Today in Motorcycle History

XL Motorcycles by Excel Co of Woking

Excel Co., Norfolk Engineering Works, Worthing, Sussex

  • XL were motorcycles produced from 1921 to 1924. The first machines produced had 499cc Blackburne or 490cc JAP sv engines. They went into frames with a duplex tubular sub-frame running in a straight line from the front downtube to the rear spindle, so that the engine itself was surrounded. The frame lugs were of pressed steel and this material was also used in the construction of the front forks, rear stand and carrier. It had all-chain drive and a three-speed Sturmey-Archer gearbox, which were well shielded. It also had extensive mudguards, which made it good for touring.
  • Later, a larger 597cc sidevalve JAP single or a 496cc sv V-twin of the same make could be specified.

XL 1921 Review

XL 1921 by Excel Co. Woking

In some respects the XL is reminiscent of American design, e.g. the seat suspension,carrier, and mudguard stays

XL 1921 Frame

Frame of the XL motor cycle, which is unusual in the construction of its rear and lower members; compressed steel lugs are used throughout.

Touring and Sporting Solo Machines and Sidecar Outfits.

ALTHOUGH autumn and Olympia Show time sees the birth of the greater number of new models, there is at present "certain liveliness" amongst manufacturers - a hopeful sign considering the industrial situation generally. New designs are appearing under both new and old names to an unusual extent for this season of the year.

Proving its Merit.

The first of these is the new XL motor cycle, a machine embodying several interesting features, and which recently was subjected to an A.C.U. observed test from John-o'Groat's to Land's End. Two standard models were entered - the first a 4 h.p. Blackburne-engined mount,and the other a similar machine equipped with a 4 h.p. J. A. P. engine. Pressed steel frame lugs are employed throughout, whilst the lower ends of the engine tubes are rigidly held by a sub-frame,which, in conjunction with a cross member at the rear of the engine, supports the gear box. The head is of sound design, and is reinforced by steel webs between the top and bottom tank tubes. The possibility of whip in the engine-supporting tubes and the rear fork is greatly reduced by virtue of the incorporation of the additional sub-frame.

A gravity-feed lubrication system is employed, the tank being tapped at the base to receive a standard sight-feed lubricator. A non-return valve is located at the delivery end of the pipe, thus permitting the vacuum in the crank case to induce oil automatically. Pressed steel front forks, set at 60°, are fitted, while the tank, also of pressed steel, is of unusual shape, and has a somewhat deceptive appearance, being capable of holding two gallons of petrol and half a gallon of oil.

Semi-enclosed Transmission.

All-chain drive is employed, and the whole transmission is protected by cases of very neat appearance. Three screws only need be removed to release the plate concealing the clutch.

Another commendable feature is the provision of adjustable links on the footboards. The mudguarding is excellent; 6in. dome-shaped guards are fitted to both wheels. Voitiurette (26 x 3in.) tyres are standard, but the brakes, as employed on the model illustrated, will later be substituted by a brake ot the manufacturers' own design. A stand and carrier, both of flat-section pressed steel,are used, Whilst a B.T.H. magneto is, in the case of both machines, mounted on an adjustable platform in front of the engine. The J.A.P. model is equipped with the new 85 x 95 mm. (539 c.c.) side-by-side valve engine, which, judging from our brief run, is possessed of remarkable acceleration and power. XL motor cycles are manufactured bv the Excel Co., Norfolk Engineering Works, Worthing, Sussex.

XL 1922 550cc JAP

A mount of graceful appearance - the X.L., noticeable, too, for its excellent mudguarding.

Olympia Show 1921. Preview of 1922 Models


Among the lesser known, but none the less deserving, makes, the X.L. will merit careful study when on view at Olympia. The frame is of unusual construction, in that the bottom back stays are extended forward to meet the front down tube lug, so making the construction a rigid one, without depending upon the engine crank case, which is held by separate bearers. Pressed steel lugs are employed throughout. The motive power is the new pattern 4 h.p. J.A.P. engine, 85x95 mm. (550 c.c), and the gear box is a Sturmey-Archer. A saddle of the firm's own construction hinged at the peak and made under Lycett's patents, is used. Hinged front forks are fitted and both front and rear mudguards are most efficient.

The Motor Cycle, November 1921

Sources Graces Guide, The Motor Cycle

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