Rover Motorcycles

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Rover Motorcycles

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Rover was a British manufacturer of bicycles, motorcycles and cars which produced motorcycles in 1899, from 1903 to 1906 and from 1910 to 1927.

1899 Having started in the cycle industry, the company first experimented with power and exhibited a machine at the Richmond Show. They built a tricar in bath-chair form, with twin rear wheels and the driver and De Dion engine fitted between them. At the front was a single small wheel and a seat for the passenger.

1901 'Imperial Rover' motorcycles were produced.

1903 After a gap of a few years a well-designed machine appeared. This had a single 2¼ hp engine with a mechanical inlet valve and spray carburettor. The frame had two down- tubes, to increase rigidity, and braced forks.

Report from the 1903 Stanley Show

The Rover Cycle Co will show their 1904 motor bicycle at the Stanley. It has a 3 h.p. motor fitted vertically in a special cradle. The inlet valve is mechanically operated. The ignition is by brush contact and trembler coil and two accumulators are provided, the two way switch being fitted on the forward part of the horizontal tube. Transmission is by V shape belt. The frame, as will be observed, is exceptionally well-stayed by a double down tube, and a series of tubes at the crank bracket. The front forks are of the duplex pattern. The motor cylinder and head are cast in one piece, and a special paraffin valve is fitted. The carburetter is of the spray pattern, and the control levers have ratchet adjustments. The sparking plug is placed vertically over the inlet valve. The case at the rear of the frame carries the accumulator and also the coil.

The Motor magazine, 18th November 1903

1904 The engine increased to 3hp and there was also a 4hp forecar with the option of a water-cooled engine. It had two-stage chain transmission and included a clutch.

1905 The frame changed to a single downtube and a 2½ hp lightweight was added. The forecar remained on the list, with wheel steering as an option.

The Rover for 1906 has been improved in very few details, the makers having found that last year's model gave exceedingly satisfactory results, especially the lightweight type. The carburetter now fitted is automatic in its action, and is exactly similar (except that it is on a smaller scale) to the carburetter which the Rover Company have used on their cars in all their competitions during the past season. As fitted to the motor bicycle, we understand it gives slightly increased power, and is very regular in its action. Needless to say, the finish and detail work is excellent in every respect.

The 3½ h.p. chain-driven Rover of the heavier weight remains practically the same, except that it has the carburetter referred to fitted to it.

The Stanley Show 1905

1906 The range continued for the year, but then the firm turned its attention to full-scale cars for a while.

1908-1909 Their involvement with the trade continued with the supply of complete cycle parts to the British branch of MAG for the Motosacoche Motor Unit.

1910 They returned late that year with a model designed by John E. Greenwood. It had a rear-mounted Bosch magneto, B and B carburettor, belt drive from an adjustable pulley and Druid forks.

1910 Stanley Show Report
The Rover Co., Ltd.
At this stand the Rover Company, who were among the earliest to manufacture a successful motor-bicycle, will be showing a new model. It is a 3 1/2 H.P. with Rover engine of 85 bore by 88 mm. stroke. The inlet valves are mechanical, the transmission is by 4in. belt, on two gears, the high ratio being 44 to 1 and the low 64 to 1. Spring front forks are fitted, while the diameter of both wheels (which have 24 Dunlop tyres) is 26in. The height of the saddle from the ground is 32in., and clearance is 4in. The machine has a wheelbase of 56in., and a weight of about 1801bs. Pedalling gear stand and carrier are provided, and a Triumph free engine clutch, made under license from the Triumph Co., is included in the price of £55 net.

Rover 1910 Models

1912 Spennell's lists them at Garfield Rd, Coventry (Tel. 518) and as manufacturers of motorcycles.

World War I. They kept going throughout the war by supplying private owners (until 1916) and the military. Motorcycles, lorries and Sunbeam-designed car were produced for armies both in Britain and in Russia. They made minor changes including the option of Armstrong or Sturmey-Archer three-speed hub.

1917 They added a 654cc JAP V-twin model for service use and that, together with the single, comprised the post-war range.

1921 All except a 'TT' model now had chain drive.

1923 The twin was dropped and a neat lightweight with a 249cc engine appeared. It had ohv and looked very modern as the three-speed gearbox was a unit enclosed by the crankcase. That model alone continued for the year 1924.

1925-1926 The lightweight was replaced by a 345cc version which ran on for a few years.

1927 Was the last year of Rover motorcycle production.

Source: Graces Guide