DTW spotted this interesting machine: it’s a Danish-made motorcycle from the people who brought you Nilfisk vacuum-cleaners.
Most countries in Europe had a domestic motorcycle manufacturer or two up until the 1950s. Ireland is almost an exception, having only the Fagan company manufacturing Villiers models for a brief spell between 1935 and 1937. Rather more successful and long-lived, Nimbus produced motorcycles in Copenhagen between 1934 and 1959.
Fisker and Nielsen started making electric motorcycles in 1909 and turned to petrol driven machines when they introduced their Model A in 1934. That’s the same Fisker and Nielsen who made Nilfisk vacuum cleaners. Nimbus produced around 25,000 model “C” cycles, and about a third were sold to the Danish postal service and military. The example shown here was seen a month or so back. It is a military spec item and is, according to the owner, fairly close to the original appearance and fittings.
Nimbus isn’t quite dead. The Copenhagen Post reports plans to resume production. “Claus Støvlbæk Clausen wants to redesign the Nimbus C-model so that it lives up to the safety and environmental standards of today and hopes that production will begin sometime in 2015.” The article quotes Clausen as saying “I got the idea in the shower and hurried down to call Nilfisk-Advance, which still has all the rights for the naming and technology rights”. Some details will change in order to meet modern requirements and
production may begin in 2015. As it is, about 4000 Nimbi are still running. Most are in Denmark but some are also found in the US and Germany. There is an existing pool of original parts still left over (nearing depletion, though) but it might be possible for the new firm to remanufacture spares for those owners who run one of the survivors. This means they can perhaps cater to existing owners’ needs as well as sell new bikes.
The owner of this one (top photo) reported that the simple design meant repair and maintenance could be done with a few ordinary tools making it an undemanding ownership proposition. I can report that the machine made an agreeable sound, a long way removed from the thuggish blat of Harley-Davidsons, for example. While I am not a connoisseur of motor-cycles, this one has an appealing simplicity to its design, very much a form-follows-function approach which you can also see in older Volvos.