Bowden Motorcycles 1903

Report from the 1903 Stanley Show

The Bowden Patents Syndicate will be showing a large variety of improvements especially connected with the Bowden motor-bicycle. The special feature about this machine is the Bowden chain drive and friction clutch which has proved so successful, and is still further improved for 1904. The firm's handlebar control system by the Bowden wire transmission is certain to prove a highly interesting Exhibit.

The illustration we give of part of the machine shows how various parts of the motor gear are controlled. Thus, there is the throttle valve, spark advance, and valve lifter. The front and rear wheel brakes and clutch and automatic circuit breaker are also wire controlled. A clever development of the Bowden principle is the firm's new flexible tube for oil or petrol connections. This entirely obviates the nuisance caused by the fracture of rigid copper pipes by vibration. The 1904 F.N. engine of 3 h.p. will be fitted as shown. This has several new features. There is an air passage between the cylinder and valve box improving the cooling. The inlet valve has a new paraffin injector (Bowden patent) and it also frees the valve automatically. The lubricating system has also been improved, and a very efficient vacuum valve fitted. A new brake acting on the belt rim will also be shown, as also will the firm's two-speed gear. The details of this gear are as follows:- It consists of a two-speed Hub worked on the well-known sun and planet motion, the spindle of the hub is rigidly held in the back fork ends, so as to prevent any possibility of it turning. On this spindle is a spur wheel fitted with a roller clutch; the chain wheel which is fitted with a spring drive, has an internal tooth gear wheel, which by the aid of a pair of small pinions, gears into the spur wheel on the axle, the chain wheel fitting has also a cone which is capable of being forced into the hub and locked there, so that the chain then drives the hub as one solid piece, the spur wheel on the axle acting as a free-wheel, and running round with the gear. On releasing the cone friction drive from the hub, the two-speed gear comes into action, the motion of the gear wheels being reversed, the spur wheel on the axle remains stationary, the small gear wheels revolving round it, giving a reduction of 40 per cent. on the high gear. When in the low gear, the machine can be wheeled along, and will overrun the engine, as in the Humber, and can be wheeled backwards and forwards by lifting the exhaust valve. The gear must be put into the high gear to start the motor, but when in the high gear, it can only be wheeled forward with the exhaust valve lifter up, as owing to the action of the free-wheel spur gear it is impossible to wheel the machine backwards.

This exhibit will be found at the Stanley, and visitors will find sufficient here in the way of novel features to occupy their attention for a considerable time. We shall illustrate further novelties of this firm in our Show Number.

The Motor magazine, 18th November 1903