THE STANLEY SHOW WAS ESTABLISHED, IN 1878, as a bicycle show but by 1907 about 90 of the stands displayed 216 motor cycles between them (up 30% on 1906) of which 150 had pedals, and there were 17 sidecars on show. A national newspaper report on the show (at the Athenaeum in Camden) noted that the motor cycle had established itself as “a sure and swift means of locomotion for pleasure and business purposes…the motor bicycle was really the pioneer of automobilism; early inventors and experimentalists first applied the petrol engine to single track machines, and from these sprang the motor car. There is no possible question of doubt that there is now a greatly increased demand for motor cycles.”
The Blue ‘Un reported: “Frames are lower, and spring forks are practically standard; handle-bar control is gaining favour, and there is a tendency to fit ball bearings to the engine. The change speed gears may be divided into two heads—those which employ gear wheels or chains and those operating by means of a movable flange on the engine pulley, with or without a jockey pulley. An innovation is a variable speed hub for motor cycles, made by a firm which has previously manufactured the same gear for pedal bicycles.” Petrol gauges were also gaining in popularity.
Bat was known for its competition bikes and you couldn’t get a lot more competitive than its latest racer and potential record breaker fitted with JAP’s latest, biggest (2.7-litre) and most powerful (16hp) V-twin. Sporty riders inspired by this would have gravitated to Bat’s 9hp V-twin featuring magneto ignition (driven, as on earlier models by a vertical shaft), JAP carb and sprung frame. New for the show was a model fitted with JAP’s 3½hp ohv ‘Tourist Trophy’ engine.
The 16hp JAP engine also featured on the Collier & Sons stand which also displayed the trophies Harry and Charley had won during the season. The spotlight, of course, was on the Tourist Trophy and the Matchless on which Charley had won the single-cylinder class. As with Bat, enthusiasts inspired by this sporting prowess had a fast roadster to tempt them; in this case powered by a 6hp JAP engine in a sprung frame featuring the new Matchless adjustable pulley, which allowed the rider to change gear without special tools. Matchless also used the new ohv 3½hp JAP Tourist Trophy engine; all models had leather magneto covers.
Louis Burn exhibited the 2½hp Miniature Max, produced by Johnson and Phillips of Charlton as an urban runabout designed (by Joseph Barter who went on to design the first Douglas flat twin) to be ridden by a standing rider although the show model featured a folding seat. To prove its practicability it was even travel stained.
The Service Motor Co displayed the latest 4hp four-pot FN, a 4hp Roc and the only 3½hp Phelon & Moore at the show. “This machine,” according to the Blue Un’s man at the Stan, “is one which has behaved exceptionally well in every reliability trial in which it has been entered. The finish is remarkably good, and the two-speed gear, with which it is provided, is one of the best of its kind which has ever been brought out The latest model is fitted spring forks and Davison tank gauges. Among the accessories on the Service Co stand was the Whysall patent motor cycle seat with a comfortable backrest that could be raised and lowered by Bowden cables to facilitate mounting.
Ariel showed its 2½ and 3hp models, now with spring forks and the novelty of a transparent celluloid points cover so they could be checked without removing the outside cover.
Douglas led on a 6hp V4 with automatic inlet valves and exhaust valves worked by outside tappets “on the Daimler principle”. A magneto supplied the sparks via a distributor; transmission comprised a chain from the engine to a counter-shaft (running on ball bearings) and two belts to the rear wheel for the high and low gears with gear changing via dog clutches.
The Motor Cycle made no bones about it: “Perhaps the most interesting stand in the whole exhibition is that of H&A Dufaux, makers of the Motosacoche motor bicycle, which is one of the best known and most successful lightweight machines in the country.” The new model was a 60° V-twin developing 2½hp at 2,500rpm with mechanically operated valves; cooling fins were horizontal for maximum cooling. The magneto was fitted upside down below the bottom bracket and enclosed in an aluminium case. Innovations included fuel and oil gauges and a paraffin tank/pump with a simple plunger to inject a measured dose of paraffin via the compression tap to free things up in the morning with the oil pump working in the same way. Also on the stand was a 1hp open-frame model described as “one of the most suitable machines which may be used by a lady that has yet been seen in this country…side shields are also fitted, so the working parts cannot interfere with the clothing of the rider”.
With the armies of several countries taking an increasing interest in motor cycles, GB Motor and Machinery of Sydenham, South-East London launched a 5hp Military Model V-twin designed by F Claasen. It featured a cooling fan driven from the engine sprocket, a Nala two-speed transmission and a folding starting handle. The livery, as you might expect, was khaki but with green pinstriping.
The open-frame Elleham, imported from Denmark (where it was used by the Danish post office and army) was powered by the well proven 2¾hp Peugeot engine mounted at the rear of an iron casting that contained oil, petrol and battery. The carburettor was also out of the ordinary: the inlet manifold carried a chamber containing a turbine running on a spindle fitted on needle bearings and carrying a small pulley linked by an endless coil of wire to a similar pulley fitted at the end of a long tube which extended into the petrol tank. To start the engine the rider’s “finger is smartly pulled along a milled protuberance on the end of the fan spindle which sets the latter whirling rapidly round, and by means of a capillary attraction a certain quantity of petrol adheres to the endless wire, thus impregnating the chamber with petrol vapour. The machine is then gently wheeled along, and the suction of the piston keeps the turbine revolving rapidly and the coiled wire continually ascending and descending, thus supplying the engine with an ample supply of gas.” And the silencer was the shape of a cheese wedge mounted between the rear frame tubes.
Of the 17 sidecars at the Stanley Show 16 made do with the conventional single wheel. The exception was Lowen’s Patent Sidecarriage, which converted a motor bicycle into a four-wheeled passenger vehicle. The seat (coachbuilt and wicker-bodied examples were on display) was supported on C-springs; sidecar removal was said to take less than five minutes. Would the extra wheel require a car licence? That seemed to be a moot point.
The Minervas had acquired striking torpedo-shaped 2¼-gallon petrol tanks. One showgoer remarked: “The appearance of the Minerva machines has been rendered much more pugnacious by a bulbous torpedo tank, which was much admired in both its black and yellow finishes.” A less obvious innovation was spring loaded terminals which held the battery firmly in position; other noteworthy features included adjustable footrests, a Simplex sprung fork and Rex cantilever seat.
Vindec fitted the new pattern Brown and Barlow carburettor, a gear-driven magneto and Truffault forks (“known to be one of the finest devices for absorbing road shocks”). The option of a two-speed gear “renders the machine particularly suitable for passenger work or for elderly riders who cannot run alongside and mount in the usual way”. The company added: “Frames of all model Vindecs are exactly alike, and it is thus possible for a rider, if he so desires, to order a twin-cylinder mount, with a spare single-cylinder engine, and change them about as he pleases.”
The successful Triumph range was left largely unchanged apart from a new model carburettor with three chambers, for the float, the throttle and a “carburetting or air controlling chamber”.
One of the show’s novelties was the Midget Bicar. Its engine was suspended on a pivoted cradle; once the petrol union had been loosened the engine (either single or twin) could be swung out at right angles to the track of the bike “so that it is as accessible as if it were on a bench”.
Zenith came up with “an entirely new type of motor bicycle, which is quite the best piece of work ever turned out from their works”. The 3½hp single-speed Zenette was lighter, shorter and generally more conventional than the established Zenith Bicar with its duplex front end. “It is sprung on an entirely new principle, and has ordinary front forks. The lower portion of the frame is in two parts; the upper part carries the back wheel and the engine, while the lower part carries the front wheel and the rider. The springs in front are strong spiral springs provided with counter-springs beneath them, and strong spiral springs are provided at the back. The two parts of the frame are pivoted at the centre, and there is thus a scissors-like action between them. The result is that we have a most clever system of springs which is simple, unobtrusive, and not at all unsightly. The Zenette was designed to handle “colonial roads”. One pundit commented: “If I were taking a machine out for use on rough colonial roads this is the first machine I should test for the purpose. It ought to run over a decent-sized dog without the rider being seriously inconvenienced.”