Today in Motorcycle History

P. V. Motor Cycles

PV were motorcycles produced from 1911 to 1924 at 93 Perry Vale, Forest Hill, London, by Elliston and Fell, later P. V. Motor Cycles. [1]

  • 1911 The first machines were seen late in the year with spring frames and powered by either single or V-twin JAP engines, and fitted with Druid or Chater-Lea forks.

    1912 The firm then concentrated on using V-twin engines and a countershaft gearbox.

    1914 The use of the ABC flat-twin engine was considered. See Nick Smith's well-researched article on the P.V. ABC

    1915 They added a lightweight with a 269cc Villiers engine.

    1916 Only the lightweight was listed.

    Post-War production resumed with the Villiers two-stroke model.

    1919 A model was shown with the new Stanger V-twin two-stroke engine, Brampton forks, three-speed Sturmey-Archer chain-cum-belt transmission and a 56mph/90kmh speed potential.

    Models for 1921: 2½ h.p. 269 c.c. Villiers Spring Frame, a special ladies' model with a cut-away tank, a 2¾ h.p. J.A.P.-engined model, and a 5-6 h.p. J.A.P.-engined dual-purpose mount, equipped with a P.V. spring frame and a sidecar.
    PV 1921 Road Test

    At the Olympia Show in November 1922 PV displayed a 976cc JAP V-Twin solo, a 498 c.c. Touring model and a 654cc sidecar outfit.

    1923 models included larger machines with 500cc and 678cc J.A.P. engines. R V Crauford rode a P.V. the IOM 1923 Lightweight TT (DNF) and 1924 Junior TT (12th).
    1923 PV Models at Olympia.

    1924 It was their last season in the trade.

PV 1919 Villiers

The Villiers-englned lightweight P.V. with spring frame

THE 1919 "P.V."

Pioneer Spring Frame Machine in a New Guise.

THE P.V. motor bicycle is famous as being one of the first motor bicycles made with a spring frame. Its makers, Messrs. Elliston and Fell, Perry Vale, Forest Hill, S.E., may therefore be regarded as among the pioneers so far as spring frames are concerned. Their latest pattern P.V. is a nice looking, well fitted up, and thoroughly practical little mount.

At the present moment it is made in the form of a lightweight, and is equipped with a 2 3/4 h.p. Villiers engine and a Chater-Lea two-speed gear box, transmission being by combined belt and chain. The spring frame has been considerably improved in detail since Messers. Elliston and Fell have returned from serving their country in the army.

We may remind our readers that the system of springing consists of carrying the rear wheel in a sort of auxiliary pair of forks, which terminate in triangular malleable castings, and are carried on substantial bearings running through the main back fork ends. The forward end of the forks terminates in a peg secured to a fibre collar passing through a slot in the saddle tube. This fibre collar works between two coil springs in the saddle tube. The lower spring is secured by an adjustable plug, which can be moved by means of a spanner, thus allowing the tension of the spring to be altered so as to suit the weight of the rider. The peg referred to runs through a damping box consisting of a shoe lined with leather and kept in tension by a light spring. This serves also to cover up the slot in which the sprung portion of the frame is free to move, thus excluding any mud and grit. The saddle tube in which the springs are to be found is packed with grease when the machine is delivered, and no further attention is needed for a very long time.

Points of convenience have been well studied in the P.V. There is a small pyramid of gauze above the petrol outlet, so that no dirt can reach the carburetter. The rear brake spindle is mounted eccentrically, and if the nut by which it is secured to the frame be loosened and a peg inserted in the hole conveniently provided, the adjustment of the brake is an extremely simple matter.

The machine is suspended in front on Brampton biflex forks, an extra heavy chain is fitted, and the handle-bars are wide and comfortable. We tried the machine on the road, and found the springing to be excellent in every respect. There is no possibility of side play, the wheel is the only unsprung weight, and there is no doubt that it satisfactorily absorbs all serious road shocks.

The Motor Cycle, July 24th, 1919.
See also PV 1921 Road Test


ALTHOUGH a very wide range of P.V. machines will be marketed next year there has been no radical change in the design of this old-established spring frame motor cycle.

1923 plans are best described by enumerating the various engines used; 247 c.c. and 343 c.c. Villiers ; 349 B. and S. ; 293 c.c. and 349 c.c. single-cylinder and 500 c.c. and 678 c.c. twin-cylinder J.A.P.s. Both the twins are of the sports type and provide an excellent combination of liveliness with comfort.

The makers are P.V. Motor Cycles, Ltd., Perry Vale, Forest Hill, S.E.23.

The Motor Cycle, October 12th, 1922.

1. The address is also given as 72 Perry Vale.

Sources: Graces Guide, The Motor Cycle,

Further reading: PV Motorcycles by Nick Smith

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