The evolution of the NSU MAX      

After 1948, the Allies had lifted the ban on the new development of engines over 60 cc, brought the NSU-Works at Neckarsulm 1949 model "FOX" in the market. The FOX lifted from the rest NSU program that consisted of the types QUICK, 125 and 251 ZDB OSL, in many respects from. Unusual was not just the 98 cc OHV engine with about 6 hp, but also the full rocker chassis with rear central spring whose supporting part was a pressed-steel-frame. Except for the 1951 to 1954 built KONSUL models all NSU had new developments this frame type. The FOX followed 1951, the 200 cc two-stroke engine "LUX ". The development of a 250 cc four-stroke engine was probably started at the same time as that of LUX, after be called the project a 350cc parallel twins with shaft drive which carried the type designation 302 OSW and "CONSUL", was abandoned late 1949.To introduce the LUX the work was not yet complete. The reason is to be sought in the problems of the four-stroke engine, but also the frameThe latter, taken from the LUX, proved to be too weak, so that the first Mäxe who left the work in the winter of 1952-53, were equipped with a though similar, but increased in most respects from chassis. These first specimens, there were 60 pieces, got to selected people such as journalists or longstanding NSU buyers who should report to the work experience with the new model. The layout of this pre-production followed very closely the later production run. Photos in the first brochure show yet Mäxe the prototype stage, partly without the so typical oil tank on the left side of the frame.
The core of the MAX is the Albert Roder (1896 - 1970) developed 250 cc engine whose performance beginning with 15 PS (11 kW) was specified. A high value, considering that the average performance of other lay by 250 cc motorcycles at that time at about 12 hp.Jointly responsible for the strength of the engine , the valve timing is through an overhead camshaft, a design applied to date almost exclusively in sports engines. The camshaft drive consists of two double eccentric and two connecting rods.  The eccentric shafts are the 90 ° offset from the other one. The lower eccentric shaft is coupled through a driving pin with the intermediate, the upper in the same way with the camshaft. The two connecting rods are mounted on the eccentrics in bronze bushings and wear the rotation synchronized to the camshaft. To compensate for the thermal expansion of the cylinder and cylinder head, the cam shaft is pivotally mounted in housing and connected to the left side by a fixed stand of distance rod to the motor housing. This system has been protected for NSU under the name ULTRAMAX-valve-control. It was later used in the SUPER FOX, the MAXI and the two-cylinder PRINZ.

With 15 hp but the engine was in no way to its limits; the production models of Standard and Spezial-MAX were with 17 hp (12.5 kW), which indicated the Supermax with 18 hp ( 13.3 kW ). The Sportmax engine produced even up to 29 hp ( 21.3 kW ), although it had basically the same structure.

The MAX came officially in spring 1953 in the trade and sold in the first year, nearly twenty-five thousand times.
Also in 1954 and '55, this number has been reached. But in 1956, the two-wheeler market stagnated and production figures plummeted. Built were finally 81,647 Standard- and Spezial-Mäxe to 1956, followed by 15,473 Supermäxen to 1963rd. Also left 2,756 machines from the Export type MAX 300 in the years 1955/56 the Neckarsulm plant halls. From a production in the strict sense no longer any question could be in the last two years of sales, the motorcycles were assembled from spareparts.

The MAX was in its first year to cash prize of 1.990, - DM to have. Also Payment could after a min deposit of 590, - DM are elected. The price remained the presented in September 1954 MAX Special stable, the standard model has been sold and cost 295,- DM less. 1956 was the Spezial-MAX - specialty, was offered 195,- DM tee. 1958 was the Supermax for 2.076, - DM to climb 1962 to 2.146,-DM. The machine was still measured at purchasing power and average income, become cheaper.

Although NSU showed at the International Bicycle and Motorcycle Exhibition 1962 (IFMA) in Frankfurt in addition to various Quickly and scooter models MAXI and Supermax, the sale was set one year later.In Yugoslavia in the meantime a NSU production at the company Tito Vogosce ( Pretis ) in Sarajevo was under way.
According NSU Bilderdienst 7/57 there left 110 Supermäxe a day the assembly line. These were assembled from parts delivered and mainly delivered to authorities. Were produced in Yugoslavia in 1963, only the MAXI and the Prima D, a veritable Max production never took place.

(from Stephan Thum, NSU Max 1952 - 1962, Alle Ausführungen translated by Google)

In this article, you learn something about the man who designed the Max and what he has everything else is designed and built at NSU .

Furthermore, can be found here :

Specifications of MAX

Manufacturer: NSU Motorenwerke AG, Neckarsulm
Type: 251 OSB
Sales designation: MAX
Bore: 69 mm  
Stroke: 66 mm  
capacity: 247 ccm  
Compression: 1:7,4  
Power: 17 PS (13 kW) Supermax: 18 PS
at speed: 6500 1/min Supermax: 7000 1/min
Wheelbase: 1311 mm  
total length: 2051 mm  
Tare: 155 kg Standardmax
165 kg Spezialmax and Supermax
Total weight
310 kg Standardmax
314 kg Spezialmax and Supermax
Top speedt: 116 km/h With 2 people
126 km/h Mit 1 Person langliegend

The top speeds specified are factory specifications. One should note that the people in the fifties considerably smaller and, above all, were lighter than today ...

The famous 300 MAX for Austria

For Austria, there were customs reasons a special engine for the Max with 297 cc capacity. The reason was that Austria wanted to protect his own motorcycle industry (PUCH) and therefore demanded hefty import duties on all imported motorcycles with less than 275 cc. NSU and other companies circumvented these duties so that they offered their 250 for Austria with 300 cc displacement. The Austria-version was officially called "301 OSB" and had the following technical data (In brackets the data of the 250 cc Max).

The "Austria Motor" is highly sought after today Max-owners. It is (as opposed to 250) long stroke and provides plenty of torque from below. He can be recognized externally at a chosen "3" above the engine number and (not always) to a cast-in "300" the front of the cylinder base.

Why this outstanding engine was not available in Germany? Quite simply, it would have been unsalable. For a 300 machine the "large" license category 1 would have been required, while many Max-riders in the 50s only the "licence type 4" possessed of the lead vehicle to 250cc legitimate. In addition, the 300 might have been in the higher insurance class. So  unsalable...

Production figures of MAX:


Manufacturing period

Number of pieces VINs


1952 - 1954

ca. 40900

1 234 063 - 1 274 973


1954 - 1956

ca. 40000

1 274 974 - 1 830 800


1956 - ca. 1963


1 830 801...

Although the Supermax was built the longest time, only about 15473 units were produced, while the Standard and Spezialmax together after all, about 81000 pieces were built.
This is connected with that of the market for motorcycles in Germany from about 1954 completely collapsed.

Sports achievements of MAX:

Strictly speaking, there are of course the sports successes of rapid Sisters of MAX: The two-cylinder Rennmax, the Sportmax and Geländemax. But especially the Sportmax and Geländemax 're sufficiently close the series, so that a little of its fame also falls to the Serienmäxe.

World-Champion  250 cm³ Class (Street):

German Champion  (250 cm³, Street):

German Champion (350 cm³, Street):

German Champion (Solo 250 cm³, off-road):

German Champion (Solo 350 cm³, off-road):

German Champion (Side-car-class 250 cm³, off-road):

Deutscher Meister ( Side-Car class 350 cm², off-road):

German Champion (without limit, off-road):

Last update: 26.10.2022