Technical Information Pages for the Restoration of the BMW R75 and Zündapp KS 750.


Herausgeber:  ERSATZTEIL- DIENST   Hans-Peter HOMMES       D-41748   VIERSEN   Tiefenstraße 10       Tel. 02162 - 8100933

Monthly available on our website.  


Lettering and Labeling of the Bikes


H - P Hommes

© 2006 h-p hommes




The heavy military bikes Zündapp KS 750 and BMW R75 are working equipments that were used in the armed forces.
As on many other working equipments we can find a lot of signs, letterings and labels.

The letterings can be embossed in the plate, being imprinted in the cast or they can be on a sign or a transfer. They can be stamped or painted.

Some of the labels could be described as absurd. 

Why is there AUF-ZU (open - closed) on the throttle control handle? Anyone who has a driver's license knows that he has to turn the throttle control handle.

But that is how the military bureaucrats work. Everything is made the way that the most stupid men can understand it.

But that he can read well, that is assumed of even the most stupid one.


Those who cannot read, however, has a chance to find his military unit.

The division and tactical signs are kept in picture form.

Even an illiterate can recognize these.

So there can be no excuse he cannot read.



In a military manual you can read the following:

To change the oil after 500 km: drain the still warm oil.

It should have happened that they drained the old oil but did not fill in the new oil.
Filling in new oil was not mentioned and it cannot be expected from a soldier that the word oil change implies filling in new oil.

The manuals were destroyed and reprinted with the new amendments.




There are labels that are required by admission offices such as:

Name plate, license plate, labeling of tires with size and profile type as well as the chassis and engine numbers.


Then there are the factory advices and information.

The operation manual, the spare part list to order spare parts. a stamp on the tool cover, the capacity of the fuel tank, the lubrication plan, in which direction to put the lock the labeling of the oil dip sticks, imprints such as START and DRIVE for the position of the start-up aid as well as the note AUF (open) and ZU (closed) on the tank cap and at the throttle control handle, etc.


The military markings and notes.

The tactical and division signs, the silhouette detection, the indicating label of the interference suppression (Entstörhinweis), the loading instructions, the air pressure data for the tires, when the filter has to be cleaned, the data of the injection system of the carburetor, the final approval stamp.


The individually painted labels of the different units.

The sequential numbering of the bikes on the tank. the license plate number was often painted on batteries or storage boxes to be able to properly assign these parts to each bike.


The personal design by the soldiers.

One or more female names on the tank. The name of a fallen comrade with the date and a cross.


There was a lot to read on such a Zündapp or BMW. 

The labeling in the manufacturing plant is known as painting on the invoices.


The letterings of suppliers such as Bosch, Hella, Noris, Steib, Ribe, +GF+ and Verbus were on their products.

Around 1943 the companies received a directive that they should refrain from labellng , because the Germans had found out that the Americans analyzed the captured vehicles.

For new vehicles, they could indentify where the production plants were situated and could bomb them.


To explain the meaning of all letterings and labels is too complex


Here are some:


Umrisserkennung - silhouette detection

Because the bikes were driven in the dark with camouflage light and therefore the visibility was not very good, the outer parts of the bikes were painted with white colour to make the silhouette more clearly.


For example at the sidecar the front and rear fender, the left front fender or the rear left storage box.



On original photos you can see large numbers on the tank. This made it easier to determine who went where or whether a vehicle was missing.

One of my photos shows three bikes with sequential numbers driving in a convoy.

Often you can see on original photos that the battery and the storage box are provided with the license plate number.  



You can read the detailed description of where, what and how the lettering and labelling is available on the bikes in my books about the heavy m ilitary bikes


For BMW R75

Order No. 6666  or in English 6666-GB