Author Topic: Spark, Bownian, Warrior, Torpedo... who made the frames?  (Read 2836 times)

Offline john.k

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Re: Spark, Bownian, Warrior, Torpedo... who made the frames?
« Reply #30 on: May 02, 2023, 05:00:45 AM »
From my experience ,these lightweights had very poor wheel bearings ,generally loose balls ,cup and cone .....the outer race was always the expanded and flanged out hub ,and the bearings quickly developed big lumps and bumps ,as the  case hardening went thru...........the thin frame tubes broke and forks had no replaceable bushings,just steel on steel....... a lot more of the Villiers motors survived than the bikes.......Australia was a tough place for bikes ,dirt roads ,dust,sand  ,long distances ,and zero maintenance .

Offline 33d6

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Re: Spark, Bownian, Warrior, Torpedo... who made the frames?
« Reply #31 on: May 02, 2023, 06:51:02 AM »
I've kept very quiet through all this as to me it is an entirely new area of Villiers Engineering Co that I knew nothing about. I just looked and learned.
Villiers were not just engine makers. They started off in the bicycle business and like any active company were always looking for areas to expand into, particularly as they had spare production capacity. Not everything was successful nor did everything made have a long production life. For example their combined clutch/engine pulley arrangemet was quickly rendered obsolete by small proprietary gearboxes. It came and went very quickly. As did their 125cc version of the early 147cc engines and the 350cc twin of 1927 or so. Few have heard of their 1930ish ohv 500cc vertical twin prototypes (think Turner Triumph but ten years earlier), killed by the Great Depression before it even got off the ground. By all accounts their MD was not happy to drop that to instead produce the first 98cc Midget. But they could survive making the Midget so Midget it was.
I think they were wise to drop the frame set idea. It's not good business to compete with your customers. Possibly Villiers realised this when they dipped their toes into frame making.
Anyway, it's been very interesting to read about it all even if they aren't very exciting bikes. Just remember they were better than the alternatives, walking or a push bike. Or public transport if there was any.


Offline cardan

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Re: Spark, Bownian, Warrior, Torpedo... who made the frames?
« Reply #32 on: May 02, 2023, 09:37:44 AM »
Ah yes, the clutch in the pulley... that was another of the suite of patents filed in 1921 and granted in 1922, so it was probably envisaged as part of the Villiers motor cycle. Many of the brands offered transmission options of direct drive, direct drive with the clutch in the pulley, then the various two- and three-speed gearboxes. As I noted above, the different transmission all fitted into the frame with no change at all to the brake or footrest arrangement. Very clever.

I had a look through the offerings at the Show at the end of 1924, so 1925 models [edit: not 1923-24 as I first typed]. Some of the the makes that used the Villiers set in 1922 and 1923 still used bits and pieces of it (the rear stand, for example) but there seemed to be no complete bikes. Perhaps the shipped the leftovers to King in Hobart and and Hay in Launceston. Tasmania is close to as far from the UK as you can get.

Leon
« Last Edit: May 03, 2023, 12:45:25 AM by cardan »

Offline cardan

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Re: Spark, Bownian, Warrior, Torpedo... who made the frames?
« Reply #33 on: May 03, 2023, 01:12:08 AM »
Off topic, but inspired by 33d6's mention of the Villiers four-stroke 500cc twin, is my entry for "weird Villiers things I didn't previously know about": the unit construction power plant built by Jardine that coupled a 172cc Villiers two-stoke flywheel-magneto engine with a Jardine three-speed gearbox in a compact unit. It was fitted to a Ray motorcycle (W.H. Raven &co. Ltd, Leicester) offered for 1925. It had a long hand gear change lever, just like the 8D/9D of later years.

This was not the first unit construction Villiers power plant (presumably the ioe four stroke of about 1912 was the first), but maybe it was the second? Or maybe it doesn't count because the name on the unit was Jardine?

Leon

Offline john.k

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Re: Spark, Bownian, Warrior, Torpedo... who made the frames?
« Reply #34 on: May 05, 2023, 10:59:41 AM »
The steering head ,tank and probably the front frame seem to be Villiers ,too.......possibly the rear frame with an adjustments of tube lengths.

Offline cardan

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Re: Spark, Bownian, Warrior, Torpedo... who made the frames?
« Reply #35 on: May 06, 2023, 02:05:01 AM »
It would be fun to see one close up and get some answers, but I wonder if the Jardine/Villiers "unit" power plant ever made it into proper production. The pic of the Ray is the only one I've ever seen, but Jardine also took out an advert in the Show edition of the Motor Cycle for the "Jardine" power plant (they didn't mention Villiers). Did any other make use it?

Leon

Offline R

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Re: Spark, Bownian, Warrior, Torpedo... who made the frames?
« Reply #36 on: May 06, 2023, 11:44:49 PM »
As an offshoot from this discussion, I looked (in vain) for a pic of this Villiers 500cc 4 stroke twin.
But found this - from the Adelaide Hills Restorers Club, and Ron Wiley.

"In 1930 a very interesting prototype motorcycle engine was produced, it was a 500cc four stroke twin cylinder
engine identical the Triumph Speed Twin produced six years later. The timing cover is identical to the Triumph but
had Villiers cast in it.".

Now Val Page of Triumph is credited with this design, mid 1930s..
But did Villiers have a hand in it ??
https://ogden_images.s3.amazonaws.com/www.motorcycleclassics.com/images/2013/04/11090011/Triumph-1.jpg

We diverge ....


Offline john.k

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Re: Spark, Bownian, Warrior, Torpedo... who made the frames?
« Reply #37 on: May 07, 2023, 01:43:35 AM »
The Page designed Triumph twin was different from the Speed Twin ,it had a single rear camshaft and exposed valves (typical of the time)..........Turners Speed Twin was supposedly a close copy of the top end of the Riley car engine ,with enclosed valves ,coupled to his own design of bottom end .

Offline R

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Re: Spark, Bownian, Warrior, Torpedo... who made the frames?
« Reply #38 on: May 07, 2023, 03:25:39 AM »
Yes I wondered which Triumph engine that quote was actually referring to.
Now we do need to find a pic of the Villiers twin. ?

Offline 33d6

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Re: Spark, Bownian, Warrior, Torpedo... who made the frames?
« Reply #39 on: May 07, 2023, 03:10:41 PM »
Somewhere I have a photocopy of a photocopy of it but itís not good. Iíll dig it out and see if I can anything with it. It came from Jack Sizer, the first and very keen VMCC Villiers marque specialist.

Offline john.k

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Re: Spark, Bownian, Warrior, Torpedo... who made the frames?
« Reply #40 on: May 08, 2023, 03:53:06 AM »
Enclosed exhaust valves wernt possible on air cooled OHV motorbike engines until the mid 1930s,when a new spring steel developed for airplane engines came on the market.

Offline 33d6

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Re: Spark, Bownian, Warrior, Torpedo... who made the frames?
« Reply #41 on: May 08, 2023, 09:39:21 AM »
Found it plus an explanatory letter by Jack Sizer. I've made a scan of both. You'll see why I think the Turner Triumph follows down the same path.
Cheers,

Offline R

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Re: Spark, Bownian, Warrior, Torpedo... who made the frames?
« Reply #42 on: May 08, 2023, 10:11:52 AM »
Thankyou thankyou

You'll see why I think the Turner Triumph follows down the same path.

Very much so.
You'd have to say that Mr Turner must have seen this,
if indeed Villiers didn't even have a hand in it.

We wonder who in Villiers did the 1930 version ?
They hired a lot of capable people over the years.

Offline R

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Re: Spark, Bownian, Warrior, Torpedo... who made the frames?
« Reply #43 on: May 08, 2023, 10:14:50 AM »
Jack Sizer has had a potted version of his Villiers history online at

http://www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~pattle/nacc/arc0596.htm

Only the earlier 4 stroke gets a mention though.

Offline cardan

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Re: Spark, Bownian, Warrior, Torpedo... who made the frames?
« Reply #44 on: May 08, 2023, 10:59:38 AM »
Oh. Are we sure that this particular engine dates from 1929-30. If so, it looks like it was plucked from a time machine. More likely 1950?

Leon