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THE SUNBEAM MOTORCYCLE. UK 1920s | by ronsaunders47
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Sunbeam Bicycles


Sunbeam bicycles (always "The Sunbeam") were made in Wolverhampton from 1887 to 1937. As the factory was used to sheet-metal working and japanning (the Victorian equivalent of today's oven-baked enamel) the construction of cycles presented few problems. At first of similar design to other makers' machines, the company adopted a version of Harrison Carter's Little oil-bath chaincase in the mid-1890s. The cycle was re-designed so that the oil contained in the oilbath lubricated the bottom bracket, chain and rear hub, the only cycle so designed to date. The top model was the "Golden", with alloy wheel-rims, epicyclic two- and three-speed gears and real gold-leaf pin-striping. The "Royal" was of the same quality but had red lining and simpler equipment. These and other models were made at "Sunbeamland", Pool Street, Wolverhampton until 1937 and subsequently, to the same designs, by AMC and BSA until 1957.


Many John Marston Sunbeam motorcycle models were produced.The first was a 350 cc in 1912 followed by a range of 500 cc singles and some v-twins. In 1924, a new model numbering system was introduced; Sunbeam Models 1 through 11. Other higher numbered models were produced in later years. The majority had single cylinder engines developing relatively low power, though winning the TT races often, the last time in 1929. A hallmark of all Marston Sunbeams was the superb quality and finish in black with gold-leaf pinstriping.

S model motorcycles

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Taken on October 17, 2010