In the Soviet Union, the motorcycle market was limited essentially to a little number of models: the Minsk (125 cc), the Izh (350 cc), and the Ural and Dnepr (650/750 cc). But, between the Minsk and the Izh, there was another motorcycle: the Voskhod 175. It was the "luxury alternative" in comparison with the little Minsk 125, although the not very outstanding technology! On this page there is some model builted by this factory, still today in activity.


The beginnings

kovrovK55.jpg (12072 byte) k-55-kovrov-1950.jpg (10740 byte) k-55ad.jpg (19682 byte) 

The ZID (official name of this factory) was founded in the 1953 in the city of Kovrov. Like the Minsk 125, the first ZID's model, the "K-55" of the 1946 (three pics above) was substantially a copy of the German DKW "RT 125", one of the most copied motorcycles in the history. The "K-55" was even exported in some European country (the Finland, for example): in the third pic above, an advertising page of the period, in Finnish language! 

k-175a-1960.jpg (12910 byte) voshkod175-2.jpeg (29670 byte) voskod-am-74-12-1.jpg (17244 byte) voshod3-1979.jpg (13343 byte) Voshod3M01-1985.jpg (12674 byte) vosk-girl.jpg (11183 byte) KOVROVEC_175.jpg (45121 byte)

In the 1957, that bike was replaced by a new model, the "Voskhod", that stands for "sunrise" in Russian. In comparison with the Minsk 125, this bike had a slightly bigger engine (175 cc), the 5-speed gearbox and the double exhaust pipe...that was all, but with these few features, the Voskhod was like a luxury compact car for the Russian citizen! In the first pic above, a Voskhod of the 1960; in the second, third and fourth pics, some models of the '70s (the exemplar in the fourth pic is of the 1979); in the fifth pic, instead, a model of the 1985. The bike was kept substantially unchanged, and it was modified, during the years, only in the suspensions and in the look. The sixth pic, instead, is taken from an old brochure of the "Avtoexport" society, the exporter of cars and motorcycles in the former USSR. In the seventh pic, a racing version, directly realized by the factory in the 1964; simply with a fairing, a new frame and a new exhaust, also a very cheap bike as the "Voskhod" is ready to race! 


Recent models

zid-girl.jpg (11873 byte) sova_big.jpg (17019 byte) zid_zid5.jpg (18705 byte) zdk-frant.jpg (27681 byte) Voshod3m.jpg (19380 byte)

Today, the ZID produces models substantially derived from the old "Voskhod". In the first, second and third pics above, the "Courier 200", a little enduro bike. It's quite simple and banal, but it has a record: it's the only Russian bike with the monoshock suspension! The classic "basic" 175 cc. model, available also in the 200 cc. version, now is called "Sova" (fourth pic, and, in the fifth pic, on the assembling line; the name stands for "owl" in Russian), and like the "Courier" is equipped with petal admission valve. However, also a totally new bike was launched, the "Frant 125" (sixth pic). It had a modern four-stroke engine with 15 hp, single cylinder, air cooled (probably of Honda origin), and many components are of European and Japanese origin: probably, it is reserved only to enough rich Russian citizen, considering that the price is quite high in comparison with the old and smoky two-stroke models! The old "Voskhod" of the years '70s is still produced as basic model: it's in the seventh pic, with a beautiful Russian girl who could pose on much more beautiful motorcycles...

     zdk-farmer.jpg (21887 byte) voskh-4_big.jpg (20596 byte) zid200-2wd-4.jpg (13081 byte) zid200-2wd-2.jpg (12870 byte) zid200-2wd.jpg (13114 byte)

With the old two-strokes engine (modified with the application of a fan for the forced air-cooling system), the ZID produces also some trike and quad model (first and second pics; the trike in the first pic is called "Farmer"); you can see, on the trike, also the external belt for the air-cooling fan, dangerously near to the feet of the driver...In the third, fourth and fifth pics, instead, a very special motorcycle: the ZID 200 with two-wheel drive transmission! This model, with wide and little tyres derived from the trike, is equipped with a complex system of chains and shafts for the transmission of the torque to the front wheel: several components of this transmission are even derived from the steering system of the lorry GAZ "66"! 

 zid50_big.jpg (18365 byte) zid50active_big.jpg (18561 byte) zid50scooter_big.jpg (11194 byte) zid-motoball.jpg (18601 byte) 06-03.jpg (10662 byte) 06-01.jpg (30705 byte)

The ZID produces also mopeds and scooters. In the first pic above, the "Ptaha 50", a foldable moped, similar to many Italian foldable mopeds of the years '70s;  the position of the rear shock absorber is quite strange...In the second and third pics, the "Pilot" and the "Active", two little 50 cc. enduro bikes with the same frame and engine, and in the fourth pic, a scooter with engine of Asian origin, with electric starter and automatic transmission. In the fifth pic, instead, a new motoball model (the motoball is a sort of football played with motorcycles and with a big ball; see also the page about the Vostok motorcycles). In the sixth and seventh pics, a prototype of little chopper derived from the "Pilot", very, very essential...maybe too essential, anyway it's nice (it looks me like the Fantic "Chopper" of the years '70s, an Italian bike with an enormous back support for the passenger)!

Finally, a very strange image. Do you think that only the cars can be equipped with a trolley? If you think so, you're wrong...in the pic above, there is a Voskhod 175 "made in CCCP" with an ugly but useful trolley! Curiously, in the United States and in Russia the law agrees the installation of a trolley on the motorcycles, but here in Italy it's forbidden...unfortunately in my country, because of the burocracy, even to install a different tyre is a real exploit! 

The pics are taken from www.mcasta.ru, www.zid.ru