British motorcycle manufacturers

R-S-T-U-V-W-X-Y-Z -Sources

Last update Mar 24, 2001. Sources listed on first page (A-J). Links below.

Radco Small bikes. 1913-32
Radmill 1912-14
Raglan 1909-13
Raleigh An early contender in the motorcycle scene, the famous bicycle maker stopped making motorized vehicles only a few years after they started 1899-1906, but returned again in 1919. They stopped in 1933, came back in 1958 and finally quit in the mid 1960s. They made their first motorcycle in 1899 using a Schwann engine clipped to a bicycle frame. After several models, they stopped making motorcycles in 1906 or 07. After the war, they made a 654cc sv, expanding the lineup  through the 1920s, and even scored a few modest successes in racing. But the company saw sales plummet in the Depression, and pulled out of the business in 1933. They came back in 1958 with a 49cc moped and later a 78cc Bianchi scooter. They dropped motorized vehicles a few years later.
Rambler 1951-61
Ray 1919-20 and 1922-25
Raynal 1914-53
Ready 1920-22
Rebro 1922-28
Redrup 1919-22
Regal 1909-15
Regent 1920-21
Regina 1903-15
Revolution 1904-06
Rex Founded  by brothers William and Harold Williamson as a car manufacturer in Coventry in 1899. In 1904 they turned to motorcycles with 456cc single and 726cc twin. Made the first telescopic forks, in 1906 and several other innovations including rotary-valve engines and in 1908 were the first to angle the top tube downward to lower the riding position. Company fired the founders in 1911 and under new boss George Hemingway went on to make own engines, as well as producing a series of JAP-powered machines for Premier. Took over Coventry-Acme in 1919 to become Rex-Acme in 1922. The range included 15 models by 1926, from 172cc to 746cc sizes, but sales were sliding. Sidecar manufacturer Mills-Fulford purchased the company in 1932, but dropped motorcycle production in 1933, and sidecars soon followed.
Rex-Jap 1908-15
Reynolds-Runabout 1919-22
Reynolds Special 1930-33
Rickman Founded in 1957 by brothers Don and Derek Rickman, and formally made into Rickman Bros. Ltd. in 1962. Known mostly for their offroad machines made from their frames and other companies' components. Rickman acquired 200 Royal Enfield 736cc Constellation Series II engines in 1968 when RE closed and made a Rickman Interceptor using a Metisse chassis, their own forks and disc brakes.
Riley The Riley family started making well-engineered and expensive bicycles in 1890, turned to motorcycles in 1899, making their first car in 1905. Their first year had 19 models, including motorized tricycles. In 1901 they made motorized quadricycles as well. Started using their own engines, designed by sons Percy, Victor and Allen, in 1903. Three-wheelers were their specialty. Company ceased motorized production in 1908, then bicycle manufacturing ended in 1911.
ROC 1903-15
Rockson 1930-32
Rolfe 1911-14
Roulette 1918-19
Rover Founded by James Starley in 1885 to make a new safety bicycle called the Rover (manufactured in Coventry at the Meteor Works). A year after Starley's death, in 1901, the company started to develop a Rover motorcycle. In 1903, Edmund Lewis, of Daimler, joined as chief designer and the Imperial Rover was released later that year. It was an advanced machine with a sidevalve engine and diamond frame with tandem front downtubes. But a wary public slows sales, and after only building 1,250, Rover stops production in 1905. A Rover bicycle designed to take a clip-on engine was made in 1908. In 1910, the founder's son, James Starley jr. took over and the company launched a new motorcycle in 1910, a 500cc single designed by John Greenwood. A sports model was released in 1912, and a TT version in 1913, the year when the Rover racing team collected over 100 competition awards. Unlike most manufacturers, civilian production continued through WW1, with a 654cc V-twin added to the line. After the war, they finally dropped the belt drive in 1922, and in 1923 introduced a 250cc unit-construction model. This was followed with a 350cc in 1924. But production ended in 1925.
Royal Ajax 1901-08
Royal Eagle 1901-10
Royal Enfield

Royal Enfield started as a munitions and arms manufacturer George Townsend & Co. in Redditch, near Birmingham in 1880, making bicycles. In 1892 it was closed for financial reasons, but it came back as Enfield Manufacturing, reformed by Robert Smith (works director) and Albert Eadie (managing director). They started making Enfield bicycles in 1892 before turning to motorcycles in 1899 with a single powered by a 299cc Minerva and a quadricycle with a de Dion engine. They produced their own engine in 1901. However, in 1904 they let motorcycle production slip while they concentrated on cars (as the Enfield Autocar Company).  This company went broke in 1907 and the parent company concentrated on parts manufacturing, while Eadie resigned.

Enfield returned to motorcycling in 1910, when they produced a lightweight V-twin, which was followed in 1912 by a 770cc JAP-powered V-twin using an Enfield-patented Cush-drive rear hub. Several new designs were introduced in the next four years including a two-stroke 225cc machine in 1914. When war broke out, Enfield made both bicycles and sidecar outfits for the Allies. After WW1, their line expanded to singles. Starting with a 350cc in 1924, it grew to include a range from 225 to 488cc (first offered as a sv in 1927, it also came in ohv versions in 1928). They also offered a series of twins which reached 976cc in 1921 with an engine of their own design. They also made a large 1140cc V-twin Model K, which was produced through the 1930s, until 1938.

Firsts included Cush drives before WW1 and dry sump crankcases in 1930 models. During WW2 they made a robust 350cc side-valve single for the military.

The Bullet was launched in 1934 in 250, 350 and 500cc sizes, although the initials used to designate models were still retained. The Bullet was successfully redesigned after WW2 and did well in sales and in trials matches after its relaunch in 1948. The 1949 Model G Bullet had an alloy head, and full swing-arm suspension.

In 1948, the company introduced the Meteor, its first parallel twin, a 500cc machine with swing-arm suspension and other advances. This was upgraded to the 692cc Meteor in 1953, the largest parallel twin available. It got several more upgrades to the Super Meteor, then in 1958 the Constellation with its Airflow fairing, and finally the 736cc Interceptor in 1962 and the final version, the Mk2 Interceptor, perhaps the finest British twin ever made. Another popular Enfield was the Continental GT, a five-speed 248cc sporting single.

For a short while before it collapsed, American firm Indian sold the Interceptor in the USA with an Indian badge. In the mid-1950s, RE sold manufacturing equipment to an Indian subsidiary in Madras, to make the 350cc Bullet for the Indian Army and Indian police.

In the mid 1960s, RE was in financial trouble. They continued in business until 1967 when they closed and sold off their stock and machinery. The Indian Enfield company however, made Bullets with hardly a change since they began in 1955, except to upgrade the engine to 500cc for one model, improve the electrics and brakes. These bikes have been exported around the world, coming back to the UK in 1978 and other countries soon after. They become popular as simple, easy-going bikes with a vintage look and feel, but at low cost.

In 1997, the Indian Enfield company acquired the rights to use the name Royal Enfield on its bikes. Swiss engineer Fritz Egli has done considerable work upgrading and tuning Bullets for more power and speed.

LINKS T&R Impex, Canadian importers and historians Royal Enfield home page.

Royal Ruby Started building motorcycles in the early part of the century (1904?) using their own engines.  Turned to Villiers motors in 1930, and offered several models from 247 to 346cc sizes, but closed shop in 1934.
Royal Scot 1922-24, Scotland
Royal Sovereign 1902-03
Royal Wellington 1901
R&P 1902-06

Dan Rudge started a company in 1868 to make velocipedes (forerunners of bicycles) but died in 1880. George Woodcock bought the firm in 1885, but if foundered by 1890, and following his death, the company was acquired by bicycle manufacturer Whitworth Cycles in 1894 and the two bicycle manufacturers merged names. They started selling re-badged Werner motorcycles in 1909 and manufactured their own machines in 1911. They had several early innovations, including a spring-loaded stand, a front-and-back linked braking system, a spray-action carburetor and, in their early 1912 model, the Rudge Multi, a belt-gearing system (similar to the Zenith Gradua) that offered no less than 21 gear ratios! This was finally dropped in 1923.

Rudge made a 998cc V-twin in 1914, but war halted production of it until 1919. In the 1920s, Rudge built four-valve cylinder heads for their 500cc single, a version of which won the 1928 Ulster Grand Prix - "The World's Fastest Road Race" - with a speed of 80.078 mph. As a result, their next model was named the Ulster and offered a top speed of 90 mph.

Their glory years were in the late 1920s and early 1930s when they won several races. They introduced a new radial valve/cylinder head design in 1930 that soon cost them considerable money to develop. The company had other racing successes, and closed in 1933 because of the Depression. They opened again under the control of the Gramaphone Company Ltd. (later HMV, then EMI). A totally-enclosed valve gear was introduced in 1937, and Rudge machines won the ISDT that year, but the rescue attempt couldn't revive them enough.

Financial trouble and the war brought production to an end in 1939, when Norman briefly manufactured them before war closed civilian production. The name was sold to Raleigh. EMI-Rudge did make a small Cyclemaster clip-on engine in the 1950s.

An interesting side note In 1927, Stanley Glanfield, took a 3.5 hp single cylinder Rudge-Whitworth on an 18,000 mile journey around the world, covering four continents. See the link below for details. In 1928, Glanfield designed a Rudge especially for dirt racing, marketed under the name 'Glanfield Rudge.'

Russell 1913
RW Scout 1919-21

Saltley 1919-24
Saturn 1925-26
Scorpion 1951-56 - offroad machines.

Founded by Alfred Angas Scott, who patented an early form of caliper brakes in 1897, a fully triangulated frame, rotary induction valves, unit construction and more. He patented his first engine in 1904. Started production in 1908 with patented triangulated frame and vertical-twin two-stroke. Very innovative company created the first kickstart, monoshock rear ends, efficient radiators and rotary inlet valves. They offered drip-feed lubricators and centrestands in 1914, as well as designing unit-construction engines, friction-band clutch and twin pannier gas tanks.

Scott quickly garnered a name for their liquid-cooled, two-stroke, parallel twin design that won numerous trials, hill climbs and TT races. but the two-stroke design was losing speed to four-strokes offered by other companies by then. By 1925, Scotts weren't winning races. Two-speed at first, their first three-speed appeared in 1923, and only after that did they return to some small prominence.

After WW1, Scott turned his attention to a three-wheeler called the Sociable, but despite its superior design, was not popular. Scott died in 1922 at age 48, and with him went the company's driving force. In trouble by 1927, they went into receivership in 1931. Albert Reynolds stepped in to save the company, but they never fully recovered and  planned 650cc twin was never manufactured.

Scott offered a three-cylinder two stroke (747cc, later 986cc) in 1934 and a 596cc Clubman Special in 1938. After the war, production continued with the 596cc Flying Squirrel, but ended in 1950. Then the company was taken over by Matt Holder's Aerco Jig and Tool Company. A 493cc Scott Swift based on the old design was made from 1956 to 1961. Later a later Silk model was produced, but it was a short-lived project.

Scott-Cyc-Auto 1934-50.  Same as Cyc-Auto.
Seal Made motorcycle-sidecar units from 1912 until 1933 using JAP engines and a three-speed gearbox. The sidecar contained the driving mechanism with a steering wheel, and both the rider and passenger sat in it. The actual motorcycle outrigger component had no seat.
Service 1900-12
SGS 1926-33
Sharratt 1920-30
Shaw 1904-22
Sheffield-Henderson 1919-23
Silk   Small company started by racer/builder George Silk and Maurice Patey, in 1970. Started with a water-cooled 656cc twin. Went to 682cc in 1976 with their 700s production model. Closed in 1979.
Silva 1919-20
Silver Prince 1919-24
Simplex 1919-22
Singer Early British firm, founded by George Singer, that started in 1900 offering a 222cc four-stroke single (the engine design was bought from P&B, formed by former Beeston employee Edwin Perks and Harold Birch). The unique feature was the engine, gas tank and carburetor housed in a wheel! The design was used in the rear wheel and then the front wheel of a trike. Dropped out of motorcycles shortly after (around 1906), but returned in 1909 and built a series of racers and roadsters. In 1911 they offered a unit-construction 535 and 299cc models. In 1913 they offered an open-frame 'ladies' model.' They entered several bikes in races, including the Senior TT in 1914. The company also made more conventional bikes, but gave up after WW1 and turned to cars.  They were taken over by rival Coventry Premier in the 1920s. Eventually the name was acquired by the Chrysler Corporation.
Sirrah 1922-25
SL 1924-25
Slade-JAP 1920-23
Slaney 1921-22
SMS 1913-14
SOS Super Onslow Special, later named 'So Obviously Superior' because they offered high quality products. Founded ???, closed in 1939 at the onset of war. Models made with JAP and Villiers engines. Made water-cooled engines in 1932. Taken over by Tom Meeton in 1933 who added optional foot-change gearboxes in 1934. All-weather models offered deep-valenced mudguards, leg shields and under-shields. Also sold tuned versions under the name Meetons Motor.
Southey 1905-25
SPA-JAP 1921-23
Spark 1903-04
Sparkbrook 1912-25
Spartan 1920-22
Speed King-JAP 1913-14
Sprite Small Birmingham company that started making 246cc scramblers and trials bikes in 1964. Founded by trials rider Frank Hipkin. Sold in the USA under American Eagle name. Company went broke in 1974, but continued later to make forks and wheel hubs until at least 1978.
Stag 1912-14
Stanger 1921-23 Unusual V-twin design.
Stanley 1902
Star 1898-1914 and 1919-21
Stellar 1912-14
Stevens   Formed by the Stevens brothers after they sold AJS to Matchless. Made motorcycles from 1934 to 38.
Stuart 1911-12
Sudbrook 1919-20
Sun Started as Sun Cycles and Fittings Company in 1885, making bikes. Began making motorcycles with Precision engine-powered vehicles in 1911. Made a rotary disc-valve two-stroke racer in 1922 using a Vitesse designed engine. Later used Blackburne, Villiers and JAP engines. Motorcycle production ended in 1932, but returned in 1948 with a 98cc autocycle, later made into a full motorcycle. Made small two-strokes powered by Villiers in the 1950s. Its 1957 250cc Overlander twin offered 'generous' weather protection. A scooter called the Geni was announced for 1958. They ceased production a few years later, when chairman Fred Parkes retired in 1961. Raleigh picked up the company, and continued the bicycle manufacturing side.

Founded the Marston family, they had been making metal goods since 1790 and bicycles since the late 1880s. They made cars starting in 1902 when the Sunbeam company split from John Marston Ltd.  Marston, 76, started making motorcycles in 1912. His first model was a 347cc side-valve single designed by John Greenwood, designer of the Imperial Rover. It had high construction quality and finish, an unusual engine-balancing system and an oil-bath all-chain drive. Sunbeams were known as the 'Gentleman's Motor Bicycle.' Marston and his son died during WW1 and the company passed to Noble Industries (later becoming ICI). They developed the motorcycles even further, winning TT races with their 500cc machines. A smaller range for the 1920s was aimed at cost-effectiveness, and quality suffered. In 1930 the company was noted as 'A subsidiary of Imperial Chemical Industries.' The last sporting Sunbeam was dropped in 1934.

In 1936, Matchless purchased Sunbeam when AJS, Matchless and Sunbeam became Associated Motor Cycles (AMC) Ltd., continuing production, but the outbreak of war stalled production of new machines. After the war the company was bought by BSA. In 1947 they produced the S7, an advanced machine designed by Erling Poppe, using shaft drive, and an ohc longitudinal twin engine. However, it hadn't the speed, handling nor quality of earlier Sunbeams. A De Luxe version was introduced in 1949, making 10,000 by 1952. But BSA made no effort to improve the line outside of an S10 variant, and the name and production were dropped after 1956. BSA later labelled its 175 and 250cc scooters as Sunbeams launched in 1958.

Superb   Founded by engineer William Frederick Hooper in 1920, his first design was an advanced Superb Four, an inline-four ohc, shaft-driven machine, with a pump-driven oil lubrication system, and using aluminum cylinders, upper crankcase and gearbox. Only a handful were produced and the under-funded company collapsed in 1922.
Supreme-OK See OK-Supreme.
Supremoco 1921-23
Swan 1911-13
Symplex 1913-22

Tandon  Founded by Indian-born Devdutt Tandon in 1948 to make medium and lightweight motorcycles, first powered by 125cc (later 197cc) Villiers engines. Used novel rear suspension. Made Milemaster, Supaglid models, a Kangaroo trials model and Starlett, as well as several others. Closed in 1955 (57?).
Tee-Bee 1908-11
Temple 1924-28
Thomas 1904
Thorough 1903
Three-Spires 1931-32
Tilston 1919
Toreador 1924-26
Torpedo 1910-20
Townend 1901-04
Trafalgar 1902-05
Trafford 1919-22
Trebloc 1922-25
Trent 1902-06
Triple-H 1921-23
Triplette 1923-25
Triton   A name given to a Triumph engine placed in a Norton Featherbed frame to create a racing bike, and cafe racer popular with Rockers of the 1960s. Most famous Triton maker is Dave Degens, who formed Dresda Engineering. Another hybrid, the Tribsa, combined the Triumph engine within a BSA frame.
Triumph   Perhaps the greatest of all British marques. See bottom of page for links to Triumph Motorcycle Timeline at
Trump 1906-23
Tyler 1913-23

Val 1913-24
Vasco 1921-23

The quality car company Vauxhall Motors decided to get into motorcycles in 1922 to provide a vehicle in a lower price range. Major Frank Halford designed the Superb Four, a 931cc inline four with a massive duplex frame and numerous innovations, producing 30 bhp. After only a half-dozen machines were made, Vauxhall dropped the project in 1924. A rebuilt one was shown in a vintage rally in 1959.

Velocette A family firm, Veloce Inc. was founded by German-born Johannes Gutgeman (changed to Goodman), who started making motorcycles around the turn of the century. However, the company foundered in 1904 and he turned to bicycles, not coming back to powered vehicles until 1910, when sons Percy and Eugene joined the company. Starting with two-strokes, Percy designed the ohc 350cc Model K in 1925, which was the blueprint for future models. This machine won the 1926 Junior TT and led to the KSS (sports) and KTT (racing) models of the 1920s. The company concentrated on racers until WW2, when they turned to less exotic but still different road machines. Included among these post-war models are the 350cc Viper and 50cc Venom singles. The Thruxton, a souped-up Venom made from 1965, was their most powerful machine and one of the best contemporary singles.  An attempt to develop a 149cc (later 200cc ) shaft-driven, liquid-cooled scooter (the LE) proved unsuccessful and costly. While advanced, it was sedate and economical - and unpopular. The company went out of business in 1971.
Venus 1920-22
Verus 1919-25
Victa 1912-13
Victoria Scottish firm, 1902-26.
Villiers Founded as Villiers Cycle Components Co. in Wolverhampton by John Marston (see Sunbeam) in 1898 to make pedals and other small fittings for his bicycle firm. Soon started making other products such as wheels, turning to engines and motorcycles in 1911. Originally planned for a 349cc four stroke, but switched to two-stroke design in 1912. Started mass-production with Mk 1 269cc two-stroke single in 1913. Closed in 1916 for war time production, re-opened in 1918. By 1922, they had advanced their design several times and were making the Mk V. They were also making 98, 147, 247 and 342cc sizes, branching out from that to make 18 models by 1925. They made a pressurized oil system in 1926, an inline twin in 1927 and water-cooled singles in early 1930s. Merged with four-stroke rival JAP in 1957 (58?). Taken over by shareholder Manganese Bronze Holdings in 1965, which later took over AMC to form Norton Villiers. At this point, Villiers stopped supplying engines to outside companies. Production of the Villiers engine closed in the UK, but continued on in Madras, India.
Vindec 1902-29

See also HRD. Philip Vincent designed and built his first motorcycle in 1924. He purchased HRD in 1928 and continued a tradition of making fast, well-crafted machines. His prime innovation was his own design of rear suspension. After receiving a batch of poor JAP engines for his TT racing models in 1934, he decided to make his own engines. Australian engineer Phil Irving joined Vincent to make the 1935 Meteor, a powerful 499cc single. In 1936 he developed the famous 998cc V-twin. But the engine proved cantankerous and too much for current transmissions.

After WW2, Series B Rapide was released with an upgraded transmission, a new gearbox and a radical new frame to offer a 110mph top speed. Comet and Meteor singles were brought back in 1948 (with a racing TT replica version), followed by the sporting Black Shadow V-twin, capable of 120-128 mph. In 1949, Series C was released with new Vincent forks. But as good as the machines were, they were handcrafter and expensive. A sales slump in 1954 forced the company to manufacture NSU mopeds (selling about 20,000) and Firefly engines under licence. Vincent released the Series D Black Knight and Black Prince in late 1954 but their fully-faired styling was unpopular. An attempt to release them as 'naked' bikes backfired and the company finally closed in 1955.

Rollie Free broke the 150mph barrier on a Lightning in 1951 (?), Russell Wright set the world record  at 185.15 mph and Robert Burns the sidecar record at 163.06 mph in 1955, both on Vincent Lightnings in New Zealand.

Vinco 1903-05
Vindec 1902-29
Vindec-Special 1903-14 Same as Allright, built in Germany.
Viper 1919-22
Vitesse Name derives from VTS the Valveless Two Stroke Company, of Birmingham. Engine manufacturer.
Voyager 1990. A feet-forward machine like the Quasar, but without a roof. Used same Reliant car engine as the Quasar.

Waddington  1902-06
Wag 1924-25
Wakefield 1902
Wallis 1925-26
Ward 1915-16
Wardill 1924-26
Warrior 1921-23
Wasp  Small British firm near Salisbury, specializing in custom sidecar motocross ('side-car-cross') and grass track bikes as well as a few enduro machines using Triumph and later Norton engines. Founded in 1963 by Robin Tutt.
Wassell Founded by WW2 pilot Ted Wassell of Birmingham as a wholesaler of motorcycle parts and accessories. Make a motocross machine powered by a 125cc Puch engine in 1970 and a trials bike with a 175cc BSA Bantam engine. Made an offroad bike with 125cc Sachs engine in 1972. After making more than 2,000 machines, high manufacturing costs and a falling American dollar made his bikes too expensive for the US market, so he closed production in 1975.
Watney 1922-23
Watsonian Sidecar manufacturer, started making its own motorcycle in 1950 using a 996cc sv V-twin JAP engine. Produced only a few before lack of interest closed the project and they returned to sidecars.
Waverley 1921-23
WD 1911-13
Wearwell 1901-06
Weatherell 1922-23
Weaver 1922-25
Wee McGregor 1922-25
Weller 1902-05
Weslake British designer and engineer Harry Weslake started making advanced carburetors in the early 1920s under the name Wex (Weslake-Exeter).  He started working on improving Sunbeam engines in the late 1920s and developed several innovations for them, George Brough, Jaguar, Norton and others. He formed Weslake and Taylor in 1936 with Geoffrey Taylor. He expanded after WW2 as Weslake and Company to increased R&D and consulting for many firms, government agencies and racers, also designing and building new engines. The company also made engine conversions for the Rickmans. The first complete Weslake speedway machines were produced in 1977. Weslake died in 1978.
Westfield 1911-13
Westovian 1903
W&G 1927-28
Wheatcroft 1924
Whippet Name used by three firms. First made small-engined bikes 1903-06 with Aster and FM engines. Second made 180cc scooters from 1920-59. Third made small scooter-moped machines (46-64cc) from 1957-59.
Whirlwind 1901-03
White & Poppe 1902-22 Mostly made engines for other firms, but also made its own complete machines.
Whitley 1902-06
Whitwood  Produced by the OEC company, they specialized in two-wheel cars, with two doors, folding hood and windscreen, offered first in 1934. They had four models with engines from 150 to 1000cc. two small outrigger stabilizing wheels kept the machine stable at rest. Despite some innovative designs, they stopped production in 1936.
Wilkinson-Antoine 1903-06. Made in Belgium.
Wilkinson Made motorcycles from 1903 until 1916, when they concentrated on, among other things, razor blades and garden tools. Made the TAC (Touring Auto Cycle) in 1909 and TMC (Touring Motor Cycle) in 1911, four-cylinder, air- and liquid-cooled, 676cc (later 848 and 996cc). The TAC was piloted by a steering wheel, like today's cars. Made a shaft-drive in-line four in 1909. Production was taken over by the Ogston Motor Company from 1914 to 1916.
Williamson 1912-20. E Early machines had air/water cooled 996cc flat twin.
Wolf Started making motorcycles as Wearwell Cycles in 1901. Production fluctuated on and off until 1931 when the company came back with two models, then made several models with Villiers engines until 1940, when production ceased.
Wooler Founded by John Wooler in 1911. Known for unusual designs including a horizontal single two-stroke with double-ended piston, several fore-and-aft twins, vertical camshaft single, transverse four beam engine and a transverse flat four. His first motorcycle was a 230cc two-stroke with front and rear plunger springs and a patented 'anti-vibratory' frame. The bike was made by Wilkinson from 1912 and marketed as Wilkinson-Wooler, raised to 344cc. Production halted during WW1 and resumed in 1919 with a new, advanced bike nicknamed the 'Flying Banana.' More re-designs followed with more innovations until 1930, when the Depression closed the company. Wooler returned in 1945 with a prototype 500cc transverse four. It was displayed at the Earls Court show in 1948 and again in 1951 and 1954. However, only half a dozen hand-built machines were ever made and the machine never materialized in production.

XL 1921-23
XL-All 1902-06

Young 1919-23

Zenith Manufacturer in the early part of the century. Known for its Gradua with adjustable gearing operated by a long hand lever. Built Villiers and JAP-engined singles in the 1930s, but stopped production in 1931 because of poor sales. Started again when they were bought by Writer's, and continued until the start of WW2 using Blackburne and JAP engines. Offered 20 models for 1933 and 14 in 1934, dwindling to six by 1939 when war closed production.  Returned briefly from 1947 to 1950 with a 747cc sv JAP model and a smaller 250cc. Zenith had many successes in hill climbs and at Brooklands in the 1920s.
Zephyr 1922-23

British Motorcycle manufacturers

A-J    K-Q    R-Z  Links  Triumph  Home
Compiled by Ian Chadwick. Send comments and corrections to me at: