IFA RT – 125cc – 1954


The IFA RT 125 is a historically significant motorcycle, particularly in the context of post-war European motorcycling. Here’s a detailed overview of the 1954 model:


  • Engine: 125cc, single-cylinder, two-stroke
  • Bore and Stroke: 52mm x 58mm
  • Compression Ratio: Approximately 6.5:1
  • Power Output: Around 5.5 horsepower at 5,500 rpm
  • Transmission: Three-speed gearbox with chain final drive
  • Top Speed: Approximately 50 mph (80 km/h)
  • Frame: Steel tubular frame
  • Suspension:
    • Front: Telescopic forks
    • Rear: Plunger suspension or rigid (depending on the variant)
  • Brakes:
    • Front: Drum brake
    • Rear: Drum brake
  • Fuel Capacity: Approximately 2.1 gallons (8 liters)
  • Weight: Around 220 pounds (100 kg)

Manufacturer Design:

  • Designer: The original design of the RT 125 was developed by DKW, a German company, before World War II. After the war, the design was taken over by IFA (Industrieverband Fahrzeugbau) in East Germany.
  • Aesthetic: The IFA RT 125 featured a simple and functional design, with a focus on practicality and reliability. It had a minimalist look with a straightforward, utilitarian style.
  • Purpose: Designed for mass transportation, the RT 125 was intended to be affordable, easy to maintain, and reliable. It became a popular choice for everyday commuting.
  • Build Quality: Known for its robustness, the RT 125 was built to last and to handle the rough conditions of post-war Europe.


  • Widespread Influence: The RT 125’s design was so effective and reliable that it was adopted and produced under license by several other manufacturers worldwide, including BSA (Bantam), Harley-Davidson (Hummer), and the Soviet manufacturer Minsk.
  • Post-War Reconstruction: The RT 125 played a significant role in the post-war reconstruction efforts in Europe, providing affordable transportation for many people.
  • Cultural Impact: As one of the most widely produced motorcycles of its time, the RT 125 became a cultural icon, symbolizing the recovery and resilience of post-war Europe.

Interesting and Important Facts:

  • License Production: The RT 125’s design was widely copied and produced under various names around the world, making it one of the most influential motorcycle designs in history.
  • Military Use: During and after the war, the RT 125 was also used by various military forces due to its reliability and simplicity.
  • Innovative Features: The RT 125 introduced several innovative features for its time, such as a fully enclosed chain drive and a modern two-stroke engine design.
  • Economic Impact: The affordability and simplicity of the RT 125 made motorcycling accessible to a broader audience, significantly impacting personal mobility and economic conditions in the post-war period.
  • Legacy Models: The RT 125’s design and engineering principles continued to influence motorcycle development for decades, with many modern two-stroke motorcycles tracing their lineage back to this model.


The IFA RT 125cc – 1954 is more than just a motorcycle; it’s a piece of history that represents resilience, innovation, and the democratization of personal transportation. Its influence on global motorcycle design and its role in post-war reconstruction make it an enduring icon in the world of motorcycling. Whether appreciated for its engineering, its cultural impact, or its historical significance, the RT 125 remains a celebrated model among enthusiasts and historians alike.


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