'Rudge Multigear' motor bicycle

1915 in Coventry
Rudge-Whitworth Limited

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'Rudge Multigear' motorcycle, designed and built by Rudge-Whitworth Ltd, a company formed by the merger of two bicycle manufactures in 1894.

This motorcycle resulted from the famous nineteenth century cycle firm of Rudge amalgamating with the Whitworth Cycle Co. to manufacture Rudge ‘Multi’. By 1911 they started to produce motorcycles and in 1912 the Rudge Multigear was released. It was the first machine of its capacity to cover over 60 miles in an hour on Brooklands track and in 1914 Cyril Pullin won the Isle of Man International Tourist Trophy race on a Rudge Multigear. These achievements ensured the ‘reliable Rudge’ was not overlooked by the War Office and several Rudge models including the Multigear were used by the British Army in the Great War. However, in 1923 with changes in the manufacturing of the gear box, the Multi’s production ended.

The motorcycle is known as a ‘multi’ because of the variable-speed gear which embodies features patented by the manufacturers in 1910. The design includes variable pulleys on the engine shaft and on the rear wheel, the one expanding as the other contracts, so that a gradual change of drive ratio from the engine to the rear wheel is obtained.


Road Transport
Object Number:
Rudge-Whitworth Ltd.

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