Below is a list of the various motorcycle marques that have taken part in the DJ Run.

Thanks to Russell White of Sheldon’s EMU (European Motorcycle Universe) for his major contribution to this page.

Further fascinating information may be found on Sheldon’s EMU website

The information below is purely a brief history of each the manufacturers of motorcycles that entered the original DJ Races as well as those motorcycles that are eligible for the “Modern DJ”.

If you have a query or information to add, specifically photographs, please contact us

Make and information. Click on Make for photographs where available

A.B.C. Country of origin: Britain. Established in 1914 by Ronald Charteris in London. In 1918, ABC made a motorcycle with a 500 cc flat-twin engine. The company ceased producing motorcycles after 1923.

A.J.S. Country of origin: Britain. Albert John Stevens. 1909 to date

There were five Stevens brothers and four of them had already built a petrol engine in 1897. A few years later they started supplying it to different producers of tricycles and motorcycles, including the Wearwell Motor Carriage Co. Ltd., at Wolverhampton which used these 2 ½ and 3 ½ h.p. power units in air and water-cooled form in their Wearwell, Wolf and Wolfruna products. It was not until 1909 that the Stevens brothers marketed a complete motorcycle of their own manufacture, which they sold under the A.J.S. trademark.

It was a 350 cc (2 ½ h.p.) single of a very modern design which gained first and second place in the 1914 Junior T.T. The increase of business that resulted led to reorganisation and new premises. The firm’s heyday was during the twenties, with 350 and 500 cc s.v. and o.h.v. singles and 800 and 1000 cc s.v. V-twins.

There were also 250 cc machines, and from 1927 onwards 350 and 500 cc o.h.c. models. Other interesting designs included transverse mounted 500 cc V-twins (s.v. and o.h.v.) and 500 cc four cylinder machines with the air cooled engines in line.

During the depression in 1931, the Collier Bros, in London, then manufacturers of Matchless motorcycles, bought the A.J.S. factory equipment, and since then these machines have been built in London. Among interesting 500 cc V-fours, improved o.h.c. single-cylinder production racing models, the famous 500 cc ‘Porcupine’ two-cylinder o.h.c. factory racing machines and also unconventional three valve 350 cc single cylinder factory racers. Besides the Stevens Bros, now all dead, many other famous names were connected with the design and racing side of A.J.S. products.

A.J.W. Country of origin: Britain. Founded in 1926 by Arthur John “Jack” Wheaton.

Built in Exeter by Arthur John Wheaton (better known as Jack Wheaton) from 1926 to about 1936, when the business was sold.

During the inter-war period they produced some excellent machines in relatively small quantities using engines from MAG, British Anzani and JAP, and frames from Brough Superior. There was a 1933 model with a Rudge Ulster engine, the Flying Fox, which employed Druid forks and a four-speed gearbox. They also included two Villiers-powered models in immediate pre-war range.

After WWII, the manufacturer was J.O. (Jack) BALL who based the factory in Bournemouth and then Dorset where they built machines such as the 500cc JAP-engined Flying Fox of 1948.

They continued to build the 48cc Fox Cub until 1964, after which rebadged Italian machines of 125cc to 500cc were sold. The company ceased trading in 1981.

In Australia, the Commonwealth Distributers were T.E. MALONEY MOTORS of Moorabool Sreet Geelong.

Ace. Country of origin: U.S.A. Ace Motor Corporation was located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and manufactured motorcycles, basically only one model, from 1919 to 1924, although some production continued until 1927.

Adler. Adler Fahrradwerke A.G. Germany 1900 to 1912

Well known for bicycles and typewriters, the German Adler Works produced the first De Dion Bouton-engined tricycles in 1898 and the first motorcycles with Minerva, Fafnir and Zedel proprietary engines in 1900. They were of sound design and very popular but as the demand for Adler cars, increased motorcycle manufacture was stopped. This situation was reversed after the Second World War, when car production gave way to a range of excellent two stroke single and twin cylinder motorcycles of 98, 125, 200 and 250 cc with their own engines. Very successful 250 cc racing versions had water cooled twin cylinder engines.

Alldays. Country of origin: Britain.

Alldays & Onions built motorcycles in Sparkbrook, England from 1903 to 1915. Models included the Villiers-powered Alldays Matchless (no relation). After 1915 they moved to a new factory in Small Heath and marketed under the Allon brand up until 1927. Allon models included a 539cc JAP V-Twin model.

The Alldays name dates back to the 17th century, and the firm merged with JC Onions in 1885 to build all manner of machinery including numerous bicycles and tricycles, and branched into automobiles in the early 1900s. During WWI they built mostly motorcycles, returning to cars on cessation of hostilities. The company changed its name to Alldays Peacock which was acquired by the Spire Group in the 1980s.

Allison. Country of origin: South Africa. A South African, William Mayne Allison, from the town of Ladysmith, put together his own machine(s) and called them Allison. He is listed in the 1913-1936 results document as having entered Allison motorcycles in the 1925, 1926, 1927 and 1928 races. He entered a Blackburne-engined machine in the 1926 race. He did not finish any of the races.

Ariel. Ariel Cycle Co. Great Britain 1902 to date

The Story of Components Ltd., and Ariel is a long and complicated one. It goes back to the heyday of such pioneers as H.J. Lawson and James Starley, both connected with the firm in its early days, As far back as 1898 tricycles and quadricycles with De Dion Bouton power units had been produced, and motorcycle manufacture started in 1902. A few years later their own engines, mainly 3½ h.p. singles, were made under White & Poppe licence. When the First World War broke out, the range of models consisted of a 350 cc two stroke single, a 498 cc s.v. single and a 670 cc s.v. V-twin. During the early twenties, Ariel used 250 cc Blackburne as well as 796 and 994 cc M.A.G., V-twin proprietary motors, also their own 498, 585 and 665 cc s.v. singles. Different versions of 500 cc o.h.c. and 557 cc s.v. singles were built from 1926 onwards. In later years 250 and 350 cc singles with their own engines came on the market and during the thirties as well as after the war, from 1945 onwards, the range included numerous sporting ‘Red Hunter’ o.h.v. singles of 350 and 500 cc in different guises. A famous Ariel model was the Edward Turner designed ‘Square Four’, which came from 1930 onwards until 1958 was built with o.h.c. and o.h.v. four cylinder engines of 500, 600 and 1000 cc. The late forties saw the introduction of 497 cc o.h.v. vertical twins and, later, 646 cc versions were added. The year 1958 saw the introduction of a brand new design with a 249 cc vertical two stroke twin cylinder engine, and from 1959 onwards this was the only model built by Ariel until 1962, when the firm introduced the ‘Pixie’ a 50 cc single cylinder o.h.v. machine of advanced design. Closely connected with Ariel for many years was the Songster family; Charles Songster was for many years the Managing Director, later to be followed by Jack Y Songster, his very capable and famous son who eventually became the B.S.A. chief to which group of companies Ariel, like Triumph, now belongs. It was during 1962 that the firm left the old factory at Selly Oak in Birmingham and moved into the B.S.A. main factory, where now all the 249 cc Leader and Arrow, as well as the 50 cc Pixie models, are built.

Armis. Country of origin: Britain. Made in England from 1919 to 1923. The founders were Messrs. Harrison and Baker.

The Armis Cycle Manufacturing Company, of Heneage Street, Birmingham produced motorcycles from 1919 to 1923.

From 1919-1920 two models, both with Precision engines were available. The larger of the two used an 8hp precision 269cc sv V-twin with a three-speed Sturmey-Archer gearbox.

There was also a medium-weight that had a new Precision 349 cc two-stroke engine with an Enfield two-chain, two-speed transmission. The transmission of the two-stroke was later changed to a Burman. A sidecar was available with a JAP engine.

In 1921 the V-twin was again available now with a 654 cc sv JAP engine, solo or sidecar.

1922 The V-twin was still listed along with other models with JAP or MAG engines.

B.M.W. Country of origin: Germany. Bayerische Motoren Werke displayed their first motorcycle at the Berlin Automobile Show in September 1923. The new BMW was a horizontally-opposed 500cc shaft-drive twin designed by Max Friz, already famous as a designer of aircraft engines.

In 1916, two companies, Gustav Otto’s Flugzenmaschinenfabrik (Aircraft Factory) and Karl Rapp’s Flugwerke Deutschland, merged to become Bayerische Flugzeugwerke (Bavarian Aircraft Works) and designed and manufactured aeroplane engines.

In 1917 Bayerische Flugzeugwerke was renamed Bayerische Motoren Werke (Bavarian Motor Works, BMW) by Karl Rapp and Max Friz. Their new logo was a roundel representing an aircraft propeller with a blue sky background. It is still in use today on all BMW motor cars and motorcycles.

The German Air Force provided the company with funds to manufacture the Fokker DV II aircraft but by the end of World War One and the signing of the Versailles Treaty Germany was no longer permitted to manufacture aircraft.

BMW’s head designer Max Friz, decided to produce motorcycles in order to keep the company going. He designed the now famous twin-cylinder, horizontally opposed “boxer” engine, the M2B15, based on the British Douglas engine.

The first BMW motorcycle, the R32, was produced in 1932. The engine had aluminium cylinders with light alloy heads, was of 486cc capacity, produced 8½ HP and had a top speed of 60mph.

The engine and gearbox was a single unit and the new engine boasted a recirculating wet sump oil system. Many manufacturers of engines were still using the total loss oil system at the time. Another feature was the encased drive shaft with a flexible coupling on the gearbox output shaft to a pinion driving a ring gear on the rear wheel hub.

Telescopic forks were introduced in 1935.

The R32 established the boxer-twin, shaft-drive powertrain that has been in use ever since. BMW used shaft drives on all their motorcycles until the introduction of the F650 in 1994. They continue to use the shaft-drive on their boxer-twins.

B.S.A. The Birmingham Small Arms Co. Ltd. Great Britain 1906 to date

Years before Birmingham Small Arms (B.S.A.) produced complete motorcycles, they supplied most British and foreign factories with cycle parts of the highest calibre. B.S.A. motorcycles soon gained a great reputation, before 1919 with 500 and 557 cc s.v. singles, and afterwards, during the twenties and thirties, with a range of widely different models from 175 cc two strokes to 1000 cc s.v. V-twins including 500 and 750 cc o.h.v. V-twins, 500cc o.h.v. ‘slopers’ and very potent single cylinder 350 and 500 cc Silver Star and Gold Star o.h.v. models. Small 125, 150 and 175 cc two strokes, new single cylinder o.h.v. and 500 and 650 cc vertical o.h.v. twins were introduced after 1945 and are still, in different forms, in production. In 1962 the little ‘Beagle’ with a 65 cc o.h.v. engine was introduced. The 175 cc two stroke and 250 cc o.h.v. twin cylinder scooters are also made by this still famous firm, which is closely connected with the Ariel and Triumph factories.

Bat. Country of origin: Britain.

BAT Motor Manufacturing Co of Kingswood Road, Penge, London produced motorcycles from 1901 to 1925.
The marque originated from the name of the founder – Samuel Batson, although early advertisements depicted a cricket bat and the mammal.

1901 After many years as a cyclist, Samuel Batson became interested in motorcycles. From their study he patented many improvements, built a demonstration model and approached manufacturers – with little success.

1902 Batson set up his own business at Kingswood Road, Penge, London to build machines – one of which was soon setting records and ridden by F. W. Chase. The machine was fairly primitive in design, with a De Dion engine. An optional sprung sub-frame was also available.

1903 Following on from its success the previous year, BAT earned the slogan ‘Best After Test’. For that year the engine was an MMC and it was fitted with pedals. T. H. Tessier joined the firm and went on to achieve many records riding BAT machines.

1904 A forecar model was produced, powered by a water-cooled engine and some machines had Minerva engines.

1905 Tessier bought the company after Batson failed to find a good market.

1906 Engine use switched to JAP,Stevensand Soncin. For road use there were singles and V-twins with the option of either a rigid or sprung frame.

1907 Tessier entered the first Isle Of Man TT, but retired.

1908 A ‘BAT came second at the TT, in the twin-cylinder class, but that was the best they would ever do in the Island. By now BAT was known for its speed and comfort. It was also successful at Brooklands, as its build suited the track.

1909 The range increased to include a 2.5hp lightweight model and larger singles with mechanically operated inlet-valves, while the twins still had the older aiv type. Also listed were racing versions, sidecar models and a quadricycle – a motorcycle with a removable sidecar and two steering front wheels.

1910 Production problems forced the company to reduce the range to three models.

1912 The concentration was now on twins and a countershaft gearbox with kickstarter and clutch in the rear hub had replaced the two-speed P and M gear.

1913 The singles were dropped; the TT model had ohv and the 8hp had all-chain drive. More models appeared and all were V-twins with variations of transmission. Sporting success continued and one of the machines managed to come in seventh in the Senior TT.

WWI. Some machines were sold to Russia although payment was not always forthcoming.

1917 The company stopped building motorcycles and turned to producing shell cases.

1919-1921 The name returned in 1919, in the form of both 6hp and 8hp V-twin models with three speeds and chain drive. Those machines were constructed from a variety of spares on the store shelf, and a 4hp V-twin appeared in 1921.

1922 The company was taken over by Tessier’s sons.

1923 The twin models were joined by a 2.75hp single. The company took over another manufacturer, Martinsyde.

1925 The make went on to became BAT-Martinsyde. Its two twins were added to the BAT range. Financial problems meant that it was their final year.

B.M.W. Bayerische Motoren Werke A.G. Germany 1923 to date

Although founded in 1917, motorcycle engine production did not start before 1920. Dr. Ing. Max Friz designed the flat twin cylinder 500 cc proprietary engines which in 1922 powered the Helios motorcycles built in the Munich factory. In 1923 came the first complete B.M.W. machine, with a transverse mounted twin cylinder power unit and shaft drive (500 cc s.v.) designed by Friz. Many different 500, 600 and 750 cc transverse flat twins and 200, 250, 350 and 400 cc o.h.v. singles, also with shaft drive, were built. They included supercharged o.h.v. and o.h.c. racing machines and numerous un-supercharged racers of 500cc. Since 1929 B.M.W. has also produced cars. At present B.M.W. is the only manufacturer in Germany of motorcycles with over 250 cc.

Bradbury. Country of origin: Britain. Made in Oldham, England between 1902 and 1924 the sewing machine factory produced robust singles, V-twins and horizontally-opposed twins. The 1912 model bikes were one of the earliest with variable gearing. One of their engine designers was John Birch formerly of Perks & Birch.

Brough. Country of origin: Britain. Brough of Vernon Road, Basford, Nottingham The company manufactured motorcycles from 1898 to 1925.

1908 William Brough began the legend that was later to become Brough Superior, the engineering genius of his son George. He began making production motorcycles in 1908. George and William were initially partners in the company.

1898 Brough built a small car, soon to be followed by a tricycle fitted with a 2.5hp De Dion engine.

1902 Appearance of first motorcycle, with an engine hung from the downtube and braced forks.

1906-1908 Various improvements were made to the design, and several models were produced. The 1908 model had a vertically mounted 3.5hp engine and sprung forks. That was soon joined by a 2.5hp and a 5hp V-twin. They were all made by the firm.

1910 Brough developed and built an advanced experimental engine. It had a rotary valve above the cylinder, which was driven by bevel gears, a shaft, and spur gears above the head and valve.

1912 A larger, 6hp V-twin model was available for touring and racing. The 3.5hp single was enlarged and a two-speed counter-shaft gearbox added. There was also an 8hp V-twin engine for the Brough Monocarand there was also a ladies’ version, with an open frame and a 3.5hp engine.

1913 George Brough was entered in the Senior TT, on a model with a flat twin engine, but for the race an ABCC twin engine was used as their own was not ready, but he had to retire early from the race. Later in the year, the firm announced their own 3.5hp 497cc flat-twin model with ohv, the U. H. magneto clamped to the crankcase top and the two-speed gearbox to the crankcase underside. Chain drive was used from engine to gearbox while the final drive was from an adjustable pulley by belt. It was also fitted with Druid forks.

1915 Only the flat twin was listed, in two further forms. One had a three-speed gearbox and the other was for racing.

1916 to 1923 The standard models were joined by a larger 5hp version. In 1923 they were joined by a larger 5hp version of 810cc.

1919 George left his father’s business in 1919, after an argument, to begin his own company Brough Superior in the same city of Nottingham.

1924 The larger version continued along with the 947cc model.

1925 Production ceased.

Brough Superior. Country of origin: Britain. George Brough learned the trade from his father who produced Brough motorcycles, and went on to build and race machines which were the finest (and most expensive) machines of the day. Most famous of BS owners was Lawrence of Arabia who owned seven and rode them like there was no tomorrow – until there was.

Brough Superior used engines by JAP and Matchless, among others, and also produced some quite remarkable designs of their own.

The rights to the BS name in several countries (but not the US) were advertised for auction in May 2007.

Brown. Country of origin: Britain. Brown motorcycles were made in England from 1902 to 1919 using both their own and, in later years, JAP engines. After 1919 they were known as Vindec motorcycles, unrelated to the German Allright Vindec-Special.

Calthorpe. Country of origin: Britain. George W. Hands began manufacture of bicycles in Bordesley, Birmingham in about 1890 and built his first motorcycles at Calthorpe’s Barn Street premises in 1910 – one source says they first exhibited at the Stanley Cycle Show in 1909. Initially using JAP and Precision engines, after the First World War they also used Peco, Villiers and Blackburne units. By 1924 they were producing their own 350cc ohv engine, and in 1927 built a 500cc overhead cam model. Only around 100 of these relatively expensive machines were made.

The Ivory series began in 1928 (or 1929) and was very well received with its saddle tank and duplex frame, but by the late thirties the company was in decline and went bankrupt in 1938. Revival attempts occurred in 1939 with Matchless engines, but the war interceded. Another revival attempt in 1945 using Villiers two-stroke powerplants was also unsuccessful.

Cedos. Country of origin: Great Britain. Cedos Motors of Northampton.

Cedos were motorcycles produced from 1919 to 1929. The name was derived from the name of brothers Cedric and Oscar Hanwell.

1919 Just after the end of World War I, the company entered the market with ladies’ and gents’ lightweight motorcycles powered by their own 211 cc two-stroke engine. Both models had a chain-driven, two-speed gearbox and belt final-drive. The ladies’ model had an open frame and both had to be push-started.

1921 They added a 257 cc model, again in both ladies’ and gents’ versions.

1922-1923 Only the larger model was listed. Following liquidation, the company had to be restructured.

1924-1928 New models were added with a variety of engines. At various times they used Blackburne, Bradshaw and JAP and for their last two years they used Villiers. Gearboxes became three-speed Sturmey-Archer with all-chain drive.

1929 The company’s final year of production – another victim of the stock market crash.

Chater-Lea. Chater Lea Ltd. Great Britain 1900 – 1935

Built by a manufacturer of cycle parts and accessories, Chater motorcycles which later became known as Chater Lea – had a great variety of proprietary engines, including Kelecom, Fafnir, Brown, Trent, MMC, Antoine, Minerva, De Dion Bouton, Peugeot, Sarolea, Precision, Villiers, JAP, Blackburne, etc. from 211 to 1000 cc German Fafnir, as well as the British Precision, Villiers and JAP engines, were also incorporated in the pre-1918 Chater Lea machines. The 1000 cc s.v., V-twin was probably the most popular model in that period. The firm – still famous for cycle parts – dropped this model in the early twenties and concentrated afterwards on Blackburne-engined 350cc o.h.v. versions and eventually on 350 o.h.c. and 500 cc s.v. singles with own power units. The smaller model, developed by the famous rider-designer-tuner Dougal Marchant, had a face cam engine and broke many world records. All Chater Lea machines showed excellent workmanship and were of high quality.

Cleveland. Country of origin: Great Britain. Cleveland motorcycles were produced in Middlesbrough, Yorkshire (previously Cleveland).

The company offered 3.5 hp and 4.25hp models fitted with Precision engines, Druid forks, belt drive and options of a Villiers free-engine clutch or a Sturmey-Archer three-speed gear.

Clyno. Country of origin: Great Britain. Clyno was founded by cousins A. P. Smith and F. W. A Smith in 1909, at Thrapston, Northants. They exhibited their first machines, an AJS-powered 3HP single and a 744cc V-twin (also by AJS) at the 1909 Stanley Show, both with belt drive and single fixed gear.

On 15th October 1910 the business was transferred from Thrapston to the Steven’s old works in Pelham Street, Wolverhampton and it was from there that the first enclosed primary-drive chain-case two-speed machines emerged soon afterwards. By 1911 they were producing a chain-driven combination which did very well in motorcycle hill climb trials thanks to its robust sidecar chassis and four-lug attachment method. As a result, the machine was chosen as a machine-gun carrier during the Great War.

In 1912, orders exceeded factory capacity. A unit-construction 250cc two-stroke was released in 1913 and was well received, probably in part because it came complete with lights, horn and number-plates – items which cost extra on most of the competition’s machines.

1914 brought war, and the company’s future looked bleak. However, due to the success of the aforementioned sidecar a contract from the War Office to build in conjunction with Vickers machines which became known as Vickers-Clyno, by 1915 the situation was much improved.

After WWI the company produced 269cc two-strokes and 996cc V-twins. Motorcycle production ceased in 1924 in favour of cars.

In its heyday Clyno was the third largest car manufacturer in the UK after Austin and Morris.

It’s price cutting policy led to financial problems and the company went into liquidation on 11th February 1929. During its lifetime it had sold over 15,000 motorcycles and 40,000 motor vehicles.

Connaught. Country of origin: Great Britain. Bordesley Engineering Co of New Bond Street, Birmingham.

1910 Company formed. Engines were assembled at New Bond Street and cycles assembled at York Mill.

Connaught were motorcycles produced by them from 1912 to 1926

1912 The first machine was exhibited at the Olympia Show. They had one basic model, with a 293cc petroil-lubricated two-stroke engine and Amac carburettor at the rear of the cylinder. The engine design was quite advanced and inside it had a one-piece crankshaft, a connecting rod with split big-end and a deflector piston. It also had belt drive, single speed and sprung forks.

1914 Various transmissions were available to offer one, two or three speeds and belt or chain-cum-belt drive. There was also a ladies’ version and all had the same engine. An oil receptacle, held by bayonet joint to a tap on the oil tank, enabled the rider to draw off a measured amount to mix with the petrol.

1915-1916 The range continued for those two years and then production ceased for the remainder of the Great War.

1919 They returned after the War with single or two-speed variants plus a Miniature model that had smaller, 24-inch wheels. For the next few years there was little change.

1922 The Miniature was dropped and a 348cc two-stroke model appeared. This had a three-speed Burman gearbox and all-chain drive.

1923 Various machines of various specifications continued to be produced, including a complete sidecar outfit with a larger engine.

1924 The marque was bought by the J. E. S. Motor Company and production moved to Gloucestershire for a while, before going back to Birmingham.

1925 Change of ownership brought a change in design and they added four-strokes with a Blackburne ohv, an oil-cooled Bradshaw and an sv engine of their own make. Yet more four-strokes were added, with either Blackburne or Bradshaw engines.

1926 They now listed two models fitted with their own engine as well as several other models with Blackburne, Bradshaw or JAP units. They also built a solitary two-stroke. It was their last year of production.

Cotton. Cotton Motor Co. Great Britain 1913 to date

Famous for their triangular frames and racing successes, Cottons were for many years equipped with Blackburne and JAP proprietary engines. These 250, 350 and 500 cc machines were, by a newly reconstructed Company, after the Second World War superseded by Villiers-engined two-strokes of 200 and 250 cc.

Coulson. Country of origin: Great Britain. Coulson B were motorcycles produced from 1919 to 1923 by F. Aslett Coulson, the ex-Managing Director of Wooler Engineering Co.

1919 Having gone out on his own, Coulson introduced his first machine, the Coulson B, in the November of that year. The special feature of the machine was the short swinging links controlled by laminated leaf springs. In most other respects it was very similar to other motorcycles of the period, but the suspension system, neatly concealed within the design, made it comfortable to ride. It had a 349cc sv Blackburne engine, two-speed Jardine gearbox and chain-cum-belt transmission, plus Druid forks. The single model soon developed into a range, including one with a Blackburne sv 545cc engine and Sturmey-Archer gearbox that was also available in sports trim with single-speed belt drive. There was also a two-stroke with a 292cc Union engine.

1920 A number of improvements were made – particularly to the stand, chain-case and gearbox attachment. That November, a Coulson and sidecar went on the London to Edinburgh run, and successfully completed the task without stopping the engine. Another publicity stunt included covering 25 miles/40km, riding on the wheel rim, deliberately minus tyre and tube, to prove the effectiveness of the spring frame.

1921 Due to lack of sales, the original company folded, but later that year the marque moved to A. W. Wall Limited of Birmingham, and Blackburne, JAP engines and a Wall-built 269cc Liberty two-stroke unit were used.

1923 The rights had been acquired by H. R. Backhouse of Tyseley, who continued the 269cc Liberty model, along with sv and ohv versions of the Blackburne. They also introduced a rigid-frame model. By the end of the year the marque name had changed to New Coulson.

Coventry Eagle. Country of origin: Great Britain. Founded by Edmund Mayo in 1890, the Coventry-Eagle factory built an extensive range of two- and four-stroke machines powered by Blackburne, JAP, Raleigh, Sturmey-Archer, Villiers and Matchless engines.

Prior to this, Edmund Mayo was with Hotchkiss, Mayo and Meek, Hotchkiss being an American machine gun designer and manufacturer

Coventry-Eagle made Royal Eagle bicycles in the 1890s and built their first JAP-powered motorised bicycle around the turn of the century, perhaps 1901. By 1903 they were making motorcycles and by 1916 they had produced quite a variety of machines assembled from mostly proprietary components. In 1921 they were producing 500cc singles and a JAP-powered 680cc V-Twin, and in 1923 introduced the 976cc Flying Eight which competed in both speed and quality with Brough. They continued to expand the range until the effects of the Depression were felt in 1929. Production continued until 1939.

Smaller models included the 1935 150cc Coventry Eagle powered by a twin port two-stroke and with a left hand operated gear change controlling an Albion gearbox, all housed in a pressed steel frame with sprung blade forks and topped by a large VEC headlight.

D.K.W. J.S. Rasmussen A.G. Germany 1919 to date

Famous in the field of two stroke engines, the first D.K.W. was a strengthened bicycle frame with a 119 cc engine above the rear wheel. Its designer was the famous Hugo Ruppe. In later years two stroke singles and twins of 100, 125, 175, 200, 206, 250, 300, 350 and 500cc were built. During the late twenties and the thirties D.K.W. was the largest motorcycle producer in the world. They built also numerous racing models with water cooling and different kinds of forced induction (piston pumps, superchargers) in the sizes 175, 250, 350 and 500cc.

Zschopau, now in East Germany, became the home of the M.Z. (ifa) machines after the Second World War, but in 1949 the Auto Union was reconstructed and got their new, West German home in Ingolstadt and Dusseldorf. Once more, two strokes between 125 and 350 cc came into being. In the late fifties, during the slump in the German motorcycle industry, the D.K.W. became part of the newly formed Zweirad Union A.G. in Nuerenburg. They concentrated on the manufacture of different mopeds and similar machines with own two-stroke engines up to 100 cc. Between 1950 and 1956 different new D.K.W. factory owned racing machines of 125, 250 and 350 cc – the last one a three cylinder design by Ing. Erich Wolf – competed successfully in road races.

Diamond. Country of origin: Great Britain. Powered by Belgian FN engines, the first Diamond motorcycles were built in 1908.

Douglas. Douglas Bros. Great Britain 1907 – 1956

The first Douglas machine had the J.F. Barter designed 2½ h.p. horizontally opposed air-cooled engine, originally used in the Fairy (Fee) machines. In later years Douglas, always with flat twins, has fitted 359, 500 and 600cc models with s.v. and o.h.v. power units. In 1931 the Douglas family left and a new company was formed. During the thirties some unconventional Douglas models, including a 250 cc flat twin, a 148 cc two stroke single and a 500cc machine with a shaft driven transverse mounted flat twin, were built.

Dunelt. Country of origin: Great Britain. Dunelt takes its name from its founders, Dunford and Elliot, who began production of motorcycles in Birmingham in 1919.

Their machines were fitted with a variety of two- and four-stroke motors from proprietary manufacturers including Sturmey-Archer, Villers and JAP. Although not well known for their sporting successes, they performed well at the Isle of Man winning the 1930 Maudes Trophy, having travelled over 13,000 miles in 16 days at an average speed of just under 35mph.

Durkop. Country of origin: Germany. Factory founded 1867 by Nikolaus Dürkopp, producing motorcycles before the turn of the century.

Motorcycle manufacture ceased between 1912 and 1927. Production of all motorcycles and scooters ended in 1961 as sewing machines were proving more profitable.
In the 1920s the Dürkopp automobile factory employed over 6000 workers building a range of cars which included models from 1500cc to over 6 litres.

In 1954 Dürkopp built the Diana scooter, a relatively luxurious unit with electric start and a four-speed gearbox for its 200cc two-stroke engine. Production of this model ended in 1961.

E.J.B. Country of origin:

Elswick. Country of origin: Great Britain. Elswick were motorcycles produced from 1903 to 1915, in Barton-on-Humber, Yorkshire.

1894 Exhibited cycles at the Antwerp Exhibition as Elswick Cycle Co of Newcastle.

1903 The company had made purpose built frames to attach engines to and, having previously been involved in the production of bicycles, they went on to list machines with either a 2hp or a 4hp V-twin engine. One or both cylinders of the latter could be used as necessary. The make then disappeared for a few years.

1912 They returned to the market in with two models. Conventional in format, both were fitted with Precision 348cc / 498cc engines of 2.5hp and 3.75hp. Later they produced 4.25hp and V-twins and a model fitted with a 269cc Villiers engine or a 2hp Precision.

1915 Production ceased.

Note: There were plans to resume production after the end of the Great War, but nothing materialised so Elswick concentrated on making bicycles.

Enfield. Country of origin: Great Britain. Founders Albert Eadie and Robert Walker Smith.

In 1893, the Enfield Manufacturing Company Ltd was registered to manufacture bicycles. By 1899, Enfield were producing quadricycles with De Dion engines and experimenting with a heavy bicycle frame fitted with a Minerva engine clamped to the front downtube.

In 1911, prior to the outbreak of the First World War in 1914, Enfield added the word “Royal” to its name.

In 1912, the Royal Enfield Model 180 sidecar combination was introduced with a 770 cc V-twin JAP engine which was raced successfully in the Isle of Man TT and at Brooklands.

They supplied large numbers of motorcycles to the British War Department and also won a motorcycle contract for the Imperial Russian Government. Enfield used its own 225 cc two-stroke single and 425 cc V-twin engines. They also produced an 8 hp motorcycle sidecar model fitted with a Vickers machine gun.

In 1921, Enfield developed a new 976 cc twin, and in 1924 launched the first Enfield four-stroke 350 cc single using a JAP engine.

In 1928, Royal Enfield began using the bulbous ‘saddle’ tanks and centre-spring girder front forks, one of the first companies to do so.

Even though it was trading at a loss in the depression years of the 1930s, the company was able to rely on reserves to keep going.

In 1931, Albert Eddie, one of the founders of the company, died and his partner R.W. Smith died soon afterwards in 1933.

Excelsior. Bayliss, Thomas & Co. Great Britain 1896 to date

This is one of the oldest motor cycle factories in the world. Early machines had. De Dion Bouton engines (partly built on licence) and MMC power units. In later years, Villiers, Blackburne and JAP supplied most engines. The range included models from 100 cc (Autobyke with Spirit engine built in the late thirties and forties) to 1000 cc V-twins. During the thirties the range included many potent o.h.c. models with own motors, which became known as the ‘Manxman’ types of 250, 350 and 500 cc. After the Second World War, own two stroke engines including 246 and 328 cc vertical twins as well as smaller singles, partly made by Villiers, were incorporated. The company for many years headed by the Walker family, gained many successes in international races. A reorganisation in 1962 led to the exclusive production of motorcycle assembly kits with 98 and 148 cc two stroke singles. Excelsior also once built the biggest single cylinder motorcycle ever produced in quantity. It had a 850 cc s.v. motor and was made in 1913-1914.

F.M.S. Country of origin: ?

F.N. Country of origin: Belgium. FN (Fabrique Nationale de Herstal) began production of bicycle frames in 1985, built their first complete bicycles in 1989 and began motorcycle production in 1900. These first machines were single-cylinder belt-driven bikes of 135cc, 1.25 hp with an automatic valve.

FN was building four cylinder motorcycles as early as 1904. These pioneer machines had a five bearing crankshaft and shaft drive, with pedal assist.

FN ceased production of motorcycles at Herstal, Belgium, in 1963. They continued as a small-arms manufacturer and FN rifles were used by many armed forces.

Francis Barnett. Country of origin: Great Britain. Francis & Barnett Ltd., Lower Ford St., Coventry, England.

The marque takes its name from the two founders, Gordon Francis and Arthur Barnett, who began production of motorcycles in 1919.

Most models of the Francis-Barnett (“Fanny B”) built in the Coventry factory had JAP and Villiers engines, the exceptions being the Stag which had a 250cc Blackburne, and a post-war sortie into the production of Vicenzo Piatti designed two-stroke engines which were not well received.

In 1947 the F-B company became part of AMC which acquired James in 1952, and in 1962 F-B production was moved to the James factory. Production of Francis-Barnett motorcycles ceased in October 1966.

Gillet. Country of origin: France. René Gillet produced motorcycle from 1898 until 1957, they made their own engines, two and four strokes, from 49 cc to 1000 cc. The 750 and 1000 cc models, which had side valve V twin engines, were very common in the French army and police before WWII.

Gnome Rhone. Country of origin: France. Société des Moteurs Gnome et Rhone.

Gnome et Rhône is more recognised as a manufacturer of aircraft engines but they also built motorcycles from 1920 until the early 1950s.

They manufactured the British ABC under licence. André Barthélémy a talented engineer made a number of modifications to the ABC. Capacity was increased to 500cc. Carburetion was refined, as too were the rocker arm assemblies. He also overcame the overheating issues by the addition of an oil cooler. The original engines had the nickname “glow worm” as the cylinders glowed red in the dark.

The gearbox remained the same along with the hand-shifter.

H.R.D. Country of origin: Great Britain. HRD were motorcycles produced from 1924 to 1928 by Howard Raymond Davies, who used his initials for his own make. The design was by E. J. Massey of Wolverhampton.

Before the Great War, Howard Davies was a famous rider who achieved some success in the IOM Senior TT. He flew during the War and was mistakenly reported as having been shot down and killed. He went on to ride for AJS in the early 1920s and was successful in the TT in 1920 and 1921.

1924 Howard Davies decided to build is own motorcycles. Having had no success in the TT for the previous two years, he wanted to produce a reliable, quality, medium-weight racing machine, with good handling. He chose a JAP engine, Burman gearbox, Webb forks and other components from AMAC, Renold, BTH and KLG Sparking Plugs. There was a range of models, all had three speeds, a saddle tank, looked good and performed well. They were the ohv 344cc D70 and D80, 488cc D90, D70S and a 488cc sv model, with or without a sidecar.

1925 Howard Raymond Davies promoted his machine as ‘Produced by a Rider’ and entered the TT where he came first in the Senior and second in the Junior.

1926 The D70 was dropped and the D70s became available with a choice of 490cc or 597cc engine. There was also a new Super 90 with a two-port ohv engine.

1927 The range had several new models, including the Super 600 with a 597cc ohv engine, and other versions at the lower end of the scale.

1928 Most of the models were still being produced, but by now the company was in financial trouble. Despite their quality, the bikes were expensive, so he tried to make lower-cost models, but he went bankrupt. Early in the year the firm was bought by Ernie Humphries of OK-Supreme who then sold it on to Philip Vincent, for £500, who, in turn, produced his own Vincent-HRD machines.

Harley Davidson. Harley Davidson Motor Co. U.S.A. 1903 to date

For many years the leading motorcycle manufacturer in America, Harley-Davidson concentrated for a long time on big single and V-twin cylinders with o.i.v. Later side and o.h.v. engines were added to the range of models which included 350 and 500 cc singles and V-twins between 750 and 1200 cc. During the early twenties, a 584 cc flat twin was also in production. The Company is a family business, headed in 1964, by the sons and nephews of the founders William S. Harley and Arthur Davidson, i.e. by William H. Davidson, Gordon Davidson, Walter Davidson, William J. Harley and John Harley. Since 1959 the factory has been producing scooters of own design, and in 1960 the Italian Aero-Macchi factory was added. For 1964 the H-D range consists of 163 and 180 cc two stroke singles, 250 cc o.h.v. flat singles of Aero- Macchi manufacture, 737 s.v. V-twin racing models and the main H-D range with modern 900 and 1215 cc o.h.v. V-twins in different forms. Up to 1930 the company was also very active in international racing with machines which included eight valve 1000cc V-twins and 350 and 500cc Dirt track models with o.h.v. single cylinder engines. Races in the U.S. are still strongly contested by machines of this make which won numerous championships on American tracks.

Hazlewood. Country of origin: Great Britain. Made in England 1911-1924. Once a large factory in West Orchard, Coventry but not well-known in the UK as most of its production went to the Colonies, Hazlewood was first established in 1876 as a bicycle manufacturer.

Their first machines were JAP-powered with a belt drive to the three-speed Armstrong hub. In 1913 they offered 3.5 and 5hp JAP twins and were beginning to use chain drive. Their last 678cc V-twin JAPs were produced in 1924.

Henderson. Country of origin: America. The Founders were William and Tom Henderson

In 1911 the American Henderson Motorcycle Co, 268 Jefferson Ave., Detroit, Michigan, was formed by William G. Henderson in partnership with his brother Tom W. Henderson. Will had the ideas and enthusiasm for motorcycling, and Tom had the better financial acumen. The brothers were inducted to the Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 1998.

1911 Prototype

The Henderson brothers constructed a single prototype motorcycle during 1911. The prototype had the belt drive typical of the times, but this was changed to chain drive for production models.

1912 Henderson Four

Henderson Motorcycle promptly announced a new 57 cubic inch (934 cc) IOE four-cylinder 7 hp motorcycle, with the engine mounted inline with the frame and chain drive. Production began in 1911, using the in-line four-cylinder engine and long wheelbase that would become Henderson trademarks, and it was available to the public in January 1912. Advertisements boasted 7 HP and a price of $325.

It was the third four-cylinder production motorcycle built in the US, and featured a folding hand-crank starter handle.

1913 Model B

Improvements included a better brake (singular), lower seating position, and improved girder forks. It was in this year that Carl Stearns Clancy of New York returned from circling the globe on a 1912 Henderson, armed with many photographs to prove it

Heath-Henderson B-4

The Heath-Henderson B-4 engine was a modified Henderson motorcycle engine produced for use in Heath Parasol aircraft.

1914 Model C

The 1914 Model C had a two-speed gearbox incorporated in the rear hub. (The first Henderson to have gears.)

1915 Model D and E

Shortly after the Model D was announced, it was followed by a Model E, with the wheelbase reduced from 65” to 58”, through a change in the footboards, and this improved handling.

1916 Model F

The shorter wheelbase became the standard, and the engine now incorporated a cam gear driven “mechanical oiler”, and a kick-start.

1917 Model G

The old splash lubrication was superseded by wet sump lubrication. A three-speed gearbox was now attached to the engine and incorporated a heavy-duty clutch. Sales soared and new dealerships were established.

Alan Bedell averaged 48 mph for 1154 miles at Ascot Park in California setting a new 24 hour record, and then, on June 13, 1917, broke the transcontinental long distance record of 1915 (set by “Cannonball” Baker on an Indian Twin,) when he rode his 1917 Henderson from Los Angeles to the city of New York (3,296 miles) in seven days, sixteen hours, and fifteen minutes. The roads outside of towns were primitive by today’s standards, and the ride would have been more like an off road ride than the highway tour of today. The Cannonball Baker Sea-To-Shining-Sea Memorial Trophy Dash was named in Baker’s honour.

Despite record breaking and racing successes, the effects of World War I on sales had damaged their financial position.

Excelsior Motor Mfg. and Supply Co.

In 1917 the Hendersons sold the firm to Ignaz Schwinn, owner of Schwinn, the manufacturer of Schwinn bicycles and Excelsior motorbikes. Production was moved to Schwinn’s Excelsior Motor Mfg. & Supply Co., 3701 Cortland Street, Chicago, Illinois.

Hendersons were marketed extensively overseas as well as in the United States during the Schwinn years. Today, there are almost as many extant Hendersons in Europe and Australia/New Zealand as in the U.S. The Excelsior name had already been used in Germany and Britain, so export models were marketed as the “American-X”.

When production resumed for the new Model H, the engine serial numbers began with a Z, instead of the older H.

1918 Henderson

Engine: inline IOE
Cylinders: Four
Displacement: 67 cubic inches (1100 cc)
Bore & Stroke: 2.53×3.0 inches (64.3×77.7 mm)
Carburettor: Schebler
Ignition: Magneto
Transmission: 3-speed
Forks: Henderson spring fork
Brakes: Band, rear only
Tire size: 3.00×28 inches (7.62×71 cm) (front and rear)

Initially Bill and Tom Henderson worked in management at Excelsior (with Tom receiving twice the pay of Bill), but Tom soon left, early in 1919, to become a Henderson exporter.

The 1919 Model Z included a GE generator on the Z 2 “electric” model. The 70 cubic inch (1147 cc) 4-cylinder developed 14.2 H.P. This model had a new Henderson logo which included the red Excelsior “X”.

In 1915 Arthur O. Lemon had joined Henderson as a salesman, and was employed in the Excelsior Engineering Department after the sale of Henderson. Lemon designed an updated motor for the 1920 Model K. Bill Henderson and Arthur Lemon had worked closely together in the past, but Bill didn’t like Lemon’s changes toward heavier motorcycles. He left in 1920, before the Model K came into production, to form the Ace Motor Corporation, where he would make the lighter, faster motorcycles he had envisioned. Arthur Lemon was then put in charge of engineering for Excelsior and Henderson.

1920 Henderson Model K

The Model K weighed more, produced more power, and was more durable and reliable than its predecessors. The 79.4 cubic inch (1301 cc) side-valve engine, with 2.6875 inch (68.3 mm) bore, and 3.5 inch (88.9 mm) stroke, was rated at 18 hp (28 bhp) The K had a top speed of 80 mph (128 km/h).

The Henderson Model K was the first motorcycle to use full pressure engine lubrication. It was also the first motorcycle to offer, an optional, reverse gear (for use with sidecars).

The frame had steel forgings on every joint. Forks and handlebars were the same as the Series 20 Excelsior. Among its several advanced features were electric lighting and a fully enclosed chain.

The K continued on sale to 1922, with sales increasing despite the post-World War I depression. Increasingly, Henderson motorcycles were being used by law enforcement agencies, and their reputation continued to improve, with durability and distance records often falling to them.

1922 Henderson Deluxe

In 1922 the 28 hp (at 3400 rpm) Deluxe was released. Improvements included a larger, more efficient carburettor, improved intake manifold and rear brakes; redesigned crankshaft, cylinder head cooling, exhaust system and seat. There were also optional Lynite die-cast alloy pistons and a revised reverse gear.

The heavier Police Department version was demonstrated first to the Chicago Police, and achieved 98 mph. When it was demonstrated to the San Diego Police a genuine 100 mph was achieved. Harley Davidson, decided to challenge Henderson to a contest that was held at Dundee Road, Chicago, in April 1922.

The Harley won the first heat, but lost the other eleven, with the Henderson exceeding 100 mph. This was a shining hour for Henderson.

Between May 30 and 31, 1922 Wells Bennet and his Henderson Deluxe set a new 24 hour endurance record (including all the intermediate records) at the Tacoma Speedway, Washington, clocking up 1562.54 miles averaging 65.1 mph. This record was not beaten until 1933, by a Peugeot with a team of four. The solo record was not bettered until 1937 when Fred Ham’s 61 cubic inch Harley averaged 76 mph.

On December 11, 1922 William Henderson was killed in a motor accident testing his new Ace. In 1923 Arthur O. Lemon left Excelsior to become chief engineer for Ace.

1926 Henderson, on display at Clark’s Trading Post, Lincoln, New Hampshire.

The frame was redesigned with a downward slope to the rear for a lower centre of gravity. This enabled the fitting of a shorter, wider, 4 US gallon (15 litre) fuel tank. Three ring alloy pistons were now standard, the cylinders and camshaft were changed, low and reverse gear ratios were altered and it was fitted with larger 3.85” tyres.

1927 Henderson Deluxe

The 1927 Deluxe featured machined and polished “Ricardo” cylinder-heads and developed 35 hp at 3,800 rpm. The clutch was strengthened with two extra plates. There was a new tank top instrument cluster, featuring speedometer, ammeter, oil pressure gauge and a headlight switch. There were new valve spring covers and an updated Zenith carburettor.

On January 27, 1927 the Indian Motorcycle Company purchased the Ace Motor Corporation. Arthur Lemon moved to Indian, where the Ace was to become the Indian Four.

The 1928 Deluxe engine had higher compression, and hardened, polished steel valve guides. The front end was changed to leading link forks and a front brake was added. The wheels were also changed to drop centre rims (may have happened midyear).

In June 1928, Schwinn poached Arthur Constantine from Harley-Davidson, to become Chief Engineer. Constantine looked at the existing model, and embarked on a redesign.

1930 Henderson Streamline “KJ”

The Streamline model, commonly called the “KJ”, appeared in 1929, and featured improved cooling and a return to the IOE (inlet over exhaust) valve configuration, gave 40 bhp @ 4000 rpm. It had a five main bearing crankshaft, and down draft carburetion. Advertisements boasted of “57 New Features”. The Streamline was fast – capable of a genuine 100 mph (160 km/h), and advanced for its time, with such features as leading-link forks and an illuminated speedometer built into the fuel tank.

The Streamline model was produced from 1929 until 1931, and sold for $435.

On Black Tuesday, October 29, 1929, the Wall Street stock market crashed, but Henderson sales remained strong, and business continued. At this point Excelsior Motor Mfg. & Supply Co. was one of America’s “Big Three” of motorcycle production, alongside Harley Davidson and Indian.

On April 29, 1930, the new Henderson “Special” KL solo was demonstrated on a new smooth concrete Illinois highway. Joe Petrali achieved 116.12 mph and 109.09 mph on two recorded runs, averaging 112.61. The higher compression two-ring pistons, and an enlarged 1.25 inch (32 mm) carburettor, meant the KL engine produced 45 hp at 4,500 rpm. The KL was remarkably flexible in top gear, pulling smoothly from 8 to 110 mph. They were even more popular with U.S. Police Departments.

The “Special” (KL) model was priced $30 more than the regular KJ model, and was available in 1930 and 1931.

The summer of 1931 saw Schwinn call his department heads together for a meeting at Excelsior. He bluntly told them, with no prior indication, “Gentlemen, today we stop”. Schwinn felt that the Depression could easily continue for eight years, and even worsen. Despite of the full order book, he had chosen to pare back his business commitments to the core business, bicycle manufacture. By September 1931 it was all over.

In 1993, Dan Hanlon secured the rights to the Excelsior-Henderson trademarks and founded the Excelsior-Henderson Motorcycle Company in Belle Plaine, Minnesota. The company designed and built nearly 2000 new motorcycles for the model years 1999-2000. The company succumbed to the financial turmoil in the marketplace.

Hilda. Country of origin: South Africa. These machines were developed by the Hildebrandt Brothers. Some had JAP engines. Hilda motorcycles were entered in the 1920, 1921 and 1922 races. They were ridden by A Hildebrandt, C.H. Kelly, C Marshall and E. C. Jacobie.

Hobart. Country of origin: Great Britain. Hobart were motorcycles produced from 1901 to 1904 by Hobart Bird and Co of Coventry, who were also suppliers to many other firms.

1892 Advert. ‘Hobart’ cycles.

1901 The company started out by producing a primitive with an inclined engine.

1903 They added a model with a vertical engine in a loop frame fitted with braced forks.

1904-1905 This range continued, with little change.

1906-1909 The firm was just a supplier.

1910 The company returned to complete machine and produced the new Hobart. This had a 2.5hp engine inclined in the frame over the downtube, gear-driven Bosch magneto, an adjustable pulley for the belt drive and Druid forks.

1911 A 3.5hp twin and a ladies’ model were produced. This had a revised open frame and the engine mounted lower with the cylinder horizontal, and all the works fully enclosed.

1912 Listed in Spennell’s directory of Coventry as Cycle Manufacturers.

1913 By now they were using JAP engines as well as their own.

1914 A 225cc two-stroke version was added that year.

1915 That engine changed to a 269cc Villiers, along with a 6hp V-twin with a JAP engine and three speeds.

Post-War the two-stroke, including a spring-frame model, was listed.

1920 That year they also listed a 292cc JAP four-stroke.

1921 More versions of both were listed, including the spring frame for both sizes.

1922 There were new machines with 348cc Blackburne and 346cc JAP engines. Both of these were listed in solo and sidecar forms.

1922 McKenzie Hobart 70 motorcycle exhibit.

1923 The 269cc Villiers was replaced by a 170cc Hobart two-stroke engine driving a two-speed gearbox, and the 292cc JAP by a 249cc sv Blackburne. All the four-strokes had a good range of transmission options, with two or three speeds and final drive by belt or chain.

1924 The range was cut to the 170cc two-stroke and 346cc JAP, plus the 292cc JAP. It was the last year of listing.

Note: Although they were no longer listed, Hobart engines continued to be supplied to other firms for several years.

H.R.D. H.R.D. Motors Ltd. Great Britain 1924 – 1950

Founded by the famous racing man H.R. Davis, this company first produced sporting 350 and 500 cc JAP engined machines. In 1928 Vincent took over the manufacture and moved the production from Wolverhampton to Stevenage, where Vincent added his spring frames. In later years Villiers, Blackburne, Python and own engines (mainly o.h.v.) were used. In 1937 the first 1000 cc V-twin Vincent-H.R.D. with semi o.h.c. valves appeared on the market. In 1950 the name H.R.D. was dropped and manufacture continued under the Vincent trademark.

Humber. Country of origin: Great Britain. The English firm Humber built three-wheeled forecars and four-wheelers as well as the motorcycles which they manufactured from 1902 to 1930. Initially their machines were built under Phelon & Moore licence using a single cylinder P&M engine and two-speed chain-drive transmission, but later examples had their own engines of 496cc, 596cc and 746cc. These included side-valve flat-twins which were built up until about 1924, subsequent machines having only single-cylinder 347cc engines with either side-valve, ohv or overhead cam configuration. Competition success included a win in the 1911 Junior TT.

Indian. Hendee Manf. Co. U.S.A. 1903 –

Once the leading motorcycle producer in the U.S.A., Indian entered the market with rearward-facing single-cylinder models, designed by the famous Oscar Hedstrom. Some, during the early years, had Thor proprietary engines. Soon V-twins were added and a typical Indian pre-1914 range consisted of 574, 684, and 994 cc models with o.h.i.v. power units. Some versions had electrical starters and even a small 250 cc two stroke model was introduced. One of the finest and most successful machines, the 596 cc s.v. V-twin cylinder Scout came in 1919 and had a bigger version in the 997 cc Powerplus, which was also supplied with rear suspension. Later, in 1921, this model was superseded by the Chief. A typical Indian model range of the late twenties was: 348 cc s.v. single cylinder Prince, 596 cc Scout, 744 cc Police-Scout, 998 cc Chief, 1204 cc (1234 cc) Big Chief and, from 1927 onwards, the 1265 cc air-cooled in-line four cylinder ex A.C.E., which In 1929 became the Indian 4 and was built until 1941. Both the Scout and the Chief series had V-twin cylinder s.v. power units which were, over the years, continuously improved. The big 1000cc models were still built after the Second World War. Only memories are left of such superb machines as the Scout and Big Chief and of some successful racing (mainly ‘Daytona’ model) 350, 500, 750 and 1000 cc singles and twins ridden by great riders.

James. The James Cycle Co. Ltd. Great Britain 1902 to date

Belgian F.N. engines powered the first James machines but soon afterwards own power units were built by this old-established company. Earlier machines had 300 cc two stroke and 500 and 600 cc single and V-twin cylinder s.v. motors. Other Villiers engined models were added during the twenties, and from the thirties onwards the factory concentrated on the manufacture of Villiers engined two strokes from 98 to 250 cc.

J.A.P. J.A. Prestwich & Co. Ltd. Great Britain 1904 – 1908

Soon after J.A. Prestwich started the manufacture of his famous proprietary engines the production of complete motorcycles also began, but when the demand for J.A.P. proprietary power units increased, the factory decided to stop building J.A.P. motorcycles. Needless to say they had different power units of own manufacture.

JAWA. Tovarna Jawa Czechoslovakia 1929 to date

The first Jawa had an own 500 cc o.h.v. single-cylinder unit design engine and shaft drive. It also had a pressed-steel frame and was built under licence from the German Wanderer factory. From 1932 onwards 175 and 250 cc two-strokes, first under Villiers licence and later D.K.W. (Schnuerle) licence as well as their own 350 cc s.v. and o.h.v. four-strokes were built. An own 100 cc two-stroke followed in 1938. After the war the now nationalized factory concentrated on two-strokes from 100 to 350 cc, with single- and twin-cylinder engines. Racing machines are equipped with 250, 350 and 385 cc vertical o.h.c. twin power units. Englishman G.W. Patchett was the firm’s leading designer between 1930 and 1939, while most present day Jawas are the work of the Czech designers J. Josif and J. Krivka.

J.E.S. J.E.S. Motor Co. Great Britain 1910 – 1924

With 169 and 247 cc two stroke engined machines, J.E.S. was once well known in the lightweight motorcycle trade. From 1922 onwards, 250 and 350 cc Blackburne s.v. and o.h.v. singles were added. In 1924, Connaught in Birmingham bought the J.E.S. production, and soon afterwards the machine disappeared from the market. Before the 1914 war they also built 116 and 189 cc four strokes with o.h.i.v.

Levis. Hughes, Butterfield Bros. Great Britain 1911 – 1939

Levis was once a leading name in the British motorcycle industry and the two strokes built by Butterfield Bros., and designed by Bob Newey, were among the best in the world. They won the first three places in the 250 cc Junior TT of 1920, were second in 1921 and first in the 1922 Lightweight (250 cc) TT race in The Isle of Man. Early models had 211 cc but soon 250 and 350 version were also built. The latter was dropped after a short period. From 1927 onwards came 350 cc and, later, 250, 500 and 600 cc o.h.v. singles of excellent design. This range was continued until the war. There have been many interesting and unusual Levis prototypes, including 350 cc vertical twins in 1912, flat two stroke twins in 1914, and a 250 cc o.h.c. single during the mid-thirties, some also in limited production.

Matchless. J.H. Collier & Sons Ltd. Great Britain 1899 to date

One of the oldest factories in the world, Matchless was always a famous name in the trade. Early models, successfully ridden in races by the sons of the founder, Harry and Charles Collier, had De Dion Bouton, MMC and JAP engines; later the company also used MAG power units. Own engines came into being in the twenties and included singles and V-twins from 250 to 1000 cc. A 350 cc o.h.c. single appeared in 1923; a narrow angle 26°, s.v. 400 cc twin in 1928, and the 600 cc ‘Four’ (Silver Hawk) in 1931. It had a unit design o.h.c. power unit. The factory supplied, during the thirties, engines for other firms including Brough Superior, Morgan, Coventry Eagle, O.E.C. and Calthorpe. Most of them were 350 and 500 cc o.h.v. singles and big o.h.v. and s.v. V-twins of 1000 cc. During the Second World War, the 350 cc GL 3 Matchless o.h.v. single was much used by the army. After 1945, new 250, 350 and 500 singles and 500, 600cc and 650 cc vertical twins, all with o.h.v. engines, appeared on the market. In 1931 the company took over the A.J.S. factory from Wolverhampton, and in 1937 the Sunbeam works, but sold the latter during the war to the B.S.A. group of companies. The James, Francis-Barnett and Norton works also belong to Associated Motor Cycles Ltd. in London. After the Second World War, two racing models appeared on the market: the G 45 with a 500 cc vertical o.h.v. twin engine, and the G 50, a single o.h.c 500 cc. Both proved successful.

McEvoy. Country of origin: Great Britain. McEvoy Motorcycles was a British motorcycle manufacturer based in Derby. The company used engines from Villiers, Blackburne, British Anzani and JAP. The company ceased trading in 1929 when the financier Cecil ‘Archie’ Birkin was killed in an accident at the Isle of Man TT.

Eton College graduate Michael McEvoy began his engineering career at the Rolls-Royce in Derby and started McEvoy Motorcycles in 1924. The first bike from McEvoy Motorcycles was a flat twin produced in 1925 with a British Anzani 1100 cc engine. By 1926 the business was successful enough for McEvoy to leave his job at Rolls-Royce and move to larger premises in Derby. The McEvoy range was developed to include a JAP8/45 hp engined V-twin in an advanced “super sports” frame that was capable of 100 miles per hour (160 km/h) and advertised by McEvoy as “the Fastest all-British big twin that holds all high speed British records worth holding in its class”.

McEvoy began producing motorcycles with a range of engines, including one with a small 172 cc Villiers engine. All was going well until the company’s financial backer, Archie Birkin, died practising for the 1928 Isle of Man TT; the company was wound up in 1929.

Racing success

George William Patchett was a British motorcycle racer and engineer who moved from Brough Superior to work with McEvoy as Competition Manager in 1926. In the same year Patchett recorded a time of 5:32 on the demanding Mountain Course of the Isle of Man TT race. Patchett also rode Anzani and JAP-powered V-twin to successes at the banked Brooklands Circuit at Weybridge. In his time with McEvoy Patchett set nine world records and won the Championship of Southport in 1926 at more than 116 miles per hour (187 km/h).

Surviving examples

In July 2009 a 1928 McEvoy motorcycle with a JAP 8/45 hp 980 cc V-twin engine sold at auction in Henley-on-Thames, UK, for £108,200 ($177,000).

Militaire Country of origin: USA. Militaire Auto Company of Buffalo New York.

Montgomery. Country of origin: Great Britain. Montgomery Motorcycles was a pioneering British motorcycle manufacturer. Originally based in Bury St Edmunds the founder William Montgomery was an innovator and is credited with the invention of the sidecar.

Following the first war manufacturing moved to Coventry. Like Brough, Montgomery made use of the best proprietary components from other specialist companies and concentrated on the production of frames and forks in-house – and Montgomery supplied a number of frames and its own sprung fork to George Brough.

In an advert from the time Montgomery claimed “These Montgomery machines are for the men who prefer a distinctive mount in appearance and performance. That extra degree of soundness – those little touches which distinguish the ‘super’ machine from the mere motorcycle, come naturally to the Montgomery and at a price that is amazingly low.

The first bike from Montgomery Motorcycles was a flat twin produced in 1913 with a Morton and Weaver engine. The First World War halted production, which did not resume until 1922 in Coventry.

Montgomery continued to experiment with sidecar design and actually competed himself in the 1923 Isle of Man TT sidecar race. The entire Montgomery works was destroyed by fire in 1925 but were able to eventually recover and by 1930 were a leading producer of quality two-stroke and four-stroke motorcycles. The top of the range was the Greyhound, finished in a special grey enamel paint. The Second World War brought an end to all production and Montgomery ceased trading in 1939.


1924 Montgomery Anzani 996cc 8-valve, 57 degree, V-twin.
1930 Montgomery Greyhound 680cc (70 x 88mm) ohv JAP V-twin.
1934 Montgomery De Luxe 350cc JAP engine.

Motosacoche. Country of origin: Switzerland. Henri and Armand Dufaux founded Motosacoche in Geneva, Switzerland, in 1899.

Motosacoche was once the biggest Swiss motorcycle manufacturer, known also for its MAG (Motosacoche Acacias Genève) proprietary-engines used by other European motorcycle manufacturers.

Production of motorcycles began with small bicycle engines and soon advanced to the production of MAG-engined motorcycles of 250cc to 1000cc.

From 1900 Motosacoche produced a bicycle auxiliary engine, in a sub-frame that could be installed into a conventional bicycle. This looked like an engine in a bag, hence the Motosacoche name, meaning “engine in a bag”.

In 1910, Royal Enfield used Motosacoche 344 cc 2.75 hp engines in a successful V-twin model. They are reputed to have supplied Triumph, Ariel, Matchless and Brough Superior with engines at times too, first through H. and A. Dufaux and then, by 1912, Motosacoche Ltd (GB), with Osborne Louis De Lissa.

When the Bol d’Or 24-hour event was first held on the outskirts of Paris in 1922, the winning rider covered more than 750 miles on a 500cc Motosacoche.

Enormously successful in the interwar period, Motosacoche had factories in Switzerland, France and Italy, and supplied MAG engines to many other manufacturers including AJW, Allegro, Brough Superior, Clement, Condor, Dresch, Goricke, Imperia, Lady, Matchless, Monet Goyon, Morgan, Neander, New Hudson, Rex-Acme, Rovin and Royal Enfield.

Moto-Guzzi. Moto Guzzi, Como Italy 1921 to date

Flat single cylinder engines of 250 and 500 cc with i.o.e., o.h.v. and o.h.c. valves were for many years typical for the Carlo Guzzi-designed excellent and successful machines from Mandello. They were built in many different variations during the years and it was not until after 1945 that entirely new creations with two and four stroke engines of 65, 73, 83, 98, 110, 125, 160 (Galetto Scooter), 175, 192 (bigger Galetto) and 235 cc came into being, although the flat singles were built until the late fifties. They included some potent racing versions such as the four valve 500 cc o.h.c. model of the mid-twenties, the 250 cc o.h.c. racers, including the Albatros and Gambalunghino, the 500 cc o.h.v. Condor, Gambalunga and Dondolino racers, and others. The number of factory special racing models for their own riders was also large and included supercharged 250 cc o.h.c. singles and un-supercharged singles and twins, 350 cc single and double o.h.c. singles, and for the 500 cc class there were, among unorthodox Guzzi racing machines, supercharged, air cooled, four and three cylinder models. The well-known wide angle (120°) V-twin -a single o.h.c. machine developed from 1933 to 1949, the un-supercharged ‘4’ of the early fifties and even an eight cylinder racing machine built in 1956. The racing department, headed by Ing. Guilo Carcano, was after the war a big and very active one. The whole Guzzi story is full of great personalities and riders. At the top is the Parodi family, rich ship owners and great motorcycle enthusiasts, of whom the late Giorgio Parodi was President of the firm. He has now been succeeded by his brother Dr. E. Parodi, while a cousin, Dr. Angelo Parodi, was until his untimely death in 1942, the Technical Director at Mandello. Carlo Guzzi himself is still very active. The factory, situated on the beautiful Lake Como, is now closely connected with the famous Bianchi Company but technically they are independent of each other.

N.U.T. Country of origin: Great Britain. Production began in 1912 and by 1913 they were already winning races on the Isle of Man. Using their own engines and also those of JAP and Villiers, the name of the Newcastle Upon Tyne marque became synonymous with powerful V-twin sports machines.

New Henley. Country of origin: Great Britain. Henley produced motorcycles in Birmingham from 1920 to 1926, firstly in Spring Hill, and then Doe Street.

1920 The firm started out with their first model. This was powered by the usual 269cc Villiers two-stroke engine, and was available in two forms. One was single speed and the other two-speed through a Sturmey-Archer gearbox. Both had belt drive.

1921 By now those two lightweights had been joined by machines with 293cc and 677cc sv JAP engines, also with belt final-drive.

1922 By the middle of that year the firm was concentrating on a single model range that used a 348cc sv Blackburne engine. The company was so successful that they moved to larger premises in Doe Street, where they remained for the next four years. That autumn the 350cc progressed to ohv power, from the oil-cooled Bradshaw engine, a three-speed gearbox, all-chain drive and internal expanding brakes. A sleek appearance was achieved by the use of a sporting frame layout, with sloping top tube. That model was successfully used for competition and also in an Isle of Man TT race.

1923-1925 New models appeared, with 249cc, 348cc ohv and 545cc sv Blackburne powered engines. Some in De Luxe or Super Sports versions, others as complete sidecar outfits.

1926 The original company was sold on to new owners that year, and the trading name was changed to New Henley. Under its new name, the make continued until 1931.

New Hudson. Country of origin: Great Britain. Formed in about 1890 by George Patterson to build bicycles, the Birmingham factory built their first powered machine in the 1903 using a clip-on Minerva engine. Their first motorcycles appeared in 1909 (or 1910), fitted with JAP engines. By the 1920s they were achieving competition success at the TT and also at Brooklands. Bert Le Vack took over racing development in 1927, and in that year became the first rider to lap Brooklands at over 100mph on a 500cc machine.

They manufactured their own SV and OHV single cylinder engines of 350 to 600cc, and also a Levis-powered two-stroke of 211cc which was apparently first offered in 1914, and then again in 1920 and 1921 being the first model offered after cessation of hostilities. It was an exceedingly difficult time for George as one of his two sons had been killed and the other lost a leg in the war. The family sold the factory to Mr. H.J. Bructon shortly after the end of the Great War.

In addition to the range of motorcycles, they built three-wheelers with MAG engines. The firm was taken over by the BSA concern early in the depression era, and by 1933 they had ceased production of motorcycles but continued to produce Girling brake and suspension components.

In 1940 they built the New Hudson Autocycle, and this was apparently later rebadged as a BSA.

1927 Vitesse Special
1928 models 81, 82, 83, 84 SV 346cc and 496cc
1928 models 85, 86, 87, 88 OHV 346cc and 496cc
1929 OHV models had Webb forks, SV models had Druid forks
1930 model 91 lightweight with 250cc OHV; model 100 with sloper engine
1932 350cc New Hudson M31, Moss 4 speed box, sidevalve engine
1932 346cc New Hudson M34 sidevalve, sloper engine

The AutoCycle of the 1950s had Villiers engines and was produced at 47 Armoury Rd, Birmingham.

New Imperial. Country of origin: Great Britain. 1901 to 1939. The Birmingham bicycle factory produced its first motorcycle in 1901, a front wheel drive contraption with the engine mounted on the handlebars and a belt drive to the front wheel. It was not well received and the firm reverted to bicycles for the remainder of the century’s first decade. By 1912 they were back, this time with three motorcycles on offer, and two years later they released their landmark model, the 300cc Light Tourist. It was a resounding success.

Subsequent to the Great War, New Imperial began competing in the TT races in the Lightweight class with considerable success – six wins, including one in the Junior class, the last being in 1936. By the middle of the 1920s the company was building 300 machines per month, but when the depression began in the 1930s they were hit hard and never recovered, finally ceasing motorcycle manufacture in 1938 when it slipped into insolvency. On the 6th October 1939 a new owner purchased the company and changed the name to Clifford Aero & Auto Ltd. This company built components for Lancaster and Spitfire aircraft, and it would not have amused the Germans to learn that the two men most closely associated with the company at that time, Jack Sangster and Solomon Joseph, were Jewish.

New Imperial of Birmingham used Precision and JAP engines of 250 to 1000cc until 1925 when they introduced their own power plants of 146cc to 498cc.

The 1929 catalogue lists 10 models including: Model 2, D.L.2, B9, 10, 9A, 10A, 7, 7B, a 350 Light Tourist; Model 8, a 680cc V twin; and 250 and 350 Super Racer racing machines. The catalogue includes illustrations of 8 sidecars and information on the Amal carburettor, 7 inch front brake, M.L. magneto and Terry saddle.

The 1931 catalogue features “The New Wonder Machine” and the “Blue Prince” and lists 8 models from 246 to 499cc, three of which are side-valve. These are illustrated with specifications, along with 8 sidecars.

The 1935 New Imperial Handbook has 80 pages and lists Models 23, 30, 40, 16, 16a, 17, 17a, F10, F11, 18, 2, 50, 60.

THE BOOK OF THE NEW IMPERIAL by W.C. Haycraft Pitmans, London, 1950. Pages: 104.

Pitman’s Motor Cycle Library, small book 6 x 5 inches, 104 pp densely packed with photographs, illustrations, exploded parts diagrams etc. A practical guide for owners of New Imperial motorcycles, covers S.V. and O.H.V. models from 1935 onwards. First published in 1935 it ran to at least six editions. Sections include carburation, electric lighting, lubrication, running adjustments, decarbonizing and general overhauling, with plenty of diagrams, exploded drawings and photographs.

Newmount. Country of origin. Great Britain. Newmount were motorcycles assembled in Coventry from 1929 to 1933.

1929 The machine was really a German Zundapp with a change of tank badge and a tubular frame instead of the usual one of pressed steel. It weighed 198lbs and was priced at £33.

1931 The range expanded. One model had a 300cc Zundapp engine while others had 348cc or 499cc ohv Rudge Python engines.

1933 The range continued until that year and then left the market.

Nimbus. Country of origin: Denmark. The Nimbus was a Danish motorcycle produced from 1919 to 1960 by Fisker and Nielsen of Copenhagen, Denmark.

Two basic models were produced, both with a 750 cc four-cylinder engine.

Fisker believed he could develop a motorcycle that had its own form, and in late 1918 decided to construct a prototype to his own design.


It had an four-cylinder inline engine of 746 cc (45.5 cu in) capacity, which drove the rear wheel through a shaft drive.

Power output of was around 10 hp and top speed in the region of 85 km/h (53 mph) with a sidecar fitted. It had both front and rear wheel suspension, and soon acquired the nickname of Kakkelovnsrør (“Stovepipe”) due to the thick, round pipe between the saddle and handlebars which as well as forming part of the bike’s chassis contained the petrol tank. Two more machines were constructed in 1919, but mass production did not begin until ‘Fisker & Nielsen’ became a limited liability company in 1920.

Disappointed by poor sales, Fisker began entering the Stovepipe in all the races that he could, often with a sidecar attached, and built up a good reputation for the machine. However, the introduction of a sales tax on motorcycles in 1924 and an economic recession resulted in production being phased out from 1926 on after 1,300 machines had been produced.

Type C

With his son Anders, Fisker started designing a new machine in 1932 and in 1934 they demonstrated a new Nimbus motorcycle, the Type C. It retained the shaft drive, a completely redesigned ohv and ohc engine of 18 (later 22) hp, and a frame made from steel strips riveted together, which were shaped to go around the gas tank much like on the pressed steel frames on several other motorcycles of the period. It was also the first production motorcycle to have a telescopic fork, a year before the BMW R12. (However, the BMW fork had hydraulic damping from the outset, while the Nimbus only had that from 1939 on). Its distinctive humming exhaust note led to it being nicknamed Humlebien (“The Bumblebee”).

The first customer received his Type C in the summer of 1934, and the Bumblebee soon became the best-selling motorcycle in Denmark, sold by an efficient dealer network. The Danish Post Office, Army, and Police became customers. In 1939, as World War II loomed, the Danish government spent DKK 50 million on motorising the army – which bought many Type Cs.

During the occupation by German forces from 1940 to 1945 it was difficult for Fisker & Nielsen to obtain the materials needed for motorcycle production and only about 600 machines were made during the period.

Right after WW2 a much improved ohv engine was built and tested. Seeing, however, that the factory had no trouble selling every motorcycle built, it was decided not to make any major investments in new tooling. Instead more minor improvements were made to the existing models, usually making it possible to upgrade older models.

The Danish Army bought around 20% of Fisker & Nielsen’s total production, while the Postal Service also bought many, using them as late as 1972. The Danish police was also a large customer, but phased out their Nimbuses much earlier in the late 1950s and early 1960s, when it became too slow to keep up with modern cars and motorcycles; the top speed of a stock solo bike was only 120 km/h (75 mph), and that for brief bursts only. Few were exported.
In the 1950s some further prototypes were built, like a four-cylinder with a rotary valve and carbon seals as well as a two-cylinder model with rear suspension, neither of which reached production. Several prototypes with rear suspension and an Earles front fork were also built.

Innumerable details of “The Bumblebee” were changed during its lifespan, the few major ones being a switch from hand to foot gear change, larger brakes and an improved front fork. Still, the basic design was never updated and, as interest in motorcycles declined in the late 1950s as a consequence of the availability of cheap cars such as the Volkswagen Beetle, production ceased in 1960, when the last contract from the army was delivered.

Norton. Norton Motors Ltd. Great Britain 1901 to date

The late J.L. Norton, founder of this famous company, was in his early days closely connected with the Gerrard Company. When the late H. Rem Fowler won the twin cylinder class in the 1907 TT he had a French Peugeot V-twin engine in his Norton machine but soon the Birmingham product achieved world-wide fame with the single cylinder 490 cc and 635 cc machines of completely own manufacture. They had s.v. engines from 1922, o.h.v., and from 1927 o.h.c. power units came into being. Most had 350 and 500 cc but there were also 600 cc models and even bigger ‘big fours’ of over 600 cc. After 1945, vertical twin cylinder o.h.v. engines were introduced; models of 250, 350, 500 and 650 cc, partly with modern unit-design motors. Great fame was gained with the 350 and 500 cc ‘Manx’ single cylinder racing models. In 1956 the factory was bought by Associated Motor Cycles Ltd., in London, and late in 1962 moved to London.

N.S.U. N.S.U. Motorenwerke A.G. Germany 1901 to date

For many years one of the leading motorcycle producers in Germany, N.S.U. built their first machines with Swiss Zedel proprietary engines. Soon afterwards own power units, mainly V-twins, came into being. Some had already rear suspension, and 500, 750 and 1000 cc versions were made until the mid-twenties. Afterwards new unit-design singles with i.o.e., s.v. and partly o.h.v. engines from 200 to 500 cc were built. In 1930 a 500 cc o.h.c. single was added, and in 1933 a similar 350 cc version. After the Second World War numerous mopeds with own 100 cc engines as well as machines up to 250 cc were built and included the Quick, Quickly, Fox and Max. During the fifties, when the factory could no longer use the improved supercharged twin-cylinder racing models of pre-1939 days (350 cc and 500 cc),new 500 cc air cooled double o.h.c. ‘fours’ and, later, 125 cc single cylinder and 250 cc twin cylinder racers were made for their factory riders and gained great successes. Mopeds are now the main line of production at the N.S.U. works. Among famous technicians connected with during the years with this old established firm one must mention the Germans Obering. A. Roder, Dir. Frankenberg, Praxl, Dr. Froede, and the Englishmen D.R. O’Donovan and W.W. Moore.

O.E.C. Country of origin: Great Britain. Frederick Osborn of the Osborn Engineering Company began manufacture of motorcycles in 1901 using Minerva and MMC engines. After WWI, his son John Osborn resumed production of OEC-Blackburne machines, later shortened to OEC.

During the marque’s long lifetime models were produced with large capacity V-twin JAP, Blackburne and Matchless engines, and with Villiers two-stroke engines after WWII.

OEC Motorcycles were made in Portsmouth and Gosport. The Hampshire Museum has several OEC motorcycles,

OEC of Lincoln built motorcycles between 1901 and 1954.

The firm, founded by Frederick J. Osborn, originated as the Osborn Motor Manufacturing Co of Lincoln. Later the name changed to Osborn Engineering Company, and simply known as OEC. This was sometimes, and with very good reason, read as ‘odd engineering contraptions’.

1901 Having already had experience of assembling machines for others, Osborn built his first powered machine using a 4hp engine. This was hung from the frame downtube with a flat belt-driven rear wheel. The firm also produced four-speed engine pulleys for general use.

1909 The single model had a 3.5hp engine that was fitted with their own pulley and a means of sliding the rear wheel to adjust belt tension after changing the pulley speed. There was also a means of trailing-link front fork, so the appearance of unusual designs had already begun. For several years, production concentrated mainly on pulleys.

Post World War I. The company built a 499cc single and a 998cc V-twin machines, with Blackburne engines, for Burnley and Blackburne. They did not appear as manufacturers in their own right until 1922.

1921 An OEC-Blackburne combination was produced for taxi work. This had wheel steering instead of handlebars and was a strange looking contraption, to say the least.

1922 OEC started to manufacture motorcycles under their own name. Then, the tank transfers changed from plain Blackburne to OEC-Blackburne, as Blackburne concentrated solely on the supply of engines to the trade.

Throughout the 1920s various combination models appeared, such as OEC-Atlanta, OEC-Temple and OEC-Temple-Anzani. This was due, in part, to a close and successful involvement with race rider Claude Temple, for whom OEC built the frames and assembled the right cycle parts.

1926 During October, an OEC-Temple-Anzani took the World’s Motorcycle Speed Record, at 121mph/194kmh.

1927 That association led to an increase in the range, with models using the famous Temple name, and that year another novelty arrived in the shape of a patent duplex steering frame. This had bottom frame-rails extended forwards and outwards to give turning clearance on full lock. That, and other unique features of the design, resulted in it being called the OEC-Duplex – a name that was used until 1940.

1928 The range of motorcycles was so extensive that models had JAP, Blackburne, Villiers, MAG, Bradshaw and Atlanta engines. With numerous permutations of frames and forms, the company struggled to keep up with production demands.

1929 Unsurprisingly, that year brought cut-backs in the range. Those models on offer still had many options, so that there was no lack of variety.

1930 Joe Wright took the world speed record over 150mph/240kmh., but the name of the company was blackened when it transpired that the machine used was not, in fact, an OEC but a Zenith.

1932 The company moved to Portsmouth and continued to offer plenty of choice over the next few years.

1934 OEC announced the Whitwood, a two-wheeled car. A model was announced that was fully enclosed, and from the side it resembled a small saloon car with a short bonnet – or a very large sidecar. It carried two people in tandem and had a stabilising, out-rigger wheel on either side. In many respects it resembled the Atlanta as, under the body, it had a tubular frame and the OEC duplex steering system, but controlled by a steering wheel. The engine and gearbox went under the seats and the engine ranged from a 150cc Villiers to a 750cc V-twin JAP.

1936 The above machine was much revised and the smallest engine became a 250cc JAP. The concept was unpopular, so the project was dropped. The firm produced the Atlanta Duo, a design that had led on from the Whitwood. It was a very low seated, foot-forward design with foot-boards, and although a choice of engines was available, it was not a popular model. The seat was 19-21 inches in height as the engine was lowered and the rider had foot-boards that stretched forward, to form leg shields. There was a choice of engines – single ohv as 245cc or 500cc, or 750cc JAP twins. The low-slung frame had plunger rear suspension, OEC duplex steering and a dual seat with backrest. The model did not sell well and soon disappeared.

1937 OEC had been using Matchless engines, but now switched to AJS plus a JAP V-twin.

1938 Production was pared down to three models – all using AJS single engines.

Production ended in World War II when the factory was bombed, but returned after the war with rear-sprung lightweights.

1949 After a long gap, OEC resumed building motorcycles with the production of two conventional lightweights, both using Villiers engines. The company continued to produce a small range for the next few years.

1954 The company’s fortunes dimmed and production ceased.

O.K. O.K.-Supreme Motors Ltd. Great Britain 1899 – 1939

Included here are all motorcycles made by this factory, the O.K. Juniors and O. K.-Supremes and all previous ones which had Precision power units and Green motors. During the twenties, JAP and Blackburne products were used, while from 1930 onwards own motors, mainly 250 cc o.h.c. racing singles, came into being. A range of JAP engined machines from 250 to 500 cc was continued and included special Grass-Track machines. The firm was for a period very actively engaged in road racing.

P & M. PANTHER P & M. P.&.M. Phelon & Moore Great Britain 1900 to date

Originally known as the P & M, the Panther, now in limited production, was originally created by Harry Rayner and Jonah Phaelon, who were eventually joined by Richard Moore. The firm pioneered sloping engines, and sold the licence for it to the Number factory in Coventry.

Over the years, single cylinder models up to 650 cc have been made. Other versions had vertically positioned power units from 250 to 500 cc and in certain periods also Villiers two stroke engines up to 324 cc. Two stroke scooters were introduced during the late fifties. During the early years the firm built tricycles with De Dion Bouton engines.

In 1927 a Granville-Bradshaw designed transverse mounted 250 cc o.h.v., V-twin monobloc model, the ‘Panthette’, was built. In 1914, a 90° V-twin was ready, when the war – during which they supplied many machines to the forces – prevented its quantity production.

Pierce. Country of origin: America. Pierce-Arrow was an American automobile manufacturer based in Buffalo, New York, which was active from 1901 to 1938. Although best known for its expensive luxury cars, Pierce-Arrow also manufactured commercial trucks, fire trucks, camp trailers, motorcycles, and bicycles.

Precision. Country of origin: Great Britain. There were two companies with the name of Precision

1. Precision produced motorcycle from 1902-1906. These were typically primitive and powered by a Minerva engine.

2. This company was founded by Frank Baker in 1906 to build bicycle fittings under the Precision name. Frank Baker had worked for Eadie, Royal Enfield and Premier Cycles.

Precision motorcycles were produced from 1912 to 1919, in Moorsom Street, Birmingham.

1910 He started building 499cc sv single engines and quickly developed a following.

1911 Ninety-six machines at the Olympia Show, in London used Precision engines: 293cc, 499cc and 599cc singles, or 760cc V-twins.

1912 Complete machines were produced, but this was found to be less than popular with existing engine customers. The complete machines were therefore exported – to Australia in particular.

1913 Moved to a new factory and by the following year they employed 400 persons and produced 100 engine per week. Long description of this factory in ‘The Engineer’. Tom Biggs joined as chief designer.

1918 The company employed 800.

Post-World War I, they released a complete motorcycle, designed by Biggs, using their own 350cc two-stroke engine, in 1919. At this time they were calling themselves Beardmore Precision after Scottish industrial giant William Beardmore and Co injected new capital into the company.

Their engines were featured in numerous trials and race winners in the 1920s. But sales were sliding and an attempt to introduce a new 250cc engine failed when the leaf-spring valves caused excess guide wear. There was also a model with a Barr and Stroud engine, and an ohc model which did not see production. William Beardmore and Co withdrew its capital in 1924 and Frank Baker pulled out, to make two-strokes under his own name (as F. E. Baker) and the company closed.

Precision engines were fitted to other marques including TDC.

Note: The company was eventually sold to James in 1930.

Premier. Country of origin: Great Britain. Premier motorcycles were produced from 1908 to 1920, in Coventry, by William Hillman.

1908 A model was produced that had a 3.5hp White and Poppe engine, Brown and Barlow carburettor, Bosch magneto and belt drive.

1909 By now they were building their own version of the engine and their own design of forks replaced the original Chater-Lea. They took an injunction against Premier Motor Co over the use of the name Premo.

1910 The single was joined by a 3.75hp V-twin that had horizontal cooling fins and a crankshaft that allowed both pistons to move together despite its angle. Late in the year, a completely new 3.75hp V-twin engine was announced, and this had cylinders set at 45 degrees and kept the horizontal cooling fins. A two-speed gear was available.

1911 A 2hp lightweight model joined the range. It had its engine mounted inclined in a loop frame above the pedals. It had a rear-mounted Bosch magneto, belt drive and Druid forks. Later, a 2.5hp single was added.

1912 Premier Cycle Co listed at Hertford St. and Lincoln St (Tel. 796), Read St (Tel. 514), Coventry and as manufacturers of motorcycles.

1912 The range now included a 3.5hp ladies’ model with open frame.

1913 They produced a 499cc side-valve 3-speed machine, and brought in a two-speed gearbox and Druid forks for the 3.5hp single. In came a new V-twin with increased power and out went the 2hp model.

1914 A new model was announced, but few were built. It had a 2.75hp in-line, twin-cylinder, two-stroke, over-square engine of 322cc, mounted in a duplex frame.

1915-1916 The range was still listed.

Post-WWI. The company concentrated on a three-wheel Runabout.

Puch. Country of origin: Austria. The Austrian firm of Puch built their first motorcycles in 1903, and by 1912, the year in which company founder Johann Puch retired, the factory was producing over 300 motorcycles and automobiles each year, along with some 16,000 bicycles.

Business slowed considerably after the end of WWI, and in 1934 they merged with Steyr and Austro-Daimler to become Steyr-Daimler-Puch.

Puch engines were fitted to AGS, Dalesman, DMF, Ganna, Meray, Monark, Tomos and other marques.

Radco. Country of origin: Great Britain. E. A. (Ernest Arnold) Radnall and Co of Dartmouth Street, Birmingham, produced Radco motorcycles from 1913 to 1933; 1954; and 1966. The also produced cycle components.

1913 Late that year the marque was first seen at the Olympia Show. The design was simple, with a vertically mounted 2.5hp two-stroke engine of 211cc, with rear magneto, petroil lubrication, external flywheel and Radco forks. A chain-driven two-speed Albion gearbox and belt final-drive, or a single speed with direct belt were offered.

Post World War 1. The 211cc model continued.

1920 That model was joined by a 247cc version. Gearboxes were changed to Burman with two or three speeds.

1921 The smaller engine was dropped and a ladies’ moped was added, plus a complete sidecar outfit and various transmission choices.

1922-1926 That range continued to the end of 1926, when they produced their first four-stroke model fitted with a 300cc sv JAP engine.

1927 A 248cc ohv JAP model joined the range.

1928 By now there were also two 490cc models, both with JAP engines. One was a sv and the other a sports model with a choice of single or twin-port engine and called the Radco Ace.

1929 All the models were retained, but the 247cc changed its engine to a Villiers, plus an Albion three-speed gearbox.

1930 They added models using 147cc and 196cc Villiers engines. They kept their own 247cc Radco two-stroke and reduced the JAP models to the 245cc and the two of 490cc.

1932 By now the range had been cut to just the two-strokes.

1933 The models of the previous year continued, after which they dropped motorcycle production and manufactured components only.

1954 The name returned on a lightweight that revived the Ace name. It was fitted with a 99cc Villiers4F, two-speed engine unit and leading-link forks. This was a prototype but nothing more was heard of it.

1966 Late that year the name re-surfaced once again for the Radcomuter. This very basic machine was a mini-bike powered by a 75cc sv Villiers lawn-mower engine. Typical of its type, nothing further came of it.

Raleigh. Country of origin: Great Britain. Founded by Frank Bowden, Raleigh built motorcycles in from 1899 to 1906, and then from 1919 to 1933 in Nottingham, England. They supplied engines to Allegro, Dunelt, Coventry-Eagle, Mars, Nestoria, Cotton, Soyer and Victoria, among others.

Their post-war 698cc flat-twins of 1919 were true luxury bikes developed while Works manager William Comery held the reins, but these proved difficult to manufacture competitively and production ceased in 1923 or 1924, the model being replaced with 798cc 60 degree V-twin engined machines which in turn ceased being built, after a short production life, in 1927. Raleigh also produced models with sv engines of 174 to 498cc, and ohv engines of 348cc and 498cc.

During the 1920s and early 1930s their chief designer was D.R. O’Donavan (later associated with Carlton motorcycles) who was responsible for the successful Sturmey-Archer racing engines used in Raleigh and other marques.

Their 1921 flat twin had both chain drive and swinging arm rear suspension, and chain drive was adopted on most machines after 1924.

The 1926-27 Model 14 ran on 24″ wheels whilst the Mod 15 had 26″. All other parts are interchangeable.

They also ventured into commercial vehicle production with a three wheel light delivery van in 1931. The LDV had a 598cc engine and was developed from the Ivy Karryall which had used many Raleigh components. The 1934 Raleigh Safety Seven three-wheeler has a 742cc V-Twin engine by Sturmey-Archer. This machine was built between 1933 and 1936.It had three speed gearbox, four seats and sold for £110 5s. It was designed by T.L Williams, who later acquired the rights from Raleigh and started the Reliant Motor Company in Tamworth, Staffordshire. The crankcase and differential gear box were made from magnesium alloy.

Ray. Country of origin: Great Britain. Ray motorcycles were produced in 1920 by the Ray Motor Co of Brick Street, London, W1.

The main line of business for this firm was to add gearboxes to old hub-geared machines and current single-speed lightweights. For a short time they also built complete machines with 269cc and 331cc two-stroke engines, Burman or Roc two-speed gearboxes with chain-cum-belt transmission, Saxon spring forks and other proprietary fittings.

Their efforts were short lived and they soon reverted to their conversion work.

Reading Standard. Country of origin: America. The Reading Standard was a produced by the Reading Standard Manufacturing Company, founded in 1896. Production consisted of both bicycles and “motor bicycles,” the earliest of which were marketed under the R-S name.

Reading Standard is best known as the first American motorcycle company to offer a flathead engine.

Reading Standard was absorbed by The Cleveland Motorcycle Company and soon the brand name faded away.

Rex-Acme. Country of origin: Great Britain. Founded by brothers William and Harold Williamson as a car manufacturer in Coventry in 1899.

In 1904 they turned to motorcycles building 456cc singles and 726cc twins. They made the first telescopic forks in 1906, and introduced several other innovations including rotary-valve engines and in 1908 were the first to angle the top tube downward to lower the riding position. The company fired the founders in 1911 and under the new boss George Hemingway went on to make their own engines, as well as producing a series of JAP-powered machines for Premier.

They took over Coventry-Acme in 1919 to become Rex-Acme in 1922. The range included 15 models by 1926, from 172cc to 746cc capacity, but as the depression deepened sales decreased. Sidecar manufacturer Mills-Fulford purchased the company in 1932, but dropped motorcycle production the following year and shortly thereafter ceased manufacture of sidecars.

Rex-Acme used engines from Blackburne, JAP, MAG, Villiers, Sturmey-Archer, and Barr & Stroud.

Royal Enfield. Enfield Cycle Co. Great Britain 1900 to date

Originally an offshoot of Albert Eadie’s firm, Enfield was among the first producers in England of De Dion Bouton-engined Tricycles and since 1900, of Minerva (211 cc single cyl.) engine motorcycles. These machines first had the engine mounted above the front wheel. In later years JAP and Vickers built engines propelled the machines but soon own motors came into being and the 3 h.p., 350 cc V-twin with o.h.i.v. was not only one of the finest designs in the pre-1914 period, but also built under licence by Motosacoche in Switzerland. During the twenties and thirties models from 225 cc (two strokes) to 1140 cc s.v. V-twins were made and included numerous interesting designs such as fully enclosed models, four valve o.h.v. and unit design singles etc.

Rudge. Rudge Whitworth Ltd. Great Britain 1911 – 1940

When Rudge closed down and sold out – partly to Sturmey-Archer (Raleigh in Nottingham,) partly to Norman’s, then at Ashford, and a leading dealer in London – it was one of the greatest losses the British motorcycle industry ever experienced. With their excellent 499 and 750 cc singles and 998 cc V-twins with o.h.i.v. and, partly, their excellent multi-gears, they gained a great reputation before the First World War When in the mid-twenties, new versions with four o.h.v. heads, four-speed gearboxes, and coupled brakes appeared, the name Rudge-Whitworth became even better known. The new single cylinder models were of 350 and 500 cc; 250 cc versions were added later. Built in different forms with semi-radial cylinder heads and as sports and racing models, these Coventry-made machines proved, in numerous events, including the TT races (all three classes) and the International Six-day Trial, their great reliability and speed. During the second half of the thirties the 250 cc model received a two valve head. In 1938 the firm moved into a new factory at Hayes, and soon afterwards disappeared.

Sarolea. Country of origin: Belgium. Saroléa was the first Belgian producer of motorcycles, and one of the first producers of motorcycles in the world. This Belgian factory was established in 1850 as a weapons factory by Joseph Saroléa. In 1892 bicycles began to be built as well.

Joseph died in 1894 and under the management of his sons the company grew bigger and bigger. In the 1920s the firm got successfully involved with long distance runs, reliability trials and hill climbs. From 1927 on the company made its own gearboxes and early in 1929 the factory was extended to some 6000 square metres. Nearly all components of the bikes were made in-house now and the production capacity grew to 50 machines per day. Later in 1929 a brand new state-of-the-art production facility was commissioned which brought the production capacity to 75 machines per day.

In the early years of the century Saroléas were sold in Britain under the Kerry brand. Both singles and V-twins were made and the firm supplied engines to a number of firms in several countries. In turn, Saroléa used a number of British components such as Sturmey-Archer gearboxes and AMAC carburettors.

Saroléa was ready for the new decade, but the new decade also brought an economic crisis. This forced the company to expand the range of machines with cheaper models. The first of the light two strokes was brought out in 1932. It had a 147 cc unit construction engine of Saroléa’s own design. The front forks are of pressed steel construction and the ignition is taken care of by battery and coil. Bosch electrics are employed.

During World War II the factory was shut down by the Nazis, and very few bikes were produced during the Nazi occupation of Belgium.

In 1952, Belgian rider, Victor Leloup, rode a Saroléa to victory in the inaugural F.I.M. European Motocross Championship. In 1955 Saroléa started a joint venture together with FN (motorcycle) and Gillet Herstal. This lasted until 1960, when Saroléa was merged into Gillet. Saroléa ceased to exist in 1963.

Scott. Scott Engineering Co. Great Britain 1909 to date

Alfred Angus Scott, the genial designer of two stroke engines and the air- and, later, water-cooled twin cylinder Scott motorcycles, started his experiments before 1900, but it was not until 1909 that commercial production, at the Jowett factory in Bradford, started. After a short period the firm moved to Shipley and gained world-wide fame. The 333, 534 and later, the 500 and 600 cc Scotts were among the finest machines in the early years until production ceased at Shipley in 1950. Even today – still in limited manufacture by Martin Holder’s Aero Jig & Tool factory in Birmingham – they are a great name. Scott used, as far back as 1911, rotary inlet valves on racing versions, and both the 1912 and 1913 Senior TT races in the Isle of Man were won on Scott machines. Alfred A. Scott, who died in 1923, left the firm in 1919. Chief designer W. Cull, who was later responsible for many designs, built a 300 cc air-cooled single, interesting 1000 cc water-cooled three-cylinder versions, vertical 500 and 650 cc water-cooled, twins, prototypes of supercharged 1000 cc V-fours, but the real ‘Scotts’ were always the 500 and 600 cc twins, the ‘Squirrels’, Super Squirrels and Flying Squirrels.

Singer. Country of origin: Great Britain. Established by George Singer in 1875, Coventry-based Singer was a pioneer in the bicycle industry and in 1901 began manufacture of motorised three-wheelers, soon followed by Perks & Birch Motor-Wheels or Power-Wheels which were fitted to bicycles. In 1904 they began to build a range of motorcycles which eventually included 346cc two-stroke and, from 1911, sidevalve models from 299cc to 535cc. Singer built many of their own components. Production of three-wheelers was shelved in favour of 4-wheel cars in 1907, and they ceased building motorcycles at the onset of hostilities in 1914.

Singer also manufactured automobiles; beginning in 1905 with a design licenced by Lea-Francis and finally ceased manufacture in 1970.

1900 Started by offering a 222cc four-stroke single (the engine design was bought from Perks and Birch, formed by former employee Edwin Perks, and Harold Birch). Used in the Motor Wheel.

1900 Description and illustration of their 2hp model in ‘The Engineer’. The patent of Perks and Birch.

1901 The firm began using the Perks and Birch motor wheel. It replaced the front wheel of their tricycle, or the rear wheel of a bicycle, that they were already producing. It was, reportedly, incredibly uncomfortable, as the wheel banged into every pothole and bounced over every bump.

1903 Their versatile design was used as a rear wheel on a Phoenix Trimo forecar. Later that year an open-framed ladies’ model appeared. To improve access, it had spokes on only one side. With a freewheel in the drive, it had no engine braking and could coast down hills with a dead engine.

1904 New models were added to the Singer range. These had an upright engine mounted in a cradle hung from the downtube. The list was quite extensive with tricycles built for solo or tandem use, as well as forecars, and also a V-twin, two-speed tricar.

1905 All-chain drive and fan cooling was adopted, as was magneto ignition. After 1905 the company turned their attention to cars for a few years.

1910 The Singer Moto-Velo appeared. This was a lightweight model with a Dufaux engine mounted within the main frame.

1912 By this year, Singe had a wide range of machines on their lists. They built a 499cc racing engine, with a four-valve head and water cooling. It was meant to be raced at Brooklands by the Singer rider G. E. Stanley, but he preferred his successful and reliable sv model. Over the next couple of years the range continued, with steady developments.

1914 Late that year, a two-stroke, two-speed, chain-cum-belt driven model, built under Peco patents, was added. It also had Druid forks and foot-boards.

1915 That range continued for a short time but World War I brought production to a close, and after the war was over the company’s attention returned to cars.

Stevens. Country of origin: Great Britain. See A.J.S.

Sun. Country of origin: Great Britain. Built in England from 1911 to 1961, the bicycle company was started by the Parkes family and later merged with the Raleigh group.

1911 production of complete motorcycles began using Precision engines.

1913 introduction of the first Villiers powered 2 stroke model.

4 stroke JAP and Blackburne engines were also used by Sun well into the 1930s.

Sun developed the VTS engine following the acquisition of the Valveless Two-stroke Company. They were single cylinder 2 stroke engines of 269cc and were introduced in 1916.

After World War One the engines were once again produced with a changed layout. The model name was changed from Sun VTS to Sun Vitesse.

The engine was originally positioned vertically but was now inclined forwards. The flat fuel tank remained for a while.

A more refined version of the Rotary Valve engine Vitesse soon appeared. Two were entered in the 1921 Isle of Man TT (Tourist Trophy) finishing 9th and 10th in the 350cc Junior Event.

The name Sun was acquired by Raleigh industries, which used the Sun name for their “Sun Wasp” scooter during 1960 and 1961.

The Sun Cycle and Fittings Company always produced machines with their own distinctive styling.

Sunbeam. John Marston Ltd. Great Britain 1912 – 1957

Sunbeam motorcycles had a great reputation for superb design, excellent workmanship and finish and also for high speeds so far as racing models like the 80 and 90 were concerned. During the first years they had own 350 cc s.v. singles and JAP engine 796 cc V-twins which were soon followed by 499, 599 cc and even, during the twenties, by a 1000 cc JAP engined V-twin which, in 1923, was dropped. Since then the firm has concentrated on 350, 500 and 600cc singles including some very powerful s.v. and later, o.h.v. sports and racing machines, all with own engines. A 250 cc o.h.v. model was added in the thirties when the Company was owned by the I.C.I., and eventually by the Associated Motor Cycles Ltd. which sold all Sunbeam interests early in the war, to the B.S.A. group. After the war the shaft-driven, Baling Poppe-designed, 500 cc vertical twins appeared on the market, but during the late fifties the once so famous name Sunbeam disappeared from the range of motorcycle producers.

Triumph. Triumph Cycle Co. Ltd. Great Britain 1903 to date

Very few other makes in the world have gained such a great reputation and international popularity as the British Triumphs, which have been on the market for over sixty years. During the early years, when the company was headed by Maurice Schulte and Siegfried Bettmann, Belgian Minerva (2 h.p.), British JAP and German Fafnir engines drove these motorcycles but, soon, own single cylinder power units came into being and proved very successful. The TT race of 1908 was won on one of these single cylinder machines, and thousands of these 550cc singles were used by the army during the First World War. During the twenties and early thirties the range consisted mainly of 350 and 500cc s.v. and o.h.v. singles. Prototypes of vertical (400 cc) twins were made far back in 1913. Much improved and up-to-date 650cc versions of them were introduced by Val Page twenty years later, but the greatest success, technically and commercially, came in 1937, when the Edward Turner designed 500cc ‘Speed Twin’ made its first appearance and created an accepted standard for modern vertical twin cylinder motorcycles. It was followed by 350 and after the war, by 650 cc versions including the Trophy, Tiger, Thunderbird, Bonneville and other twin cylinder models.

Trump. Country of origin: Great Britain. Trump motorcycles were produced between 1907 and 1923. First based in Liphook, Hampshire, they then moved to Lombard Street, Birmingham and also had the Foxdale Works, Byfleet, Surrey. The director and driving force was Frank A. McNab.

1907 The first Trump motorcycle was produced. They mainly used JAP engines and were sometimes listed as Trump-JAP.

1909 The machines were successful at Brooklands from that year onwards, and at first the company used a 3.5hp single. In May a new record was set for the 500cc one-hour race, when 48 miles/77km was achieved.

1910 The 3.5hp model was offered in two forms, also with a 6hp V-twin. They were fitted with Druid forks and belt drive.

1912 The firm moved to Birmingham, but also had works in Surrey. The range continued more or less unchanged and much in the style of the period.

1913 The range was extended to add 3.25hp and 8hp V-twins.

1914 There was just a 4hp single and 6hp V-twin. During the year, they added the Trump-Peco, fitted with the 349cc two-stroke engine of that name, an Albion two-speed gearbox and belt final-drive. Single and three-speed versions were also available.

1915 A 208cc version was added to the list, which included several sizes of V-twin.

1921 They returned post-war as Trump Motors of Byfleet, Surrey. The first model offered was a 976cc JAP V-twin sports model and that was soon joined by a 548cc sv JAP single with Sturmey-Archer gearbox and close ratios as an option.

1922 The range comprised 292cc, 346cc and 490sv singles, plus 747cc and 976cc sv V-twins, all of JAP manufacture.

1923 The range was slimmed down to the 346cc sv single, in standard or sports trim, and the two sizes of V-twin, plus another with a 994cc ohv Anzani engine. McNab retired early in the year, due to ill-health, and it was the final year for the marque.

Velocette. Veloce Ltd. Country of origin: Great Britain.

Theoretically speaking the Velocette – in its early years known as the V.M.C. and Veloce – is the successor of the once well-known Ormonde machine. Two and four stroke models were built before the First World War and during the twenties, numerous superb 250cc two strokes and 350cc o.h.v. After 1925 o.h.c. singles also appeared on the market.

During the thirties the range included mainly 250, 350 and 500cc singles, among which the 350cc o.h.c. racing model (KTT) gained worldwide fame in races. The KTT was built until the early fifties but later production concentrated on the transverse mounted flat twin (200cc) models LE and Valiant and other sporting versions of the high camshaft 350cc Viper and 500cc Venom single cylinder models.

Villiers: Country of origin: Great Britain. Villiers was started by John Marston & Son of Sunbeam in 1898, in Villiers Street, Wolverhampton, as a component manufacturer for Sunbeam motorcycles. Their first engine was built in 1911, and the first two-strokes, of 269cc, were produced in 1913.

There was also an Australian factory in Ballarat, Victoria where they built stationary engines and powerplants for motorcycles and lawn mowers.

Motorcycle manufacturers the world over utilised Villiers engines. A partial list is included below:

Aberdale, Acme, AJS, Allegro, Ambassador, Bown, Calthorpe, Chater-Lea, Cotton, Cyrus, DKR, DMW, Dot, Excelsior, Eysink, Fagan, Francis-Barnett, Gazelle, Givaudan, Gloria, Goricke, Greeves, Grindlay-Peerless, Hecker, Invicta, James, La Mondiale, Lady, Meray, Monark, New Hudson, Norman, Novy, Nut, Omega, Panther, Ravat, Raynal, Rex-Acme, Salira, Sanglas, Simplex, Socovel, Sparkbrook, Sun, Tandon, Velocette, Wassell, Wolf, Zenith.

One of their more interesting engines was a horizontally opposed twostroke twin which was used in a DMW and in the Velocette Viceroy scooter.

Villiers also supplied engines to a host of agricultural machinery manufacturers including Atco Mowers, Clifford Cultivators and Howard Rotavators.

Villiers Engineering Ltd was a manufacturer of motorcycles and cycle parts, and an engineering company based in Villiers Street, Wolverhampton.

1890s John Marston’s Sunbeam had become extremely successful, by relying on high quality of production and finish. But Marston was dissatisfied with the pedals on his machines, which he bought in.

In 1890, he dispatched his son Charles to the USA on a selling trip but included in his instructions that Charles must discuss pedal engineering with Pratt and Whitney in Hartford, Connecticut and come back with a high class pedal and the machinery for making it. Charles said that the Villiers Engineering Co. was “the ultimate fruit” of his trip to the USA, being impressed by the production system and the labour saving devices. He pointed out that “it was not possible to develop these at Sunbeam land, which had long been working on another plan, but it was possible to start them in a new factory”.

1898 As a result of the tour John Marston bought a small Japanning works based in Villiers Street, Wolverhampton that had belonged to Edward Bullivant, a producer of japanned ware on quite a large scale. Under the direction of Charles, the company made cycle parts for the Sunbeam product. As the factory was producing more parts than Sunbeam required, it sold components to other manufacturers.

1902 was a momentous year for Villiers. Firstly, John Marston sold the company to his son Charles for £6,000 on a loan against future profits. Secondly, it developed and patented the cycle free-wheel, which every cycle manufacturer required. The production of free wheels reached its peak just after World War II, as the company produced 80,000 per week or 4 million per year.

1902 Frank Farrer, who was then the manager of the Palmer Tyre Company’s Coventry depot was appointed as sole agent for the sale of the surplus pedals. Farrer had many connections with the cycle trade, was a good engineer and a great salesman and was to become the driving force in Villiers. So quickly successful was this move that Frank Farrer joined Villiers full time in 1902 and the factory was employing 36 men.

1911 Engine production commenced, but sales were slow until 1913 when the first two-stoke was produced.

After the war, Villiers engines were supplied to: Atco Mowers, Clifford Cultivators, Howard Rotavator, Sun motorcycles, James motorcycles, Greeves motorcycles, Francis-Barnett motorcycles, Norman motorcycles, Ambassador motorcycles, DKR motorcycles, DMW motorcycles, Dot motorcycles and Panther (P and M) motorcycles, among many others.

1919 Charles Marston left the active day to day management of the company. He remained as Chairman but appointed Frank Farrer, as Managing Director,

1928 Public company.

1937 Listed Exhibitor – British Industries Fair. “Villiers” Stationary Engines from ½ hp to 4hp, for industrial purposes. A full range of Steel Stamping and Non-Ferrous Castings. “Villiers” Cycle Products, including Freewheels, Speed Gears, and “Villiers” Motor Cycle Engines. (Stand Nos. D.825 and D.724)

1937 Manufacturers of two-stroke engines and accessories. “Villiers” Two-stroke Engines and Accessories.

1956 Villiers produced its two millionth engine and presented it to the Science Museum in London.

1957 Villiers absorbed J. A. Prestwich Industries Ltd, makers of the JAP engines.

1961 Manufacturers of internal combustion engines, including the “Villiers” two-stroke and four-stroke light internal combustion engine. Also manufacture cycle components, freewheels, magnetos, and carburettors.

1962 The company were claiming that: “jointly, the two companies produce a vast range of two-stroke and four-stroke petrol engines and four-stroke diesel engines from 1/3rd to 16 b.h.p. These are the engines which power many of Britain’s two-stroke motorcycles, scooters and three-wheelers and the great majority of the motor mowers, cultivators, concrete mixers, generating sets, elevators, pumping sets. etc.”

1965 The company was taken over by Manganese Bronze.

1966 Together with AMC, the company became part of Norton Villiers. At this point, Villiers stopped supplying engines to outside companies. Production of the Villiers engine closed in the UK, but continued in Madras, India.

In 1999 Villiers Plc acquired the healthcare company Ultramind and renamed the company Ultrasis.

Wanderer. Country of origin: Germany. A manufacturer of bicycles since 1892, the Chemnitz factory began manufacturing motorcycles in 1902. Between 1902 and 1929 they built their own single cylinder and V-twin engines.

Wanderer machines were of advanced design boasting unit construction engines and front and rear suspension as early as 1915, at which time they were supplied to the German army – Wanderer supplied almost half of all machines used by the German forces during the Great War, and by 1918 had built over 10,000 motorcycles and had begun to build automobiles.

By 1924, chain drive unit construction V-twins were available.

Baron Klaus-Detlof von Oertzen arranged the sale of the motorcycle business to NSU in 1929, and the company then concentrated on automobile production.

The company also produced typewriters, calculators, bicycles and cars, and during the 1920s had as many as 6000 employees.

Williamson. Country of origin: Great Britain. The Williamson Flat Twin motorcycle was made in Coventry, UK by Willaim (‘Billy’) Williamson, who had been managing director of the Coventry-based Rex company.

He teamed up with William Douglas (of Douglas Motorcycles to develop new prototype motorcycles under the name Williamson-Douglas and employed Billy’s brother Harold as a test rider.

Douglas had been developing a 964 cc water-cooled flat twin engine that could be used either for light cars or motorcycles. Billy Williamson fitted this engine into a frame with Douglas-Druid girder forks and a Douglas two-speed gearbox and a foot-operated clutch which was launched in 1912 at a cost of £82.

In 1913 an air-cooled version was added to the range and in 1914 a kick starter was added

Production was halted by World War I and in 1919 the only engines available were JAP 980 cc air-cooled side valves, so Williamson redesigned the frame to fit.

Unfortunately Billy Williamson suffered a fatal heart attack in 1920 after only twenty motorcycles had been produced.

Wooler. Country of origin: Great Britain. Wooler motorcycles were produced from 1911 to 1926 and from 1945 to 1956 in Harrow; Alperton, Middlesex and Twickenham.

1911 The company was founded by John Wooler (who designed his first bike in 1909, a two-stroke horizontal single with a double-ended piston).

At the late Olympia show a machine was exhibited on the NYE stand. Although it was incomplete, it had features that would remain with the make for many years to come. The engine was a 2.75hp two-stroke with horizontal cylinder, but differed from the rest in that it had a double-ended piston coupled to external connecting rods by an extended gudgeon pin.

An external pipe transferred the compressed mixture from rear to front chamber, where it was fired by a magneto on the crankcase.

Drive was by belt via a variable pulley to the rear wheel. It had front and rear plunger springs and a patented ‘anti-vibratory’ frame. This was unusual in an age of girder and rigid forks. The fuel tank was shaped to a bullet head, tapering back to a point with the forward part around the headstock.

1912 The bike was made by Wilkinson, marketed as the Wilkinson-Wooler TMC and raised to 344cc.

1913 By late in the year the name was back to Wooler, with works in Harrow. The engine had pump lubrication, but the machine remained as before.

Production halted during World War I.

1919 Production resumed and the two-stroke was listed briefly, along with a new, advanced bike that had a 345cc flat-twin four-stroke engine with ioc valves and conventional build. It went into the same type of frame, having plunger suspension front and rear, while the petrol tank continued in the same form. It was entered in the TT, painted yellow and nicknamed the Flying Banana, but without success.

The Wooler Mule cyclecar was announced in February 1919. It was powered by a 1022cc air-cooled twin with the cylinders protruding from the sides of the bonnet, and a circular dummy radiator. The engine used rotary valves. It had a double rear wheel giving the impression of a three-wheeler. No prices were published, but contemporary press reports suggested a price of around £130 which had increased to £185 by December. Only a few prototypes were ever built.

1920 The twin carried into the year and retained the variable pulley drive. The company was reformed as The Wooler Motor Cycle Company (1919) Ltd. and the Mule ceased production.

1921 Late in the year the transmission was changed to three-speed all-chain drive.

There then came a break in production as the company was re-financed and bought by William Dederich, a successful railway contractor.

The company, as the Dederich-Wooler Engineering Company, with John Wooler as Chief Designer and Engineer, then produced machines with both belt- and chain-drive.

1924 The ioe 345cc model was joined by one with full ohv.

1925 That system was also used by a new 499cc flat-twin. Business problems continued and production moved from Alperton to Twickenham, where Grigg Engineering undertook manufacture for a time.

1926 The twins were discontinued and a conventional looking 511cc vertical single with a type of overhead camshaft, three-speed Sturmey-Archer gearbox, rigid frame and girder forks was tried.

More re-designs followed with more innovations until 1930, when the Depression closed the company and the Wooler name dropped out of sight for some time.

1945 Wooler returned in 1945 with a prototype 500cc transverse-four beam engine with the cylinders one on top of the other on each side. The pistons connected to the beam and this to the crankshaft set below the cylinder level. It had direct drive to a four-speed gearbox and shaft final drive. There was also talk of a variable gear and the whole unit went into a duplex frame, having twin plunger boxes on each side for front and rear suspension. The petrol tank again ran round the headstock and had a headlamp fitted in its nose.

It was displayed at the Earls Court show in 1948 and again in 1951 and 1954. However, only half a dozen hand-built machines were ever made and the machine never materialized in production.

The marque disappeared after founder John Wooler died, in 1956.

Zenith. Country of origin: Great Britain. Made in Finsbury Park, London from 1904 to 1950, Zenith motorcycles had engines by Blackburne, Fafnir, Green, Green-Precision, Villiers, JAP and Bradshaw, usually with drive by Gradua belt and pulley system which was retained into the 1920s. Notable models include an oil-cooled horizontally opposed Bradshaw-engined twin of 1922, and JAP V-Twin engined racing bikes which achieved considerable success.

1904 The firm began in Stroud Green, Finsbury Park, North London, before moving to various locations in and around the London area.

1905 A strange machine appeared, called the Bicar, that was said to be ‘a revolution in motorcycles’. It was first seen early in the year, at the Crystal Palace show, named the Tooley Bi-Car after its inventor and exhibited by Bitton and Harley of Great Yarmouth. By July, it had been improved and renamed the Zenith. It had a novel frame, with the main tube running from the rear wheel spindle along the machine, round the front wheel and back again. Under this, on each side, ran a second tube to carry the weight of the rider and the engine, which was hung from joints to eliminate vibration. It had hub centre steering, so there were no front forks as such – the handlebars were connected to the wheel axle by stays. The engine was a 3hp Fafnir with a free-engine clutch and belt drive to the rear wheel, which had a drum brake. They also offered the Tricar with a 5hp engine and two speeds, both of which were soon options for the Bicar.

1907 Motorcycle production began with the sprung-frame Zenette and its 3.5hp Fafnir engine. The firm was run by Freddie W. Barnes who patented his own Gradua Gear system, which combined a variable engine pulley with movement of the rear wheel to maintain the correct belt tension. It used a system of rods connected to a single handle, so the gear could be altered while on the move. This was very useful in hill climbs as the Zenith rider could change gear on the upward journey, while the other competitors had to make do with a single choice of gear ratio. Because of this, some clubs banned the Zenith from their events, but Zenith was quick to recognize the publicity value and took the word ‘barred’ as their trademark.

1908 Late in the year the Zenette was joined by a rigid model of lower weight that had sprung forks and improved hill-climbing ability. At the end of the year, the firm moved to Church Street, Weybridge, Surrey, close to Brooklands.

1909 At Brooklands, Barnes set the first record Test Hill early in the year. All machines were now sold as Zeniths and the firm became much more successful.

1910 The Gradua Gear mechanism was improved and tidied up, as was the whole machine, which looked typical of the era and had Druid forks. The Zenette continued to be offered for that year.

1911 The range was the Zenith Gradua, with 3.5hp single or 6hp V-twin JAP engines. The ‘barred’ advertisement was used as a promotion for the ease with which the Gradua Gear coped with hills.

1912 During the year there were many detail improvements.

1913 The range added three racing models with JAP ohv engines, 2.75hp and 3.5hp singles and an 8hp V-twin, plus a road model with a 4hp water-cooled Green engine.

1914 The models were much revised, with a chain-driven countershaft, complete with clutch and kick-starter, mounted in front of the crankcase. The countershaft carried a large pulley to drive the rear wheel by a long belt, while retaining the Gradua Gear and rear wheel movement. The engines still came from JAP, but all were twins of 3.5hp, 6hp or 8hp. During the year, the firm moved to Hampton Court, Middlesex and continued with their twins until World War I stopped production.

1919 Production started again with the 6hp and 8hp models, still with the counter-shaft and Gradua Gear, but, by November, these were joined by a 346cc flat-twin, still with the same transmission.

1921 A model fitted with a 494cc oil-cooled Bradshaw flat-twin engine was introduced and was soon listed with the choice of the Gradua gear or a three-speed Sturmey-Archer gearbox and all-chain drive.

1922 Most models had the above option.

1923 Several singles were introduced, all of conventional form. There was also a special built for an enthusiast, fitted with a Barr and Stroud V-twin sleeve-valve engine.

1924 The Gradua Gear had run its course, so the company offered all chain drive on a range of singles and V-twins that increased annually. All were typical of the decade. One used an ohv single-cylinder Bradshaw engine.

1926 By now there were machines with 348cc Blackburne, 490cc JAP singles and 680cc and 980cc V-twin JAP engines.

1927 A 175cc sv lightweight was added for that year only.

1928 The lightweight was replaced by one using a 172cc Villiers two-stroke engine. The firm still had a sporting interest, and that year O. M. Baldwin set the motorcycle world speed record at over 124mph.

1930 Joe Wright used a Zenith to take the record to over 150mph/240kmh. Unfortunately, these sporting successes did not sell many machines, and the firm was taken over by Writer’s, a large south London dealer.

1931 A reduced range was listed, all with JAP engines.

1933 Twenty models were offered.

1934 The range had reduced to fourteen models.

1939 The range had dwindled to just six models, which were all somewhat old-fashioned.

Post-war. They returned in 1947, but only one model was ever listed, and this used the 747cc sv JAP V-twin, in the pre-war format, with Druid girder forks. In time these were changed to Dowty Oleomatic.

1950 Production ceased.

ZUDAPP. Zuendapp, Gesellschaft fuer den Eau, von Specialmaschinen MBH. 1921 to date

During the first ten years, Zuendapp produced, exclusively, two stroke machines of 211 and 250 cc. Later, 200 and 300 cc versions, as well as 350 and 500 cc machines with British ‘Python’ (Rudge) four valve o.h.v. came into being. From 1933 the range included new two and four stroke models with pressed steel frames – designed by Richard Kuechen and Albert Roder – of 200, 250, 350, 400, 500, 600 and 800 cc capacity with partly unit-design motors and shaft drive.

The 500 and 600 cc machines were transverse mounted o.h.v. and s.v. flat twins, the big 800 cc machine a transverse mounted flat four. During the war a heavy 750 cc flat twin was made for the army.

After 1945, the production concentrated mainly round two stroke machines of 200 and 250 cc. The big 500 cc and, later the 600 cc o.h.v. transverse mounted shaft driven flat twins, were dropped in the late fifties. It was in that period that the factory moved to Munich where they also produced the 147 and 198 cc ‘Bella’ scooters and continue in the manufacture of 50, 75, 100, 174 and 250 cc two stroke mopeds and motorcycles. The firm gained many successes in trials and in their teams were famous riders.