European Motorcycles

South African Motorcycles


A South African, William Mayne Allison of Ladysmith, constructed one or more motorcycles under his own name. He appears in documents for 1913-1936 DJ Run competition results as having entered Allison motorcycles in events of 1925, 1926, 1927 and 1928. The machine entered for 1926 was powered by a Blackburne engine. Allison is recorded as a DNF for all events.


Motorcycles built by the Hildebrandt Brothers using JAP 292cc and possibly other engines in competed in the 1920, 1921 and 1922 DJ competitions ridden by A Hildebrandt (2nd 1921), C.H. Kelly (9th 1921), C Marshall (16th 1921) and E. C. Jacobie (DNF 1921).

The DJ Run was a gruelling event over the rough roads between Durban and Johannesburg.

Source: djrun.co.za

Rhodesian Hippo Hide Homebuilt

A Rhodesian reader's motorised bicycle described in the letter of J. W. Soper. The engine is held in the frame by pieces of hippopotamus hide.


Sir, - I was much interested in a photograph of "An Ingenious Motorised Bicycle," which appeared in The Motor Cycle dated June 3rd. My interest lay in the fact that for the past three years I have been riding a similar outfit made up by myself, the method of attaching the engine being very similar.

I am still using the original cycle frame, but with 20in. Autowheel rims. I find these wheels much stronger, and tyres are better also. I scrapped the pedals and brazed a piece on to the end of the bottom bracket axle, and fixed the sprocket wheels on both ends, and thus made an all-chain drive. The footboards are from locally cut cedar wood, and I have fitted the engine to the frame with a specially shaped and carefully fitted piece of hippopotamus hide, which is splendid stuff to stand any strain, as it does not split or tear. I use it for file handles (it goes up to 2in. in thickness).

I think this is the first instance in which hippopotamus hide has been used in the making of a motor cycle.

We have only one road here, viz., to Livingstone, but it a good one and eight miles long.

I can get 25 m.p.h., as my gear ratio is 7 to 1, much higher than that of your other correspondent, whose engine, I should think, would be inclined to overheat.

South Rhodesia.

The Motor Cycle October 28th, 1920. Page 499