The VICTORIA brand name has been offering mobility on two wheels since 1886. Entire generations have grown up with the sturdy quality, proven reliability and high degree of practicality offered by VICTORIA. We are committed to these values and this long-standing tradition. These act as our motivation to continually enhance our products. As extensive and modern as VICTORIA’s current product range is, our history is just as varied and diverse. It extends far back into a different era, in which the bicycle – as it is today – experienced an unprecedented boom.
Travelling back in time to the 19th century
In 1886, horses and carriages characterised the streetscape, and Carl Benz had only just built his first motor car. The penny farthing was an important means of transport at this time. In the same year, cyclists Max Frankenburger and Max Ottenstein founded VICTORIA with just 20 employees. By the turn of the century, the company had grown rapidly, moved into its own production facilities and recorded a production high of well over 11,000 bikes per year. The main reason for the high degree of popularity: even back then the company VICTORIA Fahrradwerke, which later became VICTORIA Werke AG, represented high quality and reliability.
The bicycle gains momentum
VICTORIA was there when the bike had to undergo fundamental development steps. The depth of the company’s roots becomes clear, when you consider the following: Back then, the finding that two wheels of the same size were safer than one large wheel and one tiny one did not yet prevail. Thus, VICTORIA stopped offering just penny farthings and tricycles commonplace at the time, but also included the so-called “low-wheeled bicycles” or “low-wheeled safety bicycles”. These were the first bikes, as we know them today. These were partly motorised and able to reach up to 40 km/h, which was an incredible speed back then. Quite a respectable performance given how uneven road surfaces were at the time.
Cycling back then was by no means a matter of course: In 1897, the “VICTORIA Velodrom” was opened in Nuremberg specially for people who were yet to gain any cycling experience. Here, new customers could learn to ride their bikes on a closed circuit – without spectators, but being accompanied by popular music of the time.
Highs and lows in the 20th century
With time, VICTORIA became a full-range supplier in all things mobility. From 1905 onwards, cars were produced such as the “Doctor’s Cabriolet” popular among rural doctors. At the end of the First World War, the company launched its full “large” motorcycles, which were especially popular with the Nuremberg Police and other authorities. At the same time, bicycles continued their success story. This meant that in 1926, VICTORIA sold well over 27,000 units; however this figure had grown to just under 50,000 by 1939 and did not include the 10,000 motorised bicycles sold.
At the time of the Second World War, production of civilian bicycles was reduced as much as possible: production here predominantly involved the manufacture of slightly modified standard models for the military. At the end of the war, the factory buildings had almost been completely destroyed. VICTORIA started from scratch again in Nuremberg with 28 employees.
Vicky, the economic miracle
After this dark period, a new era started not just for Europe but for VICTORIA too. The production of bikes – with and without a motor – was initially limited due to material shortages. But production gradually increased and the bike powered solely by the pedal became the largest source of income. When it came to cycle racing, VICTORIA focussed back then on the very popular Derny races, where the brand was able to notch up numerous successes.
The new beginning for VICTORIA also included the “Vicky” model, which evolved into a real bestseller during the ensuing economic boom times. The Vicky started its career as a conventional bicycle with a small auxiliary motor and a tank between the mudguard and the carrier – a precursor today’s eBike. In the early post-war years, the Vicky was indispensable as a means of transport. With time, expectations rose and the Vicky became a moped with a powerful engine. An elegant Vicky with attractive two-tone paint finish even became a status symbol appealing to not just the younger generations with over 40,000 units sold.
Temporary end to the golden years
In the 1950s, VICTORIA enjoyed great success with motorised bikes such as the “Nicky” motorised scooter and the “Avanti”, an Italian styled sports moped. But the golden age at the middle of the last century did not last forever. Bicycle sales, the mainstay of VICTORIA, fell dramatically and could not be offset by the sale of mopeds. As a result, VICTORIA merged with two other manufacturers to form Zweirad Union in 1958. When this was acquired by the Nuremberg-based Hercules Werke, the VICTORIA name dropped off the radar for a while.
A new beginning in the North
In the 1990s, VICTORIA was relaunched in the northern German town of Hoya under the umbrella of Hermann Hartje KG, another bicycle company steeped in tradition and founded in 1895. After acquiring the naming rights, we took up production for the 1997 model year with a total of 14 city and trekking bikes in our own state-of-the-art production facilities again. We started with the aspiration to continue a tradition of excellent quality, proven reliability and high practicality.
VICTORIA as we are today
As we look to the future with our eyes wide open, our product line reflects the full diversity of the bicycle. Being one of the very first eBike manufacturers, VICTORIA is shaping a new era of the changing mobility landscape. Our trekking pedelecs use the most reliable motor systems on the market and are quite simple to operate. Modern, urban eBikes offer an uncluttered look and virtually maintenance-free components, such as gear hubs and belt drive. Classic city bike without e-support offer velvety smooth comfort; age-appropriate children’s and youth bicycles impress with their focus on road traffic safety. Furthermore, young and young-at-heart riders can rediscover the nostalgic charm of bygone days with our colourful retro bikes. We also offer something special on top of all of that with our eManufaktur premium line tailored for perfection, handmade in Germany and the winner of several awards.
The VICTORIA story continues
The ultra-modern bicycles and eBikes by VICTORIA impress with their outstanding value for money, regularly receiving top marks in trade magazines and are entitled to claim to be the bearer of an established market name once more. Our story that had its beginnings in 1886 is far from over. We have picked up speed again and are steering confidently into the next, thrilling 100 years of cycling history.