Sun motorcycles were virtually unique in that they remained under the control of the Parkes family from conception to the end of motorcycle manufacture. They were also unique in that the company both started and finished in the bicycle industry.
Founded in Victorian times, the brand has its origins in James Parkes & Son, a brass foundry making, amongst other things, incandescent lamps - hence the eventual Sun brand name. The company was run by the Parkes family and the Sun name first appeared in 1885. James Parkes died in 1896.
In 1907, Joseph Parkes, son of James, changed the name of the company to The Sun Cycle and Fittings Company, and the firm was also incorporated as a limited company. As established bicycle makers, it was the final form of the company name.
1911 The first of their motorcycles, the Sun Precision, was produced late that year. It had a 3½ hp Precision engine (built in nearby Moorsom St), Amac or B and B carburettor, Bosch magneto, Sturmey-Archer gearing and Druid forks.
1913 Two more versions were added, plus one with a 3½ hp JAP engine, but that one was soon dropped. Later that year came the first Sun-Villiers model, but that was soon replaced by a 269cc two-stroke Villiers. They then added V-twins with either Precision or JAP engines.
Sun Cycle and Fittings Co., Ltd., Aston Brook Street, Birmingham
1953 A competition model was added to the range.
1957 Attention shifted to production at each end of the scale. At the top end was the 249cc Villiers 2T twin engined Overlander. At the other end came the Geni scooter - this had 15-inch wheels and a 99cc engine.
1959 The company's first true scooter was produced. Called the Sunwasp, it had a 174cc Villiers engine. It was also the year that production stopped and the firm was taken over.
1960 Of the two scooters, the smaller went out of production that year.
1961 Production of the larger scooter stopped and that brought the marque to a close. Raleigh picked up the company, and continued the bicycle manufacturing side.
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