Today in Motorcycle History

Wall Motorcycles, Tricars and Scooters

A. W. Wall built his first motorcycle in 1903 in Guildford in 1903 - see Wall 1903.

A. W. Wall Ltd began series production of motorcycles in 1911, with workshops in Tyseley.

As manufacturers of the Roc motorcycle, Wall experimented with a number of unorthodox designs and was financed by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, of Sherlock Holmes fame.

The Wall Tricar had a sidecar type body that was mounted onto a 3-wheeled chassis and used tiller steering though in 1914 this was replaced by a more conventional steering wheel. The Tricar was powered by either a 4½ hp or 6 hp Precision engine that was used in the company's motorcycles. Manufacture of the Tricar ceased in 1915.

The company also produced Liberty Engines

Wall Motorcycles were produced between 1903 and 1904 by A. W. Wall of Guildford, Surrey, to his own design.

The frame was extended and lowered with a bolted-in tube running below the top tube to support the tanks, which were grooved to fit to both. A 2¾ hp engine with magneto ignition was fitted and the drive pulley incorporated a clutch. Both seat and handlebars were set well back in the style of a pacing machine and, in 1904, the make became the Roc. He was also involved with the Auto Wheel and numerous other ideas and designs in the formative years of the industry.

Roc motorcycles were produced from 1904 to 1914.

1904 The Roc had a 3hp engine, free-engine clutch and magneto ignition.

1905 The engine was fitted with an outside flywheel on each side. Although it did not race, a vertical twin-cylinder engine was tried out at the Isle of Man Auto Cycle Cup event by T. H. Tessier.

1906 The machine was listed as having a 792cc engine with automatic inlet and mounted in a spring frame.

1908 The new model for that year was the 4hp Royal Military, with a long wheelbase, live rear-axle with clutch and two-speed gear, all in the rear hub. The hub was offered to other makes as a conversion and was well received.

1909 A new front-fork using C-springs appeared and engines were a 4hp single and a 5-6hp twin. The range was extended and the Wall Auto Wheel first appeared. Roc added a Tourist model with a 515cc four-cylinder engine and pressed-steel frame. A model was also listed with the 4hp single engine.

1910 The firm made its move to Aston Road, in Birmingham.

1911 Two models were advertised under the A. W. Wall name. The first was a single with a two-stroke engine, shaft drive, worm gear, two-speeds, pressed-steel frame, C-spring front suspension and a well-sprung bucket seat. The other was a tricycle with twin rear wheels and body-work that carried the rider and also enclosed all the mechanical parts. Its engine had a rotary inlet-valve, with single or twin four-strokes as options.

1912 The model was a 5hp tricycle fitted with a Roc two-speed gear.

1914 Precision engines of 2¾ hp and 4¼ hp were fitted, the larger of which drove a four-speed gearbox. They also listed a 6hp model fitted with a three-speed gearbox with chain drive.

A. W. Wall's attempts at the Auto Wheel, reported in Motor Cycling, was shown on stand number 88 at the Stanley Show.

The horizontal engine of 1.5" bore and 2" stroke was an air-cooled, two-stroke, flat twin; only one cylinder fired; the other, by way of a long truncated piston, pumped the charge into the working cylinder. The hub contained a flywheel and 6:1 reduction gears. The mudguard was the oil and petrol tank.

Auto Wheel numbers started at 3,000 for 1913. They claimed to have sold 1,750 units that year so this would mean that at the end of 1913 they should have reached 4,750.

For 1914 they started at 4,000 but, as they had already used 750 of this series, they must have started at 4,750. The claim for 1914 was that 10,000 units had been laid down: 5,000 by Auto Wheels and 5,000 by BSA. If this claim was carried out then 1914 Auto Wheel's engine numbers should have reached 9,750.

1913 early units had tubular engine mounts front and rear, induction direct over the inlet valve and no silencer box on the front engine mount; later 1913 models had a platform engine mount at the back and tubular at the front. 1914 models have platform mounts front and rear, induction into the side of the cylinder block and an exhaust box in the front engine mount.

1910 Stanley Show Report
A. W. Wall, Ltd. Birmingham.
Stand No. 90.
Amongst the various models shown on this stand will be the open frame motor-bicycle, the specification of which carries a chassis of pressed steel similar to that used in car construction, suspension chair seat, two-speed gear, spring forks, valveless silent engine, outside flywheel, shaft transmission through silent worm gear. It is claimed that this is the first rational or all weather machine designed essentially for comfort. The mudguards and footplates are formed integral with the frame, and afford adequate protection to the rider. The Roc. patent clutch and two-speed gear sets will also be shown.

The Wall company was also involved with the Reynolds Runabout

Sources: Graces Guide

See also Wall Tricar at

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