The Fichtel & Sachs Torpedo Duomatic internal gear hub Story

Torpedo Duomatic (2 gear)

Fichtel & Sachs Torpedo Duomatic gear hub

Manufacturer / Location:

Fichtel & Sachs / Schweinfurt, Germany

Background:

The Duomatic hub production started in 1964. This was the time of the german “Wirtschaftswunder”. This was the time with a strong economic growth after world war two. The germans bought the VW Käfer (Volkswagen Beetle) and loved the new freedom. But how to transport a bicycle in the Beetle? This was the point where the Klapprad was invented.

Klapprad Fichtel & Sachs Torpedo Duomatic

A 20″ bicycle with a foldable mechanism in the middle of the frame. Like today the bowden cable for gear shifting and braking was a constructive challenge. The fabulous solution was the Torpedo Duomatic two gear hub.

A coaster brake without any bowden cable and a fantastic two gear shifting mechanism. The link between the hub and the rider was not as common today a bowden cable. The new link was the chain! By pedaling a little bit backwards the shifting mechanism switches from one gear to the other. While using the coaster brake the hub shifts also from one gear into the other. This makes sense! When you ride in the fast second gear you´ll start accelerating again in the slow first one because of the coaster braking. Perfect!

Fichtel & Sachs Torpedo Duomatic adjustment & maintenance

This invention made it easy to fold the bike without any problems of bowden cables! Why? Because there were none!

The 20″ Klapprad wheels are the reason that nearly all Duomatic hubs came with 28 spoke holes. There were a few hubs sold mainly in the Netherlands and Scandinavia with 36 spoke holes. Because this bicycle country with cold winters recognized the big advantage to use this hub for a maintenance free commuting bike. With this hub there were no disrupted and frozen bowden cables anymore.

After a few miles you are familiar with the shifting behaviour after a brake. Because while braking the hub switches to the next gear. What will happen is quite similar to fixed gear cycling. Your attention goes up and you´ll think forward. The options: Do I use the front brake and stay in the second gear or do I brake with the coaster brake and start accelerating with the first one.

It´s fun!

Options:

- 28 spoke hole version

- 36 spoke hole version (very rare!)

- older versions come with a 10,5mm axel diameter and two flat sides of the axel (Duomatic 102)

- version with common 9,5 mm axel diameter (Duomatic R 2110)

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  1. Hi,

    I love your site. Sachs two speed hubs are my favorite hubs. I have about 5 of them. I have a few kickbacks and few automatics. I also bought various parts to repair them from a closed bicycle shop in Canada. I have a small bicycle company in New York City. I have actually asked SRAM (the company that now has the Duomatic tooling) to make these hubs again. Perhaps some day they will.

    Thanks,

    Matt

    • jim

      I was just at the local recycling center and found an old bike in the metal bin. It had some cool features like an old drum break on the front wheel and unique frame architecture. When I got it home I discovered it also has a torpedo duomatic from 1966. Pumped up the tires and it rides great. The duomatic is perfect.

  2. Marco

    Hello Matt,

    according to your comment we´ll have quite a lot in common. But we are not alone supporting the Duomatic. Have a look on this posting!

    I´am also very interesting in the answer from SRAM!

    Gruß Marco

  3. Paul Eaton

    Great site Marco!

    I ran a duomatic hub on a modified road frame for about 5 years. The bike was affectionately known as the Torpedo. I found the hub in an old Raleigh 20 bike (a New Zealand produced version). Among its may benefits is the ability to commute almost completely no-handed, braking and changing gear with hands shoved firmly in pockets – great for those cold mornings!

    I would love SRAM to produce this hub again.

  4. mark bar

    i need 500 torpedo breaks.

  5. Glenn

    Just acquired an old Peugeot 2piece bike.Took it apart and finally cleaning the wheels and found it has this Duomatic with 36 spokes.I can`t wait to ride it this spring.

  6. joe auge

    I have a fichtel & sachs motor wheel #363854.
    Is there any info for parts or any other information you have on this?

    Thanks
    Joe

  7. Karl Wooldridge

    Moulton have anounced a Limited Edition “Moulton50″ to celebrate 50 years of Moulton bicycles – seems to be based on the TSR series. It used the Duomatic, in combination with a heel-operated 2-speed “Speed Drive” chainwheel to give a total of 4 gears (39-52-64-86″). Looks nice – here’s the link: http://www.moultonbicycles.co.uk/models/Moulton50.html

  8. Andrej

    Hello, if it is possibile, I need Technical Specifications of Sachs Torpedo super7 hub, I ant to repair it by myself.
    Thank You very much
    cigno@inbox.ru

  9. John McCann

    Given that the Duomatic was installed on so many 20″ German klapprads with 28 spoke (28 hole) wheels, what is the availability today of used 28 hole Duomatics in Europe? I’m in the US.
    My bike is identical to the pretty green machine pictured above. http://www.flickr.com/photos/39389118@N07/sets/72157621474584178/ Unfortunately, it is a single-speed Sachs ET. If anyone could direct me to a parts/spares vendor who might have a used 28 hole Duomatic, I would appreciate the referral. johnfmccann(at)yahoo(dot)com

    • Hi John,

      finally I found a person named Jens Hansen!!! He lives in Germany and has a interesting profession:

      Repairing, selling used internal geared hubs and the spareparts.

      So if you looking for a old hub e.g. Fichtel & Sachs or some spareparts have a lock on his website
      http://www.scheunefun.de
      Here is the link to the Duomatic spareparts and hubs….
      http://www.scheunenfun.de/f+s_duomatic.htm

      Please inform him in detail about the hub version you have. Because there are two Duomatic versions out there!

      Another source is:
      http://www.ebay.de

      Gruß,

      Marco

      • John McCann

        Thank You / Danke, Marco! I will be contacting Jens directly. I’ve spent the afternoon disassembling and cleaning the klapprad. I’m excited at the possibility of finding a Duomatic.

        Kind regards,
        John

  10. The Duomatic hub production started in 1964. This was the time of the german “Wirtschaftswunder”.

  11. Golescu O vidiu

    Vreau sa cumpar un butuc la bicicleta mea care se cheama
    ,,torpedo schweinfurt automatic s 36 2 gang

  12. cumpar butuc de bicicleta ,,torpedo schweinfurt automatic,,
    2 gang, 36 de spite nou

  13. Joerg Montag, 2917 ILOCOS NORTE, Pasuquin/Nalvo, Brgy.11, Philippinen

    Meine Torpedo-3-Gang-Nabe ist nach mehr als 30 Jahren an meinem Heidemann-Barando* hinueber UND ich moechte dringlichst eine NEUE plus Bowdenzug (Lenker -> Schaltung)

    * 28er Herrenrad

    Wo bekomm ich sowas auf den Philippinen ?
    Ich habe in Hamburg eine Girokonto und biete Abrufvollmacht an, FALLS sie mir helfen koennen.
    Danke fuer eine Antwort
    mfG !
    J.Montag

  14. mikko kiio

    IST ES HEUTZUTAGE MÖGLICH IRGENWO IN FINLAND EIN NEUES TORPEDO DUOMATIC 2-WECHSEL?/ 2-GEAR KAUFEN?
    WO?
    MEIN ALTER FAHRRAD MIT 2-WECHSEL TORPEDO DUOMATIC IST IMMER SEHR GUT. VIELEN DANK!
    22.11.2012 mikko kiio +358407000841
    nikkarimikko@suomi24.fi
    veräjäkuja 2 B 12 36200 kangasala
    finland

  15. Ian

    I have the 36 spoke hole version how Mutch is it worth on the market my phone number is U.S 714 929 9071 and my email address is mitchellian866@gmail.com

  16. Anonymous

    i have a 28 spoke hub on a rim that i road as a kid in the 70′s.still works great but how much is it worth today.

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