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 NSU - 250 Max
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Photo ou archives : F-M. Dumas

Capacity : 250
Model : Max
Production : 1952 - 1954
Category : (R) Street Bike


250 Max - 1953

One cylinder- four driving rods!

After the end of WWII, many manufacturers resumed production of their prewar models in virtually unchanged form. Technical innovation had to wait for the next generation of motorcycles such as the NSU 250 Max, launched in 1952.

Amazing Design

The outstanding feature of the Max was its power unit. Its overhead-camshaft was driven from the tail of the crankshaft by two long rods driven by eccentrics offset by 90 degrees. A third rod supported the camshaft bearing, insulating the cam drive-train from variations caused by thermal expansion, ensuring the valve clearances stayed constant.

Silent and Maintenance-Free

This layout, unique in motorcycle history (and costly), had the advantage of being silent, maintenance-free and incapable of going out of adjustment. Though the NSU Max appeared in 1952, serious production only got under way in 1953, and rose to some 25,000 units. Initially, the engine developed some 18.4 hp at 6700 rpm, but around 1954, the compression ratio was reduced slightly to eliminate knocking caused by low-grade fuel, and power rating slumped to 17 hp at 6500 rpm. The frame was also unorthodox, with leading link front suspension and swing arm rear suspension with a large central spring. The springs were concealed within the pressed-steel frame. The NSU Max was successful in European competition.


Engine: 247cc (69x66mm) air-cooled single-cylinder four-stroke

Power Rating: 18.4 hp @ 6700 rpm

Valves: overhead-camshaft driven by eccentrics

Fuel System: 26mm Bing carburetor

Transmission: 4-speed; dry four-plate clutch; chain final drive

Suspension: leading link (front); swing arm with central spring (rear)

Brakes: drum (front & rear)

Wheels: 3.25x19 inch wire (from & rear)

Weight: 320 lb

Maximum Speed: 78 mph

Still modern in appearance: it's hard to believe that the NSU Max, with its unique camshaft drive, was designed in the 1950s.

Le fichier Moto Passion réalisé par François-Marie Dumas réunit près de deux mille photos accompagnées d'un historique très complet des machines présentées.
Il sera progressivement mis à jour ici et toute information complémentaire est la bienvenue sur info@moto-collection.org.

Cette documentation unique, qui constitue sans doute l'encyclopédie la plus exhaustive jamais écrite sur l'histoire de la moto, a été réalisée avec l'assistance de nombreux spécialistes dont principalement Didier Ganneau, Christophe Gaime, Mick Woollett, Jean Goyard, Bernard Salvat, Christian Rey, Yves Campion, Helmut Krackowizer, Michael Dregni, Michel Montange, etc. que je remercie ici.

Disponible sur demande :
- Les fiches originales sur papier
- Les photos et archives signées de mon nom en haute définition ou les documents originaux.
Me contacter sur info@moto-collection.org pour les conditions et droits d'utilisation.