Today in Motorcycle History

Elswick Motorcycles

The Elswick Cycle Co produced motorcycles from 1903 to 1915, in Barton-on-Humber, Yorkshire. The company was founded as Elswick-Hopper Cycle and Motor Co, in 1880.

1894 Exhibited cycles at the Antwerp Exhibition as Elswick Cycle Co of Newcastle.

1903 The company had made purpose built frames to attach engines to bicycles and, having previously been involved in the production of cycles, they went on to list machines with either a 2hp or a 4hp V-twin engine. One or both cylinders of the latter could be used as necessary. The make then disappeared for a few years.

Elswick Cycles Mfg. Co., Ltd.

In addition to an ordinary pattern motor cycle fitted with a 2 h.p. engine, the Elswick Co. are showing a twin cylinder of 4 h.p. The two cylinders are inclined at an angle of ninety degrees, the connecting rods working on to one crankshaft. The carburetter, which is of the F.N. pattern, is fitted midway between the two cylinders, and a branch pipe takes the gas to both of the inlet ports. One or both cylinders can be used as required, which enables the rider to economise the consumption of petrol on the level, and on coming to a steep hill both pistons can be brought into operation, thereby increasing the power of the engine to its fullest extent. (Stand 97.)

The Motor Cycle, November 25th 1903
Stanley Show 1903

1912 They returned to the market in with two models. Conventional in format, both were fitted with Precision 348cc / 498cc engines of 2½ hp and 3¾ hp. Later they produced 4¼ hp and V-twins and a model fitted with a 269cc Villiers engine or a 2hp Precision.

Engine - 2 h.p. two-stroke, 269 c.c.
Iqnition - U.H. magneto, chain-driven.
Carburetter - Amac or Senspray.
Change Speed - Fixed gear.
Transmission - Belt.
Dimensions - Height of saddle from ground, 30in. Ground clearance, 5in. Wheelbase, 50in.
Lubrication - Oil mixed with petrol.
Other Features - Girder spring forks. Full set tools, etc.
Price - £24. Three-speed, £34 10s.
Similar machine with 2 h.p. Precision unit, incorporating two-speed gear. £30.

Elswick Cycles Mfg. Co., Barton-on-Humber.

British Lightweights, 1914

  • 1915 Production ceased.

    1919 Olympia Show

On this stand are shown two motor cycles. Both machines are identical except for finish, though one is known as the Elswick and the other as the Torpedo. The Elswick is an extremely neat lightweight, fitted with a Precision 3 1/2 hp two-stroke engine, which has sump lubrication as described in the Beardsmore-Precision. The machine is quite simple and on strictly conventional lines. It is finished in the well-known Elswick shade of green and lined with gold and this has a particularily distinctive appearance. The engine chain is neatly encased, the cover also enclosing the outside flywheel. A Sturmey-Archer two-speed gear box with kick-starter is fitted and the machine has Brampton Biflex spring forks.

The Motor Cycle, November 27th 1919

There were plans to resume production after the end of the Great War, but these did not come to fruition. The Olympia Show report above is believed to refer to remaining stock being sold off. Elswick concentrated on making bicycles.


Elswick Cycles and Manufacturing Co of Barton-on-Humber, built rather attractive Trojan-powered moped scooters with fibreglass bodywork in the 1950s.


The Scoo-pedallers go by two by two. Mother and father lead teenage daughter and son on a tour of London (having first seen that the cameraman got things right). No trouser clips for father. This Scoo-ped, first shown at Earls Court last year, has a fibreglass-resin covering. There is a 49cc Trojan engine with a final drive by chain. Lycett saddle and Miller lamps with Dunlop tyres show how British-made the Joy-bike is. It has no gears and as the makers say, " What isn't there can't go wrong." Makers are The Elswick Hopper Cycle and Motor Co. Ltd., Barton-on-Humber.


In the early 1950s Elswick embarked on a moped project, working with Trojan to test the Piatti Mini-motor. This came to naught and a little later they tested a Dunkley engine, which proved disappointing. A VAP 57 engine was the next in line, and proved a winner. It was displayed at the 1960 Earls Court show, presented as a Scootamatic Lynx.

Sadly, production costs proved too high and it did not enter production. Six prototypes were constructed, of which two remain.

Sources: Graces Guide, Icenicam,, The Motor Cycle.

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