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Remembering the 1949 NSU 101 OSB

1949 NSU 101 OSB

1873 was when NSU Motorenwerke AG, or NSU as many called it, was established. The brain behind the founder of this German company was to develop cars and motorcycles. In the early years of the 20th century is when NSU started designing and creating NSU motorcycles before the company developed the first car in 1905. During World War II, NSU designed a powerful motorbike called Kettenkrad used for the war and became famous. This NSU HK101 operated with an Opel Olympia engine. The company plant was destroyed during the war. When the company reopened again, the first post-war motorbike they developed was the NSU Fox in 1949. This write-up is about remembering this 1949 NSU 101 OSB that has captivated motorbike enthusiasts for an extended period.

After World War II, this German-based company celebrated its 75TH Anniversary by developing a small motorbike. According to MCS, this celebration happened at the trade fair organized in Hanover. It opened the doors for all the other motorcycles that NSU planned to create. Every new devilment coming from the company, the press would be informed. Every process of creating this motorbike was presented to the press when it began in 1947. The motorbike was christened NSU 101 OSB Fox and was designed by Albert Roder. It took him almost twenty years to come up with the design of this sports bike. It took that long because the NSU management team was very conservative. Every time Albert took a presentation to them, they were reluctant to approve it until they finally accepted this last idea of the NSU 101 OSB Fox. Albert used an ironed steel frame and created two symmetrical halves that he welded together to create this bike that would be used for motorsport competition. NSU decided to increase the production efficiency of this motorbike model and reduce its production cost. This speed bike was thoroughly tested at the NSU company base road pass in Switzerland before the company commenced this model production in 1949. This is what NSU 101 OSB Fox technical specification looks like:

Engine and Transmission

The NSU 101 OSB Fox operates with an engine displacement of 98.00 CCs and a 4-stroke engine. According to FichaMotor, this bike's 3-speed gearbox is one of the best with a fuel tank of 6.5 liters. You will not find any bike of its time-consuming low fuel to cover 1.9l/100 km.

Engine capacity

NSU 101 OSB has an air-cooled single-cylinder with a capacity of 123 centimeters cubic. It has a flat piston that functions with a power output of 5.4 hp. The two-stroke engine type can achieve the same power as the 4-stroke. The engine of this motorbike is designed to give a high performance during a race, even when running at a lower speed range. It was perfect for race competition, which is why it held four world records for the fastest motorbike in 1951, 1953, 1954, and 1955. According to Cycle Chaos, Wilhelm Herz competed with NSU 101 OSB in August 1956 and set a new record as the fastest rider to clock 200 miles per hour.


The bike has an air-cooled system in the engine. This system relies on air circulation directly over the NSU 101 OSB heat dissipation fins. The air circulation may also happen on the hot parts of the engine parts, which helps in cooling them to ensure that the engine remains within the operating temperatures when the rider is on speed.

Engine Compression

The 1949 NSU 101 OSB has an engine compression of 7.0:1. This is helpful for this speeding bike air-fuel to begin to charge when it is speeding. It will be compressed when the four-stroke process starts to have strokes. The 7.0:1 means the air-fuel mixture will be squeezed down from the engine fuel volume to a volume that is roughly a seventh of the cylinder size. This enables the motorbike to turn the generated heat after fuel combustion into horsepower instead of wasting that heat. Therefore, the bike can utilize all the higher thermal power developed to add to the horsepower and economize the fuel amount better.

Chassis, Suspension, and Wheels

The designer fixed coil springs to offer support on the short swing arm to make the NSU 101 OSB Fox front suspension layout better. The rear wheel suspension arm was designed to resemble a tuning fork. Further, a central coil spring was added to it. Both the front and rear suspensions were fixed with adjustable friction dampers. The NSU 101 OSB Fox is designed for a single seat for motorbike competition. The driver sits on a single-seat rocker covered with rubber and has a single spring mount. The wheel type of NSU 101 OSB Fox is Radio. They are equipped on both sides with tires size of 19 x 2.50 inches. The front and rear brakes operate with drum brakes which helps stop when they expand.


You use a kick start method when you want to start the bike. Usually, this method prompts the crankshaft to revolve and push the bike's piston against its piston head, which produces friction. This action builds pressure that mixes air and fuel pumped in the valves to cause ignition, which causes the engine to come to life and start the bike.

Dimension and Capacities

NSU 101 OSB empty weight capacity is 85.0kg (187.4 lbs). On the other hand, the power to weight ratio is 0.0682 cv/kg. Significant improvement has been made to this motorbike which operated with a two-stroke engine from 1951 to 1954. For instance, the NSU 101 OSB Fox fuel tank was increased to 8 liters from 6.5 liters. Additionally, the handlebars have been changed with modern sports types. In 1954, the engine was modified again to improve the power of the motorbike to 5.4 hp. on the motor turning, the changes that took place was a modification to increase it by 300 rpm from 5000 rpm to 5300 rpm. This led to the increment of speed to reach a maximum of at least 83 km/h

Final Verdict

The 1949 NSU 101 OSB was a popular motorbike during its time when the production happened between 1949 and 1966. There were over 1000000 bikes that were produced. Today, you can still find about 60% of that production where they were exported.

Benjamin Smith

Written by Benjamin Smith

Benjamin Smith is one of the managing editors of Moneyinc. Ben's been focusing on the auto and motorcycle sector since 2005. He's written over 1000 articles in the space and continues to learn about it each day. His favorite car is "any Bugatti" and he's a die hard Harley Davidson fan.

Read more posts by Benjamin Smith

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