Testing a twin tiddler

This paeon of praise to the 2¾hp twin Humber mentions its TT win in the capable hands of PJ Evans. As you might already have seen in the 1912 TT report Evans rode his Humber to 11th place in the Junior and was praised for finishing at all after an endless series of mishaps. His famous victory was in the 1911 Junior; this feature appeared in The Motor Cycle early the following year.

1912 V2 HUMBER
“The 2¾hp twin-cylinder Humber, with Armstrong three-speed gear and clutch.”

TO THOSE RIDERS of 3½hp single-cylinder mounts who have come to regard their . machines as uninteresting, go any-where motor cycles, shorn of all interest and excitement by reason oF their unfailing reliability, and who sigh for something more interesting and more fascinating to ride, we would say try a 2¾hp twin Humber. We have undergone such an experience, and we have been converted. The writer has for years been a staunch supporter of the 3½hp ultra-efficient single-cylinder, but gradually a feeling has crept over him that, after all, the 3½hp single has become an uninteresting machine to ride. Years ago we were not certain of ever reaching home to time, but latterly we have been able to keep our appointments by motor cycle with the certainty of a railway train, and there is little to vary the monotony of the continual “pop, pop, pop” of the engine.
But there are new delights in store for those who would sample a miniature twin such as the Humber. Instead of the plugging of the one-lunger, a smooth even purr is all one hears as the machine flies along, bounding over pot holes with a surprising absence of jolting, due to the well-balanced engine and comfortable riding position.
It is a most handy little machine in every way, and with a three-speed gear, just such a mount as would appeal to the all-weather rider, seeing that it is as stable in grease as a push cycle, and on the low gear will wind its way up the steepest and roughest hill. Starting is simplicity itself. One may either sit on the saddle and, with the low gear engaged and the valve lifter raised, hobble de horse the machine for a couple of yards, when away the engine will go, or alternately walk comfortably alongside, place one foot on the rest, and at the same time drop the valve, and instantly the engine responds. It will thus be gathered that no acrobatic or gymnastic feats are necessary in starting a little Humber, which, in its management, is simplicity itself.

Following car practice, the magneto was secured with a metal strap.

By judicious use of the Armstrong three-speed gear rapid acceleration is possible. A fact which will cause no surprise is that the back lash one notices on the top ratio of this gear with a single-cylinder engine is not nearly so pronounced in the case of a twin, owing to the more constant torque.
The speed of this lilliputian [339cc] twin with its 60x60mm cylinders is amazing. It is not long ago that motor cyclists of the sporting type regarded 2¾hp lightweights as a sort of potterer’s mount, but now the conditions have changed, and instead of the bare 40mph which was the order of the day a year or two ago, one can hit up 50mph on the road as a usual thing under favourable conditions. This fact no doubt explains why such well-known riders as Harry and Audrey Bashall, Alan Woodman, EM Oliver, Sam Wright, and AG. Fenn have been won over by the little Humber.
For sheer originality in design there has been no machine evolved to equal the Humber with the possible  exception of the two-stroke Scott. One can picture the confidence of the designer who sets out to produce a V-type twin-cylinder engine with offset cylinder, compound connecting rods, flat-faced yalves, single step-cut rings to each piston, and other original features of minor importance. Its object was to win the Junior TT, and it is now known the world over that it was successful, averaging with PJ Evans in the saddle, 41½mph ; surely never had a newly designed motor cycle such a splendid send off. Since then, of course, Sam Wright has established a new hour record with 58 miles 1,408 yards, and the feat still causes much wonderment in motor cycle circles.

“End view and side elevation of the 1912 pattern 2¾hp twin-cylinder Humber engine.”

We reproduce a drawing of the Humber twin engine. Each flywheel and spindle are formed of one solid steel stamping. Both cylinders are identical in design, and therefore interchangeable one with the other. The plugs are placed in the cylinder crown, and are fired by an Eisemann magneto secured by a metal strap as in car practice to a bracket formed at the rear of the crank case. All valves are mechanically operated, each cylinder having its own separate cams and valve tappet levers. The exhaust valve lifters are inside the timing cover and are operated by cams, one valve being arranged to open in advance of the other.
The three-speeder weighs in the neighbourhood of 150lb—which is designated ‘lightweight’—but the extreme mobility of the machine would not lead one to suppose that it exceeded one hundredweight. Altogether we are looking forward with great interest to mastering the whims and idiosyncrasies of our little stranger which has won such good opinions during its short sojourn. Only one point has drawn forth criticism—we refer to the somewhat inaccessible position of the carburetter sandwiched in between the cylinders. We have reason to believe that this small point will soon receive attention, as Humber, Ltd are not the firm to allow such trifles to mar their progress.