Denmark’s Fisker and Nielsen produced electric motors back in 1906 and in 1910 introduced the first electric vacuum cleaner in Europe. Later, Fisker became enamored with the idea of motorcycles and built a few machines in 1918 and 1919 with mass production beginning in 1920.
The original Nimbus engine design was an inlet over exhaust, four-cylinder with a displacement of 746cc. It produced about 10 horsepower achieving a speed of approximately 53 mph and had exposed valve springs on top of the motor. The 3-speed gearbox transmitted power to the back wheel via a shaft. Original frames were a distinctive and elegant tubular spine design that doubled as the fuel tank, known as the “Kakkelovnsrør” or “stovepipe”.
After a break in production to concentrate on vacuum cleaner manufacture from 1928, the return of the new Model C Nimbus came in 1934. The smooth and reliable ‘4’ had more than a passing resemblance to a car engine with integral crankcase/cylinder block in cast iron and a detachable alloy sump. The cast-iron cylinder head was topped by an alloy housing for the single overhead camshaft. A single-plate clutch transmitted power to the three-speed gearbox with foot change and was now mounted in a pressed steel frame.
Production lasted until 1954 when affordable cars from the likes of Volkswagen gained popularity.
The last year of production example on offer here was restored a few years ago by a collector in the bike’s home country of Denmark. The engine was rebuilt to exacting standards by Aarhus Nimbus and hangs in a frame and cycle parts restored from the ground up. On static display for a couple of years in a private collection, the usual recommissioning will be needed to return the bike to regular road use.
Frame no. 12495