The James Cycle Co Ltd., Greet, Birmingham, England, was one of many British cycle and motorcycle makers based in the English Midlands, particularly Birmingham. Most of their light motorcycles, often with the characteristic maroon finish, used Villiers and, later, AMC two-stroke engines.
James were prolific bicycle and motorcycle manufacturers from 1897 to 1966. The company was taken over by Associated Motor Cycles in 1951 and combined with Francis-Barnett in 1957. In 1966 the company became one of the many British motorcycle companies forced out of business by Japanese competition.
James produced the 98 cc Autocycle, 125 cc Comet, Commodore, also 1954/55 Colonel 225cc Villiers single cylinder, several Captains as well as trials and scrambles bikes. In 1956 they produced the Captain 200 K7, Cotswold 200 K7C, and Commando 200 K7T, all 197 cc.
List of James motorcycles
The Norton Motorcycle Company is a brand of motorcycles, originally based in Birmingham, England. For some years around 1990, the rights to use the name on motorcycles was owned by North American financiers. From 2008 to 2020, a line of motorcycles was produced under owner and chief executive Stuart Garner. Due to financial failure with large debts, in April 2020 administrators BDO agreed to sell certain aspects of Garner's business to Project 303 Bidco Limited, a new business established for the purpose with links to Indian motorcycle producer TVS Motor Company.
Velocette is a line of motorcycles made by Veloce Ltd, in Hall Green, Birmingham, England. One of several motorcycle manufacturers in Birmingham, Velocette was a small, family-owned firm, selling almost as many hand-built motorcycles during its lifetime, as the mass-produced machines of the giant BSA and Norton concerns. Renowned for the quality of its products, the company was "always in the picture" in international motorcycle racing, from the mid-1920s through the 1950s, culminating in two World Championship titles and its legendary and still-unbeaten 24 hours at over 100 mph (161 km/h) record. Veloce, while small, was a great technical innovator and many of its patented designs are commonplace on motorcycles today, including the positive-stop foot shift and swinging arm rear suspension with hydraulic dampers. The business suffered a gradual commercial decline during the late 1960s, eventually closing in February 1971.
A. J. Stevens & Co. Ltd was a British automobile and motorcycle manufacturer in operation from 1909 to 1931. The company was founded by Joe Stevens in Wolverhampton, England. After the firm was sold, the name continued to be used by Matchless, Associated Motorcycles and Norton-Villiers on four-stroke motorcycles till 1969, and since the name's resale in 1974, on lightweight, two-stroke scramblers and today on small-capacity roadsters and cruisers. The company held 117 motorcycle world records.
Royal Enfield was a brand name under which The Enfield Cycle Company Limited of Redditch, Worcestershire sold motorcycles, bicycles, lawnmowers and stationary engines which they had manufactured. Enfield Cycle Company also used the brand name Enfield without Royal.
Excelsior, based in Coventry, was a British bicycle, motorcycle and car maker. They were Britain’s first motorcycle manufacturer, starting production of their own ‘motor-bicycle’ in 1896. Initially they had premises at Lower Ford Street, Coventry, and 287-295 Stoney Stanton Road, Hillfields, Coventry, Warwickshire before moving to Kings Road, Tyseley, Birmingham in 1921.
Matchless is one of the oldest marques of British motorcycles, manufactured in Plumstead, London, between 1899 and 1966. A wide range of models were produced under the Matchless name, ranging from small two-strokes to 750 cc four-stroke twins. Matchless had a long history of racing success; a Matchless ridden by Charlie Collier won the first single-cylinder race in the first Isle of Man TT in 1907.
A.H. Haden Motorcycles was a British motorcycle marque from Birmingham.
Rickman Motorcycles was a British, independent motorcycle chassis constructor established by brothers Derek and Don Rickman. The firm manufactured motorcycles from 1960 through to 1975.
Villiers Engineering was a manufacturer of motorcycles and cycle parts, and an engineering company based in Villiers Street, Wolverhampton, England.
Ariel Motorcycles was a British maker of bicycles and then motorcycles in Bournbrook, Birmingham. It was an innovator in British motorcycling, part of the Ariel marque. The company was sold to BSA in 1951 but the brand survived until 1967. Influential Ariel designers included Val Page and Edward Turner. The last motorcycle-type vehicle to carry the Ariel name was a short-lived three-wheel tilting moped in 1970.
Associated Motor Cycles (AMC) was a British motorcycle manufacturer founded by the Collier brothers as a parent company for the Matchless and AJS motorcycle companies. It later absorbed Francis-Barnett, James, and Norton before incorporation into Norton-Villiers. Henry Herbert Collier founded Matchless as a cycle company in 1878. His sons Henry (Harry) and Charles (Charlie) joined him and the name was changed to H. Collier & Sons.
Norton Villiers Triumph (NVT) was a British motorcycle manufacturer, formed by the British government to continue the UK motorcycling industry, but the company eventually failed.
Francis & Barnett Limited was an English motorcycle manufacturer founded in 1919 by Gordon Inglesby Francis and Arthur Barnett and based in Lower Ford Street, Coventry, England. Early motor cycles were affectionately known as ' Franny B'. Motorcycles were produced for enthusiasts and was reasonably affordable for citizens for use as general transport. The majority of the lighter motorcycles used Villiers and later Two-stroke engine and later Associated Motor Cycles AMC engines. During the 1930s the 250cc Cruiser model 250 cc (15 cu in) was developed with a faired engine that protected those riding from any oil or dirt – one of the first of its kind to do so. AMC took over Francis & Barnett Limited in 1947 combining this with the James motorcycle models in 1957. The combined company remained in business until 1966.
Dunelt Motorcycles was a British motorcycle and bicycle manufacturer. Based in Sheffield, the business was founded by two steel makers and engineers, Dunford and Elliott of Sheffield in 1919. Their first motorcycle was an innovative supercharged 499 cc two-stroke single. The company specialised in good quality sidecars from 1926 and a Dunelt motorcycle was first to cross the desert from Cairo to Siwa and back in 1924. Dunelt also enjoyed racing success and won the Double Twelve Hour World Record at Brooklands with a Model K in 1928. Dunelt moved into commercial three-wheeled cars but these were not a success. A Dunelt moped was exhibited at the Earls Court show in 1956 but the company diversified into other areas of engineering in 1957.
Beardmore Precision Motorcycles was a British motorcycle manufacturer formed in 1919 when the engine manufacturer F.E. Baker Ltd, who produced motorcycle and cyclecar engines under the 'Precision' trademark before World War I, entered into an arrangement with the large shipbuilding and engineering company William Beardmore and Company.
ABC motorcycles was a British motorcycle manufacturer established in 1914 by Ronald Charteris in London. Several British motorcycle firms started up with the name "ABC", including Sopwith. The All British Engine Company Ltd. of London was founded in 1912 and later changed to ABC Motors Ltd. With chief engineer Granville Bradshaw, Charteris built a range of engines throughout the First World War. From 1913 ABC produced motorcycle engines.
Frank E. Baker Motorcycles Ltd was a British motorcycle manufacturer based in Alvechurch Road, Northfield, Birmingham, England. Founded in 1927 by Frank Baker, the company produced motorcycles under the Baker name until 1930 when it was sold to the James Cycle Co.
The Aberdale Cycle Company was founded in 1919. The company concentrated on high volume, popular bicycles. In the mid-1930s the company moved to a modern factory in London and also acquired the Bown Manufacturing Company. Bown brought experience of building motorcycles and with rising demand for motorised transport after 1945, the company began producing mopeds and light-weight motorcycles at their London plant and in Wales. In 1958 Aberdale were acquired by the British Cycle Corporation while the Aberdale management went on to found Trusty Manufacturing Co Ltd.
BSA motorcycles were made by the Birmingham Small Arms Company Limited (BSA), which was a major British industrial combine, a group of businesses manufacturing military and sporting firearms; bicycles; motorcycles; cars; buses and bodies; steel; iron castings; hand, power, and machine tools; coal cleaning and handling plants; sintered metals; and hard chrome process.
The BSA unit twins were a range of unit construction twin-cylinder motorcycles made by the Birmingham Small Arms Company (BSA) and aimed at the US market. A range of 500 cc (31 cu in), 650 cc (40 cu in) and 750 cc (46 cu in) twins were produced between 1962 and 1972, but they were really developments of the older pre-unit A7/A10 model range with less weight. The engines had a reputation for vibration, but acceleration was good for the time, to a top speed of 100 miles per hour (160 km/h).