Today in Motorcycle History

Armis Motorcycles

A Brief History of the Marque

The Armis Cycle Manufacturing Company, of Heneage Street, Birmingham, manufactured 1919 to 1923 *

Built quite a variety of machines using a range of engines which included the 269cc Precision two-strokes and a 654cc MAG V-twin.

  • The founders were Messrs. Harrison and Baker.

    In 1919-1920 they offered two models, both with Precision engines. The larger of the two used the old 8hp 269cc sv V-twin Precision and a three-speed Sturmey-Archer gearbox. There was also a medium-weight that had a new Precision 349cc two-stroke engine delivering power via an Enfield two-chain, two-speed transmission. The V-twin model was short-lived, and the transmission of the two-stroke was via a Burman Gearbox. Armis also listed a complete sidecar combination as well as a solo JAP model.

    1921 The V-twin returned, this time with a 654cc sidevalve JAP engine, in both solo and sidecar combination versions.

    1922 saw the V-twin still in the catalogue, was joined by other models with JAP or MAG engines. They were sold with sidecars to order. Nothing was heard of the marque after 1923.

Sources: Tragatsch p78, correspondence, Graces Guide

Tragatsch gives dates of 1920-1923
The Latin word "armis" is suggested to mean in this context, "by force and arms".

Armis 1920 2¾ h.p.

The Armis four-stroke lightweight fitted with a 2¾ h.p. J.A.P. engine and Burman gear box.

Armis 1920 350cc Sidecar Combination

A sidecar outfit with a Precision power unit - a light but comfortable sidecar is fitted

New Armis Models

A Lightweight Sidecar Outfit and a Solo Mount.

AMONG the several new makes introduced since the revival of the motor cycle industry after the war, the Armis, made by the Armis Cycle Manufacturing Co., of Heneage Street, Birmingham, is not the least known. It entered the market unostentatiously and with a modest output, which has gradually increased so that this year quite a creditable number are on the roads and giving satisfaction.

The first model introduced was a neat solo machine with a Precision 350 c.c. two-stroke engine, sloping top tube frame, 26x 2¼ in. tyres, Burman two-speed gear box with clutch and kick-starter. Saxon forks and usual first class equipment sells at £85.

Two more models have now been introduced, and a third, of 5 h.p., will follow by the time the Show opens. The first of these is a runabout sidecar outfit consisting of the Precision-engined machine and a light but exceedingly neat sidecar of the type known as "semi-sporting," but which is quite comfortable, has a side door and a convenient rear locker. The price of the complete outfit is £115.

Probably next year quite a large number of machines of this type will be in use as sidecar machines, as they fill all the requirements of many who are content with a moderate speed, and do not require a machine for heavy loads.

Second in the range is a J.A.P.-engined machine on the. lines of the two-stroke, and also fitted with a Burman gear box and equipment as mentioned above. It makes an attractive little mount, which should appeal to those who require a handy solo machine and prefer the four-stroke engine. Like the two-stroke, it a comfortable machine to ride, being well balanced and affording a low riding position.

A Dual-purpose Mount.

Of the third model, we are not at liberty to say much at the present time, but it will be of a type which next year will be popular for both solo and sidecar use, being eminently suitable tor both purposes.

From what we know of the experimental machine it seems to strike a new note in external design.

The Motor Cycle October 21st, 1920. Page 482

Armis at the Olympia Show 1920

Gear box adjustment on the Armis sidecar mount is effected by a draw bolt.
Lateral play is entirely absent in the Flexa spring seat-pillar , now a standard fitment on the Armis light-weight.

Olympia Show 1920

Armis. (Stand 22.)

  • 5 h.p.; 70x85 mm. (654 c.c.); two-cylinder four-stroke; side-by-side valves; drip feed lubrication; Cox Atmos single-lever carburetter; T.B. chain-driven magneto; three-speed Burman gear; chain and belt drive; Dunlop 26x2 ½ in. tyres. Price with sidecar, £165; solo, £135.

Armis Cycle Co., Heneage Street, Birmingham.

This is an attractive sidecar outfit of reasonable weight, fitted with the latest 5 h.p. J. A. P. engine. It is driven by a substantial chain, which is adequately protected through a Burman three-speed gear box incorporating a clutch and kick starter. The final drive is by belt. One of the most practical things on the machine is the method of sliding the gear box, to accomplish which the four holding-on bolts are loosened, when the tightening of the adjusting nut has the effect of drawing the gear box to the rear and at the same time preserving the alignment. The mudguarding has also been well studied, and spacious aluminium footboards are provided. There is also an ample sized cover over the magneto. So far as the frame is concerned, this is of strong construction, and the top tube is sloped towards the rear, thus affording the driver a low riding position. A new and efficient Bowden rim brake is fitted to the front wheel. Weight of the machine without sidecar is 250 lb.

  • 3½ h.p.; 74x86 mm. (350 c.c); single-cylinder two-stroke; mechanical lubrication; Amac carburetter; M-L magneto; two-speed Burman countershaft gear; chain and belt drive; Dunlop 26x2 ¼ in. tyres. Price solo, £85; sidecar, £115.

This is also shown as a sidecar outfit; its power unit is a Precision two-stroke, fitted with mechanical lubrication and detachable head, while a Maglita set supplies current for both ignition and lamps. It should be ideal for the man of moderate means, who requires a machine which can be used satisfactorily for both business and pleasure. Both frame and tank follow the lines of the model described above. This outfit is fitted with a Flexa spring seat-pillar, which carries the saddle on a laminated spring. The saddle is the well-known XL'All. Both models are fitted with celluloid-covered handle-bars, so that the owner of an Armis need not worry about too much plated work to clean. The weight is 180 lb. solo.

  • 2¾ h.p.; 70x76 mm. (293 c.c); stroke; pump and drip feed lubrication; Amac carburetter; Lion magneto; two-speed Burman gear; chain and belt drive; Palmer 26x23in. tyres. Price £85.

This handy 2¾ h.p. J.A.P.-engined light-weight, like other Armis models, is well mudguarded, is provided with footboards, and wide semi-T.T. handle-bars, which are celluloid-covered. It is also fitted similarly to the other models with XL'All saddle and Saxon forks.

Olympia Show, 1920

The Motor Cycle, December 2nd, 1920.

Fri May 26 2017
fobcrew2012 at
Armis Motorcycles
Armis 1920
Hi, I have a 1920 Armis and was trying to track down any info on the company. Thought you might also need some more info on the bike itself as I seem to have the only known one left? Cheers, Dan (Australia)

    The machine is believed to have a 300cc JAP engine. Ed.

    Dick Weekes of writes, "Very interested to have news of this unique bike as we believe that it was built for Armis by Calthorpe. The frame and tank and 293cc JAP engine appear identical to the 1920 Calthorpe JAP. The blanked off hole in the frame behind the engine housed the Enfield two speed gear used on the Calthorpe version."

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