Royal Ruby Motorcycles

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Royal Ruby Motorcycles

A Brief History of the Marque

Royal Ruby motorcycles were built from 1909 at Cannel St , Ancoats (Manchester) factory which had previously only been making cycles (Ruby Cycle Co.). They were relatively successful though expensive and ambitiously tried to make as much as possible on site, though the engines were JAP or Villiers with the 'Royal Ruby' name cast on, and the sidecars probably bought in from Mills Fulford

A wide range of models were advertised (in 1914) from 250cc 2-strokes and 4-strokes to 3, 4,5, 6 & 8hp twins as well as a 'Ladies Model' with dropped frame.

Financial trouble arrived in 1919-20, possibly as a result of non-payment for a large batch of machines delivered to the Russian Government in 1916. A second batch were dispersed on the home market but that was rather flushed with ex-wd machines in 1919 and losses were inevitable. The assets of the bankrupt company were acquired by a new board which included some of the original management and a new factory was founded on Moss Lane Altrincham where production of an entirely new range with an 'Indian' (or possibly Beardmore)-inspired sprung frame began in 1921.

Again the market was not impressed by value and only a small number were sold before the firm again went bust in 1922 and was offered for sale as 'a going concern ' on Dec 12th. Some assembled machines appeared in ads in 1923-24 but the name was bought by Albert Horrocks of Bolton in 1927 and he started with a completely new saddle-tank machine for the 1928 season with bought in Villiers and JAP engines and Albion and Sturmey gearboxes. The only unusual feature was extra double stays either side of the front down tube which had dubious technical advantage.

Having also advertised a 3-wheel cyclecar under the Royal Ruby name in 1927, this enterprise was left to it's designer Maurice Edwards who manufactured small numbers to his design under the 'MEB' brand name - and possibly only built a single prototype. There is no evidence that motorcycle production carried on after 1931, though occasional adverts in the trade press suggest that some machines may have been assembled from remaining spares up to 1933. There are around 15 survivors worldwide, mainly from the prolific Ancoats period.

I am happy to attempt to answer any queries.

Adrian Holden
Mon Sep 10 2007

Tue Mar 31 2015
adrianholden48 at sky.con
please note my new email address
Tragatsch give years as 1909-1933, and says that the marque used engines of its own manufacture as well as JAP singles and V-Twins, and Villiers two-strokes. The fact that Royal Ruby incorporated its own castings onto proprietary engines explains this error.

More on the history of Ruby Cycle Co.

April 2024
p-h-unger at
want to complete the history of my RR which I have since about 30 years. It has frame no. WD53. 8 models of the 8hp model I have contact with. The models shipped from Liverpool to russia on 2.10.1917 were frame no. 127-151.
Have you any information?
    A marque specialist at a vintage motorcycle club is probably your best bet. This page may have some helpful information: British Resources

Sun May 11 2014
raybrad at
JAP V-twin 998cc
Royal Ruby Russian
I own a 1919 Royal Ruby motorcycle with a 998cc JAP V-twin. Are there any workshop manuals available for these engines?
London, UK

Wed Jul 03 2013
royal ruby 250
how much is a royal ruby worth and where's the best place to sorce parts?

Fri Nov 27 2009
Royal Ruby
royal ruby all
Further information suggests that the RR firm did not necessarily go bankrupt in 1918 but may have moved to Altringham for more space using profits from WD contracts. This is by no means clear and any further knowledge would be welcome.

Thu Sep 18 2008
colinkilpatrick at
You might be interested in my 1913 Royal Ruby Lightweight. The frame no is stamped on the inside of all 4 engine mounting plates and is 32. The 269c.c. engine is from the first ever run of Villiers 2 strokes and is no O 969. It goes like a rocket- no clutch, no gears, and only a rear brake. I will help any other owner with info.
Oxford U.K.

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