Albert Roder

Ultramax camshaft system

A historic summary of NSU


Albert Roder - The man who designed the NSU Max

Almost every Maxfahrer, who has studied more closely the story of his motorcycle, should be aware that the Max has been designed by a certain Albert Roder, who was then chief designer at NSU.

But if you ask who this Albert Roder really was and what he has designed more than the Max else, then usually, only a shrug. If you ask even someone who has not dealt with NSU, the name is often completely unknown.
For this reason, are highlighted here a little closer to the designer Albert Roder. The attention will less in the racing machines, but rather are held by the series machines.

His life in brief

First, the gross CV: Albert Roder on 20 Born in January 1896. In 1912 he built his first engine at age 16. 1920 co-founder of Ziro Motoren GmbH in Nuremberg. 1923 co-founder of Erlanger Motors Ltd. in 1928 as Deputy Head of construction (under Richard kitchens) to ZÜNDAPP. The first time at NSU in 1936 Walter William Moore. End of 1938 as Chief Engineer to VICTORIA to Nuremberg. From 1946 until his retirement in 1961 chief designer at NSU.
On 3 September 1970, Albert Roder age of 74 years died.

This CV is initially striking that Albert Roder was not an engineer, has therefore not studied. However, he has brought to the chief engineer and director of the then most important motorcycle factories in the world. A career that is from today's perspective, at least in the automotive industry, unthinkable.

Even more unusual is that Albert Roder in his designs by no means always the path of least resistance is gone. His designs were not good from the beginning, 15.8 constructions, but he often went to constructive new territory. He also suffered from occasional shipwreck, but it was not prevented her to continue in the ruins. The best example is the hapless 500 cc four-cylinder racing motorcycle, the engine components for the successful Rennfox 125 cm3 were used.

Albert Roder at NSU

His work at NSU will begin in 1936. He is heavily involved in the development of the two-cylinder supercharged racing engine, which comes after the war to full honors. But Roder is going on at Walter William Moore just NSU only the second man and his constructive ideas often in a very different direction than that of Moore. It is then entirely logical that the end of 1938 he goes to Victoria to Nuremberg, when he was there, offering the coveted position of chief designer.
In Victoria, he developed the successful bicycle auxiliary engine VICKY I. But NSU is something other than Victoria, so he goes back to NSU in 1946, this time as chief engineer and first man since Walter William Moore has left NSU 1939th.

Now the most creative phase in Roders career. Here, several factors play a role: First, he is now chief designer and determines only the technical direction. Second, the fresh start has forced out of the ruins of the Second World War, the unique opportunity to begin a completely new design, without having to take on old traditions disregard. And third, NSU is a major large-scale enterprises to realize what will and is able to Roders ideas.

Although the post-war production began with the reissue of the best pre-war models QUICK, 125 and 251 ZDB OSL, but Roder already dealt with the construction of an entirely new motorcycle: The FOX.

Albert Roders first trick, the FOX

The FOX - official designation: NSU 101 OSB was - after the IMME RIEDEL of the second completely new design in Germany after the Second World War. But unlike the IMME that is not a commercial success was granted, the FOX was a bestseller. This had several reasons:

The most important was the engine. Here Albert Roder had carried it in a class where only two-strokes were otherwise offered to build a four-stroke engine. He suggested several flies with one stone: he offered a performance that was well with just under six models of the HP over the competition, which contributed 2.5 to 3.5 hp (Only the IMME had 4.5 hp). That was enough to hang out all the other 98s and many 125. In addition, the FOX came with a Viertaktton, also one of the much larger motorcycle had queued good, while the competition rattled stroke. And finally, could lead Roder for a four-stroke engine then reason unbeatable argument: The FOX had accounted for an unbeatable low fuel consumption and the annoying Ölmischerei while refueling.
The chassis structure pointed to new ideas: The frame was one for the mass production of highly suitable Zentralpreßrahmen. The rear wheel was in a rocker held with central spring, while the front fork of a Short wheel slid showed. All details that were in the 98er class from scratch.

This chassis design - Zentralpreßrahmen, Short wheel pushed forward, the rear wing - should be typical of all of the following NSU motorcycles (up to the CONSUL).

Then came the LUX

The next new development was the LUX. Her suspension corresponded to this concept, but it was significantly larger and heavier than the Fox. As drive a newly developed two-block engine was 200 cc.

And then the hammer, the MAX

And then finally followed Roders stroke of genius: the MAX. Chassis-it corresponded in principle, the LUX, albeit in reinforced version. But that was completely new design of the motor.
He offered at that time in the 250 cm3 class for an unprecedented series engine power of 17 bhp (13kW) and pointed to a variety of new design details:

The biggest news was of course the overhead camshaft (OHC) with the ULTRAMAX control. Well OHC engines were by no means something new in Rennmotorenbau they were common since the thirties. But in a used motorcycle that was already sensational.

Who wants to study the ULTRAMAX-rod control exactly can click on the image. Then it is loaded in three times better resolution.

The ULTRAMAX-rod control is not a constructive way, absolutely gag, but offered from what was then seen tangible benefits: To date, either on an overhead cam shafts, on front wheels, or driven by a chain. Bevel gears and had been confirmed, but for mass production too expensive. The chain drive, as it is now used in almost every Japanese motorcycle stuck, however, still in its infancy. It was available so soon after the Second World War, yet no reliable high-speed chains. In particular, they had little confidence in the durability of the chain in everyday operations. It's just a difference whether a motor has a Grand Prix race of 250 km keep track, or 50 thousand kilometers in everyday operations.

The ULTRAMAX-Schubstangentrieb presented at that time so a genuine compromise between production cost and reliability dar. of hindsight, he would of course be produced cheaply without competition to the chain or toothed belt drives in production too expensive.

Another innovation in the Rodersche Max was the air filter with 'calmer air'. Behind it is a large concealed before the actual air filter located container in which could already sell a large part of the dust before it ever came to the air filter. When NSU was used as a container just inside the Zentralpreßrahmens. Until then, they had built before the carburetor Naßluftfilter simple hanging free in the air. This Naßluftfilter were simple wire mesh, which soaked with oil (hence the wet had to!) Are. The efficiency of such a filter was strongly dependent on regular cleaning and new oil. (When Max required every 1000 km. Does that who?) Since this work, however, represented quite a mess, it was by the drivers like to 'forget'. By pre-separation in the dust of the actual air filter has been greatly reduced and protected the engine accordingly.

The following models for the Max still superfox MAXI and were just reduced Maex to round out the Motorcycle program down. New design ideas are not incorporated here. But one must remember that the bike shop was decreased significantly from 1954 and it was survival for NSU to enter the automobile business.

Roder was concerned by this time with the development of a car. First, with the three-wheel Max cab, but was soon abandoned in favor of a real four-wheeled vehicle. Roder said Albert was involved in the development of the I-4 PRINCES still directly involved.

These vehicles had a parallel twin-cylinder engine with overhead camshaft and ULTRAMAX-rod control. At this time the change actually would have been useful to a chain drive, but that came in 1964 with the new four-cylinder PRINCE 1000, when Albert Roder was already retired.

From since the late 50's at NSU ongoing development of the Wankel engine was the way little digger. He should have called the Wankel engine even a glowing Germknödel'. So he left the Wankel development his assistant and successor, Dipl.-Ing. Ewald Praxl and development chief Dr. Fröde.

When Albert Roder end of 1961 went into retirement, he could look back on a truly fulfilling life as a designer: the racing were constructed by him (until August 1958) the absolute speed record and won, to the voluntary withdrawal from NSUS Grand Prix racing, famous in all races.

Perhaps more importantly, the series constructed by him were genuine motorcycle sales hit and convinced by their performance and reliability. That constructive after Max was nothing fundamentally new was more, too, that the motorcycle industry was in 1954 in a permanent decline. This crisis of the motorcycle industry did not just NSU, but all motorcycle factories. Here we have succeeded Roder, helping to ensure that NSU has made the transition to a car factory. Even if today NSU no longer as an independent brand is, so you should always remember that the factory in Neckarsulm, and continues to be produced in their cars.

© Andreas Mehlhorn,
expanded version of the MAXFAHRER 1 / 93 published article.