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British Motorcycles

Hobart Bird and Co

of Wolverhampton

Hobart were motorcycles produced from 1901 to 1923 by Hobart Bird and Co of Coventry, who were also suppliers to many other firms.

  • 1892 Advert. 'Hobart' cycles.
  • 1901 The company began producing a auto-cycle with an inclined engine. It was very well finished and became known as the Handy Hobart.
  • 1903 They added a model with a vertical engine in a loop frame fitted with braced forks.
  • 1904-1905 This range continued, with little change.
  • 1906-1909 The firm was just a supplier.
  • 1910 The company returned to complete machine and produced the new Hobart. This had a 2.5hp engine inclined in the frame over the downtube, gear-driven Bosch magneto, an adjustable pulley for the belt drive and Druid forks.

1910 Cycle and Motorcycle Exhibition
Hobart Bird and Co., Ltd.
Coventry. Stand No. 37.
Hobart Bird and Co. have done very well with the Handy Hobart during this season and have quite an extensive assortment of motor-cycles for next year. One of these is the Hobart lady's bicycle, which is constructed with a drop frame, and a carefully shielded belt drive. Indeed, engine and all working parts are all carefully enclosed, and there is no chance whatever of the rider's skirts becoming entangled upon any projection. Amongst the improvements to be noticed upon the 1911 machines is the Hobart heel brake, acting upon the belt rim, and operated by the rider's heel depressing a conveniently placed pedal. The petrol tank has also been slightly altered in design and is provided with a neat petrol gauge. It should be noted that any of the models can be obtained, if desired, with two-speed gear and free engine, the charge for this alteration being quite moderate.

The Hobart has quite established its position in the motor- cycling world, and will no doubt do excellently in 1911. The company will be glad to hear from agents where not represented.

  • 1911 A 3.5hp twin and a ladies' model were produced. This had a revised open frame and the engine mounted lower with the cylinder horizontal, and all the works fully enclosed.
  • 1912 Listed in Spennell's directory of Coventry as Cycle Manufacturers.
  • 1913 By now they were using JAP engines as well as their own.
  • 1914 A 225cc two-stroke version was added that year.
  • 1915 That engine changed to a 269cc Villiers, along with a 6hp V-twin with a JAP engine and three speeds.
  • Post-War the two-stroke, including a spring-frame model, was listed.
  • 1920 That year they also listed a 292cc JAP four-stroke.
  • 1921 More versions of both were listed, including the spring frame for both sizes.
  • 1922 There were new machines with 348cc Blackburne and 346cc JAP engines. Both of these were listed in solo and sidecar forms.
  • 1922 McKenzie Hobart 70 motorcycle exhibit.
  • 1923 The 269cc Villiers was replaced by a 170cc Hobart two-stroke engine driving a two-speed gearbox, and the 292cc JAP by a 249cc sv Blackburne. All the four-strokes had a good range of transmission options, with two or three speeds and final drive by belt or chain. In this period, the company was acquired by Rex-Acme.
  • 1924 The company was renamed Hobart-Acme, and the range was reduced to the 170cc two-stroke and 346cc JAP, plus the 292cc JAP. It was the last year of listing.
  • Note: Although they were no longer listed, Hobart engines continued to be supplied to other firms for several years.
  • Hobart Bird and Co of Wolverhampton shown at the National Cycle Collection

See also McKenzie Sources: Grace's Guide



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