BMW K1200, K1300, and K1600 Forum banner
1 - 5 of 5 Posts

· Registered
336 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Part 1/ The Story
Is it as easy as this to make ‘history’, or do we need to correct it ?

We have been presented The BMW K1200S/R this year of 2005, and these bikes have made their way into the marked, though through some small problems (we skip those as this is not concerning this). The World has been breath taken of their Performance as well as their Road ability and it is the latter I want to take a closer look at.

Road ability is the one feature that we who have the pleasure of owning and riding one of these bikes appreciates the most I would think, the awesome Power output of the new In-line Four from BMW, makes us a gang of ‘broad-grinning-riders’ as well.

Back to the road ability. We have all by now found one of the clues as to what makes these bikes as they are. The new Duolever.

And here we are at the topic of this article. The Duolever by BMW, is a further development of the Hossack-Fork, developed by Mr.Norman Hossack

Taking the above into our minds and referring to an article presented in Motorcyclist, july 2005 issue.

Here they run an article saying that it was not Norman Hossack that was the inventor of this double wish-bone Front fork. Though instead, Mr.Claude Fior, a French motorcycle engineer and known race-driver of motorcycles.
To the main topic:

Norman.Hossack’s question to Motorcyclist 06 July
(This e mail address was from the magazine but it did not reach the editor).

A friend has just passed me a copy of the July issue of MOTOR CYCLIST.
I wish to know how you make the statement that ‘Fior produced the system
1 year before I did’.

I was never able to establish with accuracy when Claude started, but the first publication I saw of his system was in 1983 on a motorcycle called Sicardi.
My first public showing was in MCN in 1980 but the design work started on that machine at least 2 years before that. I will leave out the 'wire frame' model that I made before the design of the first bike started as I can't say exactly when I did that. Enough to say that the design was in ferment from the year after I left McLaren 1974.

So my request here is to know how you make the above statement

Regards Norman Hossack

Norman.Hossack’s question to The Editor of Motorcyclist: 10 August
(I found the correct address elsewhere and the above e-mail included)

I would have preferred not have raised this issue but your magazine, Motorcyclist, did and I would like some clarification.

An article in Motorcyclist made the statement (in brackets) that Claude Fior invented the wish bone suspension system 1 year before I did.

I would like to know on what evidence this claim is based.

Anticipating your response

Norman Hossack

The Editors answer to Mr. N.Hossack: 12 August

I asked Mr.Xxxxxxxxxx(author of article), the contributor who provided that information, and he replied thusly:
"It is incontrovertibly the case that Fior scored World Endurance Championship points on a bike fitted with his wishbone front suspension before Hossack even built his first such bike. I accept there was no intention to copy - both Fior and Hossack had car racing backgrounds, which is where the idea came from - but Fior was undoubtedly first. Only, as a racer with zero interest in commercialisation, he never patented it - whereas Hossack did and should not have been allowed to, just as ELF should never have been allowed to patent the single-sided swingarm, because of the Moto Guzzi Galletto, or BMW the Telelever, because of Saxon and the Saxtrak
- in each case, these came first."
If you have evidence that disproves this, we're all ears.

Thanks for your inquiry

Mitch Boehm

Norman Hossack’s answer to The Editor of Motorcyclist: 15 August

"Incontrovertibly" "Fior was undoubtedly first"

Thank you for your response on this, unfortunately it throws a great deal of light on Mr. Xxxxxxxx (author of article) and his prejudices, but dose nothing in answering my question.


Norman Hossack

PS. I do not offer this as evidence but at the British GP in 86 when Claude Fior (Pif) ran a 3 cylinder Honda machine I talked with him at length about the idea and its development and the difficulties we had had. We concluded then, that I had started on this development over a year and a bit before he had.

No answer of this came and Norman Hossack made another question: 06 September

I am beginning to doubt that any evidence will be forthcoming. My question remains: "I would like to know on what evidence this claim is based".
If this is the case clearly you will have no difficulty in publishing a retraction.


Norman Hossack

At last this came, forward to Mr.N.Hossack from the Editor of Motorcyclist: 06 September

Please discuss with Mr.Xxxxxxx(author of article). I'm sure he'll have the info you need.


Best of luck,

Mitch Boehm

Regarding the above correspondence. is this the way to write or alter Our History of Motorcycling? Personally I don’t think so, and I do believe you all will agree. Norman Hossack has presented me with all the above information and I have said I would present this to you all for a public viewing and hopefully a correct way of presenting our History.
There is a part 2 – two, and I will post this as evidence that Norman Hossack is the True Inventor of his “Double Wishbone, Hossack-Fork” later.
Thoughts and Comments Please:

Disclaimer, please read:
Mr.Norman Hossack and Mr.Claude Fior, these are the only real names that will be presented here. The topic of this is to have History told correctly not to in any case make accusations of a personal sort at all, to anyone. As a further information, Mr. Claude Fior, died some years ago in a Plane crash, this is not in any way a purpose to disregard the name of Mr. Claude Fior, nor his family and I humbly ask readers to have this in mind when reading this. (Info: referrals from ‘open’ web-sites will have to make their own ‘disclaimers’ if needed.)

I, Locus aka Kjell Idsal, have written this thread on behalf of Norman Hossack, with his approval and knowledge.</FONT color="green">

NB!! Part 2 of 2, of this Story will follow.

· Registered
336 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Transferred post,Orginator: Kasperwing

Well Locus,
I for one am most grateful that this is being discussed. When I read the article in question, i was puzzled to say the least.
I wish that Mr. Fior was around. I have a strong tendancy to trust & believe Norman. It is entirely possible that he was first. It is ( sad to say ) also possible he was not. This reminds me of the first flight made by man. Orville & Wilber Wright get the credit... but there is substantial eveidence that others were first to fly. The thing is, is how accurate is the eveidence...etc etc. The bike ( awesome) made by John Brittian ( sp) used a very similar "hossack style" fork. Maybe that avenue could be explored as a way to back track, and link Norman to the true inventor of the "HOSSACK FORK". Another thing... that in BMW's literature they mention Norman Hossack, but not Mr. Fior.

Common sence says that their is no reason for Norman to just make this up or in other words lie. On a personal level I beleive Norman's side of the story.

Life can truly be cruel and unjust. If Norman can reasonably prove he is the inventor, then we, as fellow affectionados of the Hossak fork should afford Norman his just accolades & recognition...that he so richly deserves. Never mind the rest of the world. We know what we know and that is good.....or at least lets pray this is so.

I still say we should all pitch in and buy him a K12S/R if he would accept it.

Holy internal combustion, I love motorcycles!

· Registered
336 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Transferred post, Orginator: zombiewolf

Well said Kasperwing, echos my sentiments.

Jimmy Zee
'05 K1200 S (Graphite Gray)
'99 R1100 S (Black)
'95 R1100 RSL (Dakar Yellow)
'98 Z3 2.8 w/performance mods

· Registered
336 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Transferred post, Orginator: andetorp

The history is filled with inventions developed in parallell alleys by different persons. Some being successfull and winning fame, some not. Sadly, the history has also plentyfull of examples of people stealing other peoples excellent ideas and earning fortunes on them.

In our case, does it really matter who was first with what? The fact remains that both gentlemen in question worked on the same idea. They even talked and discussed common problems. What makes a difference, is that BMW obviously have picked Norman's work as the basis for their development of the magnificient K12S/R. THAT is what makes him the father of our driving pleasure each day on our bikes !!

No journalist's drive to publish dubious hearsay stories can ever alter that.

I rest my case and have only one remark to add: THANK YOU, NORMAN !

k1200s 2005
ZL96920 (frame #)
ESA/ABS/Heatgrips/Alarm/Granite (of course)

· Registered
336 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Transferred post, Orginator: Miles Miller


It's difficult not to deal in conspiracy theories, but here we have a very successful application of Norman's front suspension and it's now very curious that someone who is no longer with us is given credit by a a slick magazine with having come first with a non-patented but similar suspension for motorcycles. Why would the magazine even bother to put this possiblity forward to its readership? Hmmm.

The key here is that Norman did patent this system and BMW just about at the time the patent runs out uses the major paramaters of Norman's work. Didn't, in fact, BMW early give a nod to Norman as the inventor of the front suspension on the new "K" bikes? And then quietly exempted itself from any further acknowledgement of Norman's front suspension?

I think, at this point, BMW should clarify Norman's role in the development of a key part of the new generation of four cylinder motorcycles. Just to set the record straight. And as you say, Kjell, Norman's suspension is also a key ingredient in the roadability of the two new "K"s.
It's also clear that these two bikes are successful in part owing to the front suspension and the water mudied by Motorcylist needs (should) be corrected.

1 - 5 of 5 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.