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British Motorcycles

Riley Motorcycles

Riley motorcycles were produced between 1899 and 1906, in Coventry.

  • 1899 The firm had started to produce tricycles and quadricycles using 2¼ hp German Cudell or Belgian Minerva engines, both of which went behind the rear axle and, according to the type, one or two front wheels were fitted.
  • 1900 At about this time engines were changed to a 2¾ hp or a 3½ hp MMC.
  • 1901 The first motorcycle appeared as a typically primitive solo fitted with a 1½ hp Minerva or a 2¾ hp MMC engine.
  • 1902 A forecar design was added to the range.
  • 1903 During the year a further option was added in the form of a 3½ hp MMC engine. The solos were advertised as the Moto-Bi. Late that year, Riley started fitting their own engines in the vertical mounting position, but still kept the Moto-Bi name. Engine sizes were 2.25-hp, 3-hp and 3.5-hp. The largest of those was intended for forecar use, with the option of water- or fan-cooling, and both forecars and sidecars were included in the range.
  • 1904 The forecar was revised that year.
  • 1905 A further forecar was added to the range.
  • 1906 A fairly heavy machine appeared, fitted with a 6-hp, 804cc V-twin engine, but early in the year the production of motorcycles stopped and the company turned its attention firstly to tricars and then to motorcars.
  • 1912 Spennell's lists them at St. Nicholas Street, Coventry (Wire, Kite; Tel. 216) and as manufacturers of motorcycles.

See also The Riley Company Sources: Graces Guide



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