FROM 1902-1909 MOTOR CYCLING ceased production, leading to The Motor Cycle’s masthead slogan, “Established in 1903 and for six years the only paper solely devoted to the pastime”. But Temple Press didn’t ignore motor cycling; The Motor took an interest, as Illiffe Press’s Autocar had before the arrival of The Motor Cycle. So we must thank The Motor for the following: “Alexander Anzani, the Italian expert, who recently won the world’s motorcycle championship at Antwerp, accomplished a really marvellous record ride at the Parc des Princes track, Paris, on Saturday last week, by covering 58 miles 489 yards in the hour, and 100 kilometres (62 miles 246 yards) in 1hr 14min 14.4sec, as against the previous bests of Joseph Guippone of 56 miles 266 yards and 1hr 6min 36.4sec respectively. It will therefore thus be seen that a mile a minute for 60 consecutive minutes is within the bounds of possibility, even on a small motorcycle weighing under 50 kilogrammes (110lb), while in endeavouring to reach this end Anzani is actually reach this end Anzani is actually reducing the cylinder capacity, his record ride being accomplished on 90 by 90, whereas with the identical engine 90 by 110 dimension the most he could get out of it last year was about 54¾ miles. Unfortunately, the weighing in after the record, Anzani’s Alcyon, which was fitted with a Buchet engine and Dunlop tyres, was found to be a trifle over 50kg, and so the record for this latter type of machine still stands to the credit of Guippone, but as the world’s bests, Anzani’s times are well ahead of previous figures. During the past month the Italian has been experimenting with the engine, and told the writer that when he summoned the official chronométreur new times would be recorded, and this statement be thoroughly confirmed. It is generally the second time of asking that these marvellous rides are completed, and Anzani’s case proved no exemption, for in his first attempt the oiler did not work satisfactorily; but after this had been adjusted everything went like clockwork…Anzani’s wonderful ride of over 58miles in the hour is a triumph for the light motor-bicycle.”
JOSEPH BARTER’S LIGHT Motors, which had already produced a conventional single-cylinder engine to power a bicycle, developed a 200cc in-line flat twin marketed as the Fee (French for Fairy) which was soon anglicized to Fairy. It was (probably) the first flat-twin.
INDIAN CAME UP with a 500cc V-twin. It was a good year for V-twins; they also came from NSU of Germany, Puch and Styria of Austria—and Indian’s compatriot Glenn Curtiss. He put his twin to good use by riding it round the one-mile Syracuse dirt track in exactly 61 seconds to set the latest in a series of records.
THE AUTOMOBILE CLUB of Great Britain and Ireland staged a week of races on Brighton seafront after local resident Sir Harry Preston persuaded the local council to lay a motor racing track using the newly invented Tarmac between the Palace Pier and Black Rock. [Since 1909 this stretch of road has been called Madera drive. It is still the home of the Brighton Speed Trials and is the destination of The Sunbeam MCC’s Pioneer Run.]
NOT ALL TWINS were of the V-persuasion. The Paris Show featured vertical twins from Werner and Bercley (a new Belgian marque) and a 363cc in-line four from FN with a Simms-Bosch high-tension magneto, shaft drive running through a frame tube, leading link forks and a drum rear brake.
THE AUTOFAUTEIL DEBUTED with small wheels, an enclosed (427cc) engine mounted below the ‘fauteil’ (armchair) and an open frame – in essence the ancestor of the motor scooter.
THE AUTO-CYCLE CLUB staged a 750-miles Six Days Trial: 31 bikes started, 21 finished and six won gold medals.The course included Birdlip Hill which was scaled by one superman who pedalled his Ariel trike to the top. But two P&Ms astonished the competition by cruising up thanks to a two-speed transmission. AJ Wilson, author of the seminal Motor Cycles and How to Manage Them, presented a prize “for the best performance in comparison with the total weight of the machine”. It was won by LM Young on a 2½hp Werner.
TO GET ROUND the British ban on road racing the ACC staged selection trials for the Coupe Internationale on the Isle of Man as part of the Gordon Bennett car races (the secretary of the Automobile Club’s cousin was Lord Lieutenant of the Island). Six bikes built to comply with the Continental 50kg racing limit started the ‘high speed reliability trial’; two made it to the end.
ROYAL ENFIELD ADOPTED the P&M two-speed set-up; Werner used a similar system with a rocking footchange.
HUMBER CEASED motor cycle production to concentrate on cars—but they’ll be back.
WILLIAM C CHADEAYNE, Captain of the Buffalo Motorcycle Club and a director of the Thomas Auto-Bi Company, rode one of the company’s bikes across the United States in 44 days, 23 hours and 50 minutes to set a transcontinental record. It was only the second coast-to-coast run; the first man to do it was George Wyman in 1903 [The full story is in the 1903 Features section]. Chadeayne’s Thomas Auto-Bi was a 2½hp 440cc single. He described the roads even east of the Mississippi as “unspeakably vile…seas of mud or oceans of sand” and was forced to ride along railway tracks for more than 600 miles.
FREDDIE BARNES JOINED Zenith as chief engineer and patented the Gradua variable-ratio belt drive transmission. It changed the effective diameter of the crankshaft pulley to alter the drive ratio, while simultaneously moving the rear wheel forward or back to maintain belt tension. Control was via a rotating lever on the fuel tank, The company was not shy of innovation, witness the Bicar, with hub-centre steering, two-speed transmission and a drum brake; it was based on the three-wheel Tricar. The Blue ‘Un reported: “Invented by Mr Tooley, of Great Yarmouth, and exhibited at the last Crystal Palace Show, where it made its debut, the Zenith Bicar is a completely novel form of motor-bicycle. The most interesting portion of the machine is, of course, the frame, which, as will be seen at once, is a startling departure from orthodox lines. The upper longitudinal tubes extend from the rear wheel spindles completely round the front wheel, the latter being supported in phosphor-bronze guides, in which it is allowed to move freely on hardened steel rollers. On each side of the front wheel spindle there are rods running to the steering arm, which are somewhat after the fashion of a tri-car one attached to the bottom of the steering pillar. The lower portion of the frame is hinged on two lugs which are brazed on to the forward end of the upper frame, while at the rear end shackles are fitted between the two portions. The back forks are of the usual pattern, but are hinged at the points where they converge on the rear spindle slots. The lower frame, therefore, carries the engine and coil and accumulator boxes, and the
weight of the rider, since the down tube is carried through a guide fixed on a lateral stay of the top frame, and attached to a similar stay on the bottom frame. Thus, to explain it clearly, the top frame carries the two wheels only, while the bottom frame supports the weight of the rider, engine, etc, independent movement of the two being allowed by the hinges and shackles to which reference has been already made. The advantages claimed are that vibration is considerably reduced, and by the novel system of steering employed the front forks-which are generally admitted to be the most vulnerable portion of the modern motor-bicycle-are done away with. Risk of sideslip also is, according to the makers, entirely eliminated. The motive power is a 3hp air-cooled [Fafnir] engine, governed by means of a variable inlet valve, while the gas is supplied to it through a latest pattern Longuemare carburetter. Particular attention has been paid to the ignition system, the current being supplied by two Prested accumulators, and intensified by a Prested trembler coil. Either accumulator may be put into action by using a neat two-way switch, which is fitted in a convenient position. A useful handlebar switch is also supplied, by means of which the current may be permanently cut off, or momentarily switched on and off at will for traffic riding. The belt is a Watawata, running on pulleys turned up to a correct angle. A free engine clutch is incorporated in the engine pulley, and a starting handle is supplied. After inspecting the machine at the Zenith Motor Engineering Co’s works at 101a, Stroud Green Road, Mr Bitton, the manager, kindly placed a machine at our disposal for a few minutes. The clutch took up the drive very nicely, and the engine easily started the machine from a standstill. Seated on 3 Brooks’ B100 saddle, and with our feet on comfortable footboards, we found the machine to be an easy-running and a satisfactory mount.”
BSA MADE ITS first motor-cycle, powered by Minerva.
SVANUS F BOWSER invented a petrol delivery pump. There’s eponymous for you.
THE USA PRODUCED 2,295 motor cycle, up from 159 in 1900. Among them was a new 4hp V-twin Orient .
BY YEAR’S END there were 21,521 motorcycles registered in Britain.
BRITISH IMPORTS OF motor cycles rose, to 1,700. Exports fell, to 688.
A GROUP OF enthusiasts met at the London Trocadero to set up the Automobile Association. Its prime aim was to help motorists avoid police speed traps.
THE SECOND RUNNING of the club team trial was a walkover for the MCC—no one else entered.
MOST OF THE motor cycle clubs springing up around the country were named for their home town; a small group of enthusiasts in Oxford showed more imagination, setting up a ‘semi-private’ club and calling it the Boanerges MCC. As biblical scholars will know, Boanerges was, allegedly, a nickname Jesus gave to his disciples John and James to reflect their fiery natures; it was later used to describe any ‘fire and brimstone’ preacher. So why use it for a bike club? Because it also translates as ‘sons of thunder’ and that’s how they were generally known (until they adopted the name Bocardo MCC a few years later). The Sons of Thunder MCC… clearly ahead of their time.
…and, for your delectation, here are a few of the ads that were tempting enthusiasts in 1905.