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

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.

bike on highway

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