Riley Motorcycles

Riley motorcycles were produced between 1899 and 1906, in Coventry.

  • 1899 The firm had started to produce tricycles and quadricycles using 2¼ hp German Cudell or Belgian Minerva engines, both of which went behind the rear axle and, according to the type, one or two front wheels were fitted.

    1900 At about this time engines were changed to a 2¾ hp or a 3½ hp MMC.

    1901 The first motorcycle appeared as a typically primitive solo fitted with a 1½ hp Minerva or a 2¾ hp MMC engine.

    1902 A forecar design was added to the range.

    Riley Moto-Bi logo

    1903 During the year a further option was added in the form of a 3½ hp MMC engine. The solos were advertised as the Moto-Bi. Late that year, Riley started fitting their own engines in the vertical mounting position, but still kept the Moto-Bi name. Engine sizes were 2.25-hp, 3-hp and 3.5-hp. The largest of those was intended for forecar use, with the option of water- or fan-cooling, and both forecars and sidecars were included in the range.

    1904 The forecar was revised that year.

    1905 A further forecar was added to the range.

    1906 A fairly heavy machine appeared, fitted with a 6-hp, 804cc V-twin engine, but early in the year the production of motorcycles stopped and the company turned its attention firstly to tricars and then to motorcars.

    1912 Spennell's lists them at St. Nicholas Street, Coventry (Wire, Kite; Tel. 216) and as manufacturers of motorcycles.

See also The Riley Company

Report from the 1902 Stanley Show

Stand 96. The Riley Cycle Co., Coventry, are showing a very powerful-looking motor-bicycle, fitted with an M.M.C. engine, 2.75 horse-power, which they are making their standard pattern. A special feature of this machine is a very strong triple head. A front band and a rear backpedalling brake are fitted. To this machine is attached a specially-built motor trailer, with double backbone, and a spring attachment.

Another machine, fitted with 2.5 Minerva, is also shown, with tandem attachment, which can be taken on and off in a few minutes, and is well worth inspection. This can be fitted to any of these machines at slight extra cost.

Motor Cycling, 26th November 1902

Mention was not made in our [Crystal Palace] show report last week of the Riley tricars and 9 h.p. car, as they were late in arrival. A trial car running in the grounds daily made light work of the stiff hills in the vicinity of the Palace.

The Motor Cycle November 1907.

Sources: Graces Guide, The Motor Cycle

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