Levis Motorcycles

Today in Motorcycle History

Levis Motorcycles by Butterfield Brothers

Butterfield Brothers aka British Butterfield of Levis Works, Old Station Road, Stechford, Birmingham.

  • Levis were motorcycles manufactured by Butterfield from 1911 to 1940.
  • 1905 Company started by John Osbourne to make bicycles
  • For many years they were one of England's leading manufacturers of two-stroke motorcycles. They built two-stroke machines from 1911, and added a line of four-strokes in 1928, that ran to 1940 when production ceased.
  • 1911 The first Levis was made in the Norton works by designer Bob Newey, but James Norton turned it down. At first the machine was sold as the Baby, but changed to the Popular. It was soon abbreviated to Levis Pop, and was, indeed, very popular.
  • Bob Newey then joined with Arthur, Billy and Daisy Butterfield, to set up a motorcycle company. (Newey later married Daisy). Their first model was a two-stroke with a capacity of 211cc.
  • 1916 The 211cc vertical two-stroke engine produced 3hp. An enclosed chain from the crankshaft drove the Fellows magneto and drive to the rear wheel was by Pedley Vee belt. The machine weighed approximately 120lb.
  • 1920 Their first racing success was in the Lightweight 250 class within the 1920 Isle of Man TT Junior with a 247cc machine, repeated in the 1922 Isle of Man TT Lightweight race. They then adopted the slogan, "The Master Two Stroke".
  • Levis built 211cc and 246cc three port single cylinder machines, including sporting versions. Most had 67mm bore and 70mm stroke. There was also a six port model.
  • 1928 onward. Levis produced 247cc (67mm bore x 70mm stroke) and 346cc (70mm bore x 90mm stroke) four stroke ohv machines and later added 498cc and 600cc ohv four strokes. For a brief period a 346cc sv single, and also a 247cc sohc single with chain driven overhead camshafts were available.

    Levis two strokes, ridden by Geoff Davison, R. O. Clark, Phil Pike and others, won many races including the 1922 Lightweight TT, while the four strokes excelled off road. Percy Hunt rode a 346cc model successfully in races, and just before World War II Bob Foster gained many wins on a Levis ohv 598cc bike in trials and motocross.

    During the last decade, their models followed the general trend. The motorcycles were always well made, but not in large numbers. Those who knew them were sorry when production came to an end in 1940.

    1940s Merged with HEC when Station Road ceased making motorcycles and concentrated on making compressors and motor accessories.

Levis has made a comeback - the name and logo have reappeared on a V6 monster...

Sources: Graces Guide