By Tom White
East German Paul Friedrichs won three consecutive 500cc World Motocross Championships (1966-1968) on a CZ 360. With a record like that, any serious American motocrosser of the era would have been drawn to the Type 969/01 like a moth to a flame. In almost every way, the CZ production bike resembled the factory machine, and that included problem areas like the dual-plug ignition (that jumped timing easily), Jikov carb (that flooded easily) and propensity towards heavy vibration. Even with its flaws, the CZ 360 was bulletproof and fast when put in capable hands like those of Paul Friedrichs or Brad Lackey.
CZ was founded in Strakonice, Czechoslovakia, in 1919 as a weapons manufacturer. In fact, the acronym CZ stands for Ceska Zbrojowka, which translates into Czechoslovakian Weapons Factory. It wasn’t until 1932 that CZ started building motorcycles, the first being a 76cc machine called the Cactus. After WWII, the communist commissars merged CZ with archrival Jawa. CZ would manufacture motorcycles for street, trials, enduro and road racing, but it was in motocross where they flourished.
Joel Robert, Paul Friedrichs, Guennady Moisseev, Jaroslav Falta, Sylvain Geboers, Roger DeCoster, Zdenek Velky, Vlastimil Valek, Jiri Stodulka, Tony DiStefano and Brad Lackey all raced CZs. CZ’s innovative two-strokes changed the sport and earned them seven World Motocross Championships. Unfortunately for them, CZ’s technology languished under communism, and CZ withdrew from motocross competition at the end of the 1983 season. Today, the CZ factories produce gear boxes for Skoda automobiles, motorcycle chains and guns.
1969 CZ 360 TYPE 969/01 FACTS
WHAT THEY COST
At $1095 suggested retail, the CZ was almost a hundred dollars cheaper than the Husqvarna 400, but the initial cost didn’t take into account that most American riders switched the Jikov to a Mikuni and the Pal shocks for Girlings. Don’t pay more than $3000 for a good core (yet to be restored) or $7000 for a nicely restored example.
CZ 250 Type 980 and CZ 360 Type 969/01.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
For the serious motorcycle collector, original standard components are critical. On the 1969 CZ 360, it is important to find an example with a good original high pipe?as the ’69 was often called the “side-pipe.” As with all CZs, a flawless stock steel tank, steel front fender, and original fiberglass rear fender and air box are critical. The Jikov carb is a must, but it is hard to find because very few CZ riders kept them on the bike when it was new.
Bertus Jawa/CZ in LaPuente, California, is the foremost expert and supplier of parts for CZs in the world. The phone number is (626) 330-2326.
For more info on classic bikes go to www.earlyyearsofmx.com