After an almost 30 year hiatus, the legendary Egli motorcycles name is rising from the ashes with their first new offering since 1988! And Öhlins is an integral part of that programme.
Based in a small town near Zurich, the company first came to public attention when Frits Egli stormed to victory in the Swiss National Championship using a 1000cc Vincent engine inside his own hand-built frame. Claiming it was not down to his talent but because his bike was simply so much better than the rest, it kicked off a successful 20 year career of Egli built frames – including the speciality CB750 and turbo Kawasaki machines. Between 1965 and 1985 they sold over 3,000 motorcycles to become one of the most important company’s in the Swiss motorcycle industry.
However by 1988, the might of the Japanese brands had caught up and Egli ceased building their own frames, instead focusing on selling production motorcycles. That was until Le Mans 24hr stalwart Alexander Frei purchased the company with the idea of reviving the brand. We caught up with Alex to find out more…
“My first motorcycle was a Triumph Bonneville 650cc and I’ve been obsessed with two wheels since I was young…in fact, since the Triumph I’ve always had at least one bike at home! I’ve known of the Egli Motorradtechnik Company since the 1970s and they were always among the best and most successful performance bikes, so when I heard Fritz Egli was retiring from the business I was immediately interested in building on his success and taking over the company – with the goal of building new, quality, handmade motorcycles.”
The first machine that was produced was the Egli Fritz W.1300, which has been designed by Othmar Bachmer and Juerg Lindenmann, who worked on the last Egli to be built in the 1980’s. Using a Yamaha XJR1300 engine as the powerhouse, the machine features a steel frame with the signature Egli oil tank, a handmade aluminium tank and an ally seat and mudguard. Weighing in at an incredible 208kg fully wet, it is 32kg less than the stock model!
Egli originally spent a lot of time designing and building chassis for the air/oil cooled inline four engines from Japan continues Alex,
“so I wanted to keep with that theme for our first model but unfortunately these engines are gradually disappearing with the introduction of the Euro4 requirements. Thankfully the XJR fit the bill perfectly, so it was a natural choice for us.
Our intention from the beginning was to build a classic looking Café Racer, which meant we would have to use right-way up front forks and double rear shocks, but despite the classic look we also wanted to ensure great handling and a modern chassis geometry which is why we opted to use Öhlins front and rear!
We’ve only built six of the Fritz W. machines and, with the exception of the demo machine, they’ve all been sold! We have some big plans for the future and our new project will hopefully be presented early next year. We are aiming to produce 12 bikes in the first production year and after that increasing to 30 bikes in the following year.”