Sunbeam Motorcycles

Sunbeam 1925 3½ hp Tourist Model AF1885

Sunbeam entered the field of motorcycle production during 1912 having previously established themselves as one of the country's premier cycle manufacturers.

Regarded by many as having the highest quality finish, thanks to the firms long association with the production of "japanned" enamel ware and the best workmanship, thanks in no small part to the firm's insistence that it used as far as possible items engineered "in house", of any of the British motorcycle manufacturers. The first machines built used proprietary JAP engines but these were quickly replaced with side valve units of their own manufacture in a range of capacities from 347cc to 597cc. These engines were central to the success of the marque, becoming an established part of the range throughout the Marston era of production despite the introduction during 1924 of the overhead valve range of singles. Early adherents of chain final drive, no doubt as a result of their experience with cycle manufacture, their touring models benefited from a variant of the "oil bath" chaincase that had proved so effective in the cycle field in helping to keep the rider clean and prolonging the life of the chain itself.

Unfortunately as the 1920's drew to a close so did Sunbeam's glory years, their exceptional quality came at a high price which did not sit comfortably with the prevailing economic situation, the marque passed into the ownership of ICI who subsequently sold it to Associated Motorcycle in 1937. ICI retained the company for two years before selling the marque to it's final custodian, BSA, in 1939, who introduced in the post war years the "gentleman's" tourer, the S7 and its sibling the S8, before committing the final ignominy to this proud marque by placing the Sunbeam badge on a scooter!
Thankfully for enthusiasts Marston-built Sunbeam's survive in good numbers, reflecting the esteem in which they were and are held.

This example of the 3½ hp Tourist or Standard model was first registered in February 1925

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