1953 NSU Sportmax


 1953 NSU Sportmax 

1953 NSU Max 250

Engine: 246.8cc air-cooled OHC single
Bore x Stroke: 69 x 66mm
Power: 29hp @ 9,600rpm
Transmission: 4-speed
Suspension: Leading link front fork, mono-shock rear
Weight: 240lb (dry)

1953 NSU Sportmax 

During the 1930s and the 1950s NSU of Neckarsulm, Germany was the world's largest motorcycle manufacturer. Founded in 1873 to make knitting machines, NSU became a revered manufacturer of bicycles (in 1886 under the Germania brand), motorcycles (in 1901) and cars (in 1905) that was eventually gobbled up in 1969 by today's behemoth Volkswagen Group.

In 1953 NSU launched their remarkably successful series of street (Max) and production race bikes (Sportmax) with its innovative, air-cooled 250cc overhead cam single. The cam drive was unique, using a pair of "connecting rods" from crankshaft to camshaft. Its cylinder is angled forward in a monobloque (unibody) pressed steel frame with a leading link front fork, all of which was created under the guidance of engineering genius Albert Roder. For the Supermax, an aluminum fuel tank and all-enveloping fairing - often known as a dusbin - was fitted to complete this fast, lightweight road racer.

1953 NSU Sportmax 

1/15/2015 3:54:45 PM

The NSU featured here is not a Sport Max It is simply a Max. The specs listed are for a Renn Max which was the racer. The Max and Sport Max produced 18 HP at 7,000 RPM and were good for about 80 MPH which wasn't bad for a 15 inch bike in those days. The Sport Max had dual rear shocks where the regular Max had a mono shock internal to the pressed steel frame. I owned a '56 Max my 1st year in college in '60 and had seen many of them in Germany when my dad was stationed there when I was in high school. The mentioned connecting rod camshaft drive was driven by a timing gear which, of course, ran at 1/2 crank speed. Many fond memories. I put about 10,000 miles on that one.

Richard Backus
5/24/2013 6:19:45 PM

You're both correct in noticing something's wrong with this posting. All of the info came from the museum's info sheet, and near as I can tell, the museum confused this bike, which is likely a 1953 Max 250, with the Sport Max and the Super Max. The Sport Max was as Francis notes a racer. The Super Max had a twin shock rear, but wasn't produced until 1956. This bike has a mono-shock rear, making it a Max 250. Thanks for the observations, and I've updated the entry to reflect what we believe is correct. Richard Backus/Motorcycle Classics

4/26/2013 4:02:52 AM

I don't mean to sound overly critical but the Sportmax was a factory built 250cc road racer that went on sale in 1955, was available for customers to compete on. I have had a 1953 NSU Max for more than 35 years and I can assure you it is truly a fine machine.

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