HRD Motors Ltd was a British motorcycle manufacturer
in the 1920s. It was founded by Howard Raymond
Davies. He had worked in motorcycling, and had
raced with some success in the mid-twenties,
but often not finishing due to unreliability.
This inspired him to build a reliable performance
motorcycle, using the advertising slogan "Built
by a rider".
Others also aimed at a similar market, like
George Brough of Brough Superior motorcycles.
After World War I many motorcycle makers assembled
their machines from engines and other major
components sourced from different manufacturers.
Davies' goal was to build a superior motorcycle
from the best components available.
Motorcycles were produced from 1924 to 1928,
but the undercapitalised company, although having
a reputation for performance, struggled to survive,
and was ultimately sold to OK-Supreme, who then
sold the name and goodwill to Philip C Vincent.
The name was then incorporated into a new company,
HRD Production History
In 1924, with E J Massey, the first HRD motorcycles
were built. Motors were sourced from JA Prestwich
Industries Ltd (JAP), close ratio gearboxes
from Burman, forks from Druid or Webb, chains
from Renolds, oil pumps from Pilgrim, and carburettors
from Binks. The bikes targeted the more affluent
among the mechanically-minded, with sporting
performance and quality components.
HD90 - 500 cc JAP racing engine - 90 mph (140
km/h) - 90 guineas
HD80 - 350 cc JAP OHV double port - 80 mph (130
km/h) - 80 guineas
HD70 - 350 cc JAP OHV - 70 mph (110 km/h) -
HD70 S - 500 cc JAP sports sidevalve - 70 mph
(110 km/h) - Solo: 66 guineas, Sidecar: 83 guineas
In 1925 Davies rode his own motorcycles at
the Isle of Man TT, coming second in the Junior
and winning the Senior. This brought in orders,
but while appearing successful the firm was
losing money. The first premises were too small,
so they had to enlarge, but were undercapitalised.
There was always a waiting list, but only small
numbers were produced. In September H Le Vack
set a speed record of 104.41 mph (168.03 km/h)
on an HRD at Brooklands.
HD Super90 - 500 cc JAP twin port engine -
100 mph (160 km/h) - 98 guineas
In 1926 the opposition at the TT were faster,
and the best placing for HRD was fifth. The
model range was broadened, but production didn't
meet demand. A general strike inflicted more
HD75 - 500 cc Jap OHV engine - 75 mph (121
km/h) - 75 guineas
HD 600 De Luxe - 600 cc JAP sidevalve - 72 guineas
HD65 - 350 cc JAP OHV - 65 mph (105 km/h) -
HD60 - 350 cc JAP sidevalve - 60 mph (97 km/h)
- 60 guineas
The HD Super 90 gained the option of a 600 cc
JAP OHV motor, raising the price by 5 guineas.
In 1927 Freddie Dixon took first place in the
Junior TT, and sixth in the Senior for HRD.
Despite this victory, the financial situation
Sold to Vincent
In January 1928, the company entered voluntary
liquidation. It was bought by Ernest Humphries,
of OK Supreme Motors, who sold the name, tooling
and patterns to Philip C Vincent for £500,
resulting in Vincent-HRD