Britain is the industrial state, which, besides original cars of a “Deluxe” class, produces chic motorcycles. The British two and three wheels’ items’ industry began to form more than a century ago.
The world wars showed a huge list of merits of such transport, inter alia, its reliability, and practicality for the entire Europe.
British motorcycles brands
In the 30-40s of the ХХth century, the whole motorcycle industry of Britain experienced a significant rise. The people most of all desired iron horses BSA and Norton, AJS and Triumph. Matchless, as well as Vincent motorcycles, had a visible popularity. Let’s not forget to mention Velocette.
In the prewar period, the English motorcycles of precisely the brands mentioned above earned and strengthened reputation enviable to many foreign competitors.
After the Second World War, the success of some of them stopped, but for others, it was just the beginning. The world got acquainted with such wonderful products as BSA Gold Star and Triumph Bonneville. Also, Vincent Black Shadow, as well as Ariel Square Four had great popularity among the English. Let`s not forget to mention the mcyVelocette Venom.
Actual British mcies` brands
Now the motorcycle market is almost filled with Japanese motorcycles of different kinds and with their Chinese copies. With all the will in the world, the Japanese cannot produce a really special motorcycle, which can be unlike other models. However, the British can do that.
The constructors of Foggy Albion are sometimes able to surprise the world by the non-standard approach to the creation of mcies in spite of their conservatism. Thus, the British manufacturer with the world name Triumph prepares a model Rocket of the next generation. It will be a chic motorcycle with a unique power plant.
Some other makes of British motorcycles also continue to keep their head above water. Some of them changed the country of production. For example, Royal Enfield, which had been produced in England since 1902, became an Indian make.
Unfortunately, many British brands of mcies completely ceased to exist as the make Douglas, for example, (it existed until 1982). But one can still find pre-owned samples of this make, as of other makes not already existing in the market of today.
The acquisition by the blacksmith Josephus Stevens of a four-cylinder engine made a start to the motorcycle history of the company AJS. In 1899, Stevens Motors Manufacturing Company was founded, and in 1909, the big production of motorcycles started. In 1914, the make began to produce racing mcies. Unfortunately, AJS became a victim of the Great Depression of 1930-1934.
Ariel Ltd. is a car and motorcycle manufacturer. It is located in Crewkerne, Somerset. This is one of the smallest British producers, where only 7 people work. First, the company manufactured only cars but afterward proceeded to the production of motorcycles. There are several successful models of motorcycles of this make: Model E Super Sports, Red Hunter, Square 4 and Arrow.
The make BSA was founded in 1863. It was created by the Birmingham company of small arms. In October 1910, the firm produced its first motorcycle. The company manufactured military motorcycles and motorcycles for transportation of goods. At the end of the ХХth century, the company was at a low ebb. In 1994, it became a part of the concern Regal Engineering, and its name was changed to BSA Regal Group, and it started to produce retro style motorcycles.
The history of the firm CCM development began in 1972 when the engineer Alan Klyuz created a perfect version of a motorcycle with a 500-cube engine in his garage. Gradually, the garage business changed into the firm, which used Austrian engines Rotax for the production of new models of mcies.
Harry Collier founded the make Matchless in 1878. First, the make manufactured sport motorcycles; then it shifted to the production of serial motorcycles. Matchless mcies, both route and sport ones, gained popularity not only in Europe but also in the USA. But the company did not withstand competition and stopped its existence. In 1987, Les Harris, a known manufacturer of spares for classic British motorcycles, tried to revive the make but the attempt failed.
In 1898, James Lansdowne Norton organized his Norton Manufacturing Company that was mainly specialized in the production of chains and frame elements. The first motorcycle Norton appeared in 1902. In 1912, the company R.T. Shelley and Company bought the make and converted the company into Norton Motors. The make manufactured sport, war, and serial motorcycles. Then the make changed hands several times, and in 1995, the motorcycle production was terminated. There was an attempt to revive the make in 1998. It failed.
After the Second World War, Vincent was the only one company adhering to the production of V-twin motorcycles. And the history of the make began, when Philip Vincent acquired a small motorcycle firm HRD for money presented by his father. Motorcycles Vincent brought new standards of dynamics and technical excellence, with which the products of other makes could not be compared, and set up a lot of records. The make collaborated with American Indian. Thus, Vindian appeared. Unfortunately, the company was liquidated for the reason of its bankruptcy in 1955.
It is one of few British makes of mcies that survived, preserving its originality and its own research-and-development complex. The first motorcycles of the make Triumph saw the light in 1902. The successful launch of the Triumph Speed Twin plant in 1937 is considered the major event for the company. The British consistency and charisma keep Triumph Motorcycles afloat.