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British Motorcycles

Crypto Cycle Co

  • Crypto of Clerkenwell Road, London, produced motorcycles from 1902 to 1909.
  • 1888 February. Stanley Exhibition of Cycles in Westminster. Tricycle with two front wheels and one rear.
  • 1888 April. Company took limited liability to take over Crypto Cycle Company, carried on by William Thomas Shaw.
  • 1890 Jan/Feb. The Stanley Exhibition of Cycles at the Crystal Palace. Tricycle.
  • 1902 The company started to build motorcycles and forecars fitted with Peugeot and MMC engines of various powers. Some of their models had two-speed gearing.
  • 1904 They produced a light model that was well braced, and fitted it with a modified frame and a 2.5hp Peugeot engine. They also had a heavier model with a 3.5hp MMC engine and flat-belt drive. Also on offer was a range of electrical equipment, suitable for the home and garage.
  • 1905 During that year they took over the agency for the Belgian Kelecom range.
  • 1906-1908 They offered singles and twins, plus a 5hp four.
  • 1909 The company went out of production.

No. 22. 49 inch 'geared ordinary,' introduced for the season of 1892, and made by the Crypto Cycle Co. Ltd., 47 Farringdon Road, London, E.C., successors to Ellis and Co.

Instead of the cranks driving the front wheel direct -” as in the ungeared 'ordinary,' the spindle carried a pinion: on the inner circumference of the hub was a ring of teeth; between these teeth and the aforementioned pinion was a set of three small pinions revolving on studs affixed to the hub-flange. By means of this mechanism (which was similar to that used in the high gear of a modern three-speed hub) the 49 inch driving wheel was geared up to about 62 inches.

This gear was a development of the Crypto Dynamic two-speed gear, invented by William Thomas Shaw and William Sydenham in 1882, patent No. 3230. With mechanism locked solid, the road wheel was -"geared- up or down according to the number of teeth on the driving and driven sprockets: with the pinion in operation a lower gear was brought into action.

This identical machine was a favourite mount of the late Mr. J. J. Henry Sturmey, of Coventry, who for many years acted as Editor of The Cyclist and later of The Autocar. On his death (8th January, 1930) it was presented to the Bartleet Collection by his sister. Unfortunately the Boothroyd single-tube tyres, with which it was fitted, were detached and stolen during transit between Coventry and London. Weight, without tyres, 35.25 lbs.


Mr. I. W. Boothroyd, proprietor of the Crypto Cycle Co., Ltd., continued his enthusiastic advocacy of front driving for bicycles and in 1894 introduced the 'Bantam.'

No. 24. 'Alpha Bantam,' made by the Crypto Cycle Co. Ltd., 47 Farringdon Road, London, E.C., 1896. This marks the last of a series of attempts to maintain the popularity of front driving against the irresistible advance of chain drive on the rear wheel, Mr. I. W. Boothroyd being the most persistent advocate of the former system, vide his association with the 'Facile,' 'Geared Facile,' 'Geared Ordinary,' 'Front Driver,' and three types of 'Bantam,' of which the Alpha marks the final development.

As Mr. Boothroyd says in his letter which is attached to this exhibit: "The chain-driven rear-driving bicycle, which ultimately became universal." Presented by the late H. E. Grist, F.O.T.C. Weight 29.5 lbs.


Sources: Grace's Guide



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