British Motorcycles

Henley and New Henley

Henley motorcycles were produced in Birmingham from 1920 to 1926, initially in Spring Hill, and later in Doe Street.

  • 1920 The firm's first model was powered by the usual 269cc Villiers two-stroke engine, and was available in two forms. One was single speed and the other two-speed through a Sturmey-Archer gearbox. Both had belt drive.

    1921 Two lightweights had been joined by machines with 293cc and 677cc sv JAP engines, also with belt final-drive.

    1922 By the middle of that year the firm was concentrating on a single model range that used a 348cc sv Blackburne engine. The company was so successful that they moved to larger premises in Doe Street, where they remained for the next four years. That autumn the 350cc progressed to ohv power, from the oil-cooled Bradshaw engine, a three-speed gearbox, all-chain drive and internal expanding brakes. A sleek appearance was achieved by the use of a sporting frame layout, with sloping top tube. That model was successfully used for competition and also in an Isle of Man TT race.

    1923-1925 New models appeared, with 249cc, 348cc ohv and 545cc sv Blackburne powered engines. Some were presented in De Luxe or Super Sports versions, others as complete sidecar outfits.

    1926 The original company was sold on to new owners that year, and the trading name was changed to New Henley, continuing to trade under that name until 1931.

    1927 A New Henley 350cc sports model was released with an OHV twin-port MAG engine, capable of 130 km/h.

The 1922 Olympia Show

HENLEY. (111.)

4¼ H.P. Model. 85x96 mm. (545 c.c.); single cyl. four-stroke; side-by-side valves; mechanical lubrication : Amac or B. and B. carb.; chain-driven mag.; 3-sp. gear: clutch and kick-starter; chain drive; 26x2½in. tyres. Price: Solo. £72 lbs.; with Sidecar, £92 10s.

Henley Eng. Co., Ltd., Steward Works, Doe Street, Birmingham.

There are quite a number of signs of very careful design on the larger Henley that serve to lift it out of the ruck. The neat knee grip fixture (concealed) and the capacious tool box on the carrier will serve as instances of this; and the mechanically-minded will appreciate that such things as frame design are on the same high standard. Burman gear boxes are fitted in every case.

2¾ H.P. Model.

71x88 mm, (348 c.c). single cyl. four-stroke; overhead valves; mechanical lubrication: Amac carb.; chain-driven mag.; 3-sp. gear: clutch, no kick-starter; all-chain drive; 26x2½in. tyres. Price: Solo, £72 l0s.

Following the same general lines, but stripped of all unessential fitments, is a nice-looking speed model which is well up to the general high standard of excellence of the many machines in the Show employing the o.h.v. Blackburne engine.

348 and 249 c.c. side valve Blackburne-engined singles are priced at £53 10s and £55 10s. respectively.

Olympia Show, 1922
The Motor Cycle November 30th, 1922. Page 830

Sources: Graces Guide, geschichte-des-zweirads, The Motor Cycle

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