Centaur Motorcycles

Centaur of Stoke, Coventry
  • They produced motorcycles from 1901 to 1914.
  • 1901 The machines first appeared as primitive but well built.
  • 1904 The silencer was used as the frame downtube between headstock and crankcase. It had a 348 cc 3hp engine with valves at the front of the cylinder and braced forks incorporated a rubber buffer to take some of the road shocks. It also had belt or a two-stage chain-drive. Another model had an inclined engine, which replaced the downtube as in the Humber and P and M design. A forecar was also offered.
  • 1905 The silencer reverted to being a separate item and was no longer part of the frame.
  • 1906 The 3hp model continued for that year. Manufacture then stopped for a few years.
  • 1910 The company returned with standard and TT models, both fitted with a 3½ hp engine, with valves at the front of the cylinder. The standard model had a Bosch magneto ahead of the crankcase and sprung forks, the TT version was rigid with a rear-mounted magneto. Two ran in the TT, but neither was successful.
  • 1911 That year saw the arrival of a free-engine clutch and a 3½ hp vertical twin with overhead inlet-valves.
  • 1912 Various models were available from 2hp to 3½ hp and there was also a ladies' version. Four models continued for the next two years.
  • 1914 The marque disappeared.

Centaur Cycle Co

of West Orchard Works, Coventry is related.
  • 1896/7 Directory: Listed under cycles.

    1897 The New Centaur Cycle Co was registered on 27 February, to take over the business of the Centaur Cycle Co.

    1906 In January, the original name was reverted to.

    1912 Listed in Spennell's directory of Coventry as Cycle Manufacturers.

1912 Olympia Show

Centaur, Stand No. 89.

  • 3½ h.p. Model (single-cylinder) : 84x85 mm.; side by side valves; Amac carburetter; belt; Armstrong VI.

The Centaur Co., Ltd., Coventry.

The new Centaur model may be distinguished by square cylinder radiating ribs. In most respects, however, they are similar to last year's model. The tank is circular and lubrication is by an enclosed pump. Neat rubber-covered footboards are fitted as standard.

The Armstrong mark VI. hub gear is used. A neat kick-starter is fitted on the off side, consisting of a pedal, which drives the rear hub clutch by a short length of chain. The magneto is gear driven, and lies behind the engine well out of the way of mud and water. The gear is operated by a single pedal, but the clutch may be held out by means of a spring catch. The rear rim brake is interesting in that the shoe is of unusual length; it operates inside the V of a dummy belt rim. The shoe is pivoted so that the full length of the shoe accommodates itself to the radius of the rim.

The front mudguard has side wings extending its full length, and the rear guard is hinged and has a neat belt protector attached to it. The carrier is of ample dimensions, and supports pannier toolbags which do not interfere with the luggage accommodation. The spring forks are of the Druid type made under licence. A large expansion box is fitted across the frame in front of the engine, which renders the exhaust extremely quiet.

1912 Olympia Show
The Motor Cycle Nov 28th 1912, p386

Sources: Graces Guide, The Motor Cycle

Fri Jan 02 2015
bernie.0205 at
Centaur, Coventry Water Cooled
Please can you help? a friend in South Africa was given a Centaur, Coventry single cylinder water cooled engine c early 1900s. he has got it running but has no knowledge of what it was used for. Can you help please. Bernard Dodd Cleethorpes.

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