Today in Motorcycle History

Fowler and Bingham - FB and Wizard Motorcycles

Fowler and Bingham of Coventry Road, Hay Mills, Birmingham

  • The Wizard was a motorcycle produced in 1914. This model was fitted with the 269cc Villiers engine, Albion two-speed gearbox or fixed gear, belt drive and Druid forks. In this form it was only listed for a few months.
  • FB motorcycles were produced from 1913 to 1922.
  • 1913 Late that year the company introduced their 411cc two-stroke engine. It had a one-piece crankshaft and a connecting rod with a split plain big-end, a deflector piston and one-piece cylinder and head. The intended lubrication system was to be pressure-fed, but petroil was used on test.
  • 1914 The model was fitted with a 269cc Villiers engine, belt-final drive and Druid forks. For that year only, both single- and two-speed models were listed as the Wizard.[1]

The Two-stroke Wizard.

A NEW two-stroke motor cycle has recently been prepared for the market by the F.B. Two-stroke Company, of Hay Mills, Birmingham. Two types of engine are made - a 3 ½ h.p. 78 X 86 mm. and a 2 ½ h.p. 70 X 70 mm. Either model may be obtained with single gear or Albion two-speed bottom bracket gear, and the 2 ½ may be obtained in the form of an ultra lightweight. On a recent visit to Birmingham we were able to test a 2 ½ two-speed model through the thick traffic and in the neighbourhood of the city. The machine was absolutely new, in fact we saw the engine started up for the first time, and yet it was full of life on the road and proved an excellent hill-climber. In spite of the absence of a clutch the machine is wonderfully easy to control in traffic, for it will fire at such a low road speed that one can crawl behind a dray and shoot through any convenient opening by a touch of the throttle.

The 3 ½ and 2 ½ models are very similar in construction, so that a description of the smaller machine will cover both models. As is usual with two-stroke engines at the present, time, a measured quantity of oil is mixed with the petrol, and this is carried out by means of a pump directly connected to the tank. The engine is of the three-port type and has the transfer pipe cast with the cylinder. The crankshaft is built up and a Hoffmann roller bearing big end is used.

A domed piston with rings at the top and bottom is employed, the crankshaft bearings being of phosphor bronze and of great length. The large outside flywheel is keyed to the shaft and carries the driving sprocket which is bolted to it by six set pins. A chain transmits the power to an Albion two- speed gear, and thence a belt drive is employed. 26in. x 2in. tyres are fitted, and the equipment of spring forks, mudguards, carrier, etc., is excellent. A U.H. magneto is carried behind the cylinder and driven by chain direct from the crankshaft. The machine is finished in black and gold, and looks very smart, and this, with the very reasonable price, makes the Wizard a tempting proposition.

The Motor Cycle, August 6th, 1914

Engine -2½ h.p. two-stroke, 269 c.c.
Iqnition - U.H. magneto, chain-driven.
Carburetter - Amac or Senspray.
Change Speed - Fixed gear or Albion two-speed.
Transmission - Chain and belt.
Dimensions - Height of saddle from ground, 30in. Ground clearance, 6in. Wheelbase, 50in.
Lubrication - Oil mixed with petrol.
Other Features - Druid forks. Avon or Hutchinson tyres.
Price - 25 guineas single-speed. 33 guineas two-speed.

F.B. Two-stroke Co., 32, Coventry Road, Hay Mills, Birmingham.

British Lightweights, 1914

  • The onset of war in 1914 brought production to a close, but the FB name did appear post-war, on the small two-stroke that was available for a few years.
  • 1922 At about this time FB slipped from sight.

N.B. 1. There was another Wizard produced in the early 1920s near Cardiff.

Sources: Graces Guide, The Motor Cycle

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