Today in Motorcycle History

Mead Motorcycles

Mead Cycles of Paradise Street, Liverpool and of Birmingham.

  • Mead motorcycles were produced from 1911 to 1915 and from 1922 to 1924 probably made for them by Calthorpe of Birmingham1.

    1902 The first adverts appear for bicycles from the Mead Cycle Co of Chicago, USA, but in 1903 the same advert appears as the Mead Cycle Co of Liverpool.

    1905 A cycle advertisement states "general offices are at 35 to 39 Wapping, Liverpool."

    1911-1913 The machines were produced in very small numbers and did not appear at any of the early shows, or on any lists. They were fitted with a 3½ hp Precision engine.

    1914 A larger range appeared, all fitted with Precision engines. These were 2½ hp, 3¾ hp and 4¼ hp singles, plus 6hp and 8hp V-twins, and all had a variety of transmission options ranging from direct-belt drive to gearbox and chain-cum-belt. A lightweight was later added, using a 2hp, 170cc Precision engine with in-built two-speed gear, belt drive and Druid forks.

Engine - 2 h.p. Mead-Precision, 60 mm. x 60 mm., 170 c.c., four-stroke.
Iqnition - Eisemann magneto, chain-driven.
Carburetter - Amac.
Change Speed - Two-speed gear, incorporated in power unit, 6 and 12 to 1 to 8 and 16 to 1.
Transmission - Pedley belt.
Dimensions - Height of saddle from ground, 29½ in.
Other Features - Ground clearance, 4½in. Wheelbase, 50in.
Lubrication - Hand pump, enclosed in tank.
Other Features - Druid forks. 26 x 1¾ Michelin tyres.
Price - 25 guineas.

Mead Cycle Co., 11-13, Paradise Street, Liverpool.

British Lightweights, 1914

  • 1915 Production continued into that year and then stopped.

    Post-War, they also had an address at Balsall Heath, Birmingham as well as Liverpool.

    1922-1924 The name returned as an assembler of machines that were typical of the period. They used 1¾ hp, 2¾ hp and 3¾ hp engines from Precision and Wall, and the usual Villiers two-stroke single.

    "William J. Pickering after upwards of a quarter of a century's connection with the Mead Cycle Company of Sparkbrook, Birmingham, has decided to give up active participation in the conduct of the business; but his services will be retained in an advisory capacity." Bicycling News and Motor Review, Nov 2 1927


    1. It was earlier thought that the machines were made by Premier of Coventry.

Sources: Graces Guide, Dick Weekes, The Motor Cycle

Feb 24th 2023
becky.price13 at btinternet dot com
Hello there Rosco, here's a jpg of a Mead motorcycle which we are struggling to identify accurately re model. Any thoughts?
Thanks, Becky

The machine pictured matches nothing we have on record under Mead, Precision or Calthorpe. Suggest examining the engine for any sign of manufacturer ID and then finding a matching image of the engine.
Drawing of "Mead" posted to Comments

Dick Weekes, on FB. 12th Jan 2018

I don't know who made their pedal cycles or the post first war motorcycles but there is no doubt (by comparison of catalogues and specifications) that the 1911 to 1914 motorcycles were made by Calthorpe.

Mead was primarily an American maker of pedal cycles and their cycle brochure of c 1911 shows a (possibly fictitious) view of a large factory complete with steamships and locomotives. Their motorcycle range in 1914 was identical to that of Calthorpe and appears to have been built and badge engineered for them by Calthorpe. Mead had addresses in Liverpool (Paradise Street) and Balsall Heath, Birmingham, both of which seem to have been in residential areas. There is a superbly restored Mead Flyer in the National Motorcycle Museum, Birmingham, England.

(Dick Weekes is the Calthorpe Marque Specialist for the Vintage Motor Cycle Club UK)

In the same conversation, G.R. Wilson writes that a Mead Flyer was one of the first motorcycles in Iceland.

Sat Jul 03 2010
ivan_57 at

MEAD 1911

Hi Im from Mexico I have a rare mead bike 1911, is unique in the world.
I want to know what value it has,

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