Australian Motorcycles

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Mostyn Motorcycles

Mostyn Cycle Works produced motorcycles 1909 to 1914.[1].

William Mostyn Tanner had premises at 200 Canterbury Road, Canterbury, Victoria, where he sold rebadged Healing machines made in Melbourne under the Mostyn name. In 1917 Bill Tanner moved to Wagga-Wagga, and in 1928 he sailed to England with one of his Humber-based machines with leaf-spring suspension in the hope of finding a manufacturer. The British observed politely before saying thank you but no thank you.

At least one of the Mostyn machines exists, and was on display in pristine condition for many years in a shop on Elizabeth Street, the heart of Melbourne's motorcycle trade. It had been uncrated in 1953 after a long stay in a warehouse, and was later exhibited at Maffra Motor Museum before being sold at auction in 2012. It is a 1914 model with a Precision "Big Four" engine.

The Mostyn name survives in the motorcycle world. His great-grandson runs


Sydney Morning Herald, 27th November 1928

An interesting invention in spring frames for motor cycles, said to be the invention of a resident of Wagga, New South Wales, Mr. W. M. Tanner, is described and illustrated in the London "Motor Cycle."

The inventor has converted a 350 c.c. Humber motor cycle to his ideas, and is now in England demonstrating it. The new frame has four semi-elliptic leaf springs, a pair for the front and another pair for the back wheels, while adjustable cone ballraces are used for pivot joints throughout the construction. It is possible for either wheel to rise 3½ inches above its normal plane.

The inventor aimed at relieving the working joints of the weight of the machine and rider, and attached the springs to the moving frame members at points adjacent to the wheel spindles. A special triangulated structure provides a rigid mounting for the rear springs. Each end of each spring is shackled through thrust rods to a pin located Just below the wheel spindle. The weight passes through the thrust rods to the spring, and thence to the main frame, while the pivoted chain stays and back stays control the movement of the wheel and provide lateral rigidity. The thrust rods are of adjustable length, which permits alteration of the springs to suit a pillion passenger. The front springs are anchored to a rigid fork, which extends rearwards and forms an arc round the front mudguard. Radius rods from the lowest point of this construction extend forward to the lower end of the moving fork blades. These blades are linked to the rigid fork at the top, and again at the base, the lower links being provided with short shackles to compensate for the arc of travel round the radius rod pivots. The lower links prevent sideplay, and solid rubber blocks limit the travel of both front and rear springs.

To offset the springing system, small tyres (2 1/4in), pumped hard, are fitted, and the rigid top saddle has no vertical motion, although It is free to slide longitudinally, its motion being controlled by balanced tension springs.

Tests in England revealed remarkably smooth running on rough ground and potholes on which the machine could be driven at any speed without discomfort. The machine was rigid laterally, and its steering was normal, but under certain conditions slight wheel bounce was noticeable.

The new frame is known as the Mostyn, having been produced at the Mostyn Cycle works. Unlike most of the successful spring frames the suspension is not damped, but depends on the natural damping action of 17 leaves, each 1in by 1/16in, to each front spring, and six each, 1in by 1/8in, in the rear springs.

Trove NLA

1. Ozebook gives dates as 1913-16, says 1909 to 1914. has an article on Mostyn.

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