SPRAY CARBURRETORS were replacing wick-in-a-tin ‘surface’ carbs (which, let it be noted, were known as ‘bubblers’). Rubber and canvas V-section belts were replacing twisted rawhide belts and mechanical inlet vales (MOIV) were replacing automatics (AOIV). Tyres were growing from two to three inches wide. Other innovations included high-voltage magnetos, Bowden cable controls, clutches and sprung forks.
THE FIRST MOTOR cycle in India was dubbed ‘shaitan-gari’ or ‘devil-carriage. The rider lived 1,700 miles from the nearest petrol.
RACERS WERE routinely exceeding 60mph.
WITHIN SIX months 21,521 motorcycles and 18,340 cars had been registered (lower cost made two wheels more popular than four). Just 770 motorcycles were exported; 979 were imported.
INDIAN ADOPTED twistgrips way ahead of the pack, though Werner had pioneered them for racing.
HIGH TENSION VS MAGNETO IGNITION.
Sir,—As the question of ignition still appears to be rather a vexed one, we must make this our excuse for writing you on the subject, as we thought possibly our experience would be useful to you. We have just completed a long series of extensive experiments with practically every known system of ignition, and as a result we have decided to retain the well-known high-tension system upon our cars this season. Our experience is that for all-round satisfaction the high-tension system is very hard to beat; speaking broadly, there are no working parts which are at all times apt to get out of order, and if any trouble is encountered the fault can usually be traced by the merest novice, whereas with the magneto form of ignition any derangement is usually outside, the scope of the average driver’s capabilities, and the result is that the whole apparatus has to be removed and returned to the manufacturers for repairs. With the high-tension form of ignition the most important detail which requires attention is the accumulator. A good quality coil practically never requires any attention whatever (we are prepared to fit induction coils with one, two or four tremblers) and the only attention needed to the commutator is occasional adjustment and cleaning of the platinum points. Sparking plugs have now reached such perfection that defect is seldom experienced, and with careful driving the sparking plug points should rarely require cleaning. To overcome any likelihood of trouble with accumulators we are this season fitting two accumulators with two-way switch within easy reach of the driver, and will also in addition supply, free of charge, a spare four-volt accumulator. All insulated wires and terminals are thoroughly protected, and providing the driver occasionally tests his accumulators, we think that ignition troubles will—at any rate on Ariel cars—be few and far between.
The Ariel Motor Co.
GERMAN EMIGREE Johannes Gütgemann adopted the name John Taylor (later changed to Goodman) and, with his partner William Gue, produced Hampton bicycles. They took over the Begian firm Kelekom Motors and developed a 2hp powered bike which they marketed as the Veloce (Italian for Speed). It was not a success, but Veloce would be back.
TRICARS AND forecarriages were outselling trailers so instead of eating dust hapless passengers served as an early form of airbag. Here’s a selection of forecars from the 1904 season…
ALFRED ANGUS Scott patented a vertical twin two-stroke engine of advanced design [and you can read an account in his own words in the 1914 Features section].
THE FOUR SONS of motoring pioneer John Knight (see 1895) acquired a 1¼hp engine and built it into a trike frame made of two planks of ash, lengths of angle iron from their dad’s scrap pile and the rear wheel of Knight Snr’s historic car. They incorporated rubber-block front suspension and made a surface carb from a Bath Oliver biscuit tin. Knight’s oldest son reported: “It is a fact that for a whole week we tried to get that engine to go, but a few spasmodic explosions were all we could get! At the end of that period, my father designed a carburettor embodying another biscuit tin containing coils of lamp wick wound on a wire frame, the petrol rising by capillary attraction up the wick, and thence evaporating very readily. Then at last the engine not only ran, but drove the machine…”
GLENN CURTISS took one of his bikes to Ormond Beach, Florida where he set a 10-mile record for 10 miles on the hard-packed sand and did 67.3 mph. After a Curtiss beat an Indian in an endurance race from New York to Cambridge, Maryland, Hendee rep EH Corson went to check out Curtiss’s Hammondsport base and was startled to find the entire Curtiss motorcycle enterprise in the back room of Curitiss’s modest shop.
THE MOTOR MAGAZINE (INCORPORATING Motor Cycling) commissioned “a special lightweight touring motor-bicycle…to demonstrate that a type of motor-bicycle alternative to existing types is quite practicable…There are a large number of would-be motorcyclists to whom the powerful and necessarily very heavy machine does not appeal…to jump from 26lb to 170lb or so is too big a step…Our ideal has been to have a machine constructed that would have an engine developing a full 2hp and scaling between 70 and 80lb minus petrol and accessories. By suitably proportioning the parts and introducing one or two innovations, chief of which is the employment of the metal aluminium where possible, we have obtained a mount scaling 78 1/2lb, having a solidly constructed frame, equipped with strong tyres, two brakes, two accumulators, wide mudguards and large petrol capacity.” The 169cc lump weighed 19lb and developed 2.35hp at 2,500rpm. The cylindrical fuel/oil tank was aluminium and gave a claimed range of 150/450 miles. “This is the first aluminium tank ever fitted to a motor-bicycle.” The spray carb and mudguards were also aluminium. The accumulators were said to supply sparks for “easily 550 miles”. Brakes (Crabbe Special front, Garrard Moderatum rear) were said to hold the bike on a 1 in 7. “In actual running there is a marked absence of vibration, due to the high-speed engine, large flywheel and extra wheelbase. The pace on the level is ample to satisfy even a fastidious tourist…the stiffest climbs on the Brighton Road were surmounted with ease, the merest touch of the pedals on one or two occasions alone being necessary. Our designs and suggestions have been carefully carried out by the makers, Messrs Garrard, of Birmingham, and we think from the foregoing it is clear that the 80lb touring motor-cycle can be made.”
THE AUSTRIAN MOTORCYCLISTS’ ASSOCIATION Motorcyclisten-Vereinigung staged a 100km benzine consumption competition between Wiener-Neustadt and Neunkirchen.
M FRANCHINI OF COMO made what was claimed to be the first two-wheeled ascent of the hill from Varese to Santo Monte “the hill being very steep and rugged”.
NOTTINGHAM FIRE BRIGADE sent two engines and two escape ladders to the Campion Cycle Co. “A close inspection of the premises failed to disclose any trace of a fire, but later it transpired that a member of the firm had been testing a motor-bicycle previous to taking it out for a run, and had over-lubricated the engine. The smoke issuing from the shop caused some passer-by to give the alarm.”
THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT BOARD amended the Motor Car Act to allow cars to be reversed “to the extent which is consistent with the safety or convenience of the occupants of the car. Under the amended laws “any horse driver may, by raising his hand, compel a motor driver to stop”. Until this change motor drivers could only be stopped by drivers of “restive” horses.
“THE NINTH ANNUAL MOTOR SHOW at the Agricultural Hall, Islington, and the only one which has received the patronage of the Automobile Club, is now open…a horse show which proceeded the show (rather a curious juxtaposition, by the way) was not cleared out until the Tuesday…The place was in an indescribably filthy state, reeking of the stable…Those who had left the Hall in chaos on the Friday…were compelled to marvel at the transformation effected in the night…There is scarcely an inch of room unoccupied in the Hall…The Clarendon motor-bicycles exhibited by The Clarendon Motor Car and Bicycle Co, Ltd, Coventry are of taking design and neatly finished. They are fitted with 3hp engines, the cylinder and head being cast in one piece. Mechanically operated valves are a feature, as are the patent pulley bearings. This ball race, which is carried on two projections cast on the left hand side of the crank case, takes the full driving strain of the belt, which actually runs between two bearings. It is claimed that this method prevents any possibility of the flywheels running out of line or uneven wear on the bushes. The belt can also be tightened to any pitch without affecting the running of the motor. The motor is attached to the frame by four bolts, and is supported by a loop tube in a vertical position. The frame, too, is of patent design, the bottom head lug being in one casting, thus greatly strengthening this important part of the machine. A Longuemare carburetter with throttle, a Lithanode accumulator, and a high-speed trembler coil are fitted. The wheels have two-inch Clipper motor tyres, although any other make can
be fitted to order, A tri-car having a 4½hp water-cooled engine, is also shown. The popularity of the Excelsior motor cycles, made by the old-established firm of Bayliss, Thomas and Co, Ltd, Coventry, is testified by the large number of these machines which are to be met with on the road. Consequently they require no introduction or recommendation by us. None the less, we advise those of our readers who visit the show to make a close inspection of the latest models. Various detail improvements are noticeable and all bear the high-grade stamp as regards workmanship and finish. The 2½ and 3 ¼hp bicycles, a 3¼hp tricycle (air cooler) and a 3¼hp tri-car (also air-cooled) strike the eye. All are fitted with Clincher A Won tyres, duplicate Lithanode non-spillable accumulators, two-way switches, Bassee-Michel high-speed trembler coils, wipe contacts, Lincona belts and spray or surface carburetters. A new addition to the Excelsior group is the 4hp model fitted with a carriage built forecar. It possesses the usual features, but the engine is free and water-cooled and is started by a release handle in exactly the same way as an ordinary car. Moreover, two speeds are provided, and
2½in motor tyres are fitted to all wheels. This is an excellent machine, and its power and capabilities are such as will make it speedily leap into popular favour. Already a number of orders for it have been secured, notwithstanding that it only made its first public appearance on Saturday. As is the wont of the Rex Motor Manufacturing Co, Ltd, Coventry, when exhibiting they make a brave display. Their well-known 3¼hp motorcycles are staged. We have referred to them so frequently that it is only necessary for us to point out that these up-to-date and well-tried mounts are worthy of the attention of visitors who are thinking of taking up the fascinating pastime of motorcycling. The Rexette possesses two coach built bucket seats, one being attached in the form of a fore car and the other at the back—that is to say, it supersedes the saddle. A water-cooled engine of 4hp drives the carette (as it may be aptly described), and this is rigidly fixed to a registered design of cradle, which permits of its being easily removed when necessary. The vehicle is pedalless and is started by a fixed handle after the practice of ordinary cars. The engine power is transmitted by a chain (protected against dirt and mud) through a clutch to the rear wheel. The tubular framework is very strong; indeed, the Rexette is a serviceable and attractive vehicle, which at 90 guineas is appealing very strongly to that large class of individuals who cannot yet afford the ordinary type of car. A new addition to the Rex models is the Tri-ette. This takes the form of a tri-car, the engine being of 3¼hp and the seat of wicker work. The Begbie Manufacturing Co, 407, Oxford Street, London W, exhibit a Pearson motor-bicycle, The main feature of this machine is that it is fitted with the excellent
Aster engine. This has ribbed copper radiators and develops 4hp. A special design of frame is adopted on this machine, the engine being mounted vertically in a loop running from the lower part of the head tube. It is braced at this point to the main down by two short tubes, forming a double triangle behind the head, thus giving an immensely strong structure. The carburetter is a float feed spray with throttle and air control. The ignition is high tension electric by coil and accumulators, and transmission is by a long V-section belt. It will be noticed from the illustration that the engine is very rigidly held in the loop tube, and the triangle of tubes just in front of the bottom bracket makes this vital part extra rigid. Duplex forks and a large silencer are fitted. Two machines shown by the Aurora Motor Manufacturing Co, Coventry, must be noted, a 2½hp motor-bicycle and a 3½hp tri-car. The former is built on standard lines, and does not call for any special description—although we may say it is excellent value for £38—and the latter is provided with a free engine clutch and a mechanically operated inlet valve. The Fuller motor-bicycle is made in 2, 2¾, and 3½hp sizes. It is a handsome mount, with vertical engine, mechanical valves, and Bowden valve lifter fitted. The motor is fitted in a loop
frame, having duplex front forks. The carburetter is of the Longuemare type, with automatic air regulator. The ignition is by a Fuller trembler coil and Fuller dry battery or accumulator. The tyres can be Clipper, Dunlop, Palmer or Continental make at option. The drive is by V-belt. There are two brakes, the rear one being a Bowden rim pattern. The engine is a very excellent one, and securely clamped in the frame, and the regulating levers have ratchet adjustments. The price is 40 guineas. The firm call the machine the Bow motor-bicycle. The Garrard Manufacturing Company, Magneto Works, Birmingham, exhibit their latest production in the shape of a 5hp tri-car, having numerous good features. We have quite recently described and illustrated this handsome little vehicle, so a further description will not be necessary. We can recommend a close inspection, as an effort has been made to eliminate the several disadvantages of the usual type of light three-wheeler. The finish and symmetrical lines especially will be noted. In addition to the tri-car will be found a new two-speed motor-bicycle gear shown fitted in the flywheel of a 2hp Clement Garrard motor. It is of the internal pinion type and is certainly a device from which much may be expected. Motorcyclists will be interested to learn that AW Gamage, Ltd, Holborn, have introduced a new pattern 3hp motor-bicycle, fitted with Fafnir engine on a Chater Lea frame. It has the FN carburetter and coil and accumulator ignition. The drive is by V-belt, and there are two brakes, and the mudguards are wide and well extended. The control levers have ratchet adjustments, and the petrol capacity is extra large. The front forks are duplex, and the tyres are special Dunlops. At £35 this machine is really splendid valve, and a mount to suit the most critical rider. It has excellent hill-climbing powers, and the general finish is equal to anything we have seen. Another fine mount exhibited has a 2¾hp vertical engine built into the frame. It has V-belt transmission and a Longuemare carburetter. High-tension ignition is used and two sets of batteries are provided, including a two-way switch. The front forks are duplex, and there are two brakes and an exhaust valve lifter. This mount is £47, inclusive of all accessories. W Maitland Edwards, at Stand 241, is showing his improved non-skidder, which consists of a specially prepared toughened chrome leather cover, moulded so as to fit all sizes and makes of tyres. On the tread of the cover steel segments are fixed, with bifurcated rivets at suitable intervals. The Palmer Tyre, Ltd, Birmingham, have, as usual, a very attractive display. The nature of the exhibits does not vary from those recently shown at the Crystal Palace. Their famous cord motor tyres of the flange-fixing and beaded-edge tyres are to be seen,
and various sizes of motorcycle tyres are also displayed viz. 2in, 2¼in. and 2½in. The last is now made of the cord fabric, and should appeal very strongly to motorcyclists who are seeking a high-class and ingeniously constructed tyre, embodying in a very marked degree speed with durability. The Fisk detachable tyre, shown by the South British Trading Co, is an American tyre of sound construction and fine quality material. Its novel point is its principle of attachment to the rim. It is clamped on by steel rims and drawn bolts, and is most securely fixed, and yet very readily dismounted for repair. Fisk single-tube tyres are another special line. They are secured to the rim by bolts. Numerous accessories are shown, including a set of the Fuller batteries, etc. Other details are steering wheels, jacks, pumps, tyre repair outfits, cycle belting, tool outfits, etc. The ‘Arclight’ lamp stands out prominently among the exhibits of H Miller and Co, Ltd, Miller. This is an acetylene lamp having a burning capacity of six hours. The Miller Tail Lamp is so constructed that it can be used for inspecting the engine. It has a red glass and a white glass, and the red glass can be folded back. It burns paraffin…The Anglo American Oil Co, 22 Billiter Street, London, EC, makes a bold bid with Pratt’s motor spirit which is so extensively used throughout the kingdom. Mr AA Godin, of 9, Littyle James Street, Gray’s Inn Road, WC, is showing a pump which will appeal very strongly to those who are tired of the old back-aching method of inflating tyres. It is put into gear with the engine, the amount of air which is pumped into the tyre at each piston stroke being the same as that pumped by an ordinary foot inflator. The indiarubber valve connection has a gauge fixed to it, in order to show the pressure of the tyre. This gauge is provided with a two-way tap, which, during the inflation, communicates with a safety valve fitted with a whistle. When the required pressure is obtained the whistle sounds, and it is then only
necessary to turn the tap into its second position when the surplus air will find its way out. Messrs J Bartlett and Co, of South Tottenham, London, N, have entered the list of manufacturers of lamps…The motorcycle lamp is made with a separate generator, to be clipped on the front forks…Another novel feature is the gas generator, carried in a compartment of the tank [which] is well made, with petrol and oil gauges fitted…Messrs Lake and Elliott, of Braintree is displaying a carrier-stand, which is quickly brought into operation without the necessity of undoing any screws…It is very strongly made, and when in use as a stand has a wide base of 10½in, which gives it great stability, and allows motor-bicycles to be run on it for test purposes with security. When folded up (which is quickly and readily done) it supports the carrier,
and closes up to 6½in, leaving no awkward projections to catch the rider’s leg when dismounting. A great point about it is that the luggage of the carrier in no way interferes with the use of the stand. Alfred Dunhill, Ltd, of Euston Road, London NW, have a most complete and varied assortment of their numerous specialities: jackets of various patterns, waistcoats, chrome-dressed calf skin clothing, gloves, gauntlets, overcoats, dust coats, aprons, furs, waterproofs, overalls, caps, leather over boots and foot muffs, gaiters, etc all tempt the eye…in addition, headlights, test lamps, pumps, speed indicators, number plates, altitude recorders, side baskets, goggles, motor horns, in fact, as the firm aptly puts it, ‘everything’ but the motor can be obtained here. Wass and Cocks, Ealing, show the Gripwell brake. This consists of a lever working in a clip which is attached to the compression stay of the motorcycle. One end carries a shoe which engages with the belt pulley, the other carries a pawl which comes into action by back pedalling. The power of the brake can be graduated to a nicety. It has few parts and is altogether highly effective.” A selection of the ads that accompanied the show report may be found in the ad section at the end of this page.
THE CONCOURS D’ENDURANCE pour Motorcyclettes de Tourisme was hosted by the Autocycle Club de France. It was open to motorcycles weighing up to 50kg over five laps of a 54km course starting and ending at St Arnoult, via Dourdan, Etampes, Authan and Ablis. Entries limited to three per country; Britain was represented by a JAP, a Lagonda and a Quadrant. They took on three Griffons from France ridden by Messrs Demester, Inghilbert and Lamberjack; three Progresses from Germany, two Laurin-Klements from Austria-Hungary and a Humber-based Jurgensen from Denmark ridden by a chap named Petersen. Nails scattered on the course created havoc and some louts threw stones at the competitors. The French took top three spots and one of those fragile 110-pounders achieved 76.5mph. But when the Brits protested about the nails and other irregularities the race was declared null and void. Someone had to bring some order to international motor cycle racing so the sports authorities of the five countries put their heads together. At the end of the year delegates from the French MCF, British ACC, German DMV, Austrian MVÖ and Danish DMCC met at the restaurant Ledoyen in Paris and established the Fédération Internationale des Clubs Motocyclistes (FICM).
WATCH AND INSTRUMENT manufacturer Samuel Smith moved into the automotive sector with the the Perfect Speed Indicator. The first example was delivered to Edward VII for the royal Mercedes. Smith’s speedos would dominate the British motor cycle industry.
“THERE IS NO novelty in seventy pound machines; they were made two years ago, exhaustively tried, and found wanting, and one of their first defects was excessive vibration. The motor bicycle can be, and will be, lightened, but the first aim should be—and it has been with the majority of makers—efficiency and a reasonable margin of strength. The lightening process will be gradual, and not seventy pounds at a time. Weight is a great drawback, but it is at present the lesser of two evils.”
“WILL THE PEDALS BE RETAINED as a part of the equipment of the motor-bicycle of future seasons? Are they necessary even now? These are questions which are being extensively discussed amongst riders at the present moment, as they will undoubtedly influence the design of future types of motor-bicycles to an important degree…Up to now most motorcyclists will, I think, agree with me that pedals have proved of great value in nine machines out of ten. If we go back a matter of four seasons, we find that the small and inefficient motor of that period was regarded more as an adjunct to the pedal-propelled machine. Manufacturers claimed that their 1¾hp machines could go twice as fast on the level without pedal assistance as the ordinary bicycle could, but it was rarely claimed that even a moderate hill could be surmounted without pedal assistance. But nowadays things have changed greatly; the small motor of to-day is greatly superior in point of efficiency to its predecessor of 1900, and pedals are more or less regarded as a useful accessory for starting and controlling the machine over short distances when the engine is switched off rather than as an aid to propelling the machine on stiff hills; but in reality, I contend, there are very few machines under. 2½hp that do not require pedal assistance at some time or other in their career. I regard the pedals as, in a sense, taking the place of a variable speed gear. With a medium-powered engine minus pedals more often than not it would be a case of walking up the finishing stretch of a hill which a few turns of the pedals would have sufficed to surmount, and this, in practice, amounts to the same thing as putting a low gear into action when the hill becomes too much for the engine. A surprising amount of power can be put into the pedalling gear over a short period, even though the rider be not or the muscular order; and this feature is of the utmost value at critical periods. For actual starting of the machine pedalling can certainly claim to be a very convenient method, though by no means the only one; there is the method, for instance, of running by the side of the machine for a few yards, dropping the exhaust valve, and then vaulting into the saddle—but this is hardly to be recommended to the novice, as it is more or less of an acrobatic performance. Of course, the easiest method of all is to have a clutch and hand-starting gear; then all that is required is to start the engine up, get into the saddle, and let the clutch in gently. This latter method, indeed, would appear to be the only practicable one for a 3 or 4hp machine, with its immense weight. On very heavy machines I really cannot see that pedals can prove of the least service. To be able to move the machine from rest an abnormally low pedal gear would have to be used, and even then the strain might have serious consequences for a rider with a weak heart. It was just this very difficulty of ‘starting up’ a great dead weight by pedalling that helped to kill the quad. But for the type of motor-bicycle which, to my thinking, must become by far the most popular—a machine which will scale about 84lb all on and develop a good 2hp—the pedal gear will certainly be retained. In traffic riding the pedals give one a control over the machine which the rider of a pedalless machine cannot possibly have. True it is that something can be done even in this case by manipulating the machine a la ‘hobby horse’,’ but it is not a method that commends itself to me. With the help of pedals, and having the valve up, one can go along at a mere crawl of two miles an hour in dense traffic, which would otherwise mean dismounting every few minutes. On greasy surfaces, crossing badly laid metals, and rounding corners, I invariably find it better to switch of the engine, lift the valve, and put in a few strokes of the pedals. A not-to-be despised convenience with pedals is the ability to jack the machine up on the stand and give it a preliminary test indoors to see that all is right. I now come to the last advantage of pedals—although this particular one is becoming more and more of a negative value, as it is so rarely necessary to make use of it—and this is the fact that, given a fairly light mount, if by any chance the engine should break down, or even should one run unexpectedly short of petrol or current, it is always possible to pedal the machine to the next town and get a repair effected. I am quite aware that the ‘anti-pedallists’, if I may so term them, hold strongly to the view that a modern mount of good class should never break down, and that no rider worth the name would be so careless as to let his supplies run short. This statement looks well enough on paper, but can it be borne out in actual practice in the majority of cases? Personally, I do not think any practical engineer would stake his reputation that it would be quite impossible for any vital part of the complicated mechanism of a motor to go wrong, no matter how excellent the work or how careful the tests or inspection in its manufacture. We hear sometimes of a flaw developing in the propeller shaft of a great liner, and surely if it is possible for a steel shaft eighteen inches thick to break in two, despite all the tests and precautions modern engineering science can suggest, it is not unreasonable to admit a greater chance of a break on some part of a tiny petrol engine. I do admit that the ordinary type of pedal gear does not make an ideal footrest, and yet it is not uncomfortable by any means when one is used to the position—of which, by the way, it is possible to make innumerable changes, and thus avoid a tired or cramped feeling. Swing cranks, I am afraid, hardly fill the bill in their present form; they are rather susceptible to wear and derangement, and are awkward to manipulate into the ‘driving’ position. I rather favour auxiliary footrests of some kind, so that one can take the feet off the pedals if desired. The anti-pedallists may have a stronger case than that I have just indicated: if so, I hope they will give us the benefit of their experiences on the subject.
“A WEEKLY PAPER PUBLISHES a novel specific against side-slip, which, it says, will save a severe tumble. The advice reads: ‘Get a few pennyworth of carbonate of lime and, before going for a ride, give the tyres a rub down with the powder; it will stick to the cover. Wet and grease have no effect upon it, and it clings to the surface if there is a tendency to slip in turning a corner. When home is reached again the tyres may be wiped dry with a cloth. Carbonate of lime, however, would not injure them if allowed to remain on.’ Note: Carbonate of lime is nothing more nor less than chalk.”
THE AUSSIES HELD their first long-distance race; it was won by a 2hp Minerva.
“SINCE THE NEW ELECTRIC TRAMS began to run in South London there have been numerous stoppages on some of the routes. A reader dismounted on seeing a stranded tram and offered the worried mechanic his neat little four-volt testing lamp…We understand that his creditors wish to sell his machine.”
“THE MOTOR CYCLE PRESENTED A FIFTY-GUINEA CUP to the Motor Cycling Club “for competition among teams representing clubs of Great Britain”. Each club entered a team of six riding four solos and two ‘passenger machines’ over a 100-mile course between Bicester, Aynho and Deddington, Oxon. Ixion reported: “A twenty-five miles out and home course was originally fixed upon, to be covered twice. However, as in the team trials a checker to each mile will be necessary, since each rider is to score one mark for every mile covered without a stoppage, it became clear that a twelve and a half miles out and home course would be ample even for this short stretch about a score of reliable marshals will be requisitioned.” The course included four climbs, the steepest of 1 in 12. Five clubs entered: The MCC, Coventry MCC, Guildford C&MC, Peterborough &DMC, and the Southern MC. Riding for the MCC were F Hulbert (3½hp Hulbert-Bramley with Minerva engine) who went on to become works manager at Triumph and Billy Wells (2¾hp Vindec) who was Hendee’s UK manager. The Coventry team included RW Ayton (2¾hp Triumph), the original patentee of aluminium cylinders with steel liners. And the Guildford riders included AW Wall (3½hp Roc and trailer), who invented the Roc gear and the Auto-wheel. Most of the passenger machines were trailers or tricars—only one of the new-fangled sidecar outfits was entered. The Coventry MCC won the cup, ahead of the MCC, Peterborough, Guildford and Southern; the team trial would become a popular annual event—as would the MCC’s London-Edinburgh Trial. Of the 46 stalwarts who started on that first outing 21 made it to Edinburgh within the required 24 hours. In later years a cup was competed for by riders who, after a night’s sleep, made the return run south.
“LAST WEEK WE HAD THE PLEASURE of a trial spin on the new Triumph motor bicycle. The machine is fitted with a vertical air-cooled 3hp engine, and weighs complete about 140lbs. The frame, which is built from seat tubes of 22in and 24in, is made from stout gauge tubing, and is specially reinforced where required. The wheelbase is slightly longer than the majority, namely, 53in from centre of front wheel to centre of back wheel. This, Mr Schulte explained to us, had been done to provide for increased storage accommodation for oil and batteries, and to steady the machine in grease. The wheels are 26in diameter, shod with 2¼in diameter Clincher motor cycle tyres, extra stout spokes being fitted. The engine has a bore of 75x80mm [353cc] and develops 3hp at 1,800 revolutions a minute. The petrol is vaporised in a Longuemare spray carburetter, the exhaust valve being fitted with a governor and valve lifter. The governor is worked by a lever fitted on the tank, and causes lesser or greater lift of the exhaust valve according to the speed required. In addition to control by means of the exhaust, there is a combined switch and exhaust lift lever on the handle-bar. One of the special points of the Triumph motor cycle will be the improved design of tank, which is made of a special stout gauge acid-resisting metal having only one longitudinal seam. This should prevent any possibility of leakage, besides rendering a somewhat delicate part of the machine less liable to damage through falls or other accidents. The capacity of the tank is one and a half gallons of petrol and two pints of lubricating oil. Two accumulators are firmly fixed in the tank by means of a special clip, which is both neat and prevents any possible short circuit through the terminals touching the metal of the case. The accumulators are connected up to a two-way switch, and to prevent any possibility of damage to the batteries an automatic cut-out is provided. Brook’s B90 saddle and two toolbags complete the equipment of one of the most up-to-date motor cycles that we have yet examined.”
Stop Press (March 2023): My research team (thanks Allie) has unearthed a 1904 copy of The Motor Cycle which is packed with fascinating words, pics and ads. Read on, and enjoy…
“IN ORGANISING ITS FIRST HILL-CLIMB, open to members only, the Auto Cycle Club has drawn up a most sensible net of rules, which should not fail to ensure the weeding out of the weaklings from the efficient machines. No pedalling is to be allowed. In this rests the success of the undertaking, which, we think, cannot fail to ensue. Of all competitions a hill-climb is the most interesting, and there is no sight more gratifying than to see a £50 motor bicycle scorn a gradient of 1 in 9 in a manner which would put a £500 car to shame. If pedalling were permitted, it would not mean that necessarily the best engine would be the winner of its class, but probably, or, rather, more than probably, the strongest rider, or the man who was wise enough to use a suitable pedalling gear. There was a tremendous outcry recently against weight in motor cycles, and perhaps not without reason; but we ask our readers, if we take off our 2½hp or 2¾hp engine, which will carry us up any average hill without pedal assistance, and to save a few pounds in weight, replace it with a 1½hp or 1¾hp motor, which will cause as to break our backs in pedalling up a 1 in 14 gradient, is it worth while to sacrifice efficiency for lightness? Let us now consider a few arguments against the light machine. Its advantages have been put frequently and pretty clearly before us of late. Its highest speed is little over the legal limit; its engine is geared low, and consequently has to run at a high rate of speed to maintain its power. This means excessive vibration, and increased discomfort in proportion. If it is taken into a crowded street and asked to crawl behind an omnibus, its small flywheels cause the engine to give up the ghost at a critical moment. You are told that it will climb any hill with light pedalling. Try it on a really bad one, and you will find the light and beneficial exercise develop into such strenuous over-exertion that you will have to get off in disgust and push the weakling up. The advocates of this class of machine—the introduction of which will turn our healthy and charming pastime into a farce—tell us that it appeals to the old cyclist. We rather doubt it. If it does, it is the old cyclist who has tried neither the light nor the heavy machine. They also tell as that the remedy for the lightweight’s obvious defects is a two-speed gear. Surely a change-speed gear is out of place on a single machine. The great advantages which the efficient motor bicycle has over the car are its simplicity mechanically, its lower price, and its cheapness of upkeep. If we are going to advocate the introduction of these complications into the poor man’s motor car, the poor man will be the first to blame us. Of course, there are some cyclists who would like a machine of the type we have just described, but unless they live in a level district, and are capable of keeping their mounts in perfect trim (they have absolutely no reserve of power), we advise them to adopt nothing under a 2½hp. No one more than ourselves would like to see a light motor bicycle, but at the present time such a machine does not exist in an efficient and commendable form, and in our opinion it is in every way possible to choose the heavier machine. The public want them because the public are wise and know what they really require. Many of them have tried the light powerless machine and found it wanting. The majority of manufacturers realise this, and the manager of one firm to whom we were talk-ing the other day, when asked whether he found that customers preferred the 3½hp to the 3hp machines, replied most emphatically in the affirmative. We do not, of course, advise a beginner to invest in a machine of such a high power, which two years ago was considered murderous and appalling, but as soon as he has mastered his first machine, and found out what hills it will not take. this is the mount which he will necessarily choose. In conclusion, we beg our readers to ask themselves whether the machine which will go anywhere and do anything is not, after all, the one they wish to buy? and surely not the mount which, though it may be easily wheeled up a flight of nine or ten steps, will jib as soon as its rider comes to a hill of any severity. If it were possible to have a very light machine with all the advantages of the heavier one in point of power and hill-climbing, we should be the first to advocate it, but to advocate a lightweight motor bicycle for all purposes is not our policy. Indeed, it is obvious that a machine which might suit a nine-stone rider in level country would be useless for a twelve-stone man in a mountainous one, however well he might pedal on hills.”
“SPEED AND BRAG. We have had our attention drawn within the last few weeks to a practice which we think might with advantage be dropped on the part of a good many motor cyclists and auto-mobilists. We refer to the bragging that goes on with regard to the distance that can be covered in a certain time. In many instances lately we have found that the culprits are newcomers to the sport, and, being possessed of a fast machine, do not lose the slightest opportunity of publicly stating in places of resort that they have come from so and so in such and such a time, or previously done from so and so to so and so in so many minutes. If this was confined to their own club members and fellow riders, we should have nothing to say on the subject, but, unfortunately, it is not confined to them, and in consequence it is talked about pretty considerably amongst non-motorists, till it gradually gets round to the ears of a motorphobe, who then seizes upon it as a subject to ventilate his grievance. A speedy ride on a motor of any description is most exhilarating, and can be undertaken with safety when there is no traffic about, but, even if 20 miles are covered in half an hour, there is no actual necessity to tell everybody you come across about it. It is not a very difficult matter, if you take a 20 miles run out on a fast road, to cover this distance in some districts without coming across any traffic worth mentioning, but when you arrive in the next town and state that you have come 20 miles in half an hour, it naturally opens the eyes of others to the fact that you have been racing along, and, without making enquiries as to whether there was any traffic on the route, they immediately say, ‘Oh, how dangerous.’ This little caution is given at a time when there are numerous owners purchasing new machines, and novices coming into the ranks of motor cyclists; we therefore think it a good opportunity to draw attention to it. We are in a position to prove that there is a good deal more harm done to the cause by thus advertising what the mot cycle or car can do than by quietly doing it and saying nothing about it.”
“IT HAS BEEN DECIDED to elect a sub-committee of the Auto Cycle Club for the purpose of dealing with the pastime of motor cycling as distinct from the racing section.”
“UP TO THE DATE OF going to press no more entries have, we hear, been received for the motor cycle side-slip trials. It is a pity that a few more enterprising folk do not give publicity to the devices they have invented.”
“ANOTHER CHALLENGE TO THE world emanating from a record holder appeared recently in one of the sporting dailies, but at present it does not appear probable that it will lead to a match. Such challenges flavour more of the pugilistic world, and do little good to the challengers.”
“MESSRS BINKS’S ENGINEER, a Mr David Roberts was summoned for furiously riding a motor cycle in Burton Street, Nottingham. There was a unique defence to the case. Dr Bottrill said that Messrs Binks had been experimenting with a new machine, and the defendant was sent out to try the new method of ignition. He went down Burton Street at a slow pace, but on turning and starting the engine to come back, the machine developed a speed which took the driver by surprise. The machine referred to is apparently the four-cylinder Binks engine which has been under test for six or seven months, and had not given the results which were anticipated, and it was therefore decided to try a new method of ignition, with the above result.”
“SIDE-SLIPPING IS A GREAT bugbear to motor cyclists, yet the risk is greatly exaggerated. The proper thing to do is to cross tram lines at as wide an angle as possible, and to keep off wood setts when they have a thick coating of slime on them. Drying roads are more dangerous in this respect, too, than wet roads. People often ask which tyre has the best anti-slipping corrugations. A Northern correspondent writes that his experience is that corrugated treads make no appreciable difference. He says that he had three pairs of pneumatic tyres of the original smooth pattern, and in two of these cases the tendency to skid was no more marked than it has been in recent years with all kinds of anti-slipping corrugations, and basket patterns and what not. In the third case the machine was always skidding in mud or thick dust, but these propensities were not mitigated in the slightest degree when the smooth tyres were taken off and a corrugated pattern substituted. This seemed to indicate that the skidding tendencies were due to the machine itself, and not to the tyres, and our correspondent thinks lesser liability to side-slip depends almost entirely upon the attention paid to frame design.”
“THE MOTOR CYCLING CLUB is fast completing its arrangements for the twenty-four hours’ run from London to Edinburgh. The start will be made on May 20th from the GPO, the historical point from which the old mail coach to Edinburgh originally started. The North Road Club has always started the London to York ride from the same point, which gives the matter additional interest now the motor cycle is being used in place of the pedal-propelled machine. Motor cyclists should note that this ride, which will no doubt often be referred to in the future, is open to members of the club only, and if they wish to participate in the run, it would be well for them to put themselves in communication with the honorary secretary, Mr JH Reeves, 2, Penywern Road, Earls Court, London, SW. The entries close at an early date, therefore little time is to be lost.
“THE SIDECAR HAS JUST reached America, one having recently been en evidence on the Ormond Beach, one of those vast tracts of hard sand which our American cousins are finding so suitable for speed tests. One of the American automobile papers refers to it as a. ‘sociable attached to a motor bicycle, which appeared to run well on the smooth sand track, but, of course, was not suitable for road work’.”
“0NE OF OUR CONTEMPORARIES in a recent issue inserted a paragraph which implied that motor cyclists had a most haggard appearance when on their machines, and queried the reason why this should be the case. If the paragraph had been confined to the circulation of the publication in which it was inserted we do not think any very great harm to the cause of motor cycling would have been done, but when it happens to be quoted in a leading daily with a circulation of about half a million copies, which goes all over the world, it becomes a serious matter. Of course, there is no truth in the statement whatever. Motor cyclists do not wear any different expressions from other users of automobiles, and to say anything to the contrary is only an absurdity. We have noticed for some time that the particular paper in question gathers a good deal of its motor cycle information from the pages of The Motor Cycle, and we should be inclined to think that its exchange copy was mislaid in the post on this particular occasion, and it was put to considerable trouble to fill the motor cycling column in consequence. At least, one would be inclined to think so, judging by the paragraph to which we refer above. The motor cyclists in the paragraph are alluded to as ‘flying by’. Does the writer mean that he spends most of his time walking or looking out of the window, or is he a driver of a car which was intended to do thirty miles an hour and will not? One might as well argue that ladies playing golf looked haggard as to say that motor cyclists present any other than their usual appearance when enjoying their exhilarating runs.”
“ACCORDING TO THE Evening News a cycle motor weighing but 7lb, and developing 2½hp, is the latest invention. Further particulars would be welcomed.”
“ONE OF THE MACHINES which completed at the recent five miles event at Canning Town was fitted with a surface carburetter, but the machine never had a look in.”
“IN MANY PRESENT DAY machines it is impossible to take off the cylinder without having to remove the whole engine from the frame. Having a loss of compression and suspecting the piston ring slots to be in line we removed the cylinder, found our suspicions correct, and had the cylinder back in half an hour. We thoroughly appreciated not having to dismantle the engine. Accessibility is not the leading feature of marry motor cycles, but is an important one.”
“RECENT RIDING OF A TRIMO, in traffic particularly, has impressed upon us the necessity of having a clutch on such machines. As our engine has a ball bearing on the engine shaft, the clutch will have to be fitted on the rear wheel. If any motor cyclist who has a clutch so fitted would give us his experiences we should esteem it as a favour.”
“IT IS CUSTOMARY to form a loop or coil is the petrol or lubricating feed pipes on motor cycles, often to the surprise of the novice, who naturally supposes that better results would be obtained with a straight pipe. The object of these loops is two-fold—firstly to give a certain amount of spring to the pipe, to prevent fracture under vibration; secondly to provide for the pipe being drawn out a little in the event of a breakage, to enable afresh joint to be made. If the pipe were direct and the end broke off, it would necessitate a whole new pipe.”
“MOTOR CYCLES WERE TO THE FRONT at the meet of the Derby, Nottingham and Leicester Automobile Clubs at Ashby-de-la-Zouch. The proceedings were not remarkable for excessive sociability, as is frequently the case at inter-club meets. Amongst the machines were Quadrants, including a two-engine tricar, Excelsiors, 2½hp Daw, two-cylinder Garrard with side-car, and 3hp Clarendon Trimo. After the two-engine Quadrant forecar the most interesting machine was a chain-driven Humber fitted with Simms high-tension magneto and a Sthenos carburetter. We had a chat with the rider, who informed us that he had made the alterations himself, and that the ignition worked perfectly at all speeds. The magneto was chain-driven, in two steps for convenience, from the half-speed shaft. We saw this machine start up, which it did just as quickly as a machine fitted with the ordinary ignition. The inevitable shower fell during the photo-graphical proceedings, but otherwise the weather was, as it should be in April.”
“THE OPENING RUN OF THE SEASON of the Edinburgh Motor Cycle Club should have taken place on Saturday, the 9th inst, to Peebles, but owing to the violent storm of a mixture of snow, sleet, hail, rain and wind, the run had to be abandoned, to the great disappointment of the members who had been looking forward to a pleasant outing. Saturday was just about as wild and unpropitious a day for riding as can be imagined, and reminded one more of a day in mid-winter rather than in spring. The club, we are informed, promises to be much stronger numerically this year, and the members are very enthusiastic. They are only longing for the April showers to cease. Linlithgow was the destination of the club on Saturday last, and other places to be visited in the course of this month, May and June are West Linton, West Calder, Haddington, Bathgate, Gullane, and North Berwick, Lauder, Falkirk, Innerleithen, Dunbar, and Galashiels.”
“THE MEMBERS OF THE Southern Motor Club had a most enjoyable Easter tour. Leaving London by the Bath Road on Friday afternoon, they arrived at Marlborough mid-day on Saturday, where after a short stay they returned home via the Thames Valley, the weather being all that could be desired. Several members joined the tour at various places, including Henley and Marlow. A well arranged fixture card will be issued in the course of a few days. Among the various fixtures are the following: Two 100 miles reliability trials, three hill-climbing contests, two garden parties, and a launch party. The first reliability trial of 100 miles for motor cycles (single class) will take place on May 7th, the course of which will be decided on shortly.”
“THE BIRMINGHAM MOTOR CYCLE CLUB held its opening run on Saturday, April 9th, to Worcester, and before starting was photographed outside the club headquarters, the Crown Hotel, Corporation Street. Unfortunately, a heavy downpour of rain prevented many of the members from going all the way, and the state of the roads on the tram routes of the city resulted in one or two side-slips. If we may be permitted to offer a little advice, we should recommend a starting-point on the outskirts as being more convenient to the majority concerned. After leaving Northfield the roads were in splendid order, and an enjoyable run was made to the city of gloves and porcelain. An unfortunate accident took place, owing to one of the riders on a tricycle fouling a cart and bringing down the honorary secretary (Mr Bedford), whose Werner suffered a buckled wheel, etc. Mr Maxfield, the collaborateur with Mr Garrard in the production of the Maxfield-Garrard ignition, kindly kept his workshop open, and very soon had matters put right. This regrettable contretemps and the bad weather reduced the tea party to thirteen, who sat down at the Bell Hotel.”
“ALTHOUGH THE SUNDERLAND Automobile Association did not organise a Good Friday run, a good many independent motor cyclists braved the stormy weather and cycled out to villages in the locality, Durham city being visited by several. Votaries of the motor cycle are increasing so rapidly that, judging by appearance at least, they bid fair soon to almost equal the numbers of those who keep to the ordinary machine. Local cycle traders are now exhibiting motor cycles more than ever before, and one business man told our correspondent that the demand for these machines quite surprised him, and he is now finding it to his interest to make a speciality of motor cycles, leaving other machines to take second place. To a less degree this sort of thing obtains in many other shops in the district. It is a case of motors, motors everywhere. It is needless to say that dealers welcome the organisation of motor cyclists, as they consider it will result in the growth of the pastime.”
“After the activity which has been the most marked characteristic of the Sunderland Automobile Association since its inception, the officers and members are relaxing their efforts somewhat. There is nothing at present to stir them into vigour in regard to oppressive regulations as to speed—they removed this danger at the outset—and their work now is to secure adequate co-operation and smooth working among all the branches throughout the county of Durham. The committee is still receiving numerous applications for membership, and there is reason to believe that ere long the motor cyclists of Sunderland and Durham county generally will have one of the strongest and most effective unions in the country. A desire exists, however, to spread the cause in the neighbouring county of Northumberland. Hitherto the battles of Northumberland motor cyclists have been fought by the Durham men, but it is felt that they should now find further strength in themselves.”
“WITH THE CYCLE TOURING CLUB (Motor Cycle Section) to Land’s End…Brown proved a capital guide for the first mile; then a cow ran at him, knocking him over. The damage was slight to man and machine—I do not know about the cow—and we were soon tackling the stiff hills to St Buryan. The last is a terrible one, which Brown alone succeeded in climbing, for the cow seemed to have put new life into him…There was another great descent into Truro. Motor bicyclists cannot be too careful in taking these descents and the corresponding ascents in wet weather…It appeared that Brown’s accumulator ran out near Penzance. Why such an experienced tourist should come away without a spare accumulator I cannot imagine…The road out of St Austell is vile in the extreme. For nearly three miles we ascended over a dangerously greasy road and through the most desolate, depressing country of the whole tour. We were passing through the tin and copper mine districts and china clay works…At Bugle we got clear of the worst of this terrible stage. We had risen to nearly 800 feet above sea level, and it is a marvel how we succeeded in climbing over such a treacherous surface. It was on this stage Chatterton…had a bad side-slip when he was going nearly 20mph. The muscles of his arm and shoulder were badly bruised, and he was unable to take any further part in the Easter tour…Nearly the whole 21 miles which separate Bodmin from Launceston go through a very wild country. There are no trees, no hedges, no houses, for miles. Small chance of a police trap here, thought I. Shipton evidently thought the same, for his machine just then bounded forward at full legal limit, and I altered my speed also to suit the new conditions. The day was now exceptionally bright, the roads excellent, the wind favourable, the motors running like clockwork, and the course was clear; you could see for miles. How could motor bicycling possibly be enjoyed under more favourable conditions? We called a halt at the highest point, 1,000ft above the sea, and felt just then that life was indeed worth living…Less than two hours sufficed to polish off the 42 miles…It wax necessary that I should be back in London on Monday, before lighting-
up time…The weather was very unsettled when we got away at 6.30am with the intention of riding to Ilminster—33 miles—for breakfast…After waiting nearly two hours I was obliged to go on alone, and, travelling via Ilchester, Wincanton and Shaftesbury, reached Salisbury in good time for lunch…After one and a quarter hours for rest and refreshment I went on to Basingstoke for tea…A very pleasant day’s run was terminated by a run to Richmond Park and round it, then home over Hammersmith Bridge. The whole run from Exeter occupied a shade over 12 hours, including all halts for rest and meals. The machine never required an adjustment whatever, nor, indeed, did it during the whole tour of nearly 700 miles. A few observations on the lessons derived from such a tour as this may not be out of place. Four of the five machines were belt-driven. The chain-driven one, as already noted, had some delay owing to the nut working off the chain bolt. My only complaint against the belt is on the score of expense of renewal. I have not yet found a belt, however costly, that will carry me on my 3hp machine 3,000 miles. Indeed, 1,000 miles is the average distance. Thus the belt costs far more than the petrol, electricity, and lubricating oil. Is this as it should be? I should very much like to hear of a belt that with ordinary care would last a reasonable distance. Some of the roads in Devon and Cornwall are almost unrideable in wet weather. The side-slip danger is ever present with one when traversing these dangerous parts. It is a marvel to me we came through so well as we did, seeing how many miles of bad and exceptionally greasy road we passed over. All machines should be permanently fitted with two accumulators. It is most awkward to know how otherwise to carry a spare one, and the result is one often ventures out on one alone. I am glad to say my 1904 mount is fitted with twin accumulators. Previously I have ruined leather cases and clothes when carrying a spare battery. To enjoy motor bicycling at all times of the year and in all parts of the country, some spring fork or frame arrangement is an absolute necessity, It is a crying shame the way cows and horses, etc, are allowed to stray all over the road. Finally, motor cycling is probably the most invigorating outdoor exercise that can be indulged in. The blood gets thoroughly oxygenated in a way that can be attained by no other means at present available.”
“THERE APPEARED TO BE a decided scarcity of petrol at certain of the South coast resorts during the recent holidays. Several cycle and motor agents informed us that the stock of lighter spirit was sold out before Sunday in consequence of so many motors being on the road. At Canterbury and Ashford, however, we experienced no difficulty in securing a supply of Carless, the Canterbury Motor Co having a good supply at their extensive garage.”
“IN OUR ISSUE OF April 5th we published a photograph of the motor expert who tests all the Bowden motor cycles. Owing to an error, we unfortunately stated that this gentleman’s name was Mr C Brett, whereas it should have been Mr SJ Galley. Mr Galley resides at 62, Lawrence Road, Tottenham, London, N, and makes a speciality of motor cycling, teaches driving, and supplies any make of motor cycle. Our readers may rest assured that Messrs The EM Bowden’s Patents Syndicate would not have handed over the testing of all their motor cycles to him unless they were positively assured that he was a practical man; therefore any motor cyclists in the district who want machines tuning up cannot do better than apply to Mr Galley.”
“COLLIER HAS A RACING MATCHLESS on the stocks at the present moment on which he ought to accomplish some quick times when he gets the engine and carburetter properly tuned up.”
“JF CRUNDALL, THE CHAMPION crack of the opening meeting at Canning Town, has a new and powerful Humber racer on the stocks for record work, upon which he anticipates breaking the hour and other records. It is fitted with an engine of nearly 4hp…” (Crundall is pictured at Canning Town in 1903.)
“IT IS CERTAINLY HIGH TIME that something was done to deal with the dangerous dog nuisance. This question of dogs at large is one that the Motor Union might well take in hand.” (In case you missed it, there’s a feature on this subject in 1903, “Dogs: Shoot, hang or poison?”)
“DRIVERS OF MOTOR CYCLES for two should never forget that, though they may omit to carry split pins in their wallets, there are other articles of almost equal use which ladies never omit to insert in their lovely tresses. A thin hairpin is almost of as much value as gold wire to a motor cyclist in trouble.” (Seventy years later, at Thornton Heath Pond on the A23, a chum replaced a lost split link on his G9 Matchless with a hairgrip scrounged from a passing schoolgirl.)
“MISS MURIEL HIND, an enthusiastic motor cyclist, made a long run on a Singer motor bicycle one day last week. Leaving Conway (North Wales) early, she arrived in Coventry long after dark, the driving tyre having punctured no less than six times after lighting-up time. The mechanism of the Singer gave no trouble.”
“I CONTEMPLATE MAKING a long trip, starting early in May. I shall be glad if you or any of the numerous readers of The Motor Cycle will give me any information or make any suggestion which can be of use on the journey. I propose moting from London to LIverpool, and want to call at Sheffield and Doncaster en route, then boat to New York, motor to Los Angeles, calling at St Louis for exhibition, Salt Lake City, and San Francisco, and along the Pacific Coast to destination. Can you give me the best routes to follow? Do you know if I can buy in London a. cyclists’ road map of America? How do their roads compare with ours? Do you know if it will be imperative to pack motor in a case or in crate for the shipping company? Shall I be called upon to pay any ‘duty’ on the bicycle upon arrival in New York, seeing that it is for my own use only? Will it be possible to buy petrol in American towns? How many miles a day could I average comfortably, allowing, say, eight hours a day actual running? I intend having a new motor bicycle for the journey. What horse-power and which make do you think most suitable? If you think this will be of sufficient interest, I shall feel highly favoured if you will publish it along with a reply. Thanking you in anticipation for your kindness.
“CAN YOU PLEASE INFORM me if the Bowden handle control is in your estimation a success, as I have heard it variously criticised, one rider stating that on rough roads the strain of preventing the shifting of position of handle controlling the throttle was so considerable that the vibration conveyed to the wrist and the tension of the grip robbed the system of much that might otherwise be claimed for it.
The Bowden system is, in our opinion, excellent and likely to become well nigh universal for bicycles. The criticism you detail evidently refers to the earlier pattern of handle, which certainly did tend to shift under vibration unless tightly gripped, but this has now been entirely redesigned to give a wider range of movement, and will remain in any position independent of hand-grip.”
“I AM IN DOUBT AS TO whether to go in for surface or spray carburetter, though I see the latter is becoming more general. I have had a few trips on a borrowed machine with surface carburetter, and cannot conceive how the tiny apparatus of the spray can replace the bulky surface type.
It is still a disputed matter, though the balance is in favour of the spray type, largely because it is more nearly automatic in action, wastes less petrol, as it does not go stale when left in tank, and engine as a rule starts quicker. On the other hand, its parts are more delicate and liable to choke up if dirt gets into the petrol tank. The bulk of the surface carburetter is due to the fact that, as its name implies, a large surface of petrol must be exposed to the incoming air, but the actual difference is not so much as it appears, because the surface carburetter is also acting as a petrol tank. We should advise any of the better makes of spray, such as Longuemare or FN.“
“CAN YOU INFORM ME if there is any motor bicycle on the market, or if it would be practicable to get one built, which would enable me to quickly detach the motor mechanism and transfer it to a small boat, and if so what power motor would you suggest as being best suited to the double purpose? The boat is 15ft x 4ft beam.
We do not think there is anything on the English market answering your requirements, and quick detachment and replacement of the whole of the working parts would be extremely difficult to arrange so far as the bicycle is concerned, Moreover, an ordinary air-cooled bicycle motor would soon overheat on launch work. The power of the boat would depend on propeller diameter and pitch, on the speed required, and on the class of water it had to run in, as to work in a tidal river would call for much more power than still water. We should not recommend you to proceed with the idea, but 3½ to 4hp should suit such a boat, though that is in excess of what the average rider should have on a motor bicycle.“
“I SHALL BE MUCH OBLIGED if you will give me your experience (if any) of sidecars for motor bicycles, and their advantages over forecars and trailers. Is there any undue strain on the bicycle? They do not seem to be taken up much by the public, and one does not see them advertised so much now. What is the reason?
We have not as yet noticed that sidecars are less used or less advertised than formerly. In fact, they seem just as popular as ever. The advantages which they have over trailers are as follows: They are rigid in grease, so side-slip is done away with; they are also perfectly safe attachments, and do not require more engine power to propel them; they are more sociable than a forecar; the passenger is not exposed to any obstacle a careless driver may run him into; and the engine is not carried in a sheltered position.“
“I HAVE A 3½HP MOTOR CYCLE which goes very well, but which I find very hard work to start. I am anxious to have a friction clutch fitted. I should be much obliged if you could recommend me a suitable and satisfactory one. The engine has a De Dion type belt pulley.
We advise you to write to any of those firms who make a speciality of clutches, giving them full details of your engine, and asking them if they can supply you with one of their clutches.“
“I AM WRITING FOR A FRIEND who wants to know about the motor business as a profession. Will you kindly answer the following questions: (1.) Is it a profession for a gentleman? (2.) What age ought you to begin at? (3.) Have you got to know very much about motors? (4.) Will it be a paying profession? (5.) Can you give me the name of firms where they take in gentlemen?
(1.) Yes, we should consider the motor profession suitable for a gentleman. (2.) It would be preferable to apprentice your friend to one of the best firms of engineers making motor cars, where a thorough works training would be received, finishing afterwards with a certain time in the drawing offices. (3.) It is not necessary to know the business before being apprenticed, but naturally to become a motor engineer it would be necessary for your friend to be thoroughly acquainted with the mechanism of these machines. (4.) As to whether it will become a paying profession depends entirely on the man’s own capabilities and initiative. (5.) The Mardslay Motor Co, Parkside, Coventry; Daimler Motor Co, Coventry; and the Wolseley Tool and Motor Co, Adderley Park, Birmingham.“
“I AM THINKING OF GOING in for a motor cycle. I realise the most important part is the engine, regarding which I am perfectly ignorant. There are so many advertised that I am lost amongst them. My ideas are as follows: Frame, BSA fittings, wheels, 28in diameter; tyres, 2½in Dunlop or Clincher; belt or chain driven, no idea ; handle-bar control, etc, no idea; engine and power of same, no idea; height of frame, I am 6ft high, and 13st weight. Should be glad of any other points of information that would be of advantage to me.
Your choice as regards frame, fittings, wheels, and tyres is perfectly sound. We recommend you to have an engine of about 2½ to 2¾hp of standard make with belt transmission (large V belt). Handle-bar control is a matter of choice, and you could have ft fitted afterwards if you thought you would like it. We would recommend you to fit an exhaust valve lifter, working independently of the switch, to be attached to the handle-bars. A 24in. frame would be most suitable for you.“
“THERE IS NO DOUBT ABOUT IT—the two-speed gear will be a predominant feature in the motor cycle of the future. For the motor bicycle it will be a luxury; for the passenger-carrying three-wheeler a necessity. My own early experiences with motor tricycles and quads convinced me that a variable speed gear was essential when a small motor had to propel the weight of two people. After struggling with single-geared motor cycles for three years, I found relief in a 3hp Ariel quad with a two-speed gearing, which carried me and an adult passenger on its initial trip from London to Hastings in three hours and a quarter. Without a two-speed gear I could not have done the journey at all, in the heavy state of the roads. But the type of two-speed gear fitted to the Ariel quad was not an ideal type for motor cycle purposes; it was too positive and jerky in changing, not having a friction clutch; it gnashed its teeth in a manner painful to the nerves of the rider, who knew that every time the gears scraped they were wearing out the dog clutch. The average life of a dog clutch was under 500 miles, and the dog clutch was both an expensive and an awkward thing to renew. The positive gear, moreover, did not economise the rider’s efforts at starting, because both machine and engine had to be started by the rider’s physical efforts, just as though there had been only a single gear. The modern friction clutch has changed all that. Experience with motor cars has shown how completely efficacious and satisfactory is the principle of starting the engine with the vehicle at a standstill, by means of a hand crank, and letting the engine gently commence to drive the vehicle by means of a slipping clutch; and the adoption of this practice will mean that the motor cyclist will in the future—nay, he can now—be free from the heartrending efforts that have been hitherto associated with the starting of a motor cycle by the pedals.”—AJ Wilson
To conclude the year, a selection of contemporary adverts…
Here are some of the ads that accompanied the Motor Show at the Agricultural Hall, Islington:
Here’s a selection of ads from the colonies…
These adverts appeared in The Motor which, following the suspension of its stablemate Motor Cycling, took an interest in motor cycles…