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Hypercar Maker Praga Just Unveiled an Ultra-Limited Motorcycle Inspired by Its 1928 Original

The Czech manufacturer’s hand-built ZS 800 will be limited to 28 examples, each priced at $90,000.

The Praga ZS 800 motorcycle. Jakub Frey, courtesy of Praga.

Praga, the Czech manufacturer of limited-production high-performance vehicles, only revealed its $1.28 million Bohema street-legal race car late last year, and Robb Report was among the very first to test it. Now, just months later, it has dropped its second new model, but the nature of it might surprise you. Instead of diversifying into more practical, affordable sport cars, or an SUV—as Ferrari and Lamborghini have done with the Purosangue and Urus, respectively—the next exclusive road-going machine from this storied and recently rejuvenated marque is a hand-built, retro-styled motorcycle priced at $90,000. And with only 28 examples to be made, it will be even scarcer than its hypercar stablemate.

Founded in 1907, Praga made cars, motorcycles and aircraft of some renown until it was nationalized under communism after World War II. In 1928, young motorcycle and aviation designer—and motorcycle racer—Jaroslav František Koch created the beautiful BD 500, which garnered a series of world speed and endurance records, including one Koch set himself for riding from Rome to Prague.

The Praga ZS 800 motorcycle.
The $90,000 Praga ZS 800 motorcycle. Jakub Frey, courtesy of Praga.

Fast forward to the present, when engineer and artisanal welder Jan Žuži joined the now privately owned firm to design and fabricate the titanium exhausts for the Bohema. But as a motocross competitor, his real passion was for two-wheeled racers. He had built his own motorbikes from scratch before, and when he joined Praga he began work on a modern interpretation of the BD 500. It started as a purely after-hours passion project, until Praga’s owner, Petr Ptacek, saw its potential and decided to put it into (very limited) production.

Designated as the ZS 800, the new bike is a remarkably accurate echo of the original 1928 model’s look, from the high-mounted headlamp and the broad sweep of the bars to the elegant and distinctively prewar saddle design. It carries a 773 cc, air-cooled parallel-twin engine, also chosen to echo the look of the original, and features a hand-welded, hard-tail cro-moly frame.

The new Praga ZS 800 motorcycle is a modern take on the 1928 Praga BD 500 (right).
The new ZS 800 is a modern take on the 1928 Praga BD 500 (right). Matus Rendek, courtesy of Praga.

Yes, it’s true that there’s no conventional rear suspension: instead, just like the original, the seat itself is sprung, this time by a spring and damper from Swedish specialist Öhlins. In another nod to the original, hydraulic finned drum brakes have been chosen in preference to discs in order to preserve the vintage look.

But while the aesthetics are from a bygone era, the materials are modern. The extensive use of titanium and carbon fiber keeps the dry weight down to 313 pounds, to the benefit of both straight-line performance and handling. The exhaust is exquisitely hand-welded from titanium, as you’d expect, but the most striking tech detail is probably the multi-spoke carbon-fiber wheels. For the latter, each individual strand is hand-woven to create a design which references the black steel spokes of the BD 500, but gives the strength and stiffness required on a modern sports bike.

The Praga ZS 800 motorcycle.
A 773 cc, air-cooled parallel-twin engine is set within a hand-welded, hard-tail cro-moly frame. Jakub Frey, courtesy of Praga.

Deliveries will start in the summer, and the first examples of the ZS 800 and Bohema are both going to the same Dubai-based customer. A price nearing six figures may seem pretty high for a 50 hp motorcycle with no conventional rear suspension, but when you see it in the steel, its extraordinary styling and the love and craft with which it has been built could easily persuade you. And with only 28 to be made, when will you ever see another?

Click here for more photos of the Praga ZS 800 motorcycle.

The Praga ZS 800 motorcycle.
The Praga ZS 800 motorcycle. Jakub Frey, courtesy of Praga.

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