1957 Type C Nimbus Motorcycle

Advanced for its time, the Nimbus motorcycle with sidecar rig attached was — and still is — a utilitarian workhorse.

| July/August 2006

  • Nimbus Motorcycles - rear view of bike with sidecar
    Jamie Spitzley's 1957 Type C Nimbus Motorcycle with sidecar rig.
    Photo by Clement Salvadori
  • Nimbus Motorcycles - close view of sidecar attachments
    The Nimbus sidecar had four points of connection.
    Photo by Clement Salvadori
  • Nimbus Motorcycles - bike parked on dirt
    Compact and relatively lightweight, the Nimbus was, and is, a good candidate for sedate touring or running errands.
    Photo by Clement Salvadori
  • Nimbus Motorcycles - postcard of motorcycle and young couple
    Fisker & Nielsen may not have made a lot of Nimbus motorcycles, but they did advertise them.
    Photo by Clement Salvadori
  • Nimbus handlebars are made from steel pressings.
    Photo by Clement Salvadori
  • Nimbus Motorcycles - close up profile view
    Practically everything on the Nimbus was accessible if you needed to fix it.
    Photo by Clement Salvadori
  • Nimbus Motorcycles - rubber band seat suspension
    The big rubberband springing the seat is the sum total of the Nimbus’ rear suspension.
    Photo by Clement Salvadori
  • Nimbus Motorcycles - view of engine
    Nimbus’ exposed rocker arms and valves seem crude given the engine’s relatively advanced overhead cam design.
    Photo by Clement Salvadori

  • Nimbus Motorcycles - rear view of bike with sidecar
  • Nimbus Motorcycles - close view of sidecar attachments
  • Nimbus Motorcycles - bike parked on dirt
  • Nimbus Motorcycles - postcard of motorcycle and young couple
  • Nimbus Motorcycles - close up profile view
  • Nimbus Motorcycles - rubber band seat suspension
  • Nimbus Motorcycles - view of engine

Type C Nimbus
Years produced: 1934-1959
Total production: 12,500 (est.)
Claimed power: 18-22hp @ 4,500rpm
Top speed: 70mph (no sidecar)
Engine type: 746cc overhead cam, air-cooled inline four
Weight (dry): 185kg (408lb)
Price then: $1,200 (std. model, approx.)
Price now: $6,500-$11,000
MPG: 55

A slow run down a country road. Stopping to smell the roses, having a picnic, or maybe working in a California vineyard, the sidecar holding baskets full of grapes and bags full of fertilizer — or just going to check that the irrigation is working right — that’s the purpose of this Type C Nimbus motorcycle sidecar rig.

And that is the workaday reality of the fine machine portrayed here, still in its original 50-year-old livery, not all spruced up with flashy paint and polished chrome. After all, when was the last time you saw a real farmer detailing his elderly John Deere tractor?

Read Jamie Spitzley's review of owning and riding the 1957 Type C Nimbus 



No, this Nimbus motorcycle is not one of those shiny restorations, nor is it the machine you want for running along the Interstate at 80mph or ripping past Porsches while going over 12,000ft Independence Pass. This was intended to be a utilitarian workhorse, a back-woods hauler; run it slow, and it would run nigh on forever.

This makes sense when you appreciate that this machine was originally conceived in the small, flat nation of Denmark back in 1915, when roads were unpaved and motor vehicles still made way for horse-drawn wagons.



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