Today in Motorcycle History


Britax were motorcycles produced from 1949 to 1956 and from 1979 to 1985.

This company started out as an accessory firm and were based in London.

  • 1949 They added motorcycles to their catalogue by importing the 48cc Italian Ducati Cucciolo bicycle attachment engine unit. This very different engine was a four-stroke, with ohv opened by pull-rods and built-in unit with a two-speed gearbox with clutch and preselector control. To begin with it was sold in the UK as a unit. The Cucciolo cycle attachment engine was Ducati's only product at the time. Using these engines, Britax built 50cc motorcycles between 1954 and 1956.
  • 1952 Late that year Britax began to import the German Lohmann clip-on engine. This also differed from the others. It was an 18cc compression-ignition two-stroke, with variable compression ratio. It was designed to clamp under the bicycle bottom-bracket, had a horizontal cylinder and very narrow crankcase. A counter-shaft drove the rear wheel by friction roller. Although it had first appeared in 1949, it was only on the British market for little over a year.
  • 1953 Britax moved to a complete machine using Royal Enfield parts, a heavy-duty bicycle frame and blade girder forks.
  • 1955 Two more models joined the list. These were a scooter and a racing model, known as the Hurricane, fitted with a full fairing. Neither of these enjoyed much success, as the scooter world had moved on and the Italian Itom out-classed the racer.
  • 1956 After that year, Britax returned to the accessory business but took over the Cyclemaster line for a while.
  • 1963 Motor Show exhibitor. Seat belts
  • 1979-1985 The name made a come-back on an Italian 50cc fold-up moped known as the Kari-Bike.
  • In 1965 the Britax organization purchased the Excelsior brand.

British Models: M55 moped, Hurricane motorcycle, and a scooterette. These machines featured very similar chassis and engines, fitted with different bodywork.

1955 Britax Hurricane
Using a 50cc Cucciolo motor this British racer was sold for a limited time starting in 1955. It featured Austentic valves, double coil valve springs, megaphone exhaust and Amal carb. Weight was 97 lbs. Top speed of 50 mph plus. Equipped with a "dustbin" fairing formed from hand- formed aluminum. The machine is believed to be the first 50cc production racer to reach the market. The price was just under £100.

Sources:, Phil Aynsley, Graces Guide

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