Panther P&M Motorcycles

Today in Motorcycle History

P and R

P and R were motorcycles produced between 1901 and 1903, in Cleckheaton, Yorkshire, by Joah Phelon and his nephew, Harry Rayner.

This was the forerunner of the P and M. They began production in 1896 with a quadricycle.

The first motorcycle appeared in 1901, in a format that was to last for over sixty years. The De Dion-type engine replaced the downtube of a heavy-duty bicycle frame and it had all-chain drive, unlike its contemporaries. The usual bicycle chain and pedals retained.

The design was good and so it was offered to firms around the Coventry area, but the only interest was shown by Harry Lawson. Humber then began to make the machines to the P and R design although the origin was not publicized.

Only a few P and R motorcycles were constructed, and most of those were sold locally. In 1903 Harry Rayner was killed in a car accident, so Joah Phelon concentrated on his original business and built a few machines under his own name, until the end of the year.

Joah Phelon then met Richard Moore and formed P & M which later became Panther.

Phelon & Rayner Motorcycles

Phelon Rayner 1902
From Motorcycle Panorama by Bob Holiday

A Brief History of the Marque

Joah Phelon and Harry Rayner took a patent on the engine as a stressed member of the frame in 1900, a visionary concept used in many of today's machines including most BMW and Ducati motorcycles. Their 1.75 h.p. machines were built from 1901 to 1903.

  • "An extremely practical answer to the problem of where to mount the engine came from Yorkshire in 1900, when Joah Phelon and Harry Rayner, who were later joined by Richard Moore, began building motorcycles at Cleckheaton. As this photograph of a 1902 Phelon-Rayner shows, their method was to use the power unit itself as a main part of the frame, while four long rods, from steering head to bottom bracket, served the dual purpose of securing cylinder to crankcase and substituting for the normal front downtube. The idea was reproduced under license by the Humber company and was perpetuated through the long life of the P & M (Phelon & Moore) motorcycle ranges which succeeded the type illustrated."
    From Motorcycle Panorama, A Pictorial Review of Design and Development by Bob Holliday, Arco Publishing Company, Inc, New York, NY, 10003, 1974. ISBN 0-668-03647-8.

Mon Apr 12 2010
Phelon & Rayner - P&R
I found this picture in my Panther Motorcycle Archive. Believed this is the only one of the bikes were only a handful were built each year.

The image is the same as that used in the Bob Holiday book. Ed.

Sources: Graces Guide, et al.