Phoenix Motorcycles by Hooydonk

Today in Motorcycle History

Phoenix 1907

A New Motor Cycle.

Mr. D. W. Gaukrodger, manager of Saltern Creek, brought round to our office for inspection on Monday a new motor cycle, practically built to Mr. Gaukrodger's own specification.

Mr. Gaukrodger kindly favors us with a description of the machine, which was personally imported by him from the Phoenix Motor Co., Ltd., London, and which is probably the first of the hand-started, chain-driven, two-speeders introduced into this country. Mr. Gaukrodger has already had two direct belt-driven machines previous to this, and with the experience of these during the last four years, and giving the matter of special requirements for this district some consideration, he thinks he has now a machine close to an ideal for his particular work. The machine is certainly a 1907 pattern of one of the best makers in England, but with alterations made at Mr. Gaukrodger's request, which in his opinion are the most suitable and necessary in this climate and district. The engine is of 3 1/4 h.p., and is identical with those fitted to the famous tri-cars known as the Phoenix Durnos, and being specially made by the Minerva Motor Co., Ltd., for the Phoenix Co., is guaranteed by them to have passed the electrical bench test of 4 1/2 h. p.

The wheels are 26 x 2 1/2in" and shod with extra heavy Peter Union tyres, the rear one being shod with a non-skid, studded band, which makes possibility of punctures remote. The inner tubes are butt-ended, which permits of their being changed without removal of wheel To assist also in tyre manipulation the back mud guard hinges back with the luggage carrier. The machine is also chain-driven through a counter shaft with tensioned spring clutch on engine shaft, which makes the chain drive as smooth as a belt when driving. In the rear hub in fitted a Phoenix two-speed epicyclic gear. This allows of "free engine" and makes the machine easy to wheel and to handle at gates, fee. There being a cooling fan which is continually forcing a draught of cool air on to the combustion chamber, the engine can be kept running for any temporary stoppages whilst the bicycle is stationary.

The machine really has all the refinements of a light car. A few turns of a handle starts the engine in a free position. The rider then takes his seat, and by a slight push of a lever on top of frame engages the low gear, and the tricycle moves off without jar or shock, and on this gear one can travel from as slowly as it is possible to balance the machine up to about ten-miles an hour, which is a great advantage when negotiating rough or dangerous patches of road. The high gear can be engaged after the machine is well started on the low, and to effect this the same lever on the top of frame is pulled right back past the neutral. This movement fetches dog clutches into operation, which locks in the gear on which one can travel at any desired pace from seven up to thirty miles per hour, the pace for comfort depending on the condition of the road surface, and to control the speed a very convenient handle bar combination of valve lifter and spring switch is fitted. Besides the specially-designed flexible engine and also the chain drive and two-speed gear, magneto (Sims Bosch) ignition is employed which, although not more efficient than the ordinary batteries, is certainly more convenient where means of re-charging are difficult.

The well-sprung saddle is also mounted on a spring pillar, and the front wheel is carried in a L. A. C. spring fork, which makes riding most comfortable on all reasonable roads. The gauges which are recessed in the tank show at a glance the amount of fuel and oil at hand, and there is sufficient accommodation to carry at least 200 miles of the former and 400 miles of the latter. The method of transferring the fuel from the spare to the main tank is ingeniously performed by merely applying the ordinary tyre pump, when by forcing air into the spare tank the liquid is caused to syphon through to the main.

Footboards take the place of the pedals, which give the rider a more comfort able and stable position. By the foot a strong band brake can be applied to the back wheel, and there is also a conveniently placed foot actuated " cut out," which admits of a free exhaust for open road travelling.

Evidently Mr. Gaukrodger, who has studied electrical engines from childhood (and, by-the-way, has helped us in explaining the mechanism of our motor upon several occasions) has an almost ideal motor cycle, and one worthy of the inspection of all cyclists.

The Western Champion and General Advertiser for the Central-Western Districts (Barcaldine, Qld.) Sat 29 Jun 1907 - via Trove NLA