British Motorcycles

Quadrant Cycle Co

  • 1883 The firm was founded by Walter and William Lloyd, to manufacture bicycles and tricycles.
  • 1889 Jan/Feb. Stanley Exhibition. Spring wheel for a cycle.
  • 1890 Jan/Feb. The Stanley Exhibition of Cycles at the Crystal Palace. Illustrated.
  • 1895 Became a limited company. The company was registered on 24 October, to take over a private business carried on under the same title.
  • 1896/7 Directory: Listed under cycles.
  • 1900 The firm moved into the world of motorcycles by fitting a Minerva engine to the downtube of a heavy-duty bicycle. They then moved on to a forecar.
  • 1901 The motorcycle side of the company was founded by W. L. Lloyd with the first models to his design being fitted with 211cc Minerva engines.
  • 1903 The company had its own design of engine mounted in a loop frame. This design had a single lever to control the throttle, ignition switch, spark advance and valve lifter. That year Tom Silver set a new Land's End to John O'Groats record on a 3hp model, which boosted sales greatly.
  • 1903 The Quadrant was first brought out at the end of the year, as a single speed machine, and was one of several makes of forecar that enjoyed a run of popularity at that time.
  • For 1904, a two-speed model was available, gear selection being made by the engagement of friction clutches to V-belt pulleys situated in the region of the bottom bracket. A curious arrangement of two air-cooled engines mounted side-by-side was employed, these being connected by a leather faced clutch when load conditions required the use of both. Final drive was by chain.
  • From 1903 onwards Quadrant produced their own engines in a wide range of capacities and types.
  • 1904 A forecar model was added. This had twin 2.5hp engines. They were mounted side-by-side with a clutch in between, so one or both could be used.
  • 1908 Having been revised, the company moved to Earlsdon, Coventry, where they developed and produced many more models.
  • 1910 Walter Bentley, known later for his cars, raced Quadrant motorcycles.

1910 Stanley Show Report
The Quadrant Motor Co.
Coventry. Stand in Annexe.
The Quadrant Motor Co., who are building a new factory in Birmingham. and will shortly remove to their new address 45-53 Lawley Street, in that city, will be showing several models of Quadrant motor-bicycles, these including a 3 H.P. Quadrant with gear-driven magneto. and fitted with free engine; also the 2 H.P. Quadrant light-weight and 4 H.P. loss built models for passenger work.

1910 Cycle and Motorcycle Exhibition
Quadrant Motor Co.
Coventry. Stand No. 270 Annexe.
Three models comprise the arrangements for the 1911 Quadrant motor-cycles, these being the standard 3 1/2 HP., a 4 H.P. for passenger work, and a 2 H.P. lightweight. Simplicity is the note struck in the design of the engine, this being carried out by reducing the gear wheels operating the valves, etc., to four. These, together with the gear drive of the magneto am enclosed in a neat dust-proof, oil-retaining case. The lightweight deserves special notice for the reason that the engine is a small replica of its larger brother, a factor which makes also for simplicity and, therefore, reliability. The new spring fork, fashioned somewhat on the lines of the well-known Quadrant fork but now adapted to take a front brake, should also be noticed.

  • Post World War I to 1920. Only singles were produced - with a Sturmey-Archer gearbox.
  • 1921 A new model appeared. This had a side-by-side valve engine and all-chain drive.
  • 1923 A similar 624cc version was produced and the old Quadrant idea of placing the inlet valve at the back of the cylinder disappeared permanently.
  • 1924 A 490cc ohv sports model joined the range, but was short lived.
  • By 1924 March, Newark & Co owned Quadrant and was producing two models only - a 490cc and a 624cc - both side valve singles, the 624cc model having been reduced from a previous 645cc engine.

    A report on the Motor Cycle Show of November 1924 reads, in part,

    "The 3 1/2 h.p. Quadrant has an engine of 79 mm. bore and loo mm. stroke, the cubic capacity being 490 c.c. It has a detachable head, and is fitted with either the Binks or Amac carburetter. The transmission embodies a Burman three-speed box, with clutch and kick-starter, all chain drive, aluminium covers for the chains, and 26 in. by 21 in. tyres. The 3i h.p. combination is the above machine with a light coachbuilt sidecar A 4... h.p. combination is also standardised, with a single-cylinder engine...

    March, Newark & Co., Ltd., 45-49, Lawley Street, Birmingham.

  • 1926 The sports model was redesigned and given twin exhaust ports. All Quadrant models now had a three-speed Burman gearbox.
  • 1927 This was the final year of production for the firm that once advertised itself as the maker of 'Britain's Oldest Motor Cycle'. These machines had an enviable reputation as robust touring motorcycles, but manufacture ceased, even though the company had tried to modernize its line-up.
  • 1928 The company closed.

No. 47. -"Quadrant" bicycle, fitted with Lloyd's "Cross-roller" gear, patent No. 6435/1897. Weight of complete machine 35 lbs. Presented by E. Figg. The rear portion of a frame is shown, separately, to demonstrate the mechanism of the gear; this was presented by A. R. Wayte, of Dublin.

This gear was a development of the bevel system of driving; when two "teeth," one driving and one driven, engaged each other, each was free to revolve on a fixed stud: this minimised the friction which is inseparable from any rigid mechanical method of conveying rotary drive round a right-angled corner. The hollow shaft, enclosing the usual chain-stay, revolved on ball-bearings. A letter from Walter John Lloyd, inventor of the gear, accompanies the exhibit. Mr. Lloyd (who is still alive) was an extremely clever engineer, and was responsible for the many ingenious innovations which were embodied in -"Quadrant " cycles. Notable among these were the special method of mounting the front wheel of a tricycle, which helped to make the -"Quadrant" of 1886-1890 such a popular

Mr. Lloyd also devised a very efficient spring-frame, while his back-pedalling band-brake* (fitted to exhibit No. 47) will repay careful examination. Note also the extension from the fork crown, strengthening each blade.*

Harry Chinn, of Birmingham -” brother of the more famous Fred. Chinn -” made several records on the Crystal Palace track, using a -"Quadrant" racing bicycle with Lloyd's cross-roller gear. He ran third in the 50-miles National Championship, and covered 29 miles 465 yards in one hour (15th September, 1900).


National Cycle Collection exhibits:-
  • Motorcycle of 1923?
  • Tricycle 
  • Tandem Tricycle 

National Motorcycle Museum exhibits:-

  • 1904 Quadrant Forecar 
  • 1924 Quadrant 624cc Single Cylinder
Quadrant Gallery

Sources: Grace's Guide

, Motor Sport Magazine

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