James Motorcycles

Today in Motorcycle History

James Models

James 1904 Model T

James 1914-1915 Models

Models illustrated in the 1916 catalogue are all but identical to those of 1914. The Model 6 for 1916 has the gear change moved to the top of the tank. Model 7 for 1916 has a slightly different muffler and minor variation to the placement of the gear change lever.

James 1922 Models

James 1923 Models

James 1929 Models

James introduced a new model designation system this year, beginning with the letter A.

A1 500cc OHV Twin Super Sports
A2 500cc SV Twin De Luxe sports
A3 500cc SV Twin Standard Sports
A4 350cc OHV Single Super Sports
A5 350cc SV Single De Luxe Sports
A6 350cc SV Single Standard Sports
A7 172cc TS De Luxe Super Sports
A8 196cc TS Standard Sports Economy
A9 196cc TS Standard Utility
A10 500cc OHV Twin Speedway

James 1930 Models

James 1931 Models

James had bought the Frank E. Baker business the previous year, and for 1931 added five Baker machines to the range, all with Villiers engines. A total of 12 motorcycles appeared in the 1931 catalogue.

James 1932 Models

Villiers XIV A Engine

James 1934 249cc Sports

This motorcycle is a twin port two-stroke model fitted with the separate aluminium cylinder head type motor. The head is retained by only three bolts, it has two exhaust stubs and petroil lubrication.

It was fitted with the Villiers XIV A 249cc engine with a bore and stroke of 63mm x 80mm which was claimed to reach 60mph, and had strong pulling power at low speeds. This engine was available as an air cooled unit with petroloil (BYP), air cooled with autolube (BY), and water cooled with autolube or petroloil (RY).

All had detachable heads, a deflector topped piston fitted with inertia ring and either fixed or variable ignition. An outside flywheel was fitted to some models. They were made from 1934 to 1940.

James 1936 Models

James 1939 Models

K.8 247cc
K.9 249cc
K.15 148cc
K.16 148cc De Luxe
K.17 125cc
K.18 98cc Autocycle

James ML - Military Lightweight 1943-1948

Known as the "Clockwork Mouse", the ML was based on the 1939 K17 James Lightweight. It was used by British and Canadian airborne troops, and on D-Day they landed by glider during the invasion and also by landing craft for use by dispatch riders.

Post-war it retained the ML designation and a good many were exported to the United States and elsewhere.

Some 6 or 7 thousand military WD machines were built from 1943 to early 1945, all with ML frame number prefixes running from ML2 to about ML8500, with several sequence gaps. The ML prefix continued on post-war civilian models.

They were fitted with a Villiers 9D 122cc engine.

James ML - Military Lightweight 1943-1948

James 1953 Models

Comet Model J10 98cc
Cadet Model J5 122cc
Commando Model J9 197cc
Captain Model J8 197cc

James 1955 Models

Comet Model L1 98cc
Cadet Model L15 150cc
Captain Model K7 200cc
Commando Model K7T 200cc
Cotswwold Model KTC 200cc
Colonel Model K12 225cc

Postwar James Motorcycles: Model Designation
(Work in Progress)

Common Name Designation Years of Manufacture
Superlux (JDL) Superlux 1946-49
Superlux (2F) Superlux 1948-54
ML ML 1946-48
Comet 1 Comet 1 1949-55
Cadet Cadet 1949-55
Captain Captain 1948-53
Cadet J5 1953-54
Commando J9 1953-55
Captain K7 1953-59
Cotswold K7C 1953-57
Colonel K12 1953-57
Cadet J15 1954-55
Comet 100 L1 1955-66
Cadet L15 1955-59
Commando (7E) K7T 1955-57
Commodore L25 1955-62
Cavalier L17 1957-59
Commando (10E) K7T 1958-58
Commando L25T 1958-62
Cotswold L25S 1958-62
Flying Cadet L15A 1959-62
Captain L20 1959-66
Sports Captain L20S 1961-66
Superswift (2t) M25 1961-63
Cadet M15 1962-65
Commando M25T 1962-66
Costwold M25R 1962-64
Superswift M25S 1962-66
Cotswold (Starmaker) M25RS 1964-66
Unknown Model M16 1965-66

Source: James Franklin -- j.v.franklin at worldnet.att.net, (April 26, 2002)

James Colonel, 1953-57

Introduced in 1953, the Colonel was fitted with a 225cc 225cc Villiers 1H engine and shared the fully-suspended frame with the 197cc Captain. It had full width hubs, and considerably improved front suspension was added in 1955.

James 98cc Comet

Introduced in 1948, the Comet followed the ML and the Autocycle. Fitted with a Villiers 98cc 1F engine, it was rigid-framed with girder forks. Two models were offered, the Standard with direct lighting and the De-Luxe with a battery.

James M25S Sports Superswift 249cc

The standard Superswift was very similar to the Francis-Barnett 250 of 1962 - unsurprising, as they were built in the same factory. Fitted with a Villiers twin-cylinder engine and a tank of distinctly Italian appearance, mirroring that of the Sports Captain. In 1964 the Sports Superswift appeared, the major difference being the four-stroke Villiers. It was one of the last models, as James ceased production in 1966.