The Derny is famous in France. Its design
has hardly changed from that of the earliest
motorcycles - essentially a bicycle with
an engine attached.It's front-mounted
petrol tank is particularly distinctive.
Its fame is as a result of solo Dernys
being used as pacers. In fact, the word
derny has become a generic term for motorized
In 1936, France's new socialist government
ordained that the French people could
have an annual national holiday.
An industry promptly grew up around summer
vacations, and bicycle tandems became
popular; some manufacturers started to
make motorized versions to cash in on
the tandem craze - a much faster way for
a cycling partnership to get down to the
south coast - but production was interrupted
by the war.
Production resumed post-war. But by 1953
or so, scooters had become the new chic
two-wheeler and old-fashioned motorized
tandems soon became obsolete.
The idea of the Derny was designed and
constructed by two French ex-racing cyclists
called Roger Derny and Sons. This was
the conventional motos de stayer (in the
UK, Big Motors is the term used today).
These type of pacing machines used first
for the Bordeaux-Paris were not very reliable
for road use. So another type of pacing
machine had to be designed. And as a result
the Derny was born and put into production
The Derny brothers first factory was
at 81, Avenue St. Mande and later they
moved to Avenue du General Bizot, both
in the French capital. When the parent
factory closed in 1956, Derny machines
for the Bordeaux-Paris were maintained
and rebuilt by Service Derny of 88, Rue
Picpus, Paris until 1974. Derny carried
on making other types of machines but
closed in 1958.
Later on, another type of Derny was re-introduced
called a Burdin. This machine had many
problems: the mobylette engine and the
frame were not strong enough for the job.
Many manufacturers have tried to change
the design over the years but have gone
back to the original design because it
is still as good today as it was way back
in 1938. Pacers today are still called
Derny - a fitting tribute to the Derny
brothers who first thought the idea up
in the first place.
Dernys today are made by Arie Simon.
He used to make them in Holland, but has
now moved his business to Neepelt, Belgium.
The Siemon Dernys are used on the road,
6-Days and Keirins by all the pacers on
the continent and the UK. They are made
of the highest quality.
1949 Derny d'Entrainement
Bordeaux-Paris 98cc Zurcher
||1949 Derny Tandem 98cc
The engine is a beast of
a 98cc Zurcher.
Image provided by www.BuyVintage.co.uk.
|1951 Derny Tandem Vap engine
||Image provided by www.BuyVintage.co.uk.
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