technology geek who wanted a motorcycle with the latest technology despite that fact that it was lacking actual performance.

The Hercules W-2000 is a nice looking motorcycle and interesting because of its unusual engine.

The Hercules W-2000 is a nice looking motorcycle and interesting because of its unusual engine.

Top speed of the Hercules W-2000 was 90mph (140km/hr) so this was not a “ton up” cafe racer, nor did it have the potential to be turned into one. Fuel consumption was also quite high at around 40mpg to the US gallon (4.9litres per 100kilometers). So it used as much fuel as a modest sized car.

All Wankel engines delivered more power than a piston engine of the same capacity, but did so at the expense of poor fuel efficiency.

All Wankel engines delivered more power than a piston engine of the same capacity, but did so at the expense of poor fuel efficiency.

This particular Hercules W-2000 for sale on eBay a 1976 model described as being original and having been brought into full working order. The bike has been stored in a humidity controlled environment as a part of a collection of rotary engined motorcycles. It certainly looks to be completely original in the photographs. So this is an opportunity to own a complete, original and working example of this quite rare motorcycle. There were only 199 Hercules W-2000 made with the oil injection system so this is likely one of few of those in original and working order.

You will find the eBay sale page if you click here.

This bike is also discussed on BarnFinds.com and you’ll find that page if you click here.

This Hercules W-2000 is one of few oil injected versions still in complete, original and working order.

This Hercules W-2000 is one of few oil injected versions still in complete, original and working order.

(All pictures courtesy eBay).

Comments are closed.

Privacy Policy - Terms of Service - Contact Us