Rudge Motorcycles

Today in Motorcycle History

Rudge Motorcycles 1909-1939

Rudge models years traditionally began in July of the previous year and ran through to the end of July in the current calendar year. So a machine built and delivered to the dealer in August of 1936 is denoted as a 1937 model. 1909-1915
Edwardian Era through WWI see Rudge Whitworth 1909-1919

1923 Models

As listed in Nov 1922.
 3-1/2 h.p. Rudge Multi TT 65 pounds
3-1/2 h.p. Rudge, chain drive 85 pounds
7/9 h.p. Rudge Twin, chain drive 125 pounds

Forecast and Guide to Olympia.
Stand 97

Popular on account of its liveliness, ease of steering and steadiness, the chain-driven Rudge has not undergone serious modifications for 1923. The alterations are an improved toolbag and a slight change in colour. Some improvement has also been made in the domed mudguards, which are now 6 in. across.

Both the single and twin cylinder models will be available with a new four-speed gear box.

The MotorCycle, 1922

1924 Motor Cycle Show

The layout of the 1925 four-valve Rudge-Whitworth engine has not altered very much since last year. The cylinder head, with its two overhead inlet valves, and its two overhead exhaust valves, is still detachable. The gear box provides four speeds, and the transmission from engine to gear box and from gear box to rear wheel is still by roller chain in both cases. Features of the frame design are, the stemless handle bars, and the provision of an extra pair of tubes which extend from the rear fork ends and the bottom of the crank chamber.

The Rudge is made in two models, of 350 c.c. and 500 c.c., the price of the standard machines being £58 and £64 6s. respectively, £5 being added for electric lighting equipment. Rudge-Whitworth, Ltd., Coventry. ROYAL ENFIELD. Stand 55, Improvement in quality, accompanied by reduction in price, is the keynote of the Royal Enfield plan this season. The Sturmey-Archer three-speed box is now standardised on the 21 h.p. models. The standard side-valve model now has an improved silencer, and an internal expanding front wheel brake. The overhead-valve model now has a new type of frame, with duplex saddle tube, which gives a lower saddle position, and is very rigid. Spring fork dampers are provided and a Terry spring seat saddle is part of the standard equipment. A special racing model is now listed, with a two-port overhead-valve engine, two exhaust pipes, and a racing carburetter. The 8 h.p. combination has been entirely re-designed since last show, having a new frame and tank, amongst other things. Either Enfield two-speed gear or Sturmey-Archer three-speed gear is now fitted, and the retail price for the complete outfit is now £90. A sports model is listed too, at £95.

The Enfield Cycle Co., Ltd., Redditch.

Motor Sport Magazine

1925 Models

 346cc 499cc , 499cc Sports version

  1926 Models

1926 Standard 499cc

1926 Sports 499cc


1927 Models

(As listed in MotorCycling, June 13th 1928)

1927 Standard 46 pounds

1927 Roadster 49-10-0 pounds

1927 Special 55 pounds

1927 Sports 60 pounds

1927 Sidecars: Touring and Semi-Sports


Rudge Sports Machines of 1927

Next, please! Why, a four-valve sports Rudge-Whitworth. This machine looked more old-fashioned, with its non-saddle tank, rim brakes and old-style silencer, than the Harley and was tested over several weeks. In those now-faraway days it cost £56 with an efficient electric lighting set. The tester found steering satisfactory, yet two experienced riders suffered lock-to-lock wobbles and both were thrown heavily, one from 80 the other from 50 m.p.h. In the latter instance the Rudge rolled and slid for 60 yards, yet nothing beyond lamp stays, footrests and front number plate suffered damage, and steering was unaffected, so presumably remained as vicious as before! Actually it was decided that the bars had to be held fairly firmly, when the steering was very reasonable. The dropped bars militated against full control.

The engine, even with its compression-plate in place, disliked straight petrol but was happy on "Power" [Note for present-day readers: this was an alcohol mixture obtainable from a Power pump without need of coupons!] and almost as happy on benzole mixture. At times the engine would tick-over splendidly and pull nicely at low speeds in top gear, but on other occasions, for no apparent reason, it misfired and knocked painfully at small throttle openings.

Economy was one of the Rudge's strong points, for it averaged 90 m.p.g. on Power or benzole mixture when driven fairly hard all the time and the mechanical lubrication worked adequately at the rate of 800 m.p.g. The machine was also outstandingly safe on greasy roads, either under the brakes or when cornering. The foot-rests, moreover, set a limit to how far it could be banked over for fast deviations from straight-ahead, yet the Rudge was always under full control. Its brakes, too, were extremely powerful, although the patent inter-connecting system made the front one rather too weak. The two long exhaust pipes were adequately silenced and mechanical sound was that of a slight noise from the valve gear and a worse noise when the chains became slack, the lack of any positive method of moving the gearbox to adjust the primary chain being an irritating shortcoming. Speed appeared to be about 70 m.p.h. in standard tune, mit compression-plate, and was thought to be restricted by a high top gear, as the Rudge revelled in third-gear work, doing nearly 60 m.p.h. on that ratio. Average speed capabilities were nicely demonstrated by a 98-mile run embracing the winding roads of the Fen country on a day of grease and a strong headwind, when the average came out at 38 m.p.h., including sedate passage through at least ten towns and villages. The Senspray carburetter worked well, even if its throttle lever was extremely difficult to close from the all-out position! Starting was at the second prod, but called for considerable leg-muscle, as the exhaust-lifter was inclined to stick and even on full retard the engine tended to back-fire savagely.

The gear change was gateless, with the positions indicated by numbers on the tank, and changing up was facilitated by leaving the, throttle open. The two intermediate gears changed delightfully easily, but the two extreme ratios demanded a little more care. Comfort was good, the clutch light and the brake controls accessible. Finally, after a month's hard usage, never sparing it and never cleaning or adjusting anything, the two crashes also included, the only things found wanting were two small bolts lost from mudguard stay and silencer, a slack front chain and very slight excess clearance in the tappets. Fair enough?

Motor Sport Magazine (penned in 1949)

1928 Models

1928 Standard

1928 Special

1928 Sports

1928 Dirt Track


1929 Models

1929 250cc

1929 350cc

1929 Ulster Grand Prix

1929 Special

1929 Dirt Track


The Olympia Show, 1929

The Rudge-Whitworth programme for the forthcoming year includes several very striking innovations. For the past three years it has been the policy of this firm to concentrate on 500 c.c. machines only, although in 1925 a successful " 350 " was listed.

In response to repeated demands for re-introduction of this type and also for a lightweight machine, three entirely new models have been added to the range for the coming season. In addition, last year's Sports model has been dropped in favour of the new Ulster model which is an almost exact replica of the machine which won the 1928 Ulster Grand Prix-the fastest road race ever run-at an average speed of no less than 80 m.p.h.

In its production form, however, the Ulster model has several refinements which were not found on the racing machine ; thus the overhead rocker gear is entirely enclosed and lubricated by oil mist from the crankcase, and the front chain is enclosed in a cast aluminium case. The crankcase is deeply ribbed and is provided with ball and roller-bearings on the drive side and ball bearings on the timing side, whilst improvements to the cylinder head have resulted in a maximuni speed of a least 85 m.p.h.

Lubrication is by Rudge-Whitworth mechanical pump leading to the back of the cylinder with an auxiliary foot operated supply. The spring forks have been redesigned with a longer travel and incorporate shock absorbers and a built-in steering damper. The handlebars are adjustable, and the quickly detachable and interchangeable wheels have improved bearings which permit of easy adjustment.

Owing to its success during 1928 the 500 c.c. Special model has comparatively few alterations for 1929. The new front fork and adjustable handlebar, however, are also found on this model. Here again the new bearings are employed on the interchangeable wheels, whilst throughout the range the Rudge-Whitworth four-speed gear-box has been still further strengthened, to keep pace with the increased power from the engines.

Next on the list comes the new "350," the engine of which has been brought up to date with a radial port cylinder head and the inclusion of the latest four-valve practice which has proved so successful on the Special. Coupled brakes are, of course, employed, the drum diameter being 6i in., with a shoe width of 1 in., as compared with the huge 8 in. x 1 1 in. brakes on the Special and Ulster models, which have proportionally larger brakes than those of our own.

The 250 c.c. models are listed, these being fitted with side and overhead valve J.A.P. engines respectively. The specification is exceptional for such low priced machines, including, as it does, Rudge-Whitworth fourspeed gear-boxes, 6 1/2 in. coupled brakes and two and a half gallon petrol tanks. A simplified design of Rudge Whitworth spring fork is used, while the saddle, as on the larger machines, is a Lycett Aero. As in the past, the new Rudge-Whitworths are listed at highly attractive prices, ranging from ... for the "Dirt Track Special" to £39 10s. for the side-valve "250." The " Special" remains at £55, the " Ulster " and the " 350 " retail at ... respectively, whilst the overhead valve " 250 " costs ...

Motor Sport Magazine


1930 Models

1930 250cc

1930 350cc

1930 Ulster Grand Prix

1930 Special

1930 Dirt Track


1931 Models

1931 250cc

1931 350cc

1931 Ulster

1931 Special

1931 350cc TT Replica

1931 500cc TT Replica

1931 Dirt Track


1932 Models

1932 250cc

1932 350cc

1932 Ulster

1932 Special

1932 250cc TT Replica

1932 350/500cc TT Replica

1932 Dirt Track

Facebook Warning!

1933 Models

1933 250cc

1933 350cc

1933 Ulster

1933 Silver Vase Special

1933 250cc TT Replica

1933 350/500cc TT Replica

1933 Dirt Track


1934 Models

1934 250cc Sports

1934 250cc Standard

1934 Ulster

1934 Special


1935 Models

1935 Sports 245cc 4 valve

1935 250 Tourist

1935 Ulster

1935 Special

1935 Competition model


1936 Models

1936 Sports 245cc 4 valve

1936 250 Rapid

1936 Ulster

1936 Special

1936 Competition model

  • Rudge 1936 Models

    1937 Models

    1937 250 Rapid (the 4v Sports model was dropped for 1937)

    1937 Ulster

    1937 Special

    1937 Sports Special


    1938 Models

    1938 Sports

    1938 250 Rapid

    1938 Ulster

    1938 Special

    1938 Sports Special


    1939 Models

    1939 Sports 245cc 2 valve

    1939 Rapid 250 2 valve

    1939 WD 250 2 valve 245cc

    1939 Ulster

    1939 Special

    1939 Sports Special

    Rudge Range 1939

    1940 Models

    1940 Autocycle | 1940 gallery

    Rudge 250cc Models

    Rudge had entered the nineteen thirties with a pair of 250cc JAP powered models as the starting point, however the introduction of the four valve singles in 1931 marked the demise of the JAP powered machines. Unfortunately this decision came at a time of difficult trading, the companies response was the announcement of a new family of 250cc machines utilising the four-valve engine design during 1931. As with their other products, the new machine was built to a high standard placing it at the premium end of the quarter litre class. A TT replica joined the standard model in 1932 that ran for two years prior to the introduction of the Sport in 1934. For 1935 the touring version, soon to be renamed the Rapid, adopted a two valve head, leaving the Sport to continue with the four valve top end a feature it retained until 1938 when further rationalisation saw the adoption of the two valve engine across the 250 range.

    If you have a query about Rudge motorcycles please contact us