c.1900/1901 Singer Gents Motor Bicycle
The Singer Cycle Co., Ltd. of Coventry introduced the Singer Motor Wheel in the Autumn of 1900 to a design by Messrs Perks and Birch. Truly pioneering in every respect and conceived from first principles in the infant British motor cycle industry, the Singer Motor Wheel featured a vertical engine, carburettor and ignition gear, all cleverly housed within the rear wheel. Singer proudly boasted that "it is well cooled, and dirt is beaten off by the fan-like action of the revolving wheel side arms." The carburettor was a combination of spray and surface systems with capacity for 50 miles of motor cycling. All parts were made within the Singer factory with the exception of the magneto. Singer boasted that their machine was the only motor cycle in which the speed is regulated and the engine controlled without releasing the handles and claimed, quite rightly, that the positive drive provided greater efficiency with no belts to slip or break. Although light pedal assistance was provided it was rarely needed, the 7:1 drive ratio coping adequately with the all but the most challenging hills. Designer Perks himself rode a Singer Motor Bicycle in hill climb events, his party trick being to carry conspicuously in one hand the light pedal assistance drive chain to demonstrate the lack of need for this device. Singer offered the Motor Bicycle in both 2 and 2 1/2hp forms for both gents and ladies and went on to build Motor Tricycles, a tri-Voiturette and a three-wheeled Governess Car, all similarly powered.
This machine has been in the Cobbing collection for many years and is offered as a very viable restoration project. It is sold strictly as viewed and notably missing are the seat/saddle, carburettor, one pedal and various control linkages. The oversize and non-standard rear chain sprocket suggests that this machine may once have been used in some form of competition. It comes with a set of old style tyres, (considered suitable for exhibition purposes), together with a pair of chrome cycle rims. At the time of cataloguing, despite careful inspection, neither engine nor frame number have been located. No registration documents come with this highly significant Coventry-built machine.