James Motorcycles Information Website

James motorcycles: A brief history.

Homepage History page 1

James motorcycles
1902 - 1966

Harry James began making Ordinary bicycles (Penny Farthings) in around 1880.  The company was floated on the stock market in 1897 with Harry James as the first managing director.  He retired in 1898.

The first James motorcycles did not appear until 1902.  The Model A  was a motorised bicycle fitted with a Minerva engine, clipped forward of the front downtube,  which drove the rear wheel via a twisted leather belt.  The 1902 James Model B used a Derby motor fitted within the frame triangle driving the rear wheel via a friction roller.  For 1903 James they used Minerva engines and in 1904 changed to F.N engines and bolted them into what is claimed to be the first loop frame, which provided a sturdier mounting.  

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1902

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1904

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