1953 Cyclotandem Derny Grand Tourisme

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The Derny is very 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. The solo Derny illustrated below is the machine used for cycle pacing, and its design did not change throughout its production. The one below is waiting to visit our workshops for restoration and resale.

Its fame is as a result of solo Dernys being used as pacers in cycle racing. In fact, the word ‘derny’ has become a generic term for motorized pacers.

The idea of the Derny was designed and constructed by two French ex-racing cyclists under the name 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. As a result the Derny was born and put into production in 1938.

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.


1953 Cyclotandem Derny ‘Grand Tourisme’

The Rarest Model with Integral Fuel Tank (‘Reservoir Poutre’) and 98cc Sachs engine

Featuring an extremely rare accessory Derny Tandem ‘sacoche’ (tool-bag to fit on the frame)

(Now sold)



By 1953, Derny were looking for ways to sell in an increasingly competitive market. They totally redesigned their cyclotandem and fitted a Sachs engine to create a new model. But motorized tandems were soon to become an anachronism. These ungainly ‘white elephants’ had no real advantage over a motorcycle, apart from being pedal start so that they escaped tax and the need for a license. Of course, half a century later we adore ungainly white elephants …and the Derny Tandem Grand Tourisme is such a classic example of 1930s French motorcycle excess that it is admired wherever you ride it.


It’s very rare to find a Cyclotandem Derny featuring this accessory (below). As you can see further down the page, this bag only fitted this particular model, which had the engine underneath the passenger seat (while the Zurcher engine on all the other Derny models was fitted at the front, under the driver’s seat).




Compare this model, manufactured only in 1953, with the earlier model (below).









15th APRIL 1953