Did you believe that the (thai made!!??) Triumph Rocket Three has a new and unique engine design offering an inline three cylinder engine. Forget some others did it a long time ago.
Sunbeam had a bike with a quite reliable inline two cylinder OHC engine with shaft drive already in the early 1950’s Pls also observe the Fatboy like front end with a mighty front wheel and the beautifully designed exhaust pipes. One cylinder more and a little bigger pistons and there you have the Rocket Three. The picture is from Rask Mc USA homepage.I once had a Sunbeam but no pictures left.
But there where other before Sunbeam. The Danish Nimbus made it even better than Triumph offering a 4 cylinder inline engine with overhead cam and valves. The valves and valve springs were visible and not covered and the lubrication was done manually. Maybe that was one of the reason for the very high oil consumption.
I was living in south Sweden next to Denmark in the 1950-1960’s and I still remember that the Danish Post Office used Nimbus sidecar machines for the daily post delivery.
Here in Pattaya is one Nimbus in traffic. Mostly you can see it close to Café Copenhagen in Soi Denmark. Go and have a look.
Nimbus 1934 - The Motorcycle that was called Gleaming Beams.
Background and history:
The Nimbus motorcycle was built by Fisker & Nielsen in Copenhagen between 1934 and 1960. F&N was mostly known for their excellent vacuum cleaener, Nilfisk, but they also built motorcycles. The telescopic front fork was invented by F&N and the Nimbus Model C was the first bike in history that was equipped with one. There are different oppinions about this though and the glory could actually be BMW's. The latter at least introduced the oil damped telescopic front fork for sure though. Regardless, today the telescopic fork is the rule of all motorcycles. A total of 12.000 machines were built and 4.000 of these are still on their wheels all over the world. Most of them are, of course, in Denmark though where many clubs and smaller firms are keeping the machines alive. Nimbus (latin for the Gleam of Beams or Halo) was used by everybody and you can encounter a wide range of special purpose machines (like the Animal Ambulance or the Anti Tank motorcycle with a 20mm automatic cannon mounted on a sidecar frame). Nimbus - The Motorcycle of Denmark, is loved by its owners and soon received the affectionate nickname 'The Bumblebee' for its cosy but rather discrete rumbling and humming engine sound.
• Longitudinal in line four cylinder of 750 cc.
• Hemispherical combustion chambers.
• Overhead valves with a single overhead camshaft.
• Battery ignition system (6 Volts, 70 Watts)videos/eindex.htm
• 22/18 hp/4500 rpm with high/low compression pistons.
• Continous cruising speed: 90kmh.
• TEMPORARY maximum speed: 120 kmh (failure of cylinder 3 by overheating).
• Comfortable cruising speed: 80kmh
• 3 speed gearbox (originally stick shift and foot clutch)
• Gears cut straight (hence the 'howling' when engaged). Newer models can have angularly cut gears though.
• Shaft drive to the final gear in the rear wheel.
• Total weight, empty tank but with a passenger seat: 185kg
• Tank capacity: 12.5 lit with 1 lit as spare
• Fuel consumption: 20 km/lit (50mpg)
• Sump capacity: 2 lit.
• Oil consumption approx 1000km/lit (1 quart/600 miles).
• Length: 2200 mm
• Width: 770 mm
• Height: 1100 mm
This page is dedicated to the Nimbus with the frame number 1312. 1312 indicates that it was the 12:th of all the Bumblebees ever built.
The motorcycle was owned by Test Master A. Rasmussen from F&N and it is possible that some of the Nimbus development work was done on this very machine.
This story is from Swedish Lars Persons, the owner of the 1312, homepage. Tackar sa mycket.!
Ps. I know that many other also had inline fours before Nimbus, Henderson, ACE, Indian and Harley just to mention a few. When I have time I will surf the net to find more information and up date this story.