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Jon_B

Motorbike ID

21 posts in this topic

Hi,

Here are two photos of my great-uncle in 1917, with two different motorbikes. He was in training as a RNAS officer at the time. The plate number of the less clear photo is LR1975. Can anyone identify them please?

Thank you

Jon

post-46354-0-60587200-1327391084.jpg

post-46354-0-11860400-1327391094.jpg

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Jon - the first one, with the sidecar, is a Phelon & Moore. I'm not sure of the solo bike.

Tom

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Jon,

Not definitive but the solo does looks like an early Sunbeam going by shape of tank, lining and front forks.

Scott

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I forgot to mention in my earlier post - the LR registration prefixes indicate that the bikes were registered in London.

Tom

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Scott,

I'd go along with the Sunbeam, but there are two noticable differences - this bike doesn't have the fully enclosed chain drive and the muffler on

a Sunbeam was normally transversely behind the front mudguard. Of course the bike could have been modified with respect to those two items.

Cheers

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Thanks all, I've found a Sunbeam side-valve enthusiasts website (www.sunbeamsidevalve.com) that has bikes that look the same, so will follow it up with them. Thanks Tom for the Phelon and Moore ID.

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I thought "Sunbeam" at first but I didn't say anything as I'm not sure now that it is a Sunbeam. As other Pals have noted, the silencer doesn't look like a Sunbeam silencer and the bike doesn't have the famous Sunbeam enclosed chain-case on the right side (offside). In fact, it doesn't have a chain on the right side at all, and I don't think it has one on the left, either. I think it's a belt-drive machine.

Tom

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As the original registration number (LR1380) is known would the UK registration authorities act on a request for information on the make and model of this

m/cycle. Would clear up any confustion if they did. Replacment of the muffler would be an easy thing to do, but I find it hard to believe that the drive mechanism

had been changed. One of the features of early Sunbeams was the enclosed oil bath drive - on the right hand side.

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Tom, David - having looked at Sunbeam models on a number of websites I agree that this doesn't look right. The LR plate was registered between Jul 1916 and Jul 1918. This photo must have been taken before Jan 1918 owing to his rank at the time. Of course, the bike may not have been new when it was registered but assuming it was then we can place it as a late 1916 or 1917 model of whatever it is. I will try enquiring with DVLA for further info.

I see it has an AA badge at the front, suggesting it was for civilian use rather than military, would that be correct?

Jon

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Jon,

Not being totally au faut with UK practices I could not say for certain but would think that the AA badge would indicate civilian useage.

What puzzles me is that in all other respects - engine, frame, petrol tank, front forks it looks pure Sunbeam. I could also go with a mod to the

exhaust system but the drive being on the left is completely at variance with Sunbeam practice and something which I think couldn't be altered.

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Jon,

It might be worth contacting the Vintage Motorcycle Club if you want to nail it down. A Sunbeam specialist may be able to confirm or deny.

Definitely a mystery. Tom is right about the final drive being on the right, but apart from that and the exhaust it looks very similar to some catalogue shots of early Sunbeams I have in a book.

Just a point of note from the book that may or may not help regarding Sunbeams in the First World War- "3.5hp and 8hp Sunbeams were used by the governments of England, France, Italy and Russia, in both WD green and black and gold finishes. Machines in use in England are shown with OHMS on the front number plate". (Illustrated history of Sunbeam bicycles and motorcycles by Robert Cordon Champ).

Scott

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Jon,

It might be worth contacting the Vintage Motorcycle Club if you want to nail it down. A Sunbeam specialist may be able to confirm or deny.

Definitely a mystery. Tom is right about the final drive being on the right, but apart from that and the exhaust it looks very similar to some catalogue shots of early Sunbeams I have in a book.

Just a point of note from the book that may or may not help regarding Sunbeams in the First World War- "3.5hp and 8hp Sunbeams were used by the governments of England, France, Italy and Russia, in both WD green and black and gold finishes. Machines in use in England are shown with OHMS on the front number plate". (Illustrated history of Sunbeam bicycles and motorcycles by Robert Cordon Champ).

Scott

Scott,

Thanks for the tip for the VMC - I contacted them and they've identified it as a 2.5hp 'light tourist' model 2 New Imperial. 2 speed gear, side valve JAP 292cc engine. They even sent me this scan of the brochure for the 1915 model, unchanged for 1916. The bike was registered in London in September 1916.

Another mystery solved, job well done!

Jon

post-46354-0-55168800-1328637803.jpg

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Well that has cleared up that one. Still wondering about the engine though, and didn't realize that the Sunbeam to all intents and purposes looks

exactly the same as the J.A.P. One lives and learn'.

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Nice to see a good result Jon!

Just out of interest did they say if they were supplied to the forces? Just curious about the soldier used in the advertising.

Scott

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JAP never built bikes, as far as I know. They were always engine manufacturers, supplying them to companies big and small.

Keith

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Nice to see a good result Jon!

Just out of interest did they say if they were supplied to the forces? Just curious about the soldier used in the advertising.

Scott

No they didn't mention that they were. Maybe just good marketing, aiming at young men of military age?

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Hi

I have just a little to add about the P&M, it is at least a 1915 model and would be no later than 1917 for obvious reasons. However if the pic was taken in 1917 as said then I would think it would be a '15 or '16 as it doesn't look all that new. If the pic in certain areas was a bit clearer then I could narrow it down a bit further.

Cheers

Steve

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Hi

I have just a little to add about the P&M, it is at least a 1915 model and would be no later than 1917 for obvious reasons. However if the pic was taken in 1917 as said then I would think it would be a '15 or '16 as it doesn't look all that new. If the pic in certain areas was a bit clearer then I could narrow it down a bit further.

Cheers

Steve

Hi Steve,

Attached is another pic of the same bike with a different person, looks clearer.

On the date, if the registration numbering was sequential then this is after Sep 1916, because the other bike in this thread - LR1380 - was registered around then, and this is LR1975.

One other question - can you tell me what make the sidecar was? Is it a Mills and Fulford?

Thanks

Jon

post-46354-0-46301400-1329263771.jpg

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Hi

Very difficult to identify the sidecar from that picture but as P&M made their own sidecar I would imagine it to be one of these. See attached pic.

Cheers

Steve

post-87816-0-65794300-1329281469.jpg

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Hi

Very difficult to identify the sidecar from that picture but as P&M made their own sidecar I would imagine it to be one of these. See attached pic.

Cheers

Steve

Great photo! I have been searching sidecar images and found a Mills and Fulford that kind of looked similar from that angle so made a guess at that, but I agree that as they made their own then that's what it will be.

Thanks

Jon

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