Centaur Motorcycles

Today in Motorcycle History

Centaur Motor Cycles

Centaur Motorcycles

Centaur of Stoke, Coventry They produced motorcycles from 1901 to 1914.

1901 The machines first appeared as primitive but well built.

Centaur 1902-1904 Models

1904 The silencer was used as the frame downtube between headstock and crankcase. It had a 348 cc 3hp engine with valves at the front of the cylinder and braced forks incorporated a rubber buffer to take some of the road shocks. It also had belt or a two-stage chain-drive. Another model had an inclined engine, which replaced the downtube as in the Humber and P and M design. A forecar was also offered.

1905 The silencer reverted to being a separate item and was no longer part of the frame.

1906 The 3hp model continued for that year. Manufacture then stopped for a few years.

1910 Humber took over the company. Production resumed with standard and TT models, both fitted with a 3½ hp engine, with valves at the front of the cylinder. The standard model had a Bosch magneto ahead of the crankcase and sprung forks, the TT version was rigid with a rear-mounted magneto. Two ran in the TT, but neither was successful.

1911 That year saw the arrival of a free-engine clutch and a 3½ hp vertical twin with overhead inlet-valves.

1912 Various models were available from 2hp to 3½ hp and there was also a ladies' version. Four models continued for the next two years. These were re-badged Humbers.

1914 The marque disappeared.

N.B. Several other firms used variations of the Centaur brand.

Centaur Cycle Co

of West Orchard Works, Coventry is related and was founded in 1875 by George Gilbert and Edward Mushing as the Centaur Bicycle Co. 1896/7 Directory: Listed under cycles.

1897 The New Centaur Cycle Co was registered on 27 February, to take over the business of the Centaur Cycle Co.

1906 In January, the original name was reverted to.

1912 Listed in Spennell's directory of Coventry as Cycle Manufacturers.

2 h.p. Ladies Model

Mechanically operated valves, side by side; B. & B. carburetter; belt; Armstrong three-speed hub gear. The machine is particularly well designed, and should gain a large measure of popularity. The complication of small parts usually associated with ladies' models is done away with, and the gear makes it a mount capable of going anywhere. A sensible and neat dress guard over the belt is employed, and also an aluminium fender covering the whole top part of the cylinder.
The Motor Cycle Nov 23rd 1911,

1912 Olympia Show

Centaur, Stand No. 89.

  • 3½ h.p. Model (single-cylinder) : 84x85 mm.; side by side valves; Amac carburetter; belt; Armstrong VI.

The Centaur Co., Ltd., Coventry.

The new Centaur model may be distinguished by square cylinder radiating ribs. In most respects, however, they are similar to last year's model. The tank is circular and lubrication is by an enclosed pump. Neat rubber-covered footboards are fitted as standard.

The Armstrong mark VI. hub gear is used. A neat kick-starter is fitted on the off side, consisting of a pedal, which drives the rear hub clutch by a short length of chain. The magneto is gear driven, and lies behind the engine well out of the way of mud and water. The gear is operated by a single pedal, but the clutch may be held out by means of a spring catch. The rear rim brake is interesting in that the shoe is of unusual length; it operates inside the V of a dummy belt rim. The shoe is pivoted so that the full length of the shoe accommodates itself to the radius of the rim.

The front mudguard has side wings extending its full length, and the rear guard is hinged and has a neat belt protector attached to it. The carrier is of ample dimensions, and supports pannier toolbags which do not interfere with the luggage accommodation. The spring forks are of the Druid type made under licence. A large expansion box is fitted across the frame in front of the engine, which renders the exhaust extremely quiet.

1912 Olympia Show
The Motor Cycle Nov 28th 1912, p386

Sources: Graces Guide, The Motor Cycle, onlinebicyclemuseum.co.uk.

Fri Jan 02 2015
bernie.0205 at yahoo.co.uk
Centaur, Coventry Water Cooled
Please can you help? a friend in South Africa was given a Centaur, Coventry single cylinder water cooled engine c early 1900s. he has got it running but has no knowledge of what it was used for. Can you help please. Bernard Dodd.

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