Monday, July 05, 2010


Here's an intriguing specimen from deep in the Bavarian woods; a lonely Bison.  A solitary example of this noble beast was born in 1967, from the talented hands of Fritz Nass, whose concept from the mid-60s was similar to many other constructors - a four-cylinder ohc machine.

Such a specification was very rare in the mid-60s, as at the time only the MV Agusta Touring 600cc fit the bill, and that was an exceedingly rare vehicle, with strangled performance, at least compared to the World Championship stablemates from which it derived its basic spec.

Nass used the most likely engine candidate available to a German constructor, the 4-cyl ohc 1000cc engine from an NSU Prinz, just as his imitator (!) Friedl Münch did a year later.  Whether Münch actually saw the Bison is debatable, but chances are he knew of the machine's existence, as the Bison would have earned press in the day.

It seems Fritz Nass was a man of slender means, and hand-constructed his machine over a period of time, using as many components as possible from salvaged cars and motorcycle.  Thus, we see doubled-up NSU hydraulic front drum brakes within the home-made Earles type leading link forks.  The frame looks to be a copy of a Seely item, with straight tubes running from the headstock above and below the engine, which is, critically, canted forward.

Moving that mighty lump of a motor downward and leaning it over created a motorcycle with normal dimensions, as opposed to elephantine.  The saddle height is very low for an early 'four', and more importantly the center of gravity is kept low.  Aesthetically, having the engine in line with the angled frame tubes makes for a motorcycle which certainly looks more integrated and rideable than freakishly tall for clearly car-derived.  Nass made the right design choices when assembling his dream bike, and it looks terrific.


YJH said...

I called Depardieu_he would like to have one too
summer joke

vintagent said...

Gerard could fit the rest of himself in the sidecar!

Anonymous said...

Preferred an Hilton to a Bison:


vintagent said...

Hi Dai,
while the 'Hilton' would fit in my Leo Kuzmicki story with its Imp engine, the watercooling makes for a messy installation, as does the extensive aluminum primary chain cover. Acreage!
Perhaps a compact, non-automotive 'four' is the solution, although the Brought Superior with Austin engine is one of my 'Favorite 5' of riding machines.
Watch this space.

The Creeper said...

Thanks for sharing Paul, I have never heard of this bike but always loved the Mammuts.

WRXr said...

...also, nice magneto collection and Matchless V-Twin in the back (?)

WRXr said...

From what I can see, the Earles fork looks very BMW, just like those on a /2. Especially the shock units (too dark to see the rest clearly).Are you sure it is home made?

vintagent said...

@WRXr; the forks are similar to a BMW, but not the same; if you click on the top photo of whole machine, you'll see the lower part of the upright stanchions are wrapped in flat steel, and sweep backwards. They look lighter than BMW items too, with no steel lugs, all welded and folded metal.

Anonymous said...

The first Münch Mammut-Prototype- was finished in 1966 and Friedel Münch showed this bike to the management of the NSU factory in March 1966 at Neckarsulm with the help of Ernst Leverkus aka "Klacks".

At the German motorcycle show in september 1966 in Frankfurt (IFMA) the first real Münch Mammut was showed to the puplic.

It seems that the Münch Mammut was the first bike with the NSU car-engine,the Bison came later.