If there was ever a piece of classic motorcycling sculpture, this is it. The unfaired NSU Sportmax was not a looker, but add the period ‘dustbin’ fairing and it’s transformed into a thing of beauty. This bike started life as a regular Max bought off eBay, but has been transformed into a replica of the machine that propelled Hermann-Paul Müller to the 250cc world championship in 1955. He was the first privateer to become world champion, a feat all the more remarkable given that he was in his mid 40s at the time. The works-built Sportmax engine is a SOHC single, and reportedly delivered around 30 hp at over 9000 rpm. Installed in NSU’s streetbike Max frame, it was enough to clinch the trophy. The builder of this machine was Kent Riches, who built the aluminum tank, sculpted the fairing and tail, and made a mold for the finished fiberglass parts.
Images by Kent Riches of Air-Tech.