Martinsyde Motorcycles

Today in Motorcycle History

Martinsyde Motorcycles

Martinsyde was a British aircraft manufacturer. Motorcycles were also produced from 1919 to 1923.

The company was formed in 1908 as a partnership between H. P. Martin and George Handasyde and known as Martin and Handasyde. In 1912 they renamed the company Martinsyde Ltd. It went into liquidation in 1923.

During its existence the company, based in Woking and Brooklands, produced subcontracted aircraft and its own designs.

Martinsyde-Newman motorcycles were produced by Martin and Handasyde from 1919 to 1923.

  • 1919 After the end of the Great War, and having been major aircraft producers for those years, Martin and Handasyde decided to diversify by turning to motorcycle manufacture. They had plenty of room for production and a reputation for good quality, so decided to manufacture the bulk of components in-house, including V-twin engines with unusual exhaust-over-inlet (EOI) valve layout. The first machines were badged as Martinsyde-Newman, as the engine had been designed by H. C. Newman (of the Ivy marque). The 677cc V-twins rapidly gained a good reputation for reliability through extensive trials work. The gearbox, made under licence from AJS, was a standard three-speed unit. Sidecar outfits were available, including one suitable for commercial use.
  • 1920 A 498cc model with similar engine layout followed.
  • 1921 Trading difficulties caused large-scale lay-offs at the works.
  • 1922 A sports version of the 498cc appeared along with a 738cc sports model (developed by H. H. Bowen) named the Quick Six.
  • 1923 Various experiments were conducted with valve gear controlled by leaf springs and a vertical single model of 346cc was revealed at the Olympia Show in November 1922. It had an overhead exhaust valve (EOI), Amac carburetor, chain drive and a 3 speed gearbox. Front brake was of the expanding type, with the rear using a dummy belt rim. Following a disastrous fire at the works, towards the end of the year the business failed.
  • Note: Stock parts and the rights to manufacture were acquired by the BAT Motor Co. During 1924 the twins continued under the trading name of BAT-Martinsyde, but ceased in 1925.

Sources: Graces Guide

Model Date Detail
Monoplane Pre-1914 Two-seater trainer monoplane. Powered by 65 hp Antoinette engine
S1 1914 Single-seat scout
G100 and G102 "Elephant" 1915 Fighter / Bomber. Single seater biplane powered by 120 hp Beardmore for the G100 and the 160 hp Beardmore for the G102. 270 produced.
Hawk Trainer Two-seat low wing trainer. Powered by 130 hp Gypsy major engine.
F4 Buzzard 1918 Fighter. The Martinsyde F4 Buzzard was developed as a powerful and fast biplane fighter for the Royal Air Force, but the end of the WW1 led to the abandonment of large-scale production. 333 aircraft were eventually produced, with many exported. Of particular note was the Buzzard's high speed, being one of the very fastest aircraft developed during WWI. Powered by a Hispano-Suiza engine
Magister 1933 Development of Hawk Trainer. 1,300 aircraft built.
Master 1938 Two-seater low-wing monoplane advanced trainer. Powered by 715 hp Rolls-Royce Kestrel XXX engines
Mentor 1938 Low-wing monoplane with enclosed cabin. Powered by 200 hp Gypsy Six engine. 45 aircraft built.
Nighthawk Two / three-seater training and communication. Similar to Mentor.

  • WW1 Subcontract production BE.2c and SE.5A.
  • Martinsyde RG
  • Martinsyde F.1
  • Martinsyde F.2
  • Martinsyde F.3 - private venture design with the Rolls-Royce Falcon engine.

A number of surplus Buzzard airframe were later built up with a new engine, the radial Armstrong Siddeley Jaguar, by the Aircraft Disposal Company and sold as the "Martinsyde ADC.1" in 1924. A development of the F.4 was also made by the ADC, two "ADC Nimbus" produced as prototypes.

  • 1920 At the International Aero Exhibition at Olympia much attention was given to the 'Semi-quaver', a single-seater driven by a 300 hp Hispano-Suiza engine having recently set a British record by flying at 161.4 mph. They also showed a four-seater 'A' type.

If you have a query about this page, or have some information to add, please contact us