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 Horex - spéciale Roland Schnell
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Horex D2-492-19-15
Photo ou archives : F-M. Dumas

Capacity : 350
Model : spéciale Roland Schnell
Production : 1952 -
Category : (R) Racing


350 Double Tree / Roland Schnell - 1952

Fast by name, fast in nature

Less typically Germanic than their compatriots, the Horex bikes have a special place in the history of German mororcycles in the 1950s, for they combined Teutonic thoroughness with technical ideas that were more reminiscent of Italy. The reason is very simple: The rider/ engineer responsible for the development of the 1952-54 Horex singles, Roland Schnell, had recently been working miracles at Parilla in Milan.

An Appropriate Name

In 1951 Horex concentrated its racing efforts on 500cc twins, then decided the following year to broaden its program with 250 and 350cc singles. Its development was enrusted to the talented Roland Schnell (which means "fast" in German). While the twins proved highly unreliable, the 250 and 350 singles were augmented by a 500cc derivative in 1953 and, while they were often well placed, never quite managed to beat the bikes backed by the big battalions like DKW and Moto Guzzi.

Superb Engines

The engines designed by Schnell were genuinely superb. A handsome magnesium casing on one side of the generously finned cylinder housed the chain that drove the intake camshaft; on the opposite side, a second chain drove the exhaust camshaft. The frame was reminiscent of the famed Norton Featherbed, except that its tubes didn't cross behind the steering head. The rear end had an aerodynamic aluminum fairing.


Engine: 348cc (74x81 mm) air-cooled single-cylinder four-stroke

Power Rating: 32 hp @ 7500 rpm

Valves: twin overhead camshafts driven by separate chains; hairpin valve springs

Fuel System: Dell 'Orto carburetor

Transmission: 4-speed; chain final drive

Suspension: telescopic forks (front); swinging fork with twin spring/dampers (rear)

Brakes: drum (front & rear)

Wheels: 19 inch (front & rear)

Weight: 342 lb

Maximum Speed: 112 mph

With its generously finned cylinder and massive tank, the Horex Schnell was reminiscent of another great racing bike of the day, the 7R AJS.

Motorcycle encyclopedia Moto Passion, realised by François-Marie Dumas, include almost 2000 photos presented with an exhaustive history of the motorcycles exhibited.

This unique collection has been realised with the participation of many specialists. With many thanks in particular to Yves Campion, Michael Dregni, Didier Ganneau, Jean Goyard, Helmut Krackowizer, Michel Montange, Christian Rey, Bernard Salvat, Mick Woollett, etc

One can order here

  • Original cards on paper (in french)
  • High resolution scans or original documents presented and signed with my name.

Please contact me at for conditions and copyright.

© Tous droits réservés
François-Marie Dumas

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