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British Motorcycles

Mead Cycles

Mead Cycles of Paradise Street, Liverpool and of Birmingham.

  • Mead were motorcycles produced from 1911 to 1915 and from 1922 to 1924 probably made for them by Calthorpe of Birmingham.¹

    1902 The first adverts appear for bicycles from the Mead Cycle Co of Chicago, USA, but in 1903 the same advert appears as the Mead Cycle Co of Liverpool.

    1905 A cycle advertisement states "general offices are at 35 to 39 Wapping, Liverpool."

    1911-1913 The machines were produced in very small numbers and did not appear at any of the early shows, or on any lists. They were fitted with a 3½hp Precision engine.

    1914 A larger range appeared, all fitted with Precision engines. These were 2½hp, 3¾hp and 4¼hp singles, plus 6hp and 8hp V-twins, and all had a variety of transmission options ranging from direct-belt drive to geabox and chain-cum-belt. A lightweight was later added, using a 2hp, 170cc Precision engine with in-built two-speed gear, belt drive and Druid forks.

    1915 Production continued into that year and then stopped.

    Post-War, they also had an address at Balsall Heath, Birmingham as well as Liverpool.

    1922-1924 The name returned as an assembler of machines that were typical of the period. They used 1¾hp, 2¾hp and 3¾hp engines from Precision and Wall, and the usual Villiers two-stroke single.

    "William J. Pickering after upwards of a quarter of a century's connection with the Mead Cycle Company of Sparkbrook, Birmingham, has decided to give up active participation in the conduct of the business; but his services will be retained in an advisory capacity." Bicycling News and Motor Review, Nov 2 1927

Notes

    1. It was earlier thought that the machines were made by Premier of Coventry.


Sources: Grace's Guide, Dick Weekes


Dick Weekes, on FB. 12th Jan 2018

I don't know who made their pedal cycles or the post first war motorcycles but there is no doubt (by comparison of catalogues and specifications) that the 1911 to 1914 motorcycles were made by Calthorpe.

Mead was primarily an American maker of pedal cycles and their cycle brochure of c 1911 shows a (possibly fictitious) view of a large factory complete with steamships and locomotives. Their motorcycle range in 1914 was identical to that of Calthorpe and appears to have been built and badge engineered for them by Calthorpe. Mead had addresses in Liverpool (Paradise Street) and Balsall Heath, Birmingham, both of which seem to have been in residential areas. There is a superbly restored Mead Flyer in the National Motorcycle Museum, Birmingham, England. (Dick Weekes is the Calthorpe Marque Specialist for the Vintage Motor Cycle Club UK)

In the same conversation, G.R. Wilson writes that a Mead Flyer was one of the first motorcycles in Iceland.


Sat Jul 03 2010
ivan_57 at hotmail.com
MEAD 1911
Hi Im from Mexico I have a rare mead bike 1911, is unique in the world,
I want to know what value it has,
Gracia
Mexico

Mead image posted above.



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