Belgian Motorcycles

Today in Motorcycle History

Ready Motorcycles

A Brief History of the Marque

Ready motorcycles were built in Belgium from 1924 to 1939 fitted with a variety of engines, mostly British, including Blackburne, JAP, Villiers and Chater-Lea.

René Milhoux of Saroléa was involved with Marcel Debay building Ready motorcycles in 1924.

Norbert Vanneste founded the NV Ready Motor Co in 1924. He employed a number of prominent engineers including Omar Cravillon (ex Rush) and Marcel Debuy (ex Saroléa).

That same year the firm achieved its first sporting successes - a world record (standing start kilometre, 175cc class) and three Belgian records.

At the Brussels Salon, King Albert was particularly interested in the Ready display and is quoted as having said "It's a miracle".

The range consisted of 175, 250, 350 and 500cc engines with JAP and Blackburne powerplants. These were equipped with chain drive, Burman gearboxes and Bosch magnetos.

In 1925 the laurels continued to amass - at the Brussels GP, Debay was first in 500cc, Milhoux first in 250cc and Vanneste first in 175cc. They also did well at the the German Tourist Trophy.

In 1926 a new machine was released. Designed by Dougal Marchant, it was powered by an OHC Chater-Lea engine. That year the works moved to Brussels.

Ready's greatest sporting achievement was achieved by Milhoux who won the GP of Belgium (counting for the GP of Europe) in the 175cc class, and they advertised that "The Ready is the only Belgian marque to have won the European GP".

In 1927 the range consisted of 350cc and 500cc models. The 350cc machines were equipped with sidevalve Ready engines, OHV JAP in single and dual exhaust version, and Blackburne with dual exhaust. The 500 cc models were similarly equipped, with the omission of Blackburne. These machines remained in the catalogue for the next few years with little change. In 1930 a 500 JAP was added equipped with electric lighting and horn, and enhanced instrumentation (odometer, fuel gauge and clock).

As the depression bit deeper, cheaper models were added in the form of 150cc and 200cc Villiers machines for the 1931 catalogue, along with a JAP 600.

Stronger frames with cast fittings were introduced for 1933, fitted to the 350 and 600cc models.

The 1939 catalogue was their last. It listed motorcycles of 100 to 600cc and included two-stroke and four-stroke models.

Sources: Ozebook, bevemo.nl, correspondence.

Notes: The Belgian marque is not related to the British machines built by D. Read and Co a few years earlier.

From the forums:

"Sorry for my English but I am from Belgium)
I am the owner of a Belgian motorcycle of the mark Ready with engine Villiers 125cc Mk 9D.
The Ready factory made only motorcycles from 1926 till 1940, but the number on the motor is 640/22380

Normally de pre-war engines have a letters (AAA) and post war engines have a number (000).
May be different numbers are used by Villiers for a production outside the Great Britain.

Because the Belgian factory Ready did not exist any more after the war and thus it is not possible to put a post war Villiers motor.
Also knowing that my motorcycle is of origin and has sudden no transformations or repairs (driving replacement)

Which could inform me about the date of manufacture of this engine?
In annexe a photo of the Villiers motor
Thank you"

Bob McGrath replies:

"Hello Dannybuck,
The 9D engine was made before, during and after WWII. This means you can find 9D’s identified with either the pre-war letter system; AA, AAA or AAA***A as well as the three number system used after the war.
Your 640/ is correct for a Villiers 9D made between 1946-49. They stopped making the 9D in 1949.
We cannot be more accurate than that. Most of the Villiers information from 1946-49 is lost.
At this time Villiers sold 9D engines to Eysink, Hulsmann, Sparta in Holland and Socovel in Belgium so your engine may have come from one of them.
Good luck,

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