Monday, August 20, 2012

1956 Csepel Danuvia 125

I've been slacking on the Isetta restoration recently because I recently acquired a new toy. It's a 1956 Hungarian motorcycle called a Csepel Danuvia 125/D. It's basically a Hungarian version of one of the most copied motorcycles of all time, the German made DKW RT125. This bike received a very thorough restoration in Hungary a few years ago before being imported to the United States. Generally I like to do my own restorations, however being a big fan of DKW's and this style of motorcycle, I jumped at the opportunity to acquire this bike.  

Some of the original Hungarian paperwork that came with the bike.

The bike runs great, but before I start riding it, I wanted to do a few little things. The spark plug cable that was on the bike seemed too short and was a little too modern looking for my taste. I replaced it with a vintage style woven cable. Also the wiring on the bike was done with a brown wire that looked a little too much like lamp cord, so I replaced the wiring and used a vintage style woven sheath over the new wiring. I also eliminated all plastic cable ties and electricians tape and instead used vintage rubber John Bull type rubber ties.

The bike didn't have a fuel filter, so I added a fuel filter that looks period correct. While I was at it, I pulled the carb and cleaned it. I drained all the fluids, so that when I start riding it it will have all fresh lubricants and fuel.

I also noticed that the bike was leaking a fair amount of oil out of the clutch side engine case. While searching for the source of the oil leak, I did find a few other minor problems. As you can see in this photo, the threads for the oil fill hole are stripped. The cap was basically just sitting in the hole. 

The source of the oil leak was that the shaft that the gear shift lever attaches to had a bad oil seal. Not a big deal, however there was another problem that put a slight delay in my riding plans.

Before the engine case can be removed, the kick start lever and the gear shift lever have to be removed. I had noticed that the bolt on the gear shift lever was so over tightened that it was bent. I had to cut it in the middle to get it removed from the gear shift lever. I soon realized why it was so overtightened. The splines on the gear shift lever and the shaft that it connects to were completely gone. If I had to, I could juke up a repair, however hopefully I think I've located a gear shift shaft and lever with good splines. I'm hoping I can get these parts fairly soon and get the bike back together before winter sets in. Oh well, I guess I can get back to work on the Isetta now.

Incidentally, there are also some weirdly awesome Hungarian microcars.


  1. great bike, and great the last hungary microcar (which brand is it?).
    I have download the manual, because i am restoring an Isetta 300 in Uruguay, it would be great if you could upload the last part of the restoration manual! It will be a big advance in my project!

    1. Thanks for your comment. The Hungarian microcar is a Pajtas. Clicking on the photo of the Pajtas will take you to a nice article on Jalopnik about Hungarian microcars. Yes, I need to finish posting the repair manual. I got a little burned out doing it because it is very time consuming scanning the manual and preparing the images. - BZ

  2. Hi!!! congratulations for your bike, its looks amazing!!! im from Argentina, i started to restoring a old bike, and recently i discovered that is a Csepel 125, exactly the same like yours... Here in argentina that bike is extremely rare and i cant find some parts... do you know where i can get scrap parts or unused? i only need the right engine cover (with D logo) and the lamp cover... thank you so much!! PD: mi mail is ""

  3. I'll email you directly with some advice on parts suppliers.

  4. Hi , i have one csepel danuvia 125cc too. And i don't know what oil will be used on transmission ? sorry my english , i'm french ^^
    My mail >
    Thx You

  5. Bonjour, the manual recommends 700cc of SAE 30-35. I'm using Bel Ray Gear Saver 80w. Motul Transoil 10W40 would be another good choice. I found my bike shifted a little better with a slightly heavier viscosity than recommended. That's why I'm recommending the 10W40 or 80W (gearbox oil).

  6. Hi everyone, I also have a 125 danuvia which I am restoring, I need some spares also a repair manual as I have some gearbox problems...can anyone advise me please.Les

  7. Hi everyone, I also have a 125 danuvia which I am restoring, I need some spares also a repair manual as I have some gearbox problems...can anyone advise me please.Les

  8. I need some spare parts and a service manual for my 125 Danuvia, any help please.

  9. Try in Austria. He sells on eBay or you can contact him through his website