Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Motorcycle Throwback - The 1937 Nimbus Luxus
Motorcycle manufacturers have always produced some odd bikes in order to attempt to keep ahead of the curve and come out with the next big thing. Example: The 1929 Majestic. Now that is a unique bike. But, while it may not look as extreme, the 1937 Nimbus Luxus is surely unique for its time. So much so that this motorcycle is now mostly found as a scale model.
Designed and built in Denmark, this bike was destined to be an oddball for sure. Denmark was certainly not known for its use of motorcycle transportation nor did it have many motorcycle designers originated there. Why someone would get the sudden urge to build a motorcycle in Denmark, particularly one this strangely different, is unknown.
The 1937 Nimbus Luxus was part of a line of motorcycles that was produced from 1920 until 1957. The first models often used a flathead engine but this 1937 Nimbus Luxus was produced after the motorcycles had started being produced with overhead valves instead. This particular model was 45 cubic-inches with an efficient cross-flow design. Oddly enough, the engine's valve springs were left exposed along with the rocker arms so that they partially stuck out from the head casting. The unusual aspects of the motorcycle continue as all models produced from the 1920's until production ceased were only offered with four-cylinder, shaft-drive engines.
This particular model also had an odd channel-steel frame instead of using the typical round tubing. And the out of the ordinary aspects of the bike rage on with a centrally mounted gear lever placed behind a gas tank that was surrounded by the rails of the frame. This put the gear lever in its own consul with a clutch that was operated by either a foot pedal or the hand lever. It was also uncommon for telescopic forks to be used during this time period. But on any give day and during any decade, the motorcycle's handlebars are just strange. Made with pressed steel, the handlebars are very different from the round tubular type that has been the general guideline. The seating situation is also one to be looked at with your head cocked to one side quizzically. The bike is a two seater but both the driver's and the passenger's seats are sprung and hallow underneath.
At first glace, the 1937 Nimbus Luxus may not look as crazy as the 1929 Majestic, but the oddities lie in the details. Still, the motorcycles were a solid line, which greatly attributed to the length of their production. Odd must not always be a bad thing as this bike was immensely loved over the years.