This firm is almost forgotten
as a maker of motorcycles (1903-1933) but
is remembered for their 'King Dick' adjustable
spanners whicj they also manufactured at the
Tyseley works. Abingdons were reliable, sturdy
motorcycles and many were exported to the
AEE was a brand of British motorcycle
from 1919 to 1925.
was first a Scott dealer and then the man
behind some very special, de luxe examples
of that marquee built from 1931 to 1934. When
Scott's triple failed to materialize and that
firm was unwilling to take up his ideas on
a series on engines based on a 125cc module
he moved on to his own notions of what was
to be done.
The result showed how far ahead he was thinking
and the prototype was first seen in the Island
during the 1937 TT period. It was still a
twin-cylinder two-stroke but of 340cc and
air-cooled. The engine was all-alloy with
pressed-in cylinder liners and he head and
block were each in one piece. The crankcase
compromised four castings all well ribbed
for strength and cooling, and with air passages
to cool the area between the cylinders. The
case had two end sections whose joint lay
on the cylinder centre and the central part
was split horizontally with a split centre
The production model did not appear until
1938 and by then the Amal was on a curved
induction pipe, ignition was by flywheel magneto
and a dynamo had appeared in front of the
crankcase, where it was chain driven and in
turn drove the oil pump.
For 1939 the 350 twin continued and was joined
by a second model with a 249cc Villiers engine.
This went into the same cycle parts and again
the dynamo was mounted in front of the crankcase.
The war brought production of the machines
to a halt and long after it the last half-dozen
were still sitting on the top floor of the
shop, dusty but mainly complete, although
not all had an engine.
In 1947 Aero-Caproni
turned to motorcycle production, beginning
with a 48cc ciclomotore two-stroke. By 1951
they were producing sophisticated and elegant
little four speed 75cc fourstrokes with
pressed steel chassis, later enlarged to
100cc and 125cc. Their more interesting
machines included a horizontally opposed
149cc twin of 1955, and competition machines
with 75cc engines using the Küchen
desmodromic system of the 1920s.
A,H, Haden motorcycles was a
British motorcycle marque from Birmingham,
England. The Haden marque was best known from
Haden was originally a bicycle-making
business in Hockley, Birmingham, a business
first listed in Kelly's Directory in 1882,
shortly before the safety bicycle was introduced
in 1885. The business passed from G.J. Haden
to his son A.H. Haden, who continued making
bicycles from 1902-1912. The business had
introduced motorcycles alongside its bicycle
range from around 1906, and went into more
extensive motorcycle production shortly before
World War I following A.H. Haden's 1913 purchase
of the Regal motorcycle company. Production
for the consumer market began again in 1919,
after the war had ended.
The main Haden motorcycle was
marketed under the Haden name as "The
New Comet", in various models ("De
Luxe", "Sporting" and "Two-Stroke
Combination" with sidecar). It was a
long-standing independent brand, using a 293cc
Climax two-stroke engine with internal fly-wheels,
and the Haden A1 frame which had apparently
"revolutionised the motor-cycle business
in this country" (Review of Commerce).
It also used parts from Villiers, PeCo, JAP,
and Precision. It was entered as a standard
machine in the Isle of Man TT races in 1920
(9th or 10th place, sources differ) and 1921,
and secured a world record at Brooklands in
1921. The New Comet was discontinued in 1924,
but from 1931 small numbers of 198cc models
were produced with Villiers parts. The machine
was probably named "The New Comet"
to distinguish it from the earlier "Comet"
motorcycle produced by the Comet Motor Works,
at New Cross, London (1902-1907). It is possible
A.H. Haden had bought out the owners of the
earlier London-based Comet.
One fully-restored New Comet
is known to exist, as of 2005.
Alfred's sons took over the
business after 1937. It then became "Haden
Bros.", and made tank parts during World
War II. Haden Bros. continued to be well-known
for making cycle and motorcycle parts, and
these were sold worldwide from 1954 until
2002 when the company Folded. One of the brothers
also founded the famous Haden kettle manufacturing
As the Abingdon this make
dated back to Edwardian times but they were
better known in engineering circles for
their range of tools and King Dick spanners
They used their own range of ohv engines
and for 1930 listed eight models. All had
engines set vertically in a straightforward
frame with girder forks and a saddle tank.
The magneto went to the rear and the lines
were rather vintage and quite conventional.
The whole range as it as for 1932, but
during that year the firm stopped building
motorcycles and concentrated on hand tools.
Associated Motor Cycles (AMC) was a British
motorcycle manufacturer founded, by the
Collier brothers, as a parent company for
the Matchless and AJS motorcycle companies.
It later absorbed Francis-Barnett, James,
and Norton before incorporation into Norton-Villiers.
From his native Italy, Anzani moved to France
where he became involved in cycle racing.
He moved on to motor cycles and designed and
built a record breaking lightweight engine.
In 1907 he set up a small workshop in Paris
with three staff and while they were building
his engines he designed a hydrofoil powered
by one of his engines and propellers.
Armor cyclemotors were part
of the Alcyon company.
Locally made at Coventry, Arnos
produced a comparatively small number of motorcycles
between 1906 and 1914 with 249cc, 348cc or
Although it had a host of modern
features (enclosed chains, hydraulic brakes
and interchangable wheels) the 498cc motorcycles
never gained popularity and the Letchworth
factory only produced them between 1928 and
made its reputation building motocross bikes
with both two-stroke and four-stroke engines,
most of which were sold in the States. Following
a change of ownership, the firm introduced
a pair of purposeful street legal Dirt Sports
machines in 1994.
Austral was a French manufacturer in Paris
in the beginning of the last century. It has
a Zurcher engine (the same as the Alcyon).
It's an extremely rare machine,
perhaps even the last one in the
Image provided by www.BuyVintage.co.uk.
An Azenave moped featuring
a rigid back end and a telescopic
front fork. The engine is a VAP
ABG 48cc single cylinder two stroke
and the specification includes
drum brakes, a full lighting kit
rear carrier, Luxuor headlight
and Huret speedometer.
Image provided by www.classic-auctions.com.
F.E. Baker was
involved with American machines in Edwardian
times, the Precision make of engine and machine
either side on World War 1 and the Beardmore-Precision
in the early twenties. This last was too innovative
to succeed and he then turned to Villiers-powered
models to retrieve the situation.
In March 1930 a four-stroke was added with
a 249cc James side-valve engine and this was
a sign of an impending merger. Late in the
year Frank Bake sold out to the James company
and they went on to use his frame for some
of their models.
concern was founded by the renowned Gino
Bartali as a manufacturer of high end racing
bicycles. Bartali, born on the 18th July
1914, became one of the worlds best known
and successful racing cyclist's, notably
winning the Tour de France in 1938 and 1948
and the Giro d' Italia in 1936, 1937 and
1946 in a career that spanned three decades
and included numerous other wins in all
the major races. His rivalry , both on and
off their cycles, with Bianchi team-mate,
Fausto Coppi, is legendary. It is said to
have divided Italy into two camps, those
who supported the conservative and devout
Bartali and those who found Coppi's "celebrity"
lifestyle more attractive. As with many
sporting stars, Bartali sought to capitalise
on his name following retirement, the obvious
product being bicycles. Now highly regarded
by collectors Bartali cycles appear to have
been less successful than the man who lent
his name to them, struggling to establish
themselves in a crowded marketplace and
are consequently rare. The 1950's witnessed
a change in Italian society as the country
recovered from the effects of the Second
World War. Growing prosperity among the
populace resulted in a surge in sales for
lightweight machines encouraged by Italian
vehicle regulations that were particularly
kind to machines below 175cc. It is therefore
not surprising that the company would endeavour
to capture a slice of the booming Italian
lightweight motorcycle market of the 1950's.
commenced in Florence during 1953 with Bartali
motorcycles being offered in a range of
capacities from 50cc to 160cc. The 160cc
unit construction two stroke Marziano, equipped
with a four speed gearbox represented the
top of the range in 1955
H.P.Baughan was a trials man
first and last, involved for many years with
the ACU Western Centre and ISDT selection
tests. He and his staff at the works in Stroud,
Gloucestershire, were more often, it seemed,
organising something for the ACU, preparing
reports or producing results sheets than running
The firm began in 1920 with the production
of cyclecars but their day-to-day business
remained service and repair work for quite
a while. The motorcycle began in 1928 and
nearly all were built for competition.
Baughan continued until 1936 when motorcycle
production ceased and the firm moved to other
This was an experimental model
built to appear at Olympia and unusual in
that it was a lightweight with shaft drive.
The prototype was made by Berwick Motor
Company of Tweedmouth on the east coast
of Northumbria but a move was then made
to Banbury, where preparation for production
was put in hand.
The engine was a modified Villers and it
was intended to offer both 247 and 343cc
sizes. To suit the shaft drive it was turned
so the crankshaft lay along the machine
and this was extended to drive the three-speed
gearbox bolted to it. The clutch went in
a flywheel between the two and the flywheel
magneto at the front. The cylinder was mounted
vertically with the carburettor at the rear
and the exhaust on the left.
The gearbox had hand-change and its output
shaft went on the right. A universal joint
attended to the alignment and the shaft
itself was enclosed. It drove an underslung
worm at the rear wheel.
The effect was one of unit construction
and it went into a duplex frame as most
such did. This had a fabricated headstock
with the two tank rails and two downtubes
both emerging from the base of the gusseted
area. The first ran nearly straight back
to the rear wheel and the second went down
and under the power unit to the same point.
A massive section of the rear mudguard went
between the two pairs to brace them and
act as a seat stay. Sadly no more was heard
of this interesting design.
Powered by the
70bhp, 1300cc flat-four engine normally found
in a Ditroen GS car, the French-built BFG
In the early days of the 20th Century Blotto
Brothers had a good reputation in France for
commercial delivery trikes so it was only
logical for them to branch into motorized
Bradbury & Co., Wellington Works,
Oldham, were well known in veteran
days for building some very sturdy
motorcycles with a rather extraordinary
feature: the crankcase of the motor
was brazed into the frame! This
feature dates back to the early
days of the company's motorcycles,
but not back to the absolute beginning.
The first Bradbury motorcycle advertisement
I have seen appeared in The Cycle
Trader on 10th January 1902.
This Auto-Tri - powered by
a prototype 350cc Anzani engine
- was one of the first.
3-wheeled commercials were known
as triporteurs. And, in France,
since the earliest days, there
was a tradition of annual races
of triporteurs through the streets
its vast length and for being designed to
carry three people, the Bohmerland was produced
in Czechoslovakia between 1923 and 1939. Designed
and built by Albin Liebisch, the Bohmerland
was powered by a 600cc, 16bhp single-cylinder
engine. As well as the long wheelbase "Langtouren",
with its rear pannier fuel tanks, there was
a shorter Jubilee model, and a sportier bike
called the Racer.
The 1973 Border Bandits fabricated
and built by Rob North of Triumph Triple fame.
One of the first mono shock motorcycles ever
built if not THE first. Rob used a auto leveling
shock from a citroen car. It runs on around
1800 PSI of oil and came with a custom pump
also built by Rob. The amazing thing was that
after 15 plus years in a storage closet in
Robs shop in El Cajon California the thing
STILL had pressure in it!
The power plant is a AT1 Yamaha
motor the frame and most other components
were built or modified by Rob and Ward Ring
acting in partnership.
The Bown moped was actually
a German Hercules with Sachs engine. It was
also badged in Germany as a Triumph (Triumph
Werke Nürnberg). Although the period
advertising mentioned nothing of this heritage,
re-badging and re-assembling German or French
mopeds as British was a viable proposition
- mainly because German machines were well-made
and already had an established track-record,
while re-tooling to manufacture a completely
new British moped was a very risky concern
(as many other companies discovered to their
This company was a builder
of engines rather than complete machines
but did produce a prototype in June 1939
that was interesting because it foresaw
a post-war trend. This was the clip-on,
which attached to a standard bicycle and
thus took the work out of travel. It had
a short boom period post-war along with
the autocycle, although both were swept
away in time by the moped.
At the time British Anzani
were themselves too busy to contemplate
production and then came the war. Thus no
more was heard of the unit but it was an
interesting foretaste of what was to come
to satisfy the demand for transport at the
The only way to obtain one
of these unique cyclemotor engines
was to make it yourself. Because
the Busy Bee was never sold as
a complete unit.
If you were a magazine enthusiast
in the early 1950s, and also had
some basic engineering skills,
you could manufacture your own
The 'Busy Bee' was a rear-mounted
cycle-attachment that you could
manufacture on your Myford lathe
thanks to a series of articles
in the 'Model Engineer' magazine,
a periodical that helped you make
all sorts of engines to fit into
The series introducing the 'Busy
Bee' started with issue dated
29th March 1951 (the relevant
articles are reproduced below),
and continued in alternate issues
throughout 1951 (volumes 104 and
Quite a few of these home-built
clip-on engines were manufactured
and - perhaps surprisingly - some
of are still around today.
One of several
Japanese firms that built bikes heavily
based on British singles and parallel twins
in the 1950s, Cabton failed to survive the
more competitive decade on the 1960s.
This make first appeared in
the early 1920s and sold in small numbers
as it was not widely advertised. Models
built used bought-in engines and other components
in a similar manner to many others and in
1930 were typified by the 500cc DP with
Sturmey-Archer engine, hand-change and chrome-plated
The make then dropped from sight but reappeared
in 1937 when it was one of a number of firms
that used the 122cc Villiers unit-construction
engine to build a lightweight machine.
The model was just what the commuter needed
and this proceeded into 1938 without change,
while for 1939 all that appeared was a choice
of tyre sections. It was the same for 1940
but production then ceased and did not start
up again post-war, when Carlton returned
to the bicycle industry they had always
started making bicycles around 1900, in Belin,
Gironde. Small motocycles were added to the
product range, probably in the late 1920s.
Cazenave cyclemotors were introduced to the
public at a trade show in 1950, among the
25 Cazenave bicycles on display stood a Cazenave
cycle sporting a VAP4 engine and engine covers.
By 1954, Cazenave
had seven models on offer, two having monotube
girder frame and roller-drive engine below
the pedals. In 1964, Cazenave took over Paloma
and VAP (which had recently lost the support
of ABG), and all production moved to Belin.
ABG VAP 57 engine.
Cazenave’s gimmick in
Great Britain at the time was
its price - under £40.
This Wolverhampton company announced
two models for the 1939 season. Both were
powered by Villiers engines, one of 98cc with
a two-speed gearbox and the other a 122cc
unit-construction motor with three gears.
The machines were available with rigid frames
or with rear suspension and came complete
with speedometer, rear carrier and horn. Production
only lasted a few months, after which the
make vanished from the lists with few bikes
Chiorda Italy, made bicycles
and mopeds. Taken over by Bianchi.
Corah company was established in
Kings Norton, Worcestershire during
1908. Their first machine, a 2.5hp
single was displayed at the 1908
Stanley show and was rapidly followed
by a 3.5hp and 3.5 and 6hp twins.
By 1910 the range had been revised
to include three JAP engines with
the option of a two speed P&M
gear. The following year saw the
adoption of a new engine designed
in house featuring a rotary valve
and shaft drive, however, this does
not appear to have been particularly
successful as the company reverted
to JAP power units, continuing with
these until production ceased in
This example, featuring
a direct belt drive
and a side valve JAP
engine displacing 500cc
is offered in usable
condition with much
of the finish either
being original or from
an early restoration.
It is fitted with a
rear carrier equipped
with leather fronted
toolboxes and a full
Image provided by www.classic-auctions.com.
The Coventry Premier
was a British car and cyclecar manufacturer
based in Coventry from 1912 to 1923.
The company can trace
its origins back to 1876 when Hillman
and Herbert was founded as bicycle
makers. William Hillman went on
to set up his own Hillman car company
in 1907. Hillman and Herbert changed
its name to the Premier Cycle company
in 1892 and added motor cycles from
1908 and a cyclecar in 1912. This
had a 998 cc air cooled V-twin engine
and chain drive to the rear axle.
A proper light car designed by the
works manager G.W.A. Brown, who
had been with Talbot, was added
in 1914 with four cylinder engine
of 1592 cc and shaft drive.
The company changed
its name from Premier to Coventry
Premier Ltd in November 1914. Testing
of the 4 cylinder car continued
during the war but when peacetime
production restarted in 1919 it
did not appear. Brown had moved
to Arrol-Johnston in 1917. Instead
the company launched the 8 hp Super
Runabout two seat, three wheeled
cyclecar with 1056 cc, water cooled,
V twin engine, shaft drive to a
rear mounted gearbox and chain drive
to the rear wheels.
In 1921 Coventry Premier
was bought by Singer and the three
wheeler was replaced by a four wheeled
version using the same engine but
now having the gearbox combined
with the rear axle eliminating the
chain drive. In 1923 the badge appeared
on a basic version of the Singer
Ten. The name was no longer used
on cars from 1924 but bicycle making
continued for a few more years.
About 500 three wheel and 1200 four
wheeled cars were made.
This make of bike
was first seen in 1919, with the
flat-twin engine type they always
used and had built for others from
By 1930 they had two engines, a
499cc ohv and a 688cc sv. In addition
to the two road models there was
also a speedway bike powered by
the 499cc ohv engine and suitably
modified for the sport.
For 1932 the 499 ohv model took
the name Royal Grand Sports and
the speedway bike became Dirt Track
No. 1. There was also a No. 2 and
this had a 600cc ohv engine. For
1933 this was taken to its logical
conclusion and went into a second
version of the Super Six, while
the 499cc ohv and two Dirt Track
models al continued.
None of this lasted long, the days
of the flat twin in Speedway had
passed and the road models were
looking very vintage and had few
changes. For 1934 the range was
down to two models, the 499cc Royal
Grand Sport and the 688cc sv Super
Six. The following year there was
only the side-valve model and that
was no longer listed by the end
of 1935. From then on the company
stuck to its three-wheelers, until
they too lapsed in 1938.
for its exotic 1000cc, overhead-camshaft
V-twins, Cyclone began to build
bikes in 1913 and won many races
with them. But the American firm's
roadsters were not profitable, and
Cyclone production lasted only for
a few years.
Cyclorev was one of
many small French manufacturers who
attempted to cash in on the cyclemotor
boom years of the early fifties. The
company used engines supplied locally
by le Mistral. The model is so rare
now that there is very little information
The parent company BVF was located
at 36 rue Désiré-Claude,
St Etienne (Loire). The first models,
in 1952, used le Poulain or VAP engines.
The le Mistral engine was introduced
in 1954, but by 1955 production finished.
The Cymota was copy of the VeloSoleX 650
(45cc, 0.3 hp) and was made by Cymota Motor
Components Ltd at Leamington Road, Erdington,
Birmingham, UK, between 1950 and 1952.
The engine was covered by a sheet-metal
cowling, a 1.7 litre fuel tank is mounted
above the engine, a Miller magneto ignition
fitted to replace the French SEV version
and an Amal 308/12 (12 mm) carburettor fitted
to replace the French version.
Blue Star Garages appeared as the sole
concessionaires selling it as a clip-on
cycle motor, its manufacturer given as Cymo
Ltd and it is advertised as "The sensation
of the nation". Only about 200 Cymota units
1952 Cymota Cyclemotor
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