Fritz W. Egli, of Switzerland started his career as a motorcycle designer in 1967. He and two friends were working mostly on the by then still predominant British Ladys, above all a Vincent Black Shadow, which Fritz Egli raced but was mostly unsatisfied with the road-holding capabilities. So he designed his own chassis around the Vincent V-Twin, following the basic design of the Vincent frame - a backbone tube. Seeing the essentials of frame design in a rigid connection between the steering head and the rear swingarm pivot, Egli used a circular backbone tube (4" dia. - Vincent used a square tube) and designed his own frame, using straight tubes (1-1 1/4" dia.) only, following the principle that unbent tubes have most stiffness. With his "Egli Vincent", Fritz Egli won the over 500 cc Swiss Championship in 1968. Co-worker and -racer Fritz Peier made Egli known in England, where he raced his Egli Vincent at Mallory Park, Oulton Park or Silverstone.
With the upcoming Japanese motorcycles, and above all the Honda CB 750/4, introduced in 1969, Egli adopted his chassis to many of the Japanese 4-cylinder engines. The majority of the chassis were probably built for the Kawasaki Z900/Z1000 engine. On a Egli Kawasaki, French team Godier/Genoud won the "Cup d'Endurance", a European long distance championship in 1972. His racing success, as well as some pace-setting projects like the MRD-1, an Egli Turbo Kawa delivering 280 HP at the rear wheel: A 1425cc Wiseco kit, Andrews cams, BMW 323i intake valves, Manley outlet valves, a Mr. Turbo charger, a NOS kit combined with water injection worked well for a top speed of more than 205 mph (330 km/h).
As to the Honda SOHC/4s, most of the Egli chassis were built for the 750, but there were also a few 500 chassis built. A complete Egli frame weighs just 17.5 lb (8 kg)! The steering head has large tapered roller bearings, as well as the swingarm pivot, which has even larger bearings. The rear swingarm is made of oval tubes, with twin shocks (later, non Honda SOHC/4 models came with monoshock suspension). In the early days, Ceriani or Marzocchi front forks were used, along with rear shocks from Koni, Ceriani, Girling or Betor, depending on the client's driving habits and desires. Brakes came from stock Honda, Lockheed, Grimeca, Scarab, Fontana, you name it.
A number of about 400 Egli chassis for the 750 SOHC/4 were built, with a few racing chassis among them. Their frame number has an additional "R" and they are even lighter than the standard chassis because of smaller wall thickness of the tubes. Most CB 750 SOHC/4 chassis were brazed, only some maybe 30 late chassis were welded. An approximate total of 2500 Egli frames have been produced, starting with about 70 Egli Vincents and 20 Egli Triumphs, a few Egli Honda 450 twins and Ducati 750 chassis. I have an Egli Honda EVH750138, the 138th Egli ever built. This may well be one of the prototypes Egli had built for the CB 750 SOHC/4 engine, as it does have a seperate oil tank (all other CB 750 SOHC/4 frames have oil-in-frame - and mine hasn't been retrofit). It also has imperial bearings which Egli had used in his Vincents and Triumphs before - all other CB750 SOHC/4 chassis have metric bearings.
Later Egli designed his own front fork, which as a special has two tubes connecting the left and right slider just above the front wheel, adding much to the fork's stability.
For dry sump engines, as the CB 750 SOHC/4, the frame backbone also works as oil tank. The problem is, though, that under heavy breaking, the supply pump for which the intake is at the rear end of the tube can go dry. To overcome that most Egli Hondas use an additional oil reservoir below the carbs.
Wheelbase: 56.3-58.3" / 1430-1480mm (depending on swing arm)
Trail: 5.7" / 145mm
Honor for supporting the existing Egli riders goes to Michael Niemann, official Egli importer for Germany:
Obere Mühle 28
Tel +49 2371 25292
Fax +49 2371 22310