Praga, the Czech Republic based manufacturing and engineering company, has launched the Praga ZS 800 motorcycle – a modern reimagining of the iconic 1928 Praga BD 500.
Created by the same expert engineering team behind the acclaimed Praga Bohema hypercar, the new Praga ZS 800 combines a suite of advanced motor racing production processes and materials with the character and design details of its 1928 BD 500 ancestor.
Sporting a chrome molybdenum steel frame and titanium exhaust system, as well as unique woven carbon wheels, the ZS 800 weighs just 142kg dry (158kg wet) and with its air-cooled, 773cc four stroke parallel twin engine, delivers a riding experience certain to stir the soul.
Praga will produce just 28 of the ZS 800, which are now available to order with deliveries starting mid-2023, and the first of these heading to a client in Dubai.
Modern vision with a 100-year heritage
In 1928, the first Praga BD 500 rolled out of the Breitfeld-Daněk factory in Prague. Seen as a modern motorcycle in its time, the design was initially conceived by the young aviation designer and passionate motorcyclist, Jaroslav František Koch.
Featuring one of the first ever four stroke DOHC engines designed by Koch, the BD 500 not only presented multiple innovative design features, but earnt its place in motorcycle history when Koch himself rode the bike from Rome to Prague, covering a distance of 1,480 kilometers in 35 hours and 40 minutes, setting a new endurance record.
Now, in 2023, history is repeating.
The brainchild of Jan Žuži, an engineer working on the lightweight 700 hp luxury Praga Bohema hypercar, the ZS 800 began life as a passion project to create a BD 500 remake.
Alongside fellow engineer Radek Šebesta, Jan developed the concept, combining engineering expertise and dedication with Praga’s exceptional production capabilities and racing technology. And, so, the Praga ZS 800 was born, a modern reimagining that retains the character and design of its ancestral BD 500.
The Praga ZS 800: Cutting-edge technology applied to classic design
The Praga ZS 800 is a masterclass in craftmanship. A combination of the very latest production processes and ultra-lightweight materials brings this motorcycle to life.
Within a chrome molybdenum steel frame rests the air-cooled 773cc four stroke parallel twin engine. The modern yet classically styled unit is lightweight and marries perfectly with the aesthetic of the ZS 800, offering beautiful architecture that resembles the original BD 500 engine structure, bevel gear cam drive, fuel efficiency, and complies with Euro 5 standards.
The ZS 800’s unique forged carbon wheels work in harmony with its hydraulic drum brake system – a system chosen to complement both the motorcycle’s style and performance. The hand-woven carbon rims are a complex artistic pattern of overlapping carbon fibre with intricate carbon tensioned spokes to emulate the look of the BD 500.
A sculpted front fork sits at the fore of the motorcycle; a structure only made possible through five-axis machining and chrome molybdenum steel. Nestled within the fork is fully adjustable Öhlins suspension with a titanium spring that effortlessly delivers a smooth and exclusive ride.
With its 11.5L fuel tank embellished with a forged carbon cover, the Praga ZS 800 has an incredible dry weight of just 142kg, complete with 50:50 weight distribution between the wheels – all of which culminates in a notably poised ride.
The Art of Engineering: Mastering materials
The Praga ZS 800 is a product of skilled engineering and true understanding of complex, high-grade materials.
Titanium is used throughout the design, with almost every screw, axle, nut and bolt of the chassis and engine made from the lightweight, high strength metal. The exhaust system is also fully titanium and weighs just 4.8kg as a result – with select elements constructed using state-of-the-art 3D printing.
Premium materials such as duralumin alloys, noble chrome molybdenum steel and forged carbon are also incorporated into the ZS 800’s design. Dedicated to achieving the perfect structure, the engineering team utilises the very latest production processes to manipulate the complex materials, including over 300 hours of five-axis machining.
The ZS 800’s Chief Designer, Jan Žuži, said: “Strong and extremely lightweight materials – such as carbon, titanium, chrome molybdenum steel and aviation duralumin – enabled us to reimagine the rigid rear wheel suspension, the front swingarm fork, and the hydraulic drum brakes.
“These futuristic materials and Praga sports division’s latest production facilities have enabled us to transfer those elegant historical design elements to the present day, and to build a motorcycle with contemporary driving characteristics and a unique feel.”
The premium price point of £75,550 (EUR 86,000 (excl. tax)) is testament to the intricate and tireless engineering that goes into every Praga creation, including the limited run, £1.1m Bohema hypercar. With deliveries arriving from mid-2023, the Praga ZS 800 is a machine for both collectors and motorcycle enthusiasts alike.