British Motorcycles

Orbit Motorcycles

Orbit were produced from 1913 to 1924 by a firm founded by S. Dorsett of the Diamond company, using old works in Vane Street, Wolverhampton.

  • 1913 The first machine was an experimental motorcycle that appeared in June. It was of unit construction with enclosed rear-drive chain and an internal expanding rear brake. The engine was typical and the proposal was to use sv 2.75hp and 3.5hp, but with an unconventiional crankcase. The primary drive was by gears to the camshaft and then by a second gear-pair to a clutch on the countershaft of the two-speed gearbox. All mechanical parts were fully enclosed and the exhause pipe forked to connect to footboards that acted as silencers. It was priced at £50.

    The outbreak of the Great War made it virtually impossible for the project to be taken any further.

    1921 The first models appeared, powered by the company's own 261cc two-stroke engine, belt drive and either single-, two- or three-speed transmissions.

    1922 Towards the end of the year further models were shown. The engines were: 348cc Barr and Stroud sleeve-valve; 349cc oil-cooled ohv Bradshaw; and 348cc ohv Blackburne. A three-speed Burman gearbox was fitted as standard and the overall appearance was of a sporting machine.

    1923 A 350cc, oil cooled machine was developed, which sold for £60.

    1924 Expansion was short lived and only the Bradshaw model and their own two-stroke made it through to that year. The last model was the T.S.12, which sold for £45, after which production ceased.

The 1922 Olympia Show.

ORBIT. (Stand 24.)

Four Lightweights.

2¾ H.P. Model.

68x 72 mm. (261 c.c): single cyl. two-stroke; drip feed lubrication; B. and B. carb.; chain-driven mag.; 3-sp. gear; clutch and kick-starter; chain drive; 26x2¼in. tyres. Price £55.

Orbit Motors, Ltd., Orbit Works, Wolverhampton.

Four Orbit lightweights are shown, all practically to an identical specification, excepting in the engine units. Only the two-stroke, as detailed above, is fitted with the firm's own power unit, a conventional but well-carried-out design of the three port type with plain bearings and a deeply-finned cylinder. Internal expanding brakes on the front and rear wheels, a well-balanced front mudguard, and a capacious metal tool box on the saddle tube, are items common to all four models, although a Bradshaw-engined type is distinctive on account of its pair of highly-polished aluminium mudguards. Swan front forks, which have an enclosed central shock and rebound spring, are employed in every case. The silencer, which is right at the end of the exhaust pipe, is of Orbit design and embodies baffle plates.

For the rest the exhibit is best described by detailing the prices of the models not covered by the specification: 349 c.c. Barr and Stroud, £67 10s. (A.J.S. lightweight sidecar, £20 extra); 349 c.c. Bradshaw, £67 10s.; o.h.v. 349 c.c. Blackburne (semi-racing equipment), £70. Disc wheels are an extra.

Olympia Show 1922
The Motor Cycle, November 30th, 1922. Page 839

Sources: Graces Guide

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