British Motorcycles

HB Motorcycles by Hill Brothers

HB motorcycles were produced from 1910 to 1923 by Hill Brothers of Walsall Street, Wolverhampton.

  • 1910 The first machine was listed. HB stood for the brothers' initials and appeared on an engine of 1¼ hp, 136cc. It was possibly meant for a bicycle attachment, with belt drive to the rear wheel. Following that, nothing more was heard of the firm for some time.

    1919 After the end of World War I, a conventional 348cc Blackburne single was listed with a two-speed Burman gearbox and chain-cum-belt drive.

    1921 The single was joined by a 499cc, three-speed version.

    1922 A 550cc model and also one fitted with a 248cc ohv Blackburne engine appeared.

    1923 The above models must have over-stretched the company, as for that year there were just the two 348cc models, with all all-chain drive.

H-B 1919 350cc

The 2 3/4 h.p. H-B motor cycle fitted with a Blackburne engine, the bore and stroke of which are 71 X 88 mm. = 348 c.c.*

A New Blackburne-engined Medium Weight.

The H-B, a Two-speed 2 3/4 h.p. Solo Mount.

A NEW medium-weight machine has made its appearance in the 2 3/4 h.p. H-B, which two letters may be I taken to mean either Hill-Blackburne or Bill Bros., the makers of the machine, whose address is Walsall Street, Wolverhampton - a town already famous for motor cycles of the first water. With the idea that there is a large market for a machine of medium weight, and constructed more sturdily than the average lightweight, and yet not so heavy as the 3i h.p. single, the makers have set out Ito design the H-B.

The power unit is the well-known 2 3/4 h.p. Blackburne engine, 71x88 mm., giving a capacity of 350 c.c, the chief points of interest of which being, of jcourse, the outside flywheel and the detachable head. We were particularly impressed by the smooth exterior finish of the cylinder casting and crank case, the engine as a whole presenting the imost compact and neat appearance. The design of the silencer, etc., is somewhat unusual, in that it is carried, together with the tail pipe, within a neat sub-frame composed of the foot-boards attached to curved struts, as shown in the accompanying photograph. In future models we understand an under-shield will be incorporated with this frame.

The two-speed gear box is neatly housed below the bottom bracket, and is of well-known make, the change speed lever being mounted on a lug on the frame tube below the tank, and fitted with a patent spring selector device concealed in the end of this lug. The drive is conveyed by 1/4 in. Coventry chain from the engine to the gear box, which is fitted with a very substantial kick starter and hand-operated Ferodo-lined clutch. From this point the transmission is effected by 3/4 in. Dunlop belt over a 7in. pulley to the rear wheels. Great care has been taken to build the two chain sprockets in line with the rear hub, which gives the whole machine a very symmetrical appearance.

Frame and Fittings.

The frame is of conventional design, considerably reinforced in the front down tube, into which two D tubes have been pressed. The head itself is lined with heavy gauge tube, while the rear stays are straight throughout their length.

The rear wheel is easily detachable by reason of the slots in the fork ends, which slope downwards and thus facilitate the dropping out of the wheel. The rear brake acts on the front side of the belt rim, and is therefore not disturbed when removing the back wheel.

The tank has a capacity of one and a half gallons of petrol and one quart of oil, and is of attractive design, being wedge-shaped and finished black with a broad gold line.

A Brooks saddle is fitted, and tool-bags by the same maker are attached to the carrier in neat metal cases.

The mudguards are wider than those usually found on medium weight machines, and are almost flat in section, the front guard being fitted with a wide mud flap to prevent splash off the road reaching the rider.

During a visit to the works we had a short trial run on the machine, which was found to be very handy in traffic and remarkably quiet, and at the same time speedy on the level.

The Motor Cycle, September 4th 1919. p247

* The original article calculates the B/S as 350cc, but the correct figure is 348.

Sources: Graces Guide, The Motor Cycle

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