Centaur Motorcycles

Today in Motorcycle History

Centaur 1902-1904 Models

Stand 62-3.

The Centaur Cycle Co., Coventry, show one specimen of their new pattern chain-driven motor-bicycle, to which a Humber engine is fitted, driving by means of two chains, and the interposition of a spring chain wheel, to absorb the shocks of the engine. Another pattern with 3 h.p. engine, fitted to a frame of the well-known Centaur featherweight design, will soon be on the market. Centaur motor-bicycles all have the patent anti-vibrator head, with rubber buffers at the crown - between the crown and the fork blades, in fact. Prices of Centaur motor-bicycles for 1903 are 50 guineas for the 2 h.p., and 60 the 3 h.p.

Stanley Show 1902
Source: Motor Cycling Magazine.

The New Centaur Cycle Co., Ltd.

Although the Centaur Co. have not hitherto figured very prominently in the public eye as makers of motor cycles, they have not been idle. Last year, in order to keep in touch with the movement, they made a chain-driven machine, upon which they used exactly the same engine as that with which the Humber Co. had secured so good a reputation.The motor bicycle they are now ready to place on the market has been so severely and exhaustively tested, and with such great success, that it will take rank at once as one of the very finest machines produced. The engine is placed in a vertical position, which, after many experiments, the Centaur Co. consider the most advantageous, and, although it is built into the frame, and not merely attached by the crude method 'of bolting' on to some convenient member, it can be easily detached in a few seconds.

The induction is mechanical, and absolutely certain, and the valves are all readily accessible by removing the caps which fit over each valve chamber. The position of the silencer is novel and effective. This actually forms an integral part of the frame, superseding the tube, which usually runs from the bottom of the head to the bracket. The exhaust vent is well out of the way, and the long exhaust pipe and unsightly silencer of the ordinary type is entirely done away with. The design of the frame gives the machine a very attractive and elegant appearance, and being built low, with 26in. wheels, the machine is not only more easy to handle but the centre of gravity is brought as low as possible, giving a remarkable sensation of strength and smoothness when running. The engine is described as a 2¾ h.p., but the Centaur Co. are very critical in this respect, and no engine is passed from the testing shop as satisfactory until it registers considerably more than 3 h.p. on the brake. Another very special feature is the Centaur patent anti-vibratory fork. This was introduced last year, and has proved extremely successful.

Two accumulators are fitted in a wooden case, and with a two-way switch which enables either to be immediately brought into use. If both are kept charged, there is thus no danger of becoming belated through exhaustion of electricity.

The Motor Cycle November 18th, 1903. Page 804
Crystal Palace Show 1903

The Centaur Cycle Co.

After much experiment and testing, the Centaur Cycle Co., who will be remembered by the erstwhile cyclist, as being the introducer of the famous featherweight machine, make a most imposing show with four different types of motor bicycles. As mentioned in our forecast, the most, predominant feature of the design is the inclusion of the silencer as an integral part of the machine, this taking the place of the usual tube which connects up from the bottom head jug of the bicycle to the bottom bracket, or, as in this case, to the crank chamber of the motor.

Taking the belt-driven machine first, this is fitted with a 3 h.p. engine — a similarly powered engine being employed upon all the machines exhibited.

A Longuemare spray type float feed carburetter is fitted, and the engine is placed in a vertical position. As an instance of the care which has been bestowed upon the design of this machine it may be mentioned that provision is made for enabling the valves to be removed without the necessity of dismantling the tank. For this purpose indentations are made in the petrol tank immediately above the valves. Duplex accumulators are provided, these being placed in a polished box attached in the rear of the seat tube. A two-way switch is provided on the top. The coil is attached by means of a clip to the lower tube of the frame, and by an aluminium bracket to the seat tube. A unique piece of designing is seen in the front forks of these machines. The forks proper are carried right up to the top of the head, and, as is usual with the Centaur machines are constructed of duplex tube. The steering pillar of the machine is provided with a crown piece, which is loose on the forks proper. The forks themselves are provided with stop plates at a point a little below that which would be usually occupied by the ordinary crown. The crown piece then abuts upon an indiarubber buffer placed over the stop on the forks. Perfect rigidity of the front fork is thus obtained, and at the same time sufficient elasticity is given to them to prevent the rider suffering undue vibration. The forks are, of course, provided with front stay pieces.

On the chain-driven machine the pedal crank axle carries on the left hand a large diameter chainwheel mounted on a clutch. This is connected by means of a chain to a sprocket mounted on the engine crankshaft. A pedalling gear is carried on the righthand side of the crank axle, so that in starting the machine the rotation of the pedals starts the engine at the same time. When the engine begins to drive the free-wheel enables the large gear wheel to overrun; so that the machine is chain driven on similar lines to that of the Humber.

Still a third type of motor bicycle is shown, in which the engine is placed in an inclined position, and provides the connection from the bottom of the head to the bottom bracket. In this instance the usual type of silencer is employed. In all these machines the control is by three levers attached to the top of the petrol tank. The left one operates the exhaust valve lifter, the front one on the righthand side the ignition, and the one immediately behind that the throttle. Rim brakes to front and back wheel are provided, these being operated by Bowden wires. A switch handle enables the current to be instantly cut off. (Stands 11 and 12.)

The Motor Cycle November 25th, 1903. Page 845
Crystal Palace Show 1903


The Centaur.

Under the heading of motor cycles we describe the principal features of the Centaur motor bicycle. On the same stand a very attractive forecarriage forms the centrepiece. to this the main frame of the machine follows bicycle practice as far as the head, and there the front forks are replaced by an extension of the steering column, which carries at its lower end the connections to the front wheels.

The framework for the forecarriage consists essentially of long side members, which are attached to the rear forks of the bicycle at a mid position between the bridge and the back axle. A clip attached to the head of the machine provides two angular stays from these side members, while a transverse member provides further support to the steering column.The front axle is rigidly attached to the frame, a neat wicker work seat being carried on long C pattern springs. The steering wheels are provided with band brakes operated by a pedal on the right-hand side member, a Bowden rim brake being fitted to the back wheel. (Stands 11 and 12.)

Crystal Palace Show 1903

Centaur 1901-1914

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