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Douglas Dragonfly

Douglas Dragonfly 1950s British classic motorcycle

BMW are almost synonymous with the 'flat-twin' engine configuration. Other marques, though, have also used that venerable layout. Not least among them were Douglas. They were based in Bristol, England. Early models had the motor in-line with the frame - the two pistons 'punching' fore and aft. The 'Dragonfly', though, saw them transversely slung across the frame - à la BMW 'Boxer'. Either way, the Dragonfly made steady progress - at around 60mph! Outside of that optimal speed, however, performance was more 'limited'. In the end, that would lead to the Dragonfly's decline.

In design terms, the Dragonfly shone. Does the way in which the headlamp nacelle 'flows' back into the fuel tank, look a bit like a dragonfly? I would say so! Certainly, the Earles forks - and solid rear shocks - echo each other sweetly. Above them, the bike's logo is elegantly scripted. And that flat-twin motor is itself delightfully wrought.

In 1923, Douglas won a TT race. It was in the sidecar category - with Freddie Dixon doing the 'driving'. That historic outfit had its 'boxer' engine in-line with the frame. The year before, a Douglas race-bike was fitted with a delicate-looking little disc brake. Douglas, then, were innovating - both technically, and stylistically. And as for the 'Dragonfly' name ... it is certainly poetic!


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