344 cc. twin Villiers two-stroke at the 1926 Olympia Show:
In collaboration with the Villiers Engineering Company Messrs. Francis and Barnett are producing a novel 344 cc. twin two-stroke. This will have the two cylinders arranged vertically in a monobloc casting with the crankshaft lying along the centre line of the machine.
Model 9 172-c.c. Super Sports 1927 (penned in 1949)
The engine seized-up twice in the early stages, fusing over the rings on the induction side, but when fully run-in, and using "Mixtrol" as well as ordinary lubricant in the fuel, no further trouble was experienced. Indeed, mit leg-shields, lamps and 11-stone rider, the Francis-Barnett lapped Brooklands at over 50 m.p.h., upholding the maker's speed claim of 55 m.p.h. And at a grass-track meeting 22 miles were covered all-out in second and bottom gears, the machine whining the 250-c.c. class and finishing fourth out of 14 in a 9-mile "Grand Prix" which attracted o.h.v. "500s."
The handling on wet grass was excellent, and the gear-ratios pleasantly close, while ratio-changes could be effected by hand or foot as the mood dictated. The engine pulled hard at low speeds, so that middle-gear sufficed for main or secondary-road hills. Both brakes worked on a dummy belt-rim on the rear wheel and both were extremely powerful and smooth, adhesion being aided by large balloon tyres and correct weight distribution.
The handle brake operated via Bowden cable, easily adjusted, but adjustment of the foot-brake, by three different holes to accommodate the brake-rod, was badly blanked by the flywheel-magneto and the frame. The plug, too, was a brute to remove. On the credit side, the Francis-Barnett earned full marks for comfort, riding position, excellent carburetter levers, and good steering, with or without damper. Fuel consumption was excellent and the frame very strong, surviving "long jumps," being run into from behind by a car and crashing with sufficient violence to break the rider's collarbone. Remarkable as it seems in 1949, this 1927 machine cost only £38 10s., new.
172cc Super Sports Villiers 1928
Empire Model No. 12 247cc Villiers at The Olympia Show, 1929
In all, there are five models, two 147 c.c., two 172 c.c. and one 247 c.c., the latter being an altogether new machine. It will come as a surprise to many to note that the twin-cylinder Pullman model is not included in the 1929 range, but this is due to the fact that it has been temporarily withdrawn from the market pending detail improvements.
The new machine, which is known as the Empire Model No. 12, has a 247 c.c. Villiers two-stroke engine. It incorporates the usual well-known Francis-Barnett features and has a very complete equipment.
The engine is inclined at an angle of 26 degrees from the vertical, and an Albion 3-speed gear-box, Villiers twolever carburettor and Renold chains are standardised. This machine obviously represents excellent value at its price of ...
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