A Fascinating Little Machine in which Simplicity is the Keynote.
IT was our good fortune on the occasion of a recent visit to the Levis works at Stetchtord to obtain one of the new 1.9 h.p. "Popular" models, of which a brief description appeared in The Motor Cycle of 20th August, for a short trial on the road. The little machine is fitted with the 2¼ h.p. engine, 62 mm. x 70 mm. bore and stroke, giving a capacity of 211 c.c. A fixed point U.H. magneto is used, and a choice of carburetters allowed the purchaser. The wheels are shod with 24in. x 2in. tyres, and a direct belt drive is employed.
An Appeal to a Large Class of Buyers.
A motor cycle of this type is bound to cause considerable interest to a large section of the community who are hesitating on the brink of purchase, for it is almost impossible to conceive anything more simple in the way of a self-propelled vehicle. The moving parts of the engine, crankshaft, piston, and connecting rod, are all stoutly constructed, and have large bearings, while the well known makes of the accessories fitted may be relied, on not to play tricks. A direct belt drive at the worst can only slip or break, and both of these contingencies are minimised by the even pull of the little engine. In fact, though the roads were covered with water from a heavy storm when we left the works, not a sign of belt slip was noticeable. The first point to strike one is the size of the complete machine, which is so small as to make one wonder if it were possible to ride in comfort. This point was very soon settled, for though the writer stands well over six feet a perfectly normal and comfortable position was assumed. This gives serious food for thought as a great many larger machines are not provided with anything like so comfortable a position. In such a low-priced vehicle one does not expect many refinements or much power, but we were really surprised at the flexibility, speed, hill-climbing powers, and detail work of the little Levis.
Lightness and Simplicity the Keynote.
Lightness is the keynote of the construction, but this lightness has not been obtained at the expense of strength. On the road the control is particularly simple, for once the engine has been started the air lever may be opened wide and left alone except at a mere crawl, leaving only the throttle for the regulation of speed. Lubrication is on the usual Levis principle of feeding oil to the cylinder and main bearings. A simple adjustment is provided for the flow of oil, and, once set, it is only necessary to turn on the tap when starting and to shut off at the end of a run.
We feel sure that the Popular model will prove fully equal to its name, for it is a most fascinating little mount. If we have a grumble it is at the size of the saddle, but one cannot expect a luxurious pan seat at the price, and for anything except long touring it is amply large enough. There is no doubt that a machine of this type will open up the delights of the open road to a vast number of potential riders, who have hitherto been debarred by questions of price or frightened by the supposed complications of the larger and more luxurious machines. And many users of heavy high-powered machines would find in the little Levis an excellent tender to their more ambitious machine which would be invaluable for short runs to and from business or to the golf links, or for a variety of other purposes, which will readily occur to the mind, just as the owner of a large car finds utility and pleasure in the employment of a little car to supplement and save its larger brother on many occasions.
The Motor Cycle, September 3rd, 1914. p308.
Butterfields, Ltd., Stechford, Birmingham.
Spring Frame; New Engine; Enfield Two-speed Gear.
WE have recently had the pleasure of some road experience on a forerunner of a very novel Levis. It is to be understood that the machine was purely experimental, though in all probability, the finished article will be produced some time during the coming year. At present, however, it is not to be marketed in any form.
The most striking feature of the test machine is the adaptation of the Edmund spring frame. The top tube is hinged close to the head lug and carries two separate tanks arranged pannier fashion.
These tanks are connected by a branch petrol pipe, and a special flexible tube conveys the fuel to the float chamber.
The whole saddle and carrier are suspended on laminated leaf springs with coil spring shock absorbers to take up the smaller shocks, and a simple adjustment is provided to adopt the device to the weight of the rider. Druid forks attend to the front springing, and 26in. wheels help towards the general comfort. The machine we tried was fitted with a standard engine, but it is intended finally to utilise quite a new engine, designed somewhat on the lines of the Levisette.
It has a single large inside flywheel mounted on two roller bearings on the driving side; a roller big end is also used, and a light lever is carried round by the crank pin to drive the magneto, which is mounted in line with the crankshaft on the opposite side to the driving shaft.
The cylinder has a bore and stroke of 60 X 70 mm. respectively, and the inlet pipe is cast integral with the cylinder, and lubrication is by drip feed to a cast ring round the cylinder base, which, it is not generally known, forms the subject of an early Levis patent.
The engine is surely the limit of accessibility, for, after removing the three holding-down nuts of the cylinder, one side of the crank case, complete with magneto and magneto drive, can easily be removed with no possible fear of wrong timing when reassembled. The whole interior is then laid bare for inspection or cleaning purposes, and the piston and connecting rod can be slipped off the crank pin without any trouble.
A two-speed Enfield gear, comfortable footboards, ample mudguarding, and a large pan saddle are to be fitted, and the machine will be turned out with a full equipment and excellently finished.
Its Comfort on Pot-holey Surfaces.
On the road we can testify to the smoothness of the springing, and even over the worst parts of the Birmingham-Coventry Road it was possible to travel at .quite a smart pace, not only without discomfort but with the peculiar floating motion of a really well sprung car. It was interesting to note, when travelling over bad roads, that the vibration of the machine, due to small road shocks, was almost entirely eliminated before reaching the saddle or carrier.
When finally marketed, this new type is to replace the present Baby Levis, and no attempt has been made to produce a cheap machine. The best only is the idea for this model.
With regard to the standard models for next year there will be but little change. The steering head ball races have been improved, somewhat larger saddles are fitted, and a better tank finish is employed.
The price of the popular model has been reduced to £25, that of the No. 1 2½ h.p. model to £33 10s., and that of the 2¾ de Luxe to £38 10s. Either of the last mentioned pair may be fitted with a two-speed counter-shaft gear at £6 10s. extra.
The Motor Cycle, November 12th, 1914. 571.
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