Today in Motorcycle History

Clyde Motorcycles

Clyde Cycle and Motor Car Co, based in Shenton Street, Leicester (1902), manufactured motorcycles from 1900 to 1926. Initially they were built by Clyde Cycle and Motor Car Co, based in Shenton Street, Leicester, and from 1905 on they were produced in the works of George H. Wait of Queen Street, Leicester, who also produced automobiles.

1900 The machines were well made but typically primitive. The engine was mounted vertically in a loop frame with braced forks.

1904 There were engines of two power outputs available, both with magneto ignition and also a forecar with a water-cooled engine.

1906 saw the introduction of V-twin engines and sprung front forks.

1906 Produced 8 h.p. automobile.

1910 White and Poppe or JAP engines were fitted.

1911-1915 Only JAP engines were used with a variety of transmissions.

1919 Production resumed post-war with a single and a V-twin - both with four speeds and chain drive.

1924 Both models reduced to three speeds for the next couple of years.

1926 Motorcycle production ceased in 1926, but cars continued until 1930.

Production figures: Some 250 automobiles, 25 commercial vehicles, 470 motorcycles and 4,000 bicycles between 1901 and 1930.

Clyde 1903

The Clyde Cycle and Motor Car Co., Ltd.

The Clyde Cycle and Motor Car Co., Ltd., are showing a standard 2¾ h.p. model with many improvements in detail in connection with the valve mechanism and advance sparking. They are also introducing a new type 3¼ h.p., air or water cooled, This engine will develop 3¾ h.p. on the brake, and is fitted with a new arrangement for make and break contact, for which patents have been applied for. Magneto ignition will be standard on all models, but ordinary high tension can be supplied where customers prefer it. The Clyde forecarriage is made with a new attachment for a motor bicycle, which is designed to give great rigidity. Internal expending drum brakes with compensating arrangements are fitted to the steering wheels of this forecar.

The Motor Cycle, November 18th 1903
Stanley Show 1903

Clyde 1905

Clyde 1905 6 h.p. Tricar

The Clyde Tricar, which has a 6 h.p. twin-cylinder water-cooled engine, and two speeds.

One of the Clyde bicycles is a two-cylinder 5-7 h.p., fitted with Longuemare carburetter, Watawata belt, and footboards. The particular model shown was winner of the mile scratch race on the Skegness sands last July. The machine in question has an engine fitted with mechanically- operated valves, which are placed opposite to one another, that is to say, that in the case of the rear cylinder the valves face forwards, and in the case of the front cylinder they face rearwards. The latest model Clyde tricar is driven by a 6 h.p. twin-cylinder water-cooled engine with outside flywheel. Circulation is by pump, which is driven by means of a chain. The gear is of the simplest dog clutch pattern, giving two speeds forward. The frame is sprung on semi-elliptical springs fore and aft, while the axle of the rear wheel is extremely long. The frame itself is trussed, and radius rods are fitted from a central point of the frame to the ends of the back axle. Internal expanding brakes are fitted to the two front wheels, and a similar brake is attached to the rear wheel.

Stanley Show 1905

Clyde 1907

Clyde 1907 4hp Single

4 h.p. Clyde spring frame bicycle, fitted with high tension magneto ignition.

G. H. Wait and Co.
(Stand 121)

The Clyde motor cycles have been on the market for several years, Mr. Wait being one of the first makers to take up the manufacture of a motor bicycle which he fitted with a low tension magneto ignited engine. He has adopted the J.A.P. engines with high tension magneto ignition, and makes an excellent display of six machines varying in power from 4 h.p. single-cylinder to 8 h.p. twin-cylinder. All the frames are 21in. high, and we reproduce an illustration of one machine - the 4 h.p. It will be seen that the main frame tube passes right under the crankcase and up to the seat lug, a method of construction that is at once strong and light. The saddle-pillar is not fitted in the seat tube, but in a separate tube provided with springs, situated intermediately behind the seat tube, and on a level with the back stays. This causes the saddle position to be slightly lower than it otherwise would be. Spring forks are fitted to all models.

Stanley Show 1907

Clyde 1912

Clyde. 1912 Olympia Show

The 8 h.p. Clyde sidecar machine was a late arrival on the stand of Messrs. Montgomery and Co. Its motive power is an 8 h.p. J. A. P. engine, 85 X 85 mm., 964 cub. cm., driving by chains through a G. and H. counter-shaft two-speed gear. It will be noticed that a loop frame is employed, a feature which has been standard on Clyde machines during the last ten years. The frame also gives a very low-riding position. The lubrication is by crankcase suction through an adjustable drip feed, while as a stand-by an ordinary oil pump is also supplied. The back wheel is fitted with Hoffmann cage type ball bearings, which render the wheel quickly detachable. The silencer is well designed, consisting of an expansion chamber of ample dimensions, which possesses a long exit pipe. The machine is well thought out, and shows the result of the long experience gained by its manufacturer, Sir. G. H. Wait, of Leicester.

1912 Olympia Show
The Motor Cycle December 5th, 1912. p1160

Clyde 1914


OUR older readers will remember the Clyde as being one of the first motor cycles to be fitted with a magneto. Two models are being manufactured for 1915, each with two different patterns of frame, the one having a straight top tube and low build for English roads, the other being the popular dropped frame type with 5½in. ground clearance for Colonial world. In all models the loop frame, an old feature of the Clyde, and a very excellent one, as it makes for great strength, is retained.

The engines fitted are the 4 h.p. single-cylinder and 6 h.p. twin-cylinder J.A.P.'s, which are too well-known to require a detailed description. We illustrate the twin model on this page. It will be observed that the drive is by chain throughout, and that the gear box is fitted below the bottom bracket. This box contains the Jardine three-speed gear incorporating a kick-starter, and operated by a lever on the top bar, but a four-speed countershaft gear or three-speed hub gear and belt can be obtained to order.

The carrier has been strengthened in view of the weights which this fitment is expected to carry in these days. Druid forks, XL All saddle, B.T.H. magneto, B. and B. carburetter, and comfortable footboards are standard fittings. The clutch pedal is on the right and brake pedal on the left; the brake, however, operates on the outside of a dummy belt rim on the right side of the machine.

The Motor Cycle, December 3rd, 1914. p618.

Sources: Graces Guide, Tragatsch, The Motor Cycle.

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