Blackburne Motorcycles

Today in Motorcycle History

Burney and Blackburne Motorcycles

Burney and Blackburne of Tongham, near Farnham.

The company was formed by Cecil and Alick Burney who bought the rights to the Geoffrey de Havilland engine. They built motorcycles with Major Blackburne. Built by Burney and Blackburne of Birkhamstead, Hertfordshire, the Blackburne was first known as the De Havilland.

Blackburne motorcycles were produced from 1913 to 1922.

1913 The first Blackburne model entered the market early that year. It had a 499cc 3.5hp sv engine with a large outside flywheel and a one-piece forged crankshaft. This combination made it one of the smoothest running engines of the period. It also had a belt-driven three-speed hub gear and Saxon forks. Late that year the company moved to Tongham, Surrey.

1914-1915 The model adopted a three-speed Sturmey-Archer gearbox, chain-cum-belt drive and Druid forks. A single-speed TT model was also listed.

1916 Both models were still listed that year and then joined by a 3.5hp model with three speeds.

Post World War I. Manufacture went over to OEC at Gosport, Hampshire.

1919 There were three models and the 1916 machine now had all-chain drive and was rated at 4hp. The other two were a 2.75hp two-speed single and an 8hp V-twin combination. The company then sold its own rights to OEC.

1921 Only the V-twin combo and 4hp single were listed that year.

1922 The twin alone was in production. With the involvement of OEC, the company names combined, and thereafter Blackburne concentrated on producing engines for other companies well into the next decade.


Produced light engines for the 1923 Lymphe Trials and this led to the Tomtit engine. The Thrush engine was developed from three Tomtit engines.

Source: Graces Guide

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