Following the call for self-built motorcycles, Henk Hultink (1946) from Marum responded. Around 1968 Henk built the HultiNSU. That was a 1200 cc NSU block in a Norton Featherbed frame. Behind the block was an inverted Norton four-speed gearbox. The self-build went through the inspection completely seriously – and with a mass of sponges in the mufflers. And then it became a bit more beautiful on the Dutch roads. Henk regrets it, but at the time he sold his creation in 1974 as an example for a few more homebuilders.
An obvious combination
Today we live in a sad time when largely computer-powered motorcycles are 'personalized' by ticking factory options on the order form. That was once different. There were people who had their dreams and made them come true. The choice of an NSU block in a Norton frame was an obvious option for the heavy boys at the time. The NSU four-cylinder light-alloy cylinders were reliable, light, air-cooled, and they delivered quite a bit of power. In addition, they had sympathetic installation dimensions. The Norton Featherbed frames in combination with the Roadholder telescopic front forks were once the best that was possible in the field of bicycle technology. And the British still used separate gearboxes, so the marriage between power source and transmission was a manageable affair.
Less easy than it looks
When you put it that way, it seems like an easy job, but of course it wasn't. At the end of the ride you had a fast, heavy motorcycle. A pure strong superbike. And that such a 1200 cc four-cylinder with an overhead camshaft turned something of 60 hp at 5500 rpm? That was an almost monstrous power, until the Honda CB 750 came out in 1969. Because that Honda delivered 67 hp from considerably less cylinder capacity. On the other hand, the 1200 cc car engine naturally scored fat on torque. And with that, those NSU own-build engines were often in the same problem corner as the first CB 750: The chain and the rear tire had a hard time with it.
Every now and then an ex-King Self-build participant shows up
And those are by no means all machines with an NSU heart. These pieces of motorcycle history are difficult to sell. The current series of motorcyclists simply do not dare to buy out of fear and lack of technical knowledge. And even at the regular motorcycle shops there is no longer the knowledge to tinker with these kinds of phenomena. They don't dare to take the risk. Add to that the fact that the selling party, often the builder's relatives, often has very optimistic dreams about the price… We know in any case about such a machine that, after having been for sale for a long time, the old iron has ended up. And how unfortunate is that?
So we close this story with a salute to the builders of that time. And keep hoping for more responses. So have you ever prepared such a project? Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.