Today in Motorcycle History

Challenge Cycle Co

Challenge Cycle Co of Coventry was run by Edward O'Brien.
1912 Spennell's list them of Foleshill Rd (Tel 270), Coventry and manufacturers of motorcycles.

Coventry-Challenge were motorcycles produced by them from 1903 to 1922.

1903 to circa 1913. Produced by a small firm (despite advertisements showing a huge factory), the machines were built by a cycle dealer who fitted various engines and other bought-in parts to his heavy-duty bicycle frames. Engines used were Minerva and Fafnir, followed by JAP and Precision.

1905 Although there was a slump in the motorcycle industry, the firm managed to keep going, and at one point returned to the manufacture of bicycles only.

1914c onwards. At about this time they returned to the production of powered machines and used Villiers two-stroke engines, with the models sold as Challenge-Villiers.

After the First World War they used JAP single and V-twin engines. It is then presumed that lack of supplies meant that the production of bicycles and carrier cycles was better business.

The firm also had agencies at various times for other bicycle brands. A 1906 advertisement by Edwd. O'Brien Ltd stated that the World's Largest Cycle Dealer offered Rover, Triumph, Humber, Progress, Premier, Centaur, Swift and Singer cycles, in addition to Coventry-Challenge.


The Coventry Challenge Motor Cycle and Fore-Carriage.


FRAME.- Best English weldless steel tubes; specially constructed forks and girder head.
BEARINGS.- Hardened and tempered steel.
HUBS.- Dust-proof and oil-retaining.
WHEELS.- 26in. equal, best quality high tension spokes.
FREE WHEEL. - Hyde patent.
BRAKES.- Bowden back and Challenge front special motor cycle.
CHAIN.- Best quality ½-in. pitch, thoroughly tested
PEDALS.- Rubber or rat-trap, full width and extra strong.
SADDLE - Brooks' B100.
TYRES.- Dunlop 2 inch motor tyres.
MOTOR.- Minerva, with M. O. inlet and exhaust valves.
CARBURETTOR.- Minerva-Longuemare, fitted with air lever to alter mixture whilst cycle is being ridden.
CYLINDER AND HEAD.- Cast in one piece.

EADIE, B.S.A or any other Fittings used if desired.


THIS is undoubtedly the best designed. strongest, easiest- running Carriage yet produced. Special springs take up the vibration. It obviates all possibility of side-slip. The front of the cycle is removed entirely and a special steering stem inserted ; this dispenses with the spring in the forks, and renders the steering much more positive. The extension of the main tubes to the back portion of the Motor Cycle makes the vehicle more rigid, besides allowing of their use as foot rests. The attachment is much simplified and admits of the Fore-Car being easily removed. Experience, however, shows that the advantages offered by having the Fore-Car fitted are such that it is rarely taken off. A powerful band brake, actuated by the foot, is fitted to both wheels. The chair is beautifully upholstered in best Crockett's Leather.

Sources: Graces Guide, Colin Kirsch, contemporary advertising.

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