Dating rudge bicycles
This particular 1914 example used to be mine, but I sold it to a nice chap in the UK a few years ago.
It was a clutchless race bike, but he has since fitted it with a clutch to make it easier to ride on city streets.
This is a direct drive bike, but is fitted with the curved rear stand legs from a 3 speed model.
But the linkage also moves the rear wheel backwards to keep the belt tension contsant.
A fairly complicated way to have gearing,but it was very effective in the early 19teens before countershaft gearboxes were used.
Now the company is famous for razors, but they used to be famous for motorbikes and swords.
4 cylinders, parlor chair seating, elliptic leaf spring rear suspension, water cooling, shaft drive and a gearbox. And good for the owner to get it out and ride it instead of installing it on a restaurant wall.
Zenith won so many hillclimbs with the gearing that they were barred from some events.
Zenith’s marketing dept jumped on that, with a new logo in the trade magazines “Zenith Barred”At the same time that Zenith had their Gradua, Rudge had the Multi.A perennial list of veteran (pre15) motorcycles is kept by the club officials, which ensures that the bikes on the run are genuine ‘old’ bikes.However some reproduction frames and possibly repro motors have been spotted at recent runs.The long brass cylinder on the end of the crankshaft is the clutch, fitted with a million little metal discs. This was made just after the heyday of the Ariel three wheelers, around 1905. The tall tanks fell out of favor shortly after that, and seat heights came down around 1912. Let’s see, from the back, right hand: throttle, then timing on the front of the tank.Can you spot the stirrup rear brake mounted under the pedals? Right handlebar is front brake, left handlebar is the cable to the exhaust lifter. Left hand also is responsible for the oil pump at the front of the tank and the bulb horn.😉Riding the early bikes is a fun challenge, with the fun increased by riding on the wrong side of the road, in the cold with all the various fiddly bits of the bike needing attention.