Australian Motorcycles

by Murray Barnard

The number of different motorcycle brands manufactured or assembled in Australia in the last 100 years is truly phenomenal. Few would have seen significant production numbers and many were only an assemblage of imported motorcycle parts. The sheer number of pioneers does illustrate an innovative approach to the industry that distance tends to motivate. New Zealand also illustrates this tendency and still does so even up to today, probably even more so than Australia.

Still this treatise is about Australian attempts at motorcycle innovation. The focus is on the last 30 years and particularly the last ten years, as the attempts by Australian enthusiasts to produce a local machine, to world standards, well illustrates the pioneering efforts that led to such an active motorcycle industry prior to 1930.

The list of Australian motorcycle manufacturers that accompanies this article is anything but exhaustive. Many Australian motorcycles were one-offs and their existence has disappeared into history.

The most comprehensive coverage of Australian motorcycles can be found in Rob Saward’s excellent book the "A-Z of Australian-Made Motorcycles" by Rob Saward, published by Turton and Armstrong.

Simon Fleming also has an excellent detailed listing of Australian motorcycles at:

http://www.ozemail.com.au/~scfhms/ausmc/ausmc.html

 

Some specific examples of Australian innovation post World War two include:

Tilbrook: Probably one of the most well known Australian motorcycle innovators.

Rex Tilbrook, from South Australia, manufactured motorcycles and sidecars in the Fifties. The motorcycles used imported Villiers engines. Rex’s machines were eye-catching and innovative. Rex designed a leading link front fork and cantilevered rear suspension system which was ahead of its time. Racing was also Rex’s forte and he extensively reworked his Villiers engines achieving a considerable power output from the otherwise utilitarian motors. Most interesting of all was his racing rotary valve 4 stroke design. Before things could develop further however a motorcycle slump ended his business.

Alron: Ron Lyon started his Alron motorcycle business in Perth in the early 70s. Supported by Rickman frame kit and Motobecane motorcycle sales his motorcycle manufacturing business was a brave move which was defeated by dealer indifference and the Japanese motorcycle boom. Alrons were powered by Ossa engines and came in enduro and motocrosser versions.

Flood: An attempt to build a cruiser for Australian conditions using a US engine and White-Power suspension. Faded into obscurity after a blaze of publicity in 1998.

RTV: Terry Prince had being producing his own TPV motorcycles for several years with reasonable success, his bikes had his own Egli based frame and used modified Vincent engines. Terry also ran a successful motorcycle parts and restoration business with a strong Vincent flavour. A partner ship was formed in 1996 to launch the RTV motorcycle, a bold attempt at a modernised Vincent twin. After much publicity and with only four bikes built the company was put into voluntary liquidation in December 1998. A Brisbane company plans to produce the RTV in future but there has been much silence lately.

Vee Two: Brook Henry, a Perth based motorcycle engineer has been active in producing frame kits and performance parts for Ducatis for over 15 years. His most successful motorcycle was the Alchemy which was an innovative design for bevel drive Ducati V-twins. The SV-1 version had raced successfully locally and overseas and the road version also proved a success in the early 90s. Since then Vee Two has had racing success with a Ducati GT750 based Classic Racer and a Ducati Super Mono Sound of Singles World Championship. Finding success from a partnership with the Japanese frame maker Over Racing, Vee Two current offering is the Over framed Ducati belt drive engined Squalo.


Alchemy


Squalo

Drysdale: Ian Drysdale is yet another innovative and keen motorcyclist. His Dryvtech 2 wheel drive machine was ingenious and he has maintained this pace with his Drysdale V-Eight which is a stunning machine. Currently Ian is considering entering a 990cc V-Eight machine in the 2002 Grand Prix series.

Hunwick-Hallam/Harrop: Impressive in appearance and specifications the Hunwick Harrop is yet to be released to the public. The V-twin machine in cruiser and superbike forms has received much publicity and achieved respectable performance figures. Originally released as the Hunwick Hallam in 1997, the most recent manifestation is as the Hunwick Harrop.

Monsta: Gary Butler is the builder of Monsta Trikes

YZR Engineering: Quietly successful, from 1998, in partnership with Yamaha, John Redding made a four stroke version of the Yamaha WR250, designed and constructed in Australia.

 

A B C D E
Abbotsford

Absolom

Acme (Vic)

Acme (Tas)

Acme (NSW)

Advance

Aero

A.J.T.

Alert

Alexa

Allison

Alpha

Alron

A.N.A.

A.O.B.

A.O.V.

A & P

Ariel (Footscray)

Ariel (Gawler)

Arion

Ascot

A.S.D.

Ashfield

Astley

Aussi Also

Austral (Tas)

Austral (Vic)

Austral (Caulfield)

Austral (NSW)

Australian Scout

Australis

Baden Powell

Bailey

BAL-JAP

Ballarat

Balmain

Barb

Barclay (SA)

Barclay (Vic)

Bartley & Perry

B&B

Beach

Beal

Beart

Beauchamp

Be-Gin

Behrens

Bell

Besanko

B.G.W.

Bird

Blue Spec

Bluebell

Bluebird

B.M.G.

Bolger

Boomerang

Brandwood (Tas)

Brandwood (SA)

Bronzewing (Tas)

Bronzewing (Vic)

Bullock

Burden

Burg

Burnley

B & W

Byron Special

Cameron

Campbell

Carbine (Vic)

Carbine (NSW)

Carrison

Castle

Cathro

Cattermole

C.C.M.C.

C.G.J.

Champion

Chaple

Charleston

Clair

Clearview

Clement-JAP

Clement

Clifton

Clinton

Clipper

Clyde

Clyst

Commonwealth

Cooee

Cottman Colt

Craig Beat-All

Cressy

Criterion

Crown

C.S.W.

Cyclone

Dalwood

Darge

Davidge

Davies-Franklin

Davis

Day

DeLuxe

Denton

Dethbridge

Devon (Ulverstone)

Devon (Moonee Ponds)

Don

Dowell

Dowling

Drysdale

Dunleigh

E.B.

Eden

Edworthy

Ekins

Elliott (Payneham)

Elliott (Paddington)

E.McM.

Empire (NSW)

Empire (SA)

Empire (NSW)

Ensign

Esk

Eureka

Euroa

EWB

 

F G H I J
Favourite

Federal

Firefly

Firth

Fitzgerald

Fleet

Flood

Flora

Flying Jolly

Forbes

Foulis

G&B

G.C.S.

Gem

Globe

Gordon

Gordon-Dojabout

Gradoir

Greyhound

Grimley

Growden

Guard

Gunner

Hall

Hallam

Harrison & Reynolds

Hartley

Havelock

Hawthorn

Healing

Hede

Hercules

Hinsley

Hockley

Hodgson

Hogan

Holly

Hooker

Hore

H.R.B.

Hunwick- Hallam

Hunwick-Harrop

Hurry Up

Ideal

Illawarra

Imperial

Imperial Star

Invincible

Invincible-JAP

Irene

Iris

Ixion

Jackson

J.A.P. (J.N.Taylor, SA)

J.A.P. (A.G.Healing, Vic)

J.A.P. (Firth Bros., Richmond)

J.A.P. (E.W.Brown, Vic)

J.A.P. (Carbine Cycle & Motor Company, Vic)

Jarman

Jelbart

J.E.T.

J.J.

J.M.C.

Junction

Juno

 

K L M N O
Kedge

Kelecom

Kellow

Kelsey

Kent

Kew Flyer

Kiora

K&M

K.L.M.

King

Knight Eaton

K.V.

La Bird

Lathey

Laver

Leech

Leitch

Lennox

Leo

Lewis (SA)

Lewis (Vic)

Liberty

Limb

Lob

Local

Lyall

LYC

Ma-Belle

Magnet

Maldon

Mallee

Malpas

Malvern Star

Maple

Marsey

Martin

Mascot

Massey

Mathews

Mayfield

Melba

Menere

Metro

Metrop

Midland

Mimosa

Minerva

Moller

Mona

Monarch (Richmond)

Monarch (Vic)

Monsta

Morita

Morton

Morwell

Mostyn

Mumford

Musgrave

National

Native

Nauman

Newton

Nick

Nilma

Noble

North Eastern

O&H

O’Grady

Okey

Opitz

Oriol

 

P Q R S T
Pappin

Pasco

P&C

Pearl

Peerless

Pelican

Perfect

Petrel

Pfundt & Higgs

Phoenix

Pirie

Pivot

Planet

P&R

Precision (Vic)

Precision (SA)

Pretoria

Pride

Prince

Progress

Quirks Radium

Rathmore

R&B

Ready

Record

Reeve

Reeves

Regnis

Relay

Release

Remington

REN

Renown

Rhodes Record

Rhodia

Richards

Riley

Robertson

Rogers Bros.

Rollert

Rolly

Roma

Roon

Rose (SA)

Rose (Vic)

Rosenthal

Roser

Rova

RTV

Ruby

Rush

S.A.F.U.

Samson

Scamander

Seven Star

Shamrock

Silo

Silver Star

Simmons

Simplex

Sirdar (Vic)

Sirdar (Westbury)

Southern Cross (NSW)

Southern Cross (NSW)

Sovereign

Speedwell

Spencer

Sphinx

Springbett

Standard

Stanhope

Star

Stevens

Stevenson

Stirling

Stolford

Stow

Strand

Streak

Sullivan

Sun

Sunlight

Surrey (Vic)

Surrey (NSW)

Sutherland

Sutton

Swallow

Swan

Swastika

Swingler

Tasma

Taylors Special

Teece

Terry

T.F.H.

Thistle

Tilbrook

Torpedo (Tas)

Torpedo (Vic)

Tourist

Traveller

Treblig

Trescowthick

Tricol

Turner

Tyler

 

U V W Y  
Uneeda

Union Jack

Utility

Vale

Vee Two

Veribest

Victa

Victor (Freeling)

Victor (Tas)

Victor (Surrey Hills)

Victor (Malvern)

Victor (SA)

Victorian

Victory

Wagener

W.A.K.

Wallace

Waratah

Ward

Watson (Unley)

Watson (NSW)

Waverley

Webb

Webster (Tamworth)

Webster

Wesson

West

Whalley

Whitbourn

White

Whiting

Williams

Willow

Wimmera

Windsor

Winton

Withington

Wizard

Woolston

Wyatt

Yelroma

YZR Engineering