Tag Archives: sports bikes

NSU by Two

To make things completely clear: This is not about the NSU we´ve been hearing about so much of late in Germany, the terrorists which have committed so many atrocious crimes. This is about two bikes that were made by NSU works in Neckarsulm, the history of which brand is well documented on the net, e.g. by the NSU Motorenwerke entry on German wikepedia.

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Anyway, here they are:

XNLfullXNHfullThe 1963, 28 inch wheel size gent´s bike is mine, bought cheaply off a cycle dealer earlier this year because he didn´t have the coaster brake spare required to make it ridable. I repaired it in a few minutes´ time (I have a number of 515 hubs I have been breaking for spares over the years), the internals being very simple. It has given some good service already, on some outings as well as serving as a spare bike for visitors. The 26 inch wheel size lady´s I saw by chance on the road.

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One might think that the bikes are quite similar, but there is about 5 to 8 years difference between them. The lady´s is the older one, still equipped with its original Model 55 stepped shell three speed, the blue trigger of which is quite sought after nowadays. This one even has the plastic coat on the lever still intact.

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XNLrearhubMy later gent´s model is equipped with the three speed after this, the red trigger, straight shell Model 515.

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Sadly, the lady´s bike seems to spend most of its time outside in the rain.

There´s the typical one piece pressed steel headstock on both – no lugs, just a pressing.

XNLheadThe long lugs betray the fact that there are no mitred tubes inside – the lugs are that hefty because they have to hold the frame together as the tubes inside them probably do not touch. Cheap and rugged.

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The lady´s, however, still has the old style brazed in drop forged dropouts…

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Slight bend in seatstay found often on coaster brake equipped 50s sports bikes

… while the later gent´s already has the far less refined, much cheaper flash welded stamped steel ends.

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Also the b/b shells on both bikes aren´t very special at all.

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The general design is quite similar on both bikes:

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No lining on the gent´s though – money seems to have been somewhat less of an issue in the late fifties than in the early sixties

XNHheadbXNHseattransfXNLheadbMy gent´s has a useless, but nice branded spoke lock…

XNHspokelock… and a slightly more useful chainguard.

XNHchaingAlso all the rubber strips are still on the carrier rack – quite nice.

XNHbaggdrHowever, the original chainset as well as the front hub are quite cheap items – I wonder how they have held up that long. The brake spares mentioned earlier usually last forever, so the bike must have seen a lot of use. The white pedals, which might be original too, also show signs of great wear.

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XNHbbXNHfronthubBoth bikes have aluminium plated mudguards – nice to look at at the beginning, but rust prone and there´s no way you can either stop or repair rust on these.

XNHmudgdesignTo finish off this post, here´s a view on the typical 1950s NSU mudguard mascot:

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