British Motorcycles

P. V. Motor Cycles

PV were motorcycles produced from 1911 to 1924 at 93 Perry Vale, Forest Hill, London, by Elliston and Fell, later P. V. Motor Cycles.

  • 1911 The first machines were seen late in the year with spring frames and powered by either single or V-twin JAP engines, and fitted with Druid or Chater-Lea forks.

    1912 The firm then concentrated on using V-twin engines and a countershaft gearbox.

    1914 The use of the ABC flat-twin engine was considered.

    1915 They added a lightweight with a 269cc Villiers engine.

    1916 Only the lightweight was listed.

    Post-War, a small two-stroke was the only model.

    1919 A model was shown with the new Stanger V-twin two-stroke engine, Brampton forks, three-speed Sturmey-Archer chain-cum-belt transmission and a 56mph/90kmh speed potential.

    They continued with a wide variety of engine makes for the next few years.

    1924 It was their last season in the trade.

PV 1919 Villiers

The Villiers-englned lightweight P.V. with spring frame

THE 1919 "P.V."

Pioneer Spring Frame Machine in a New Guise.

THE P.V. motor bicycle is famous as being one of the first motor bicycles made with a spring frame. Its makers, Messrs. Elliston and Fell, Perry Vale, Forest Hill, S.E., may therefore be regarded as among the pioneers so far as spring frames are concerned. Their latest pattern P.V. is a nice looking, well fitted up, and thoroughly practical little mount.

At the present moment it is made in the form of a lightweight, and is equipped with a 2 3/4 h.p. Villiers engine and a Chater-Lea two-speed gear box, transmission being by combined belt and chain. The spring frame has been considerably improved in detail since Messers. Elliston and Fell have returned from serving their country in the army.

We may remind our readers that the system of springing consists of carrying the rear wheel in a sort of auxiliary pair of forks, which terminate in triangular malleable castings, and are carried on substantial bearings running through the main back fork ends. The forward end of the forks terminates in a peg secured to a fibre collar passing through a slot in the saddle tube. This fibre collar works between two coil springs in the saddle tube. The lower spring is secured by an adjustable plug, which can be moved by means of a spanner, thus allowing the tension of the spring to be altered so as to suit the weight of the rider. The peg referred to runs through a damping box consisting of a shoe lined with leather and kept in tension by a light spring. This serves also to cover up the slot in which the sprung portion of the frame is free to move, thus excluding any mud and grit. The saddle tube in which the springs are to be found is packed with grease when the machine is delivered, and no further attention is needed for a very long time.

Points of convenience have been well studied in the P.V. There is a small pyramid of gauze above the petrol outlet, so that no dirt can reach the carburetter. The rear brake spindle is mounted eccentrically, and if the nut by which it is secured to the frame be loosened and a peg inserted in the hole conveniently provided, the adjustment of the brake is an extremely simple matter.

The machine is suspended in front on Brampton biflex forks, an extra heavy chain is fitted, and the handle-bars are wide and comfortable. We tried the machine on the road, and found the springing to be excellent in every respect. There is no possibility of side play, the wheel is the only unsprung weight, and there is no doubt that it satisfactorily absorbs all serious road shocks.

The Motor Cycle, July 24th, 1919.

ENGINE: Villiers two-stroke, 70x70 mm. (269 c.c.)
LUBRICATION : Drip feed.
MAGNETO: Villiers flywheel.
WHEELS: 26x2 1/2in.
CARBURETTER: Amac two -lever.
GEAR BOX: Burman two-speed.
TRANSMISSION: 1/4in. chain and 3/4in. belt.
FRAME: Spring.
MAKERS: P.V. Motor Cycles, Ltd., Perry Vale, Forest Hill, London, S.E.23.

THE P.V. was a pioneer amongst lightweight spring frames, and the detail improvements which have been made were incorporated more to facilitate the adjustment and long wearing qualities of the mechanism than to increase its efficiency.

The construction of the springing system, which the makers claim eliminates all lateral play, is exceptionally simple. The rear wheel is carried in a fork which is pivoted at the rear fork end lugs of the chain stays; this fork terminates in a peg which passes through a slot in the saddle, tube and engages with a cylindrical fibre block. (The strength of the saddle tube is considerably reduced, but this is compensated by the use of heavier gauge tubing and lugs.) A coil spring is located above and below the fibre block, the upper one acting as a recoil spring.

Accessibility of Main Spring.

The main spring can be removed and another fitted with ease, merely by taking out the plug at the bottom of the saddle pillar tube.

The machine which we were to take upon test was equipped with a 2 3/4 h.p. Villiers engine.


PV 1921 Spring Frame

Details of the P.V. spring frame :
(A) The floating member
(C) Housing for the coil springs
(D) The cover concealing the slot in the saddle tube
(G) Adjustment for the springs

A preliminary inspection of the controls and equipment completed, which latter we would say was more adequate than that supplied with many new machines, the engine was started, and, engaging the clutch, the machine took up the drive sweetly, and rapidly accelerated on but a small movement of the throttle.

Although scorned by a number of "big twin" speedmen, there are many points in favour of the two-stroke light-weight, notably smoothness of torque and ease and simplicity of control.

Value of a Good Clutch.

Negotiating traffic in the South-west of London without, constantly changing down necessitates much work for the clutch, and if it is sensitive to the slightest movement of the finger, as we found was the case with the Burman, much time and inconvenience are saved. So far as the two-speed box is concerned, when once out of the dense traffic, the lower gear may be regarded as a superfluous luxury.

Happy to leave the London streets well in the rear, the long strip of road from the Metropolis towards Guildford and the coast  instinctively encouraged a wider throttle opening. A " B. and B." carburetter is fitted, and with both air and throttle barrels wide open the machine had a remarkable turn of speed for its engine capacity.


PV 269cc Villiers 1921

The 2 3/4 h.p. spring frame P.V., one of the most comfortable lightweights on the road

When one has traversed a bad piece of road many times, a definite channel, where the most violent road shocks can be avoided, is instinctively chosen.

The ability to disregard this chosen route without the anticipated jolting in the saddle most effectively demonstrates the efficiency of a spring frame. This was our experience with the P.V. The rear springing is most effective, whilst if is not, as in many designs, too sensitive. It has the added merit of being quite simple.

Later, turning left off the main Portsmouth Road, and ascending the famous Newlands Corner, which has a gradient of about 1 in 9, we again found no necessity to change to the lower gear although a corner at the bottom of the hill reduces one's speed considerably ; the engine accelerated rapidly, and, halting at the top to make an inspection, we found it exceptionally cool.

The appearance of the machine is pleasing, whilst the compact disposition of the various units gives one the impression of easy accessibility. Incidentally, petrol consumption was in the neighbourhood of 70 to 80 m.p.g.

Other models manufactured by P.V. Motor Cycles, Ltd., and all embodying the same springing system, are a special ladies' model with a cut-away tank, a 2 3/4 h.p. J.A.P.-engined model, and a 5-6 h.p. J.A.P.-engined dual-purpose mount, equipped with a P.V. spring frame and a sidecar.

The Motor Cycle, October 27th, 1921.


ALTHOUGH a very wide range of P.V. machines will be marketed next year there has been no radical change in the design of this old-established spring frame motor cycle.

1923 plans are best described by enumerating the various engines used; 247 c.c. and 343 c.c. Villiers ; 349 B. and S. ; 293 c.c. and 349 c.c. single-cylinder and 500 c.c. and 678 c.c. twin-cylinder J.A.P.s. Both the twins are of the sports type and provide an excellent combination of liveliness with comfort.

The makers are P.V. Motor Cycles, Ltd., Perry Vale, Forest Hill, S.E.23.

The Motor Cycle, October 12th, 1922.

Sources: Graces Guide, >The Motor Cycle

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