NZ 350-1

In 1943 the German Wehrmacht wanted a more suitable bike for their Army. The DKW factory came out with the NZ 350-1 - the prototype of this bike was invented actually as early as 1939. This was completely suitable for army service machine, designed and built for this purpose on the NZ 350 basis.

DKW NZ 350-1
DKW NZ 350-1

In the beginning of 1944 the NZ 350/1943 received an engine block that was made from cast iron and number of other modifications. This model was named the NZ 350-1.

The bike was available in two main Army versions - one in the grey colours of Luftwaffe - “Schwarz-grau” (black-grey) and Wehrmacht's “Dunkel-grau” (dark grey) and a beige version, known as Sahara.

Main differences

In reality there are not very many differences but a few. We are still searching for an actual NZ 350-1 parts book. So far the only book we can find is the actual manual D 605.27 dated 5 Jul 1944.

The motorcycle went under a few cosmetic changes, one was the front fender. From the old style art deco looking wide front fender they went to a thin sleek fender. This was to keep mud build up down in the fender.

NZ 350 & NZ 350-1 front fender
NZ 350 & NZ 350-1 front fender

The next item was a new gas tank with no ignition mount.

Presumably also was added a clip which was mounted onto the tank that held a dispatch riders gasmask canister. There is a stamping that screws on to the tank. The tank than has two pieces of metal (the same pieces were used on the earlier NZ to attach the knee-rubbers to the tank) welded to it which allows the stamping to screw to it so that there is not a hole in the tank. This is a very rare and much discussed item. On the war time pictures of 350-1 no bracket has been seen so far. The only place where such bracket is found is drawing in operators manual, so it is also possible that the bracket never came in production.

NZ 350 & NZ 350-1 gasmask canister holder
NZ 350 & NZ 350-1 gasmask canister holder

The front light was changed to a very small light with a sling shot looking mount. This is probably one of the cheapest mounts they could come up with because the design is so crude. Reason for changing the former and longer HASAG 130 MT from the NZ 350/43 to the smaller Hella and later Bosch 130 headlight, was that the shape from the HASAG 130 MT almost hit the speedometer. Therefore the NZ 350-1 got a smaller Speedometer and a smaller headlight.

NZ 350 & NZ 350-1 front light
NZ 350 & NZ 350-1 front light

Another difference is a fin attached to the rear frame. This fin was a mud and snow scraper. The "Fin" would clean the debris off the tire before it passed by the drive chain. Without this "scraper fin" the mud and snow will be drawn into the motor crankcase by the returning chain. This was a very bad thing and in the winter the mud and snow could freeze inside the block disabling the bike. The fin is a direct result of lessons learned from combat in the Soviet Union. For the same reason the triangle toolbox on the left rear frame was removed. Too much mud would be drawn between the toolbox and the tire.

The next thing was rear rack braces. These were not on the NZ 350 models and they added them to the NZ 350-1.

NZ 350 & NZ 350-1 mud and snow scraper fin and rear braces
NZ 350 & NZ 350-1 mud and snow scraper fin and rear braces

There is difference in the foot pegs on 350-1's and 350's as well. The front and rear pegs are both different than the NZ 350 type.

NZ 350 & NZ 350-1 foot pegs
NZ 350 & NZ 350-1 foot pegs

This is basically it for the frame and overall bike, not allot of changes to the NZ 350.


One of the first major differences is the motor. According to "Short Notice No.328" this new motor started around April 1944 with engine no. 1358201. Pictures came our way which showed an cast iron engine with number 1354362! This engine was very original and the gearbox parts were marked with 05/44 (May 1944) which proofs that official DKW statements have to be treated with some scepticism. Please see the pictures below to proof the above.

Cast iron engine
Cast iron engine

The DKW corporation had to make an all cast iron block motor due to aluminium shortages during the war-time period. The major changes were the following: The points cover and clutch area changed along with the actual clutch cable entry into the motor. This now entered the motor straight down from on top and not from the bottom like its former brother the NZ 350. The bike now had a new way to check the oil, a dip stick located on top and not from the cover like its former NZ 350.

Cast iron engine
Cast iron engine

Another difference in the motor is the cylinder head. On the NZ 350 version it has small aluminium covers on the side of the head. On the NZ 350-1 its all cast iron. (Small hint: to tell a NZ 350 cylinder from a NZ 250 cylinder, simply count the fins above the exhaust ports. On the 350 engine there are 6 fins, on the 250 engine there are only 4 fins.)

NZ 350 & NZ 350-1 cylinder heads
NZ 350-1 (left) and NZ 350 (right) cylinder heads

There is a difference in the shifter between the 350-1 and the 350 type.

NZ 350 & NZ 350-1 shifter
NZ 350 & NZ 350-1 shifter

Inside the engine the major difference is in the crankshaft.

NZ 350 & NZ 350-1 crankshaft
NZ 350 & NZ 350-1 crankshaft

Air cleaner

The air cleaner now was changed as well and a new style air cleaner was mounted. From the previous years was a simple round air cleaner. They now mounted a self encased centrifugal air cleaner. This was a major step forward in design and was leaps and bonds above the NZ 350 version.

NZ 350 & NZ 350-1 air cleaner
NZ 350 & NZ 350-1 air cleaner

Electric system

The ignition was replaced by the smaller ignition of the RT 125.

Another change was the coil. They now installed the Sp13R which had a 5 point position on the ignition. In the past the ignition switch was mounted on the tank, they now moved it down to the side of the motor. This was a very simple design and much different than the previous Sp12A.


Engine air-cooled 346cc, 1-cyl, 2-stroke
Horsepower 11.5 bhp@4000 rpm
Bore/stroke 72/85 mm
Compression ratio 5.7:1
Valves slit
Carburetor Bing AJ 2/24; 24 mm
Electrics 6 volts
Secondary drive chain
Length 209 cm
Width 75 cm
Saddle height 70 cm
Wheelbase 1355 mm
Clearance 12 cm
Transmission 4-speed
Shifting foot & hand
Frame pressed steel single, rigid rear end
Front fork Parallelogram
Weight 175 kg
Brakes drum/drum
Top speed 105 km/h
Tires 3.25 – 19 inches
Fuel capacity 15 liters
Fuel consumption 3.3 liters /100 km
Overall amount 12 000 units
Years of production 1943 - 1945