This Lilac CS-28 (Marusho Motorcycle Industrial Co Ltd) was one of the more unusual exhibits at the Classic Japanese Motorcycle Group’s show in 2013. The bike caused some curiosity amongst the CJMG show committee as we were not too familiar with this marque. The owner (an 85 year old Christchurch gent) has owned the bike for a few decades and patiently attempted to bring her back to original specs. He appears to be a talented individual with a well appointed workshop, who made his own parts to original designs when needed.
The 1959 model is a shaft driven, 66 degree V-twin of 125cc displacement. These motors were based on a German bike (Victoria Bergmeister) from earlier in the decade. The literature associated with the Lilac indicates that it weighs around 126Kg and puts out a perky 10.5 hp. Top speed (reputedly) offers around 110-115 KMH – possibly depending on the rider’s bulk and the prevailing wind direction. Notice in the above photo how the footpegs go through the mufflers of the machine. Interestingly, a bit of browsing on the net has turned up some other CS-28s in this green colour – so this may not be an artistic quirk of the current owner!
The V-twins are OHV, electric start and shaft drive. The bulbous lump at the front of the motor is described as a “dynastarter”. This apparently is a combined starter and generator that is connected directly to the front of the crankshaft. It would seem that you just press the starter button and the motor begins to run. Another great feature that sets this bike apart from later Japanese models is that it did not use Philips Head screws anywhere on it!
The founder of Marusho motorcycles (Masahi Ito) began making motorcycles around 1948. His factory was situated in Hamamatsu, close to that of a friend and manufacturing contemporary – one Mr Soichiro Honda. It appears that the Marusho factory was no simple, journeyman enterprise. The company went on to produce some 31 models between 1951 and 1961, with peak production (11,000 machines) being achieved in 1959. The company ceased production around 1966/7.