Rudge Motorcycles

Today in Motorcycle History

Rudge Motorcycles

A Brief History of the Marque

Rudge Whitworth was formed in 1895 with the amalgamation of Rudge of Coventry and Whitworth of Birmingham, both bicycle companes. They began motorcycle manufacture in 1911 and went into liquidation in 1933. They continued trading under the auspices of The Gramophone Company (which later became HMV and then EMI) after moving to Middlesex, and ceased trading at the onset of WWII with the last machines being produced by Norman.

Rudge built Python engines which they supplied to numerous other manufacturers including:

Rudge Python Engines

  • 350cc Ulster
  • 500cc Ulster: Fitted to 1933 G-P Speed Chief.
  • 249cc Python: Radial 4-valve head, aluminium piston, roller bearing big-end and mains. Created in 1931, fitted to Grindlay Peerless Tiger Cub of 1933 & '34.
  • 499cc Python: 85mm by 88mm, Radial 4-valve head. Available 1932, possibly earlier.

Sources: Cycle Memory, et al.

fclotet47 at
Rudge Ulster 1938
Hi. I am finalizing the purchase of a Rudge Ulster. The seller gives me the chassis number 60093 and the engine number U2160, the bike seems to be from 1938, restored. This engine does not have a bronze head, an iron head with a side spark plug, The seller tells me that the bronze head was an option,
I would like your opinion before buying.
Thank you.
Francesc Clotet Teixido

  • A Rudge specialist at one of the vintage motorcycle clubs may be able to answer that.

dgreenly at
Rudge Sports Special 1937
I'm trying to source a rear mudguard, can anyone help ?
David Greenly
Basingstoke, UK

Sat, 03 Feb 2018
robeve1014 at
Rudge 3 1/2 H.P. Cycle

On the 7th June, 1920, my father registered the above motor cycle in Stirlingshire, Scotland. The only other information on the registration document is weight, 150 Lbs. I do not know if it was new or used and am trying to find out as much as possible about this machine. For example would it have been considered a "fast" or ""sporty" machine. Regards, Robert Allan
Robert Allan
Pickering, Ontario Canada

Thu May 25 2017
jonsurman at
rudge dirt track
rudge dirt track 1936
Hi, I have a very near complete Rudge Dirt track motorcycle that I would like some more information on this bike , ios this something that you could help with ,
thank you for your time , Jon Surman.
Sun Mar 22 2015
rod.youssefi at
1939 Rudge Special
Rudge Special
I need an oil pump for my 1939 Rudge Special. Do you have that for sale? If so, how much?

Mon Jan 13 2014
chasgould at
Parts and technical inquiry
Rudge Whitworth 1928 Four Valve
I have begun the process of reassembling this wonderful old motorbike, which wqas taken apart by the previous owner about ten years ago. I have developed a number of questions, and have discovered that a few parts have either been lost or broken since the bike had been disassembled almost ten years ago. 1) Specifically, the carburetor has gone missing, and I will have to source a new one. I do have the throttle slide (which is badly worn), but no carburetor body, so I would like to source a replacement carburetor. Can you confirm whether Rudge used an Amal carburetor or another manufacturer, and can you please provide the proper model number and size?

Please also confirm whether these are available either through the club or form other sources. 2) I will also require a new clock-spring for the kickstarted mechanism as the old one has broken. 3) Finally, I could use a new set of clutch plates, both fibre and steel. 4) I also have a number of questions about the assembly of the bike. Specifically, there are a number of bushes and/or friction washers (3081) or spacers on the bolts (3078, 3079 &3080) that go through the upper and lower shackles (3076 & 3077) which tie the two front fork girders together. I am having trouble determining which parts and the proper orientation for these friction washers and bushings. Can you possibly provide any diagram or guidance for this arrangement to assist me in the proper assembly./ Please also confirm if the friction washers and bushes are fibre, brass or steel. When I received the bike form John's estate, there were only three brass bushes on each of these bolts, which is unusual to have n odd number of bushes for this assembly. I would be extremely grateful for an advice or guidance which you might be able to provide to assist me in getting this old Rudge back on the road again.

Thank you for your anticipated cooperation.

Kind regards, Charles Boston, Massachusetts USA

Sat Oct 05 2013
1939 rudge
rudge ulster??
Hello..I am trying to find some help to identify a rudge I am buying. I am told its a 39..seems complete and original and has been in a barn for the past 40yrs..only#s I can find on it are 57015 on the engine,and 23575 on the trans casting..I am wondering if there should be a frame# or not and if so, where I would find it. Have pictures I can send. I am in California.any help is appreciated.Sincerly,Rick Haner

Fri Sep 20 2013
ken.sames <at>
rudge unknown
what rudge had hand gear shift, chrome tank and high level exhausts have photos circa 1935

Sun Sep 01 2013
Rudge Ulster 1937
could you please supply the ignition timing for a 1937 Rudge Ulster in either degees or height of piston

Thu Jun 28 2012
Rudge 250 Sports
I'm needing to know what the correct magneto belongs on my 1935 250 Sports. I currently have a beautifully rebuilt ML that Stuart Towner did for me, but it appears to be incorrect for that bike. Anyone with some knowledge on this?  Thanks, Budd

Fri Nov 04 2011
JAP engines
Rudge Ulster
Dear Sirs,
I inherited a 1935 Rudge Ulster (or special) 500cc 4 valve single that I was informed was a JAP engine. Rudge is not in your list of motorcycle manufacturers using the JAP engines and I thought I should update your info.
Dale Furman

Thu Oct 13 2011
What brand and model year of this motorcycle
Dear Sir,

Could you please help to let me know what brand and model year of the motorcycle in the attached picture. I tried days to find the similar image on the internet but cannot find. This motorcycle was found in Vietnam during 1950s. Thanks a lot.

There are some points which may help to recognize for example: the front suspension built by 2 small rods; the shape of exhaust pipe; One exhaust pipe on left side.

Generally, It looks like an Italy Frera model 1938, but Frera usually build their exhaust pipe on right side, do you know any Frera model with exhaust pipe on the left side?
Thanks you anyway, after research, I think (99%) this is a Rudge Special with modification of the exhaust pipe, it has 2 pipes but not 1 pipe as said in previous email. This picture was take in 1952, means, it is at least 13 years old, the pipe must be rusted and need to be repaired, that's why it looks different from the original Rudge Special.

Thanks & regards,
Sean Nguyen.

Thu Dec 23 2010
lesmedland<at>ntlworlddot com
Rudge Speedway/Dirt track
Hi. I bought this Engine in the 60s. Long Stroke Engine No 231. Any info Please
Oxfordshire. UK

Thu Nov 19 2009
peternpearson at aoldot com
Rudge identification
Rudge unknown
Reg. number GW 8311 frame number 47729.
Have discovered a cover note in my late father in laws papers and would like to identify the model. The cover note is dated 11th May 1935. It is noted as 2.5hp.
Many thanks
yorkshire UK

  • When information becomes available I will add it to the page on serial numbers. Ed.

Rudge 750cc 1913
Rudge 750cc 1913

Rudge Multi 500cc 1912

Wed May 13 2009
max.cowie at
750 singles
rudge 750
The editor stated that suzuki were the first to produce a 750 single as a production run. This is incorrect. Rudge did a 750 starting in 1914.

Elsewhere on the net there are images of a 1913 Rudge Multi 750cc Reg# SP-2788

It is a very early 1914 but if you look, it is not a multi. Yes it is a 750.
Attached is a photo of my daughters 500 multi. You will notice the difference in the drive.

Rudge Multi 500cc 1912

Mon May 04 2009
murray823 at btinternetdot com
Motorcycle racing
Rudge "Two port"
I have photos taken at a race meeting at Boreham airfield in 1947[?]. I have been told two bikes are Rudge 2 port [Ulsters?]. Racing numbers 68 and 69. Anyone know when the races were held?

Thanks for the info on EMU. I am tryuing to date the photos I took. One was of Jack Surtees [father of John] with his Vincent sidecar outfit.

I love Australia [Queensland in particular where I have many good friends and rellies]. Was last in NSW and Qld in January this year! Some not so young rellies in Augusta WA still ride their bikes [Triumphs] around the place. I lived and worked in Brisbane in the late 50s [wish I still was with the state this country is in right now!] and at one time was secretary of the now defunct Queensland Motor Sporting Club. I took my G3LS Matchless out with me and did a few miles around the back roads of south Qld on it before coming home. Should have exported a 500 twin with me but was not aware of the situation before I left the Old Dart.


Murray Brazier

Thu May 07 2009
nyplumkrazzy at yahoodot com
Rudge Rigid
I bought this 1939(?) at a garage sale & now my father's illness is forcing the sale, but I don't know enough about this motorcycle to place advertising. Can anyone help me with info?
New Mexico USA

subject: values of motorcycles
Email: roybach at
message: Hi I own a 29 Rudge ulster Orig restored Not concours but very original , I would put it as a 3 on a scale of 1-10 I just want an aproxmate value Thanks

Fri Mar 07 2008

Rudge Serial Numbers
Rudge W.K. 6685
I have recently come across an old notebook of my grandfathers with notes made of journeys on (and maintenance of) a Rudge motorcycle between June 1928 and October 1930. It seems he acquired the bike on the 28th of June 1928. I am not sure whether new or secondhand. W.K. 6685 appears to be a serial number - maybe the frame no.? Would anybody be able to tell me what model this would have been? Many thanks. John
(Email address withheld at owner's request)

  • WK6685 is most likely the registration number. Ed.

Fri Feb 29 2008
patrick at
Valve lifter; headlight
Rudge Whitworth Multi 1912 - 1915
Having written (Aviation fiction) of the engine of an early Rudge being 'switched on', also of lights being switched, I was advised that the engine would be turned off by a valve lifter, and that lights would not be electric (switched on and off) but acetylene. Would be grateful for sketchy operation details. Pat Cunningham<
UK Derby

  • Starting is probably by pushing the bike with the valve lifter engaged, then disengage when momentum gained. One lights the acetylene. Anyone care to elucidate? Ed.

Mon Feb 25 2008
gustr at
Engines & Details
Rudge, Rudge Whitworth, & Rudge Python Ulster, TT
I am having limited luck getting information & details about these engines, Anyone direct me to drawings, photo's, manuals, etc.?

Any help would help!

Thanks! Rafe03
Victoria, BC, Canada

PS- Engines & engine bits would also be of interest, no matter what condition. Thanks!
Victoria BC Canada

Sat Feb 09 2008
rjhunt9216 at rogersdot com
steering head bearings
Rudge 1939 Ulster
Where might I obtain cups and cones or a taper replacement
hamilton, canada

Mon Jan 07 2008
sangoma at
decals for Rudge Multi
1914 Multi
Can anyone help with decals for a Rudge Multi

Tue Oct 02 2007
rudge-racing at
1934 Liegh Rudge
1934 special racer
Hi again,
my latest newcomer to the stable , hope to have it racing again next year .
built by Derek Liegh , London, a very well known tuner and sprinter
(image in gallery. Ed.)

Fri Aug 31 2007
max.cowie at
Pedallling Gear
1912 Rudge Multi
My daughter has a 1912 Rudge Multi but it is missing the pedal gear. Would anyone out there have this available?

Thu Aug 09 2007
edmand at
Rudge Bradshaw Special
RBS 350 oil cooled
Hi, I am in the process of getting an Rudge Bradshaw Special or RBS ready to compete in a historic hillclimb. The bike is alledgely a 250cc rudge frame with a 350cc oil cooled bradshaw engine. We have managed to get the thing running but we have no technical data to go on, do you know of anywhere we can go to get any technical data on this engine. It is fitted with a brass AMAL carb and a BTH mag and a three speed gearbox. Everything seems to work in a fashion but it runs very roughly, I really could do with some techno data to help me getting it running nicely again.
Somerset , England
See also Bradshaw

Tue Jun 12 2007
spider.roshan at gmaildot com
Need Restoration.
Rudge Multi 1914
I have a Rudge Multi 1914 parked in my garage. It has alot of parts missing. I want to know where I can get help restoring this.

Wed May 02 2007
jeorg.flaschka at [bounced]

rudge whitworth 500cc 1924
Hallo, I am an owner of an 500cc rudge witworth. I have Problems with crank shaft ball bearings. There is a W4442 and Made in England on it but also in GB I can not find some. Is there a other size or name for it ? Please help, Jo
jena, Germany

    These are main bearings, by the sounds of things. What are the dimensions? Ed.

Sat May 19 2007
rudge-racing at
1924 Rudge main bearings
1924 500 cc
Hi Joe
the bearings are part nr 52752
dimentions are 22mm x 50 mm x 17 mm<
the type is RMC22
do you have a parts book?
there are rudges in
hope this helps,regards Alex

April 1st 2007
....and my own Rudge UGP 1930 at the Klausen hillclimb,(21,5 km,6000 ft) was a fantastic thursday to sunday sunshine all the time, the toughest and longest hillclinbs in europe and an expierence never to be forgoten.congratulations to your site ! , very interesting thanks , Alex

Tue Mar 20 2007
takka22000 at
rudge eng no's
29' ulster
can anyone give me eng no's for 29' ulster please?

1929 Rudge 500 engines had nummbers 54000 to 57000 no difference being made between Ulster or special

hope this helps , Alex

Mon Feb 05 2007
craiggilbertson at bigponddot com
Rudge Motor Cycle
1934 TT Rudge
I have the above bike which has been completly restored and now sits in a museum. What would this be worth, if I ever decided to sell it. The were 3 of these bikes brought to Australia to compete, in I think the 1936 Phillip Island road race. One was smashed beyond repair, one was returned to England and I have the other one, which my father rode and won the race.
Regards Craig Gilbertson

Sun Jan 07 2007
sangoma at
1914 Rudge Multi
I am looking for a barrel for the above. I have unfortunately discovered that mined is cracked. Hope you can help.
Craig Campbell
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Sat Dec 30 2006
alanvthomas19 at btinternetdot com
rudge ulster
The guy in america with the rudge ulster;contact me.
regards Alan.

Sat Sep 02 2006
jeff.torello at
my Rudge
1939 Rudge Ulster
I have acquired a 1939 Ulster in very good condition, its been in a basement since 1942. Im not really sure what its worth, if anyone can help it would be appreciated.
Connecticut, U.S.

Fri May 19 2006
rw-blevins at msndot com
1912 Rudge with side car prices
I Have a 1912 rudge with sidecar that is in good shape. How much could this bike bring?
Thank you rb

Wed May 03 2006
walker.william at gmaildot com
Unknown Rudge Motor Cycle
Rudge Dirt Track Special
My father had a motor cycle he refered to as Rudeg Dirt Track Special. Tracking back it would seem he lived in Crystal Brook in South Australia between 1923 and 1930. The bike was no doubt purchased second Hand so could presumed to be a pre 1922 model. Any ideas

Tue Apr 18 2006
kchieffy at aoldot com
Valve Lifter
1937 Ulster
In what position is the valve lifter in operation and in what position is it not in operation ( Sticking out to the side or down )
Pennsylvania. U.S.A.

Thu Mar 30 2006
drewckidd at
price enq
Rudge whitworth?
I have a friend who knows of a rudge lying in a friends garage , and has been for a number of years, I have expressed interest in it as I beleive they are collectable, I have absolutely no idea of values, could you give me a ballpark figure of what it could be worth, I dont know any other info about bike as yet but an indication as to what a poor condition bike would be worth and what kind of money a restored or good condition one would be worth would help me to decide whether to take this on as a project

October 2005
subject: rudge special
Email: office at
message: hello 1
my name is wick and i am interested in an rudge special - bike is complet and 100 % working - but only in a number two optical condition.
would you be so kind to tell me what is an acceptabel price for this kind of bike.

thanxs a lot

Found this superb machine at Ebay Jan 2002
John O'Grady-- Johnog at aoldot com

    1912 Rudge Multi motorcycle with wicker sidecar in perfect condition.

    This great old bike was acquired in New Zealand several years ago and is in excellent condition. One look at the attached photos and you will see what we mean!

If you have a query about Rudge motorcycles please contact us