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The DKW NZ 350 was a revolutionary motorcycle used by the German Wehrmacht during WW2 and incorporated some state-of-the-art manufacturing ideas including the scavenging two-stroke and electro-welded pressed steel frame.

At the time DKW (Audi) were the world's largest motorcycle manufacturer. There are three versions of the NZ 350, being the original NZ 350, the NZ 350-1943 and the NZ 350-1(1943+) with the different versions being evolution's to suit different battle arenas such as muddy Russia!. Primary roles were dispatch and short range recon.

DKW NZ350 Version
The original version the NZ350 is easily spotted by its art-deco front mudguard. This was fine for the European theatre, but the muddy un-made roads of Russian and low ground height of the NZ made it unsuitable. The bike was best at home in Europe and North Africa (DAK). The NZ350 is surprisingly fast and easy to ride with its foot gear change and low seat height. The big 350cc two-stroke is torquey and pulls well. If the timing is off though it will back kick like a evil mule and give you a limp for months!. The 250cc version was used by the Wehrmacht after they requisitioned them all and painted them. The 250 and 350 original versions are seen with leather panniers and very occasionally metal ones.

DKW NZ350-1943 Version
The Wehrmacht ordered a revised version of the NZ 350 which later became the NZ 350-1 but in the interim they received the NZ 350-1943 or (Type 43) whilst the final version was approved. It is kind of a mix between the early and later NZ350s and is best spotted by the cut away front mudguard, rear mud scraper and cyclone air cleaner like the 350-1 but with the same tank with key and aluminium engine as the NZ350, This bike is quite a bit rarer than the others and seen with either leather or metal panniers depending of arena. The type 43 seems to appear In original WW2 German photos more frequently in Africa Corps DAK colours with or without camo paint and in Southern Mediterranean and North Africa theatres .

DKW NZ350-1 Version
In late 1943 the revised and final version of the original NZ 350 was issued with modifications specific to all season battle. These motorcycles are known as the NZ 350-1 and are most obviously spotted by their different front mudguard which was cut higher to help prevent mud clogging and their black painted cast iron engine. Even in final guise it was still not capable of coping with thick muddy terrain which was only suited to the ultra light RT125 and heavy R75 or KS750. In all, about 12,000 NZ 350-1's where made. The engine was now made from cast iron because all aluminium was used for aircraft. The engine is different inside because flywheel is integrated into the crank to allow for a smaller external ignition system and generator. The crank looks like two big steel wheels with the conrod poking out compared to the older one that is more conventional. Mostly seen with metal panniers.

See: DKW NZ 350 engine overhaul

NZ Comprehensive Engine/ Gearbox Specification

  • Air-cooled 346cc single cylinder ported 2 stroke
  • Horsepower 11.5 bhp@4000 rpm
  • Bore/stroke 72/85 mm (250 has a bore of 68 mm)
  • Slit valves (no reads)
  • Compression ratio 5.7:1
  • Carburetor Bing AJ 2/24, Amal M 76/426 or Graetzin H 24; 24 mm
  • Secondary drive chain
  • 4 speed gearbox
  • Left foot and right hand gear change
  • Cast iron cylinder head (with or without covers [Uberstromdekel])
  • Flywheel Weight 4.1Kg (note additional plate over 250cc [3.75Kg])
  • Drive Sprocket 17 - 21 teeth. Civil 20/21, Wehrmacht VG 19 up to 1943 then 18 teeth for NZ 1943 and NZ 350-1. 17 for sidecar
  • Ignition via rectified 75 watt generator, points and centrifugal weights advance, 7A 6V battery
  • Ignition timing: 250cc 4.5mm before TDC, 350 is 6.5mm before TDC (measure through exhaust port for ease!)
  • Points face gap: 0.4mm - weights expanded
  • Piston Sizes: 72.0, 72.5, 73.0 and 73.5mm
  • Piston bore clearance: 250cc is 0.15mm and 350cc is 0.17mm and NZ500 is 0.14mm
  • Piston ring gap: 250cc , 350cc and NZ500 is 0.4mm to 0.5mm
  • Fuel / oil mix ratio: 25:1
  • Spark plug gap: 23thou
  • Chassis
  • Girder fork, parallelogram design
  • Length 209 cm
  • Width 75 cm
  • Height 70 cm (to saddle)
  • Wheelbase 1355 mm
  • Ground clearance 12 cm
  • Frame pressed steel single, rigid rear end
  • Front fork
  • Weight 145 kg (aluminium block)
  • Brakes drum/drum
  • Sidecar Occasionally fitted, lightweight car only (not for Wehrmacht), early Steib LS200 or S350 etc, non driven
  • Sidecar has three mounting points
  • NZ500 occasionally has S350 or S500 Steib style sidecar but usually by requisition
  • General Information
  • Top speed 65 mph (105 km/h)
  • Tires Front 3.25 or 3.50 / Rear 3.50 x 19 inch (occasionally 3.75 Front and Rear In Mud)
  • Fuel capacity 3 gallons (14 litres)
  • Fuel consumption 71 mpg
  • Electrics 6 volts
  • Units produced 45,000, 1938-1945, Three variants
  • NZ 250, 350 and 500 common / interchangeable parts

  • Front Forks
  • Lights
  • Seats
  • Wheels & Brakes
  • Mudguards
  • Frame on 250 and 350
  • NZ 250 and 350 compatibility of engine parts

  • Cylinders - NO
  • Cylinder Covers / Deckels - NO
  • Cylinder Head - NO
  • Outer Engine Covers - YES
  • Inner Engine Case halves - NO (have different cast port sizes)
  • Pistons and Rings - NO
  • Conrod - NO
  • Crank - NO
  • Crank Cases - NO
  • Gears - YES (1939-1942)
  • Flywheel Armature - YES but 250 is lighter - note additional plate on 350 and thus more torque 0 see above)
  • Clutch and Cage - YES -( 250 has 3 plates, 350 has 4 plates. Sometimes only 3 new ones may fit until a bit worn)
  • Kickstart, Gear Levers - YES
  • Carb - YES but jetted differently
  • Ignition, Points and Plugs - YES
  • Decompressor Valve - YES
  • Exhausts - NO 250 are smaller diameter as are silencers
  • Pinions, Sprockets and Drive Chains - YES
  • Engine Mounting Hole Alignment - YES

  • Information provided by Julian Blackmore after studying both engines side by side!

    NZ 250 Photographs

    DKW NZ250 Wehrmacht in Norway

    NZ 350 Photographs

    DKW NZ350

    DKW NZ350

    DKW NZ350 DAK

    Note the over painted blue colour masking the original paint underneath. This was probably painted post war of course. Original DKW NZ350

    NZ 350 Krad

    Original Photo NZ 350

    NZ 350 Tank

    Original Photo NZ 350 2

    Original Photo NZ 350 for repair

    Original Photo NZ 350 guns

    Note the tiger camouflage
    NZ 350 camouflage

    NZ 350 officer

    NZ 350 parkedr

    NZ 350 delivery

    NZ 350 guards

    NZ 350-43 Photographs

    Note the camo:
    NZ 350 1943

    NZ 350 1943

    Note the camo:
    NZ 350 Type 1943

    NZ 350-1 Photographs

    This has to be one of the finest examples of a DKW NZ350-1 in original condition that you'll ever see. Note the original DAK (Africa Corp) paint. The speedo I believe is from a NZ350-43, the drivers rubber seat is IZH49 and rear seat looks like it was hacked of a Zundapp KS600 but still amazing over all. Original DKW NZ350-1

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