Although the Germans Hildebrand & Wolfmüller with their ‘motorrad’ actually produced the first commercially available motorcycle, it was the British who arguably turned it into a lifestyle with the likes of BSA, Excelsior, Norton, Triumph and Sunbeam, quickly followed by the USA with Indian and Harley-Davidson.
This 1924 Sunbeam is a real joy and a testament to some brave men and clever engineering that took place in the 1920s. The Model 7 was intended to be used as a sidecar bike – which were affectionately dubbed ‘tugs’. This is noticeable by the wider-than-normal handlebars and a leaf-spring front suspension. There is no rear suspension: the rider has to rely on the well-made sprung leather seat for comfort. The gearing is strange, with a very short low gear followed by a second gear that could pull a plough, before a massive gap to third, a common feature on older British bikes. However, the engine pulls strongly. The bike’s only weak point is the rather weak braking system. One feature which is pure Sunbeam and dates back to the 1890s is the use of the chain oil bath, first seen on the company’s bicycles.
Four-speed, chain drive
598 cm3 single, side-valve, air-cooled
Country of Origin
|598 cm3 single, side-valve, air-cooled
|Four-speed, chain drive