Today in Motorcycle History

Excelsior Motorcycles 1909

1909 Excelsior 3½ h.p.

The 1909 pattern 3½ h.p. Excelsior, with 82x89 mm. engine, Bosch magneto, Druid spring forks, Lycett saddle, and Brown and Barlow handle-bar controlled carburetter.


AS already announced in The Motor Cycle, the firm of Bayliss, Thomas, and Co., Coventry, has recently revived the manufacture of the Excelsior motor bicycle. The management of the concern very kindly placed at our disposal a few weeks ago a brand new machine which had never been ridden except for a test ride to see that everything was in order. This we commenced riding at once, and from the first were favourably impressed with its behaviour.

The engine is 82 x 89 mm., with mechanically operated inlet valve and Bosch magneto, gear driven. The magneto is placed in a most accessible position, and during the time we rode the machine we did not notice any noise arising from the magneto driving pinions, which are enclosed in an oiltight case forming part of the crank case of the engine. The frame is low, well built, and highly finished, tanks being in duplicate — that is to say, they are fitted one on each side of the top tube, and so constructed that they entirely enclose the tube and present a very neat appearance. One petrol tank is connected to the other by means of a branch pipe, and it is possible to run on both or one tank as desired. In the case of a somewhat absent-minded rider it is advisable for him to run on the large tank, and provided both are full when he starts he will have the smaller one to fall back on if the larger one becomes empty when there are no petrol stores in the vicinity.

The spring fork is the well-known Druid, and there is no question of doubt that this renders the machine most comfortable to ride on rough roads. The wheels are the standard size 26in. x 2¼in., and, of course, any tyre can be supplied to order. Those fitted to the machine we rode were Dunlops, and they gave no trouble in the course of about 500 miles. The front brake and exhaust valve lifter levers and rods are splendidly designed and work beautifully. No feature of the machine is better than these. The sparking plug is fitted over the inlet valve cap, and the paraffin compression tap over the exhaust valve. The engine is particularly well balanced, and at high speeds one cannot detect any undue vibration, while it will run almost as slowly as it is possible for the machine to be balanced with a gear of about 4½ to 1.

The carburetter is a Brown and Barlow with handle-bar control. Any description or remarks with regard to this well-known device would be superfluous, as practically every motor cyclist knows its capabilities. It will suffice to say that, with the aid of the handle- bar levers, the machine can be regulated to run at widely varying speeds, and with a fairly heavyweight rider in the saddle — 13 to 14 stones — it will climb main road hills at high speed. To those motor cyclists who are on the look out for a reliable mount at a moderate figure we can recommend the 1909 pattern Excelsior, which is manufactured and sold by Bayliss, Thomas, and Co., Coventry. It possesses all the essential details of a modern single-geared motor cycle.

The Motor Cycle July 28th, 1909.