Showing posts with label 1920s Motorcycles. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 1920s Motorcycles. Show all posts

Brough Superior SS100

Brough Superior SS100 vintage motorcycle

When it came to his best-known brand of motorcycle, George Brough did not beat about the bush. 'Superior' said it all - and very succinctly. And, to be fair, it was just that - as compared with many of its two-wheeled rivals. Saying that, Brough - and his small team of Nottingham-based engineers - were responsible only for the frame. The engine and cycle parts were outsourced. Initially, JAP - and later Matchless - provided the power. All the parts, though, still had to be coaxed to work as one. Brough and the boys clearly made a good job of it - since the SS100 was widely considered to be the best bike in the world at the time. The Superior range as a whole was produced from 1919 to 1940.

George Brough was among a group of riders, who, time and again, proved the Superior's worth. Both at circuits - and in land speed record attempts - the bike was a regular sight, in the '20s and '30s. As usual, racing 'improved the breed'. Tweaks at the track trickled down into mainstream SS100 production.

TE Lawrence - better known as 'Lawrence of Arabia' - was in love with Brough Superiors. He owned a succession of them ... all topped off with his trademark stainless steel tank. Sadly, he was to be fatally injured, whilst riding one of them. Of course, his best-known mode of transport was the cantankerous camel. But, for many, no 'ship of the desert' could ever match a Brough Superior SS100 steaming along at full chat!

Henderson KJ

Henderson KJ 1920s American classic motorcycle

As early as 1929, the Henderson KJ was hitting 100mph. It came courtesy of a 1,301cc in-line four engine - outputting 40bhp. What made the top speed stat yet more impressive was that the KJ weighed in at a portly 495lb. The KJ's plucky powerplant was an air-cooled eight-valve inlet-over-exhaust unit. Whatever its configuration - it clearly worked!

In its day, the KJ was a luxury motorcycle. It flaunted a long list of fancy features. For starters, electric lighting, a fully-enclosed chain and leading-link forks. State of the art stuff, in the Twenties. As was the illuminated speedo' on the gas tank. And the KJ's straight-line stability - thanks to its long wheelbase - would have given ample opportunity to consult said clock. Bill Henderson - the firm's founder - must have been proud.

Mercifully - by the time of the Great Depression - Henderson had moved on. Ace was his new venture. The company which bore his name fared badly in the crash. The KJ's finery did not come cheap. It had no chance of selling well amidst serious austerity. Henderson struggled on as best it could - but it was always a lost cause. In '31, Schwinn - the new owners - threw in the towel. With the demise of the KJ, America lost a beautiful motorcycle. Its pinstriping, in particular, was close to perfect. And the rest of the design followed suit. In short, the Henderson KJ was class on two wheels ... direct from the USA!