Today in Motorcycle History

Olympic Motorcycles

Olympic motorcycles were produced from 1902 to 1905 and from 1919 to 1923, in Wolverhampton.

1880s The name was given to the bicycles built by Frank Heynes Parkyn (aka Harry Parkyn), of Green Lane, who moved to a factory in Granville Street factory shortly after the turn of the century.

1903 The first conventional motorcycles appeared, powered by 2¾ hp MMC engines.

Few machines were made and production ceased in 1905.

1919 The name returned shortly after WWI when the Granville Street works built a range of good-quality models. The first machine was powered by a Verus 268c.c., two-stroke engine. It had a two-speed gearbox, was fitted with a belt drive, and sold for £80. A selection of engines was used from Villiers, Blackburne, Wiseman or Orbit. The frame was designed to suit these engines and there was a patent swinging gearbox mounting, which allowed for simple adjustment of the transmission.

1920 The Olympic model for that year was powered by a 2.86 hp, 261.5cc, two-stroke engine, and included an Amac carburettor, Gosport spring forks and was finished in black enamel with gold lining. The single speed version sold for £65 and the two-speed version was priced at £77. A two-speed machine with kick start was available for £84 and a three-speed version with kick start cost £90.

1923 As trade dwindled, the make disappeared.

New Courier Motorcycle

This was a range of low-cost alternative models built at Olympic's Granville Street, Wolverhampton premises from 1922 to 1923. These were of medium weight with a variety of engine and gearbox combinations, as the frame layout had been specifically designed for a choice of specifications.

Source: Graces Guide

17. Frank Parkyn, Wolverhampton, show a motor-bicycle fitted with the Minerva 2 h.p. engine with mechanical valves. The frame of the machine is extra strongly built; particularly noticeable are the large hubs, the rear hub having a New Departure back-pedalling brake fitted.

1902 Stanley Show in Motor Cycling, November 26th, 1902. Page 275

F. H. Parkyn.

The principal feature of the 2¾ h.p. Olympic machine, which is carried out on recognised lines, is the fitting of the coil and the accumulator in a polished wooden box attached to the rear of the seat-tube. The petrol tank is contained between the upper and the lower members of the frame, the engine being carried in a dropped lower member and placed in a vertical position.The switch is placed near the right handle, and is operated by the thumb, enabling the current to be instantly switched off. The exhaust valve-lifter is actuated by the sparking advance lever, the exhaust valve being lifted after the spark has been retarded in the usual manner. (Stand 9.)

The Motor Cycle November 25th, 1903. p849
National Show 1903, Crystal Palace

Olympic 1920

The gear box on the Olympic may be swung to the rear by unscrewing the two set screws on the right, thus easily tightening the primary drive.

Olympia Show 1920

Olympic. (Stand 32.)

  • 2¾ h.p. Orbit; 68x72 mm. (264.5 c.c); single-cylinder two-stroke; drip feed lubrication; Amac carburetter; chain-driven magneto; single-speed gear; belt drive; 26x 2½ in. tyres. Price £65.

    2¾ h.p.; 68x72 mm. (264.5 c.c); single-cylinder two-stroke; drip feed lubrication; Amac carburetter; chain-driven magneto; three and reverse, or four-speed Jukes constant mesh gear; chain and belt drive; 26x2½ in. tyres. Price £84.

Olympic Cycle and Motor Co., Ltd., Granville Street, Wolverhampton.

This exhibit comprises single gear and multi-speed lightweights fitted with the Orbit engine. The most interesting item of the specification is the swinging bracket on which the gear box is mounted in the multi-speed models. The bracket swings on a pivot pin; its arc of travel is adjusted by two set screws locked by four nuts, so that the chain tension can be set to very fine limits without any possibility of disturbing the alignment. Any make of gear box can be fitted to this bracket, and the requisite variations of chain or belt line are easily made with the aid of an adapter boss for the flywheel. Actually the gear box fitted to the Show machine is a Jukes four-speed with gate change; the gears are in constant mesh; the lever is self-centring, and is made of two parts bolted together so that the position of the lever can be adapted to suit the rider's taste. It is intended to fit a three-speed and reverse box to a new model with four-stroke engine for sidecar-work, which is in course of preparation. The multi-speed model weighs 195 lb. fully equipped for the road, and inclusive of a kick-starter and clutch. The single gear model weighs only 146 lb. All the frame tubes are straight; every nut and pin on the machine is spring-washered; the mud-guards are very wide, and the flywheel is enclosed in an aluminium casing. A Swan spring fork is fitted, which is worth examination, as its suspension is obtained by two helical springs enclosed in a telescopic case which is filled with grease and is air-tight, so that a certain pneumatic action is obtained.

Olympia Show, 1920

The Motor Cycle, December 2nd, 1920. Page 718

N.B. There were several firms which used the name Olympic.