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Lea-Francis: Motorcycles

1920. From Coventry Chamber of Commerce Year Book.Image-Im1920Cov-Lea
1920. From Coventry Chamber of Commerce Year Book.
Note: This is a sub-section of Lea-Francis

Lea-Francis motorcycles were produced from 1912 to 1924, in Lower Ford Street, in Coventry.

  • 1912 Lea Francis is perhaps better known as a car manufacturer but in the very early days the firm gained a reputation for the excellence of their bicycles. The prototypes of their motorcycle were produced in time for the 1912 Show. The machine was very well received, and featured all-chain drive in oil baths, multi-plate clutch, quickly detachable rear wheel, 2 speed gearbox with kick-starter, and particularly efficient mud-guarding. used JAP engines
  • 1912 Having already dabbled with cars since about 1904, the firm turned to motorcycles and introduced one model, in August. It had a 3.25hp JAP V-twin engine with chain-driven Bosch magneto, a two-speed gearbox, plate clutch and fully-enclosed chain final-drive. There were also Druid forks and dummy-rim brakes on both wheels. It was offered as a reliable and comfortable tourer.
  • 1913-1917 For a list of the models and prices of motorcycles see the 1917 Red Book
  • 1914 It was joined by a prototype combination using a 6-hp V-twin MAG engine, but the project was dropped due to the outbreak of war. Meanwhile, the other model was uprated to 3.5-hp JAP V-twin engine.
  • 1915-1916 The 3.5hp model continued, with a three-speed gearbox.
  • 1919 After the War, the same model reappeared, but with only two speeds.
  • 1920 That model was joined by one with a 3.5-hp MAG engine.
  • 1921 The 3.5h-p model, plus another with 5hp, were given three speeds. Engine capacities were 495cc and 592cc.
  • 1922 Those models ran on, together with a stripped sports version of the 3.5hp.
  • 1923 The 592cc machine was given a Burman gearbox.
  • 1924 The above model was the only one listed that year, after which motorcycle production ceased.
  • Note: 
    • It is recorded that some 1,500 machines were made, of which around two dozen remain today.
    • The Lea Francis story was recorded by Ken Hallworth in -œOLD BIKE- number 18, summer 1996.
    • There is a Lea-Francis Owners' Website [1]
    • Graham Francis's son, Gordon, would go on to co-found Francis-Barnett.

National Motorcycle Museum exhibits:-

  • 1913 Lea Francis 31⁄4hp V-Twin
Sources: Grace's Guide

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