Following World War One Mr G McKenzie
marketed an "ultralight motor cycle" as the
type was then known. From an engineering point
of view, there does not appear to have been
anything new about the McKenzie design, the
pre-first world war Lady's Humber in the Coventry
Museum of Transport being virtually identical.
McKenzie planned to sell his bikes through franchised
cycle shops, and bring cheap motorised transport
to the masses. To quote Andy Barber "He saw
himself as the Henry Ford of the motor cycle."
The bike itself was made by the
Hobart Cycle Co Ltd of Coventry. The early model
had an open, lady's frame with solid rear end
and spring front forks.
The engine is also of Hobart make.
Bore and stroke, unusually for that time, are
both 60mm, giving a capacity of 169cc. With
the whole machine weighing only 75lbs you might
expect a lively performance but a road test
of 1923 mentions "the maximum being about 28mph.
At the legal limit, the McKenzie is very comfortable
and can be ridden 'hands off'."
The deflector type piston is cast
iron with three rings in two grooves: two in
one groove at the top. It has plain bronze bushes
for small end, big end and mains. The crankshaft
is most unusual, being in two parts. The left
hand part drives a large flywheel with integral
belt pulley, which, by means of a leather belt,
drives the back wheel. The right hand bob weight
has an oblong slot that engages with flats on
the end of the crank-pin, thus drive is taken
to a 3 gear train that operates the 'Baby Fellows'
magneto that is mounted behind the engine.
||1923 Hobart McKenzie 169cc 2-stroke
It was not manufactured for
long - by the mid-twenties you could
buy a car for £100 and there
was extreme competition among manufacturers
of lightweight motorcycles. So these
days the model is quite rare.
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