MT10-36 "Dnepr": powerful, unpretending and reliable

Polytechnic Museum was enriched with a bright gift - a motorcycle MT10-36 "Dnepr". After a rather difficult, with a quarantine break, repair, the motorcycle took its place in the "Transport" section.
In general, today motorcycles can be seen on Ukrainian roads much less often than before. There are a number of clear reasons for this: climate, changes in the perception of the concept of "transport", increasing demands on safety and comfort of movement. Motorcycles are now a favourite type of vehicle in Asian countries, where there is a developed engineering industry, but at the same time, the standard of living is quite low and the climate is warm.

In Ukraine, the greatest popularity of motorcycles came in the second half of the XXth century, when they were mass-produced by Kyiv and Lviv motorcycle factories. However, over time, in our country and in many other countries, the motorcycle from a cheap, simple vehicle has become a symbol of a certain lifestyle, values and code of rules, around which the whole biker subculture is united. That is, from the necessary mean of daily movement and transportation of goods, it gradually turned into a hobby and a mean of active leisure.
At the same time, any motorcycle was and remains a product of human thought, interesting engineering ideas, the result of purposeful technical activity. As for domestic motorcycles, they have implemented many ideas and developments of our engineers, including, of course, Kyiv Polytechnics. The Dnepr motorcycle, created at the Kyiv Motorcycle Plan, is one of the best examples of such constructions.
But first a few words about the Kyiv Motocyclette Plant (KMZ) and its products.
It was opened in September 1945 on the basis of the Armoured Tanks Repair Plant №8. The first product was a motorcycle K-1B "Kievlyanin" with a 2.3 hp engine. In 1949, production of the M-72 heavy motorcycle began. In 1956, the Kyiv Motor Plant put into serial production a new model K-750 - entirely based on their own design.
Since 1957, a system of Sovnarkhoz has been introduced in the USSR. Sovnarkhozes were to draw up and implement economic development plans, production programs, distribute personnel and products, and manage relations with enterprises in a separate territory of the soviet economy. Thus, the Kyiv Sovnarkhoz was primarily to meet the staffing needs of enterprises in specialists using educational institutions on its territory (Kyiv, Cherkasy, Chernihiv, Zhytomyr regions). Our university was the most powerful training centre for mechanical engineering and metallurgy of the Soviet economy, and therefore trained specialists for the Kyiv Motorcycle Plant. In addition to training, universities were involved in solving important problems in production: technical re-equipment, improvement of technologies, development of new models of equipment.
In 1968 the plant began mass production of the K-650 "Dnepr" motorcycle (MT-8). The motorcycle had a new overhead valve engine of its own design. Lets note that almost all KMP motorcycles from that time were called "Dnepr" with the model number.
Since 1977, the MT10-36 model with a 36 hp engine has been launched. This model embodies all the experience of development and operation of motorcycles of that time. It collected all the advanced technical solutions tested by the operation of sport and escort motorcycles without a sidecar.
The MT10-36 motorcycle received improved lighting and signalling devices, a double driver's and passenger's seat. It could be operated without a sidecar. For this purpose it was necessary to establish indicators of the right turn. The sidecar remained unbraked - at that time the safety requirements for vehicles had not yet been strengthened. The original parking brake was actuated by a throw-over slider on the front brake lever.
But the most fundamental difference of this model from the previous ones was the powerful engine. An increase in its power from 32 to 36 hp occurred due to the increase in the degree of compression of the working mixture in the combustion chamber and the maximum number of turns of the crankshaft. The engine is equipped with a new carburettor of higher capacity K-301D. An increased volume hemispherical piston and a shortened sleeve increased the compression ratio. The maximum speed of the crankshaft reached 5900 rpm. Torque - 4.8 kgf m, the maximum power of the engine reached almost at maximum speed. The motorcycle has been adapted to roads with improved pavement. Only such roads could safely move a heavy motorcycle at a high gear at almost maximum engine speed. This mode of operation required the improvement of the lubrication system and the operation of the camshaft, so all this had also changed.
For a long time, the most short-lived unit of a motorcycle engine was a prefabricated crankshaft. Its lifetime was 20-25 thousand km. In 1963-66 together with the Department of Foundry Production of Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute under the leadership of Konstantyn Ilich Vashchenko the technology of manufacturing a crankshaft, which was cast in shell molds from high-strength cast iron, was developed. Konstantyn Vashchenko was the first in the country to create a particularly strong gray modified cast iron. Hulls of artillery shells and mines were cast from this material during the Second World War. His doctoral dissertation dealt with the problems of production of castings from high-strength modified cast iron with lamellar graphite. The development of the production of crankshaft from high-strength cast iron has provided the necessary parameters for the reliability of the motorcycle engine. Tests have shown that after 40 thousand km of motorcycle mileage, the wear of the crankpin is minimal. At the time, these were impressive figures for a motorcycle engine.
Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute employees have also developed a technology for casting and processing prefabricated steel piston cylinders with aluminum radiators for a motorcycle engine. At the request of the plant, the department performed work to improve the technology of casting the engine block no longer in earthen, but in metal molds, as a result of which the unit became lighter and stronger.
The MT 10-36 motorcycle was for some time the most powerful in the USSR, so it is extremely popular and, at the same time, affordable. In the early 80's of XX century it cost 1640 rubles. For comparison - the price of the car ZAZ 968 was 4050 rubles. The power of the ZAZ engine was 40 hp at its own weight of 840 kg, and the motorcycle "Dnepr" - 36 hp at 325 kg. That is, the motorcycle was cheaper and more affordable transport. It was bought mainly by villagers, and therefore, it was often used as a freight vehicle - reliable and unpretentious.
Motorcycles of the Kyiv plant were exported to more than 50 countries. By the way, Adriano Celentano starred on his own MT10-36 in the film "Asso". And in the film "Qua la mano" (in the former USSR it was shown under the names "Lets bet?", "Give a hand", "Here's a hand"), he "cut" on a red motorcycle "Dnepr" without a sidecar.
Modern biker motorcycles can sometimes cost as many as a car. And cheap and durable workhorses of the Kyiv Motorcycle Plant are gradually migrating from private garages and yards to technical museums. Now they are exhibited in Lviv, Kamyansk, Zaporizhia, Uman, Kyiv. At the same time, tourists can see K-1, M-72, K-650, MV-650, MT-11, MT-14, MT-16 motorcycles, but the MT10-36 motorcycle is presented only in the exposition of the State Polytechnic Museum of Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute.

So this motorcycle illustrates the achievements of a particular industry of domestic transport engineering. It is a creation of domestic engineers, a symbol of its era. We hope that the extremely popular vehicle of its time will be of interest to museum visitors.

Grygorii Luparenko, Head of the SPM Department