Today in Motorcycle History

Pullin Motorcycles

The Pullin Motor Cycle Co., Ltd., Kingsway House, Kingsway, London, W.C. 2.

Pullin motorcycles, in various forms, were produced from designs by Cyril Pullin, from 1920 to 1925; 1928 to 1930; 1951 and 1955.

1920 The first machine was the Pullin-Groom, produced in conjunction with S. L. Groom. It had an open frame built from steel pressings welded together. The pivoting front fork was similarly constructed, and it had pivoted-fork rear suspension. They used their own 200cc two-stroke engine with horizontal cylinder, flywheel magneto and combined mixing valve to control both fuel and lubrication. They also used their own two-speed gearbox, plus rear-wheel brakes and a sprung saddle. The engine was fully enclosed by the frame, with access doors for servicing.

Although the design was clever and the looks sleek and modern, praise from the press did little to endear it to the public. As it was thought to be too advanced for riders of that era, it was not brought into full production and then slipped from sight.

The Pullin Position.

In the same building there was also to be found the interesting Pullin motor cycle, which was dealt with in very full detail in The Motor Cycle of March 25th, 1920. Unfortunately, so far as production is concerned, it is no further advanced than it was at that date, but Mr. Pullin informed us that he hoped very shortly to announce that the manufacture of this interesting machine was already in progress. The Pullin motor cycle is handled by the Pullin-Groom Motor Cycle Co., Ltd., 24, Buckingham Gate, London, S.W.1.

Olympia Show, 1920

The Motor Cycle, December 9th, 1920.

1923 The design was revived by the Pullin Motor Cycle Co run by W. M. Brooks. Engine capacity had been increased to 310cc, a Villiers flywheel magneto was fitted, a floatless carburettor supplied the mixture and transmission was by a conventional two- speed gearbox with all-chain drive. The external appearance of the machine was otherwise unchanged.

1924 Deliveries began early that year.

A report on the 1924 Motor Cycle Show reads, in part,

The Pullin Motor Cycle is almost unique in its design. The object of its manufacture has been that of making it a suitable machine for use by the ordinary man who does not wish to don the usual motor-cyclist clothing. In the Pullin this object has been achieved by the adoption of an open frame of unusual construction, which lends itself to the absolute enclosure of the engine and gear box.

The petrol and oil tanks are embodied in the frame, and are of large capacity, the former being able to accommodate 2 1/2 gallons, and the latter three pints. The engine is of 348 c.c. capacity operating on the two-stroke cycle. A two-speed gear box is fitted, and the transmission is by roller chain.

1925 Machines were listed with 348cc and 368cc engines. It then disappeared.

Douglas 1922 Brooklands

Cyril Pullin on one of the first o.h.v. types with which, at Brooklands in 1922, he gained a B.A.R.C. certificate for being the first to better 100 m.p.h on a "500" (electrically timed over half-a-mile).

Around this time Cyril Pullin became Chief Designer for Douglas, to whom he was well-known, having been the first to better 100 mph on a 500 class machine at Brooklands, riding a Douglas. He staye with that company until 1928, and that year he became involved with a new project, the Ascot Pullin. Once again, all the working parts were fully enclosed. It had a 496cc ohv horizontal engine, built in-unit with the three-speed gearbox, and pressed-steel frame. It also had interconnected hydraulic brakes (the first hydraulic brakes ever made), leg shields, mirror, windscreen with windshield wiper.

1930 This design was not successful either, so the make disappeared once more. Sadly, the machines were sold off in job-lots by the liquidator.

1951 After the war, the Pullin name appeared again with the design of the Powerwheel - intended to replace a normal bicycle wheel. It was very similar to the Cyclemaster, Winged Wheel and the early Singer, but much more complicated. Instead of the usual simple two-stroke engine was was a 40cc rotary two-stroke, with a static crankshaft around which the rest of the engine rotated. It was technically intricate and not a great success.

1955 Pullin then turned his attention to scooters and produced a prototype with a 197cc fan-cooled Villiers engine, Siba electric start and a monocoque chassis. It was a stylish design, and although it was offered to manufacturers, no-one took it up.

Sources: Graces Guide, Motor Sport Magazine, The Motor Cycle