2010-04-13 at 4:07 am #12210
Can anyone confirm the frame I have is that of an Excelsior Roadmaster? The frame number is WDS/4146 as best as I can make out. The engine is currently a 197 Villiers 6e, engine number 824-1832.
Thanks.[attachment=1]Excelsior frame & forks (10).jpg2010-04-14 at 2:45 am #13840
The WDS frame number prefix was used by Excelsior on their rear plunger sprung frames from 1951 to 1954 for both their 10D (125cc) and 6E (197cc) powered models. These had various model names depending on the year but were essentially the same bike. The 10D powered models were known as either the Universal or Condor depending on the year and the 6E powered models were known either as the Roadmaster or the R1 depending on the year.
My old Police records show the 1951 frame numbers to have both 5 and 6 numerals after the WDS, eg, WDS111145 or WDS 22226 whereas in 1952 they revert to 4 numerals and they start with the number 4 and by 1954 they are starting with a 9. On this basis I suspect you have a 1952 Excelsior R1.
Sorry I can’t be more accurate but Excelsior history of that time is a little scrappy.
Prewar Excelsiors were brilliant but people went off them in the 1940’s and 50’s when they essentially put out a very ordinary range of bikes that weren’t any better than any other lightweight. Nowadays that is all forgotten and people like yourself are bringing the old marque back to life. Best of luck with it.
Your engine started out life in a 1949 Francis Barnett. This is not surprising, many firms did an exchange engine service so you weren’t off the road for weeks while your engine was overhauled. As like the majority of Villiers engines all 6E’s were interchangeable it was irrelevant whether the exchange engine started out in another make of machine. Plus of course in later life secondhand Villiers engines cost so little it was cheaper to replace your worn out engine with another one from a wreckers than it was to rebuild the original.
The prefix for the original engine was 237A. I wouldn’t worry too much, none of this is in the standard reference work, Roy Bacon’s Villiers Singles and Twins so the usual motorcycling anorak won’t know whether you are right or wrong.2010-04-14 at 3:15 pm #13841
Thanks very much for the info it’s much appreciated. I still need to locate a few items such as a chain guard, rear sprocket etc but the thing I can’t quite figure at the moment is what is suppose to be in the rear hub for the speedo drive? I know externally there is a right angle drive fitted but thatâ€™s about all. Is there a good source of technical info anywhere on the Excelsior Roadmaster, Universal etc?2010-04-15 at 9:12 am #13842
Excelsior info is easy. Any of the usual sources have it. The VMCC Library, BMS, Elk Engineering and so on. Just Google them. Do not expect anything to the standards of a modern manual. Like most technical info of the period it will be pretty basic. Get an illustrated spare parts manual as well. Between the two of them it will be easy to work out what goes on. This is a very, very simple motorcycle as are all lightweights of the period. Villiers information is quite separate and of a better standard plus is even easier to find. They do a very good 10D/6E factory manual that gives everything you need.
Screwed to the rear hub inside the brake drum is a largish gear with fine teeth. This meshes with a smaller gear on the inside of the right angle speedo drive you speak of and drives the speedo. This largish gear is an utter pig to remove so it is rare for it to be missing once fitted to a new bike. If it is you can replace it with one from another wheel. This gear is a standard gear used on all British lightweights with 19″ tyres whether front or rear wheel drive speedo. The right angle drive can differ, the large driving gear does not so it doesn’t really matter what make of bike it comes off or whether it is a front or rear wheel drive speedo.
There are different types of right angle drives and they are scarce and expensive. Be careful to get the right one.
Have fun!2010-04-17 at 9:15 am #13843
Thanks again, I’ve got some publications on order so hopefully these will clear up a few mysteries. Frame is now powder coated and I’ve got a mate who is going to turn up some new fork seal holders for me, hopefully a bit sturdier than the originals. Think I’ll have to join a club to get a bit of inside help with some things though, mostly as to what is available locally and what I’ll need to fabricate.
:D2010-05-07 at 7:04 pm #13844twobytwo2Member
:D have you tried the excelsiors owners club. they have a web sight with contact details.2010-05-11 at 3:30 am #13845
You wouldn’t happen to know the web address? I’ve tried a Google search but haven’t located any British Excelsior owners clubs, although I’m in Brisbane Australia. I’m a bit new to the bike scene and am not sure what local clubs there are around here.
Cheers.2010-05-12 at 6:26 am #13846
To the best of my knowledge there are no Excelsior clubs in Australia although there is a British Two Stroke Club but its down south. Have a look in the back of ‘Just Bikes’. To discuss your concerns you can join the British Two Stroke chat group on Yahoo. It can be found through http://autos.groups.Yahoo.com/group/BritishTwoStroke We’ll look after you.
In reality the only difference from your Excelsior to any other make of Villiers powered bike lies in the basic cycle parts and what you learn from this bike is generally applicable to all British lightweights of the period.
You mentioned a mate turning up some new fork seal holders, you’re on the right track as new cycle parts are practically non-existent and most of the stuff you will have to have made. A mate with a lathe is a precious thing, keep him well stocked with slabs. Buying stuff from England gets expensive by the time you’ve paid bank charges, exchange rates and postage. Making it at home is far easier.
What you need is a local classic club, there are a few in the Brissie area and one of them is bound to have a resident Villiers nut.
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