The name of the company is associated with the invention of a tense wheel with spokes, patented by the British James Starley and William Hillman in 1870. They manufactured the first in Britain inexpensive all-metal construction and called it Ariel (“Spirit of Air”).
In 1896, Starley merged with Westwood Manufacturing from Birmingham and became known as the Starley and Westwood Company. Their first motorcycle was the angular De Dion quad bike. And the first bike with the Ariel logo appeared in 1902.
In 1905, Charles S. Geter bought the company “Ariel” and began production of a lightweight motorcycle with a two-stroke engine. However, the new owner quickly lost interest in the company and its products, and soon transferred the company to his son, Jack Sangster.
The economic crisis became a major blow to the company, and the factory was almost closed in 1932. Jack Sängster retained part of the production capacity, sold everything else. The company has since been called “Ariel Motors”.
When the Second World War broke out, the company concentrated on the production of military products. Immediately after the Second World War, they produced Red Hunter with single-cylinder engines, two-cylinder OHV engines.
By the early 1960’s, the BSA group, part of which Ariel became by that time, faced financial difficulties. The factory in Selly Oak was closed, and the production of the company was transferred to Small Heath.
By 1966, the company “Ariel” was on the verge of bankruptcy. The last three-wheeled motorcycle with the Dutch engine “Anker” in volume of 50 sm3, produced by the company, was hope for the future. However, buyers found it uninteresting, and the moto brand Ariel ceased to exist.