Tempo was a Norwegian motorcycle and moped manufacturer. Jonas Øglænd, a Norwegian merchant and industrial entrepreneur, was responsible for making the frames and ZF Sachs AG made the engines. He is mostly known for his quality DBS bicycles. In the 60s, every Norwegian owned a Tempo moped.
It all started at a local bicycle factory in Sandnes in south-west Norway. For several years, the factory used German-imported gears on their bicycles, supplied by Fichtel & Sachs, which also produced a two-stroke engine. In 1931, they started to mount this small 74cc engine to the frame of a standard bicycle named “The World”, but as a necessity, they had to strengthen the frame, and the name “Tempo” came into being. Later on in the 30´s, the frames were equipped with the well known 98cc Sachs, the start of the Tempo MC era.
Moped production started around 1952, the first ones being close to a ladies bike with a rear mounted Victoria engine of 38cc giving 1 bhp. Thereafter came a series of models, all together about 60 until the factory closed down in 1987.After the works in Sandnes closed, some enthusiasts started a company named “Tempo Norge”, importing mopeds and selling them under the Tempo brand name. These were made in Italy with Minarelli motors and in Portugal, – but in 1994 it all ended.
Tempo Model Review
Motorcycles (1938 -1966)
Sport 98cc Sachs 2-stroke
The Sport of 1938 had a 98cc Sachs and came in different styles, but few details are known, even though there are a lot running on the road. During the war they even made a wood burning engine.
Swing 1957-59, 125cc, 150cc & 175cc Sachs Engine, 2-stroke single
The Swing was manufactured with three sizes of Sachs motors. A black version was launched for 1959 only.
Taifun 1958-66, 125cc, 150cc & 175cc Sachs Engine, 2-stroke single
Taifun was introduced in late -58, early -59. The black Taifun was similar to the Swing but with some more bodywork and different details, but using the same engines. It was produced until late 1962, with front fork with rubber bellows. Then, in 1964, the same bike with new front fork and without bellows was lunched. This continued until the end of 1964, when the “square tank” was introduced and the Taifun turned blue for the remainder of its life span, ceasing production in 1966.
Progress -61, 191cc Sachs, 2-stroke single, 160kilo
Tempo tried to introduce a scooter, called the Progress, which came from the German Progress-Werke, but it was a little too heavy and came too late to catch the scooter-wave. The project finally died in 1961, even though some were sold. The Progress had a 191cc Sachs engine with dynastart, 18″ wheels and a weight of 160 kilos.
Mopeds (1954 – 1994)
Handy 1953-57, 49cc Sachs, 2-stroke single, 1.8hp.
This model was only available in green, and was replaced later on in 1955-56 with another “Handy” producing more power, said to be 2 hp, available only in metallic light blue. In1957, the Handy was improved with leading fork and rear suspension giving better comfort, and a Sachs engine with two hand operated gears.
Comfort 1957-1958, 49cc Sachs, 2-stroke single
This moped went into production with a Sachs engine having two or three hand operated gears. There was also a similar model called the Swing that had a special “swing fork” and also fan cooling; which was made until 1960.
Corvette 1959-1994, 49cc Sachs, 2-stroke single
The Corvette was launched in 1959, and the production ran until 1994. This was the most successful of the mopeds, available in a number of varieties having Sachs engine and fan cooling. Initially with a three speed hand operated gearbox, and then in 1964 a four speed foot operated gearbox was added and remained until the end. After 1987 they were made in Portugal and the model name featured a ‘P’ in it.
Saxonette 1961-1969, 49cc Sachs, 2-stroke single
This was an automatic model, the first model 1961-1962 with one gear only, then with two gears, but these were not the greatest success.
Courier 1967, 49cc Sachs, 2-stroke single
In 1967 a delivery moped was introduced, the COURIER met with limited success in Norway, but was exported with greater success to Sweden sold as the DBS
Panter 1966-1987, 49cc Sachs, 2-stroke single
The sporty Panter was introduced in order to meet the “Japanese Invasion”, which had brought new designs to the market. This was very popular among the young ones, and was one of the longest produced models incorporating many modifications throughout the years.
The 1970 Panter in red, with the fan-cooled engine is a Swedish export DBS Sport (these were Tempo re-badged to DBS for the Swedish market). These had the fan-cooled engine normally found on the Corvette. You may perhaps say it is a “counterpart” to the Safir which features vice-versa off-normal frame and engine configuration.
Safir 1969-1970, 49cc Sachs, 2-stroke single
The special coloured Safir (Sapphire) is very rare. The Safir was not just a Corvette in a special colour: It had the same wind cooled engine as a Panter which has the drive sprockets and rear brake on different sides.
Avanti Automatic 1982-1986, 49cc Minarelli, 2-stroke single
Other models include the Handy 1976-80 and the Avanti 1984-90. Later models with Minarelli engines include the Tiger, RT-50, RE-50, TS-50 and TSX-50. These later models did not have the same quality as their Sachs-engine predecessors and are becoming rare. The engines were regarded as rubbish and they were a disgrace to the Tempo name.
Editor’s note: Traditional Norwegian industrial products are generally no longer produced in Norway. These include shoes, clothes, radios, television sets, pots, fish hooks – the list is long. This is due to an extremely high cost level, and most of Norway ‘s industrial production is unfortunately shut down or moved to low-cost countries.
Photos by: classicmotorcycles.org.uk, except Tempo Panter, Model 370, 1973 – 75 by: www.tempo-online.net
Text modified by: Thor Lanesskog, ThorNews