To quote a character from the brilliant television show 'Monty Python', "and now for something completely different".
Why did I buy this ? I have been asked that many times actually, and my flippant answer is that I bought it because I couldn't afford a Henderson or an Indian 4, but of course that isn't why at all. It comes down to perhaps three things I suppose:
- I was interested in having something in the stable older than myself.
- I wanted something different and out of the norm, but still usable in today's world and with reasonable support for parts and service.
- I also wanted something metric, and with the gear shift on the left side as God intended.
In Canada, the Nimbus is quite rare - I can only confirm the existence of five others, although I suspect there must be a few more. Globally there were roughly 12,000 of this model built (it is a model 'C') between 1934 and 1960 by the Danish company 'Fisker and Neilsen'. It is estimated that there are still in excess of 4000 of these machines in active use, mainly in Denmark, but quite a few scattered about elsewhere in the world. Parts availability from Denmark is quite good and there is a very strong owner community supporting them. In 2009, a pair of Norwegians rode two 1937 Nimbus machines around the globe, travelling a distance of roughly 70,000 km (see 'The Dumb Way Round web site at this link). While the trip was not without mishap or adventure, it certainly proved that in addition to the riders, these bikes were pretty rugged.
A gentleman here in Alberta imported this machine from Denmark in 2001 and I had been discussing the possibility of buying it from him for several years. We finally reached agreement on a deal in the summer of 2015. The bike is mostly original and in generally good shape. I do not intend to restore it - just conserve it doing only what needs to be done to keep it road worthy. As with my other bikes, I will post whatever material I generate from my BLOG located here.
Below is a photo of how it looked when I first got it. (click on the image for a larger version):
Lars Persson in Denmark was kind enough to check the factory records for this bike, and it was released from manufacture on the 23rd of January 1950 and then sold at the Aarhus Nimbus dealership. They affixed a brass name plate to the rear fender. The bike is actually a 'Special' model which means it was originally sold as a solo (no sidecar) and it had the 'high performance' engine and more chrome than the standard models. The high performance model had the stepped pistons and so was rated at 22 HP rather than 18 HP - still not a speed demon, but more than adequate for the roads of that time period.
Lars was also able to share that the sidecar frame is actually made by Cyklebørsen who were based in Jutland, Denmark. They mainly made cargo carrying sidecars and their frames typically did not have a brake. The chair that came with the bike is an ACAP which is another company based in Copenhagan. They normally fitted their chairs to Nimbus sidecar frames with a brake, however the Cyklebørsen frame was styled after the Nimbus frame so parts swapping was not difficult. A photo of the plate is below - just click for a larger image.