Talbot 1953-57 France
Parisian maker of two-stroke mopeds, autocycle style machines and small motorcycles. Many were superbly built with swinging arm rear suspension, undamped telescopic front fork, white wall tyres, generous stylish valanced mudguards, full width hubs and in some case partial engine enclosure.
Tandon 1948-55 (59) UK
Indian Devdutt Tandon established Tandon Motors Ltd at 29 Ludgate Hill, London to build light and medium-weight motorcycles. Within a couple of years the business relocated to a large site off the Watford Bypass (Colne Way), Hertfordshire. Devdutt announced his first model, the 45mph Villiers 9D 122cc engined Milemaster with part bolt up frame on 1 July 1948. Just over a year later Tandon unveiled its next model, the fully sprung Villiers 10D engined Supaglid at the 1949 London Show. Although its telescopic front fork was conventional the rear suspension, almost defies description, was difficult to assemble and as the rear mudguard moved with the suspension prevented riders carrying a pillion passenger.
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The larger 197cc Supaglid Supreme appeared in 1950 and the factory move to Watford was complete. A year later, the first trials model developed from the 125cc Supaglid was unveiled at the 1951 Colmore Cup trial. Named the Kangaroo, with lowered gearing courtesy of a larger rear sprocket and a 21in front wheel for added ground clearance, it was a satisfactory club machine at a modest cost, but it was rather looked down on by rivals on mounts from the larger factories. In truth its name didn’t help and plenty of kangaroo jokes abounded in trials paddocks. Later, a 197cc version called the Kangaroo Supreme with revised frame was offered.
During 1953 engineer Dicky Wright joined Tandon and started to revise the dated range, though old faithfuls like the Supaglid remained in production for some sectors of the export market. Wright’s new models began with the 122cc Villiers 10D engined Imp, an economy mount without rear suspension. Then Tandon unveiled the 197cc Imp Supreme with rear swinging arm suspension soon followed along the same lines but with beefier frame by the 224cc four-speed Villiers 1H engined Sprite, which almost immediately became known as the Monarch.
Working together, Dicky Wright and factory chief fitter John Babb developed a Villiers 197cc Scrambler which Babb campaigned locally in 1954. Then came a departure for Tandon with the unveiling of the twin cylinder two-stroke 242cc British Anzani powered Twin Supreme with leading link front fork, followed a season later by the 325cc version named the Viscount. Despite reasonable sales for a small factory and attempts with a Villiers 98cc engined Monet et Goyen designed and built scooter-cum-autocycle branded the Starlett, Tandon slipped into financial difficulties.
Through the courts, Customs and Excise had Tandon officially wound up in October 1955. The staff were jobless and the site sold. However, new Tandons remained on offer until at least 1957 and possibly until 1959 – whether this was clearance of new old stock or a few more Tandons were built after the factory closed is unclear.
With a good spares back up for post WWII Villiers engines – although you’ll struggle with British Anzani engined models – Tandons make another alternative for two-stroke fans. Period press implied some models didn’t handle well on the road and early models – especially the Milemaster and Supaglid – are considered by some to be crudely engineered.
Taurus (Tavrvs) 1933-66 Italy
Taurus began with 173cc two and four-stroke models. A year later came four-speed 346cc and 496cc sohc unit construction singles, then in the late Thirties 246-498cc ohv singles with full rear suspension. Alongside the development of roadsters, Taurus built a 499cc dohc single intended for road racing. Unfortunately they couldn’t afford further development but as built the single developed 34bhp with a top speed of almost 110mph.
Along with the rest of Italy’s manufacturers, Taurus struggled back into production after the war. First came a 248cc ohc single roadster, followed by a range of 49-248cc to and/or four-stroke singles, some of neat unit construction design. Finally, the sporting ohc 250 was dropped and the range took on an air of the products of a dated company.
With no sporting programme since WWII, by the Sixties Taurus attracted only a modest number of older customers who were mainly commuters but few youngsters who instead bought the attractive sporting lightweights from Ducati, Gilera, Aermacchi et al.
After 33 years they finally gave up the unequal struggle – few noticed, which was a shame, as they were well-engineered motorcycles.
Teagle 1953-57 UK
Roller drive clip-on cycle attachment designed to mount over the rear wheel built by WT Teagle (Machinery) Ltd, Blackwater, Truro, Cornwall. Their main business was the manufacture of horticultural-type machinery.
Although one of the cheapest attachments on the market in the mid-Fifties it was a well built durable 49cc single cylinder two-stroke unit which for many years after production had ended, engine spares were readily available from the maker. The same engine was used in lightweight horticultural equipment. A modest number survive and are keenly sought after.
Tecnomoto 1968-77 Italy
Offered a limited range of small motocross and enduro models usually powered by Italian Minarelli engines aimed at youngsters, then later built children’s motorcycles. When Tecnomoto closed in Italy a British concern bought the brand and rights but never went into production.
Temple 1924-28 UK
Since no survivors are known, or have come onto the open market, the Temple has no place in this book… but the author has an unhealthy leaning to the products of OEC who made the Temple, often known as the OEC Temple.
Claude Temple who traded as CF Temple and Co Ltd, 11 Edgeware Road, Marble Arch, London was variously a renowned Brooklands motorcycle racer, record breaker, entrant and sponsor. Although sold in small numbers, Temple motorcycles were aimed at fast road and sporting riders.
Models included the ohv 496 single and 992cc V-twin sporting roadsters and a quick 496cc ohc model with an OEC-built Atlanta engine.
Tempo 1949- Norway
Maker of lightweights with proprietary two-stroke engines including Ilo, Sachs and Villiers. Although built in moderate numbers for many years, at times the company only appeared to be building to demand. There are claimed survivors but none have come onto the Continental market place in recent years.
Terrot 1902 (1900)-61 France
Dijon maker that, at times, was France’s largest volume manufacturer of motorcycles. Charles Terrot established himself in business in 1887 and later, after a few teething problems, began building bicycles. Caught up with the fever of the 1890s and the vogue of internal combustion engined vehicles, Terrot began experimenting with powered tricycles and quadricycles. By 1900, Charles was offering an extensive range of bicycles, tricycles, motorised tricycles, quadricycles and voiturettes.
Using small four-stroke Swiss built Zedel engines, Terrot began offering lightweight pedal-start motorcycles. With the name motocyclette registered to another maker, Charles branded his motorcycles the ‘motorette’. Stylishly the engine sloped forward within the frame, its engine fins angled to run parallel with the road surface. Additional larger capacity engines, including a V-twin with one cylinder sloped forward and the other upright, later joined the range.
Production levels satisfactorily rose from a trickle in 1902 to relatively sizable volumes by 1910, by which time variable pulley gearing and even tuning aids were offered. But these were more focused at noise rather than engine preparation, as the catalogue included sporting exhaust systems. Alongside motorcycle development, cycle manufacture continued apace.
In 1912 Terrot began a successful involvement with the French military, which was to stretch over five decades. The first military model was an adaption of the standard pedal start single speed 317cc Zedel engined roadster. Finished in military livery with carrier and acetylene lights the 40-45mph lightweight served for DR work and liaison duties. At the same time Terrot began a second brief flirtation with cars – using a four-cylinder monobloc 1460cc engine, the 10hp model remained listed for just two years until the war clouds had gathered in 1914.
By the outbreak of WWI Terrot trimmed its civilian range to include a 23⁄4hp single and a 41⁄2hp twin. As the sturdy Zedel engined 2hp model had proved a reliable military mount – even in the hands of tough soldiers – the Dijon maker developed a pukka Swiss MAG engined military V-twin which the French forces ordered from 1914 for WWI duties. The 495cc ioe twin engined military model offered three-speed gearbox with a decent clutch and kick-starter.
Although privateers used Terrots in early reliability trails, the Dijon maker built its reputation by offering well-made, tough machines that gave reliable service year after year – just what many Frenchmen wanted. Promotional publicity focused around reliability, peppered with publicity stunts such as one-off hill climbing feats of notorious climbs and mountains. Its civilian and military reputation ensured Terrot well placed to become a national motorcycle manufacturing force in the Twenties.
With Switzerland remaining neutral duringWWI, MAG was able to maintain a steady supply of 495cc V-twin engines to Terrot for their military model. The tough yet sophisticated machine further enhanced the Dijon maker’s reputation. After WWI, Terrot initially continued where they left off in 1914 with a limited range of four-stroke motorcycles, albeit updated.
Soon the range was enlarged, although main production centred around 250 to 500cc four-stroke models, with Terrot adding JAP to its engine options alongside MAG and Zedal. Terrot began to take an interest in sporting competition, especially hill climbs and road races. In 1922, the firm moved into the basic two-stroke economy market with a 269cc belt drive model first displayed at the Paris Show. Despite offering a sporting version the model flopped and was replaced by a smaller 175cc two-stroke, which sold much better.
In the mid-Twenties Terrot introduced an OHV 350cc single, the type H, with an own-built engine. Interestingly the engine looked and was very similar to the comparable JAP unit previously used. The adaptable model was suitable for touring, sporting and racing riders alike and by 1928 was joined by a 500cc version, the type R. Becoming volume wise a large maker, Terrot took over rivals Magnat-Debon from Grenoble whose brand continued until 1958.
A 680cc side-valve JAP powered V-twin joined the range for 1930 which by 1931 included a selection of five 175/250cc single cylinder two-strokes plus an array of side-valve and ohv 350/500cc four-strokes and V-twins. In addition, many models were offered in a range of specification including standard, de-luxe, touring and some models could be ordered in various sporting and racing trims. Former French GP winner Padovani joined the Dijon maker to lead the development team – work which over the next few years helped the range expand to over 20 distinct models including autocycles, the establishment of a full works racing team (rather than support for favoured riders) and the development of unit construction designs.
Having already enjoyed racing success, Terrot’s works team added to the tally. Texier won his 175cc class in the 1933 24-hour Bol d’Or by over 125 miles and two years later Le Roy on a 250 covered a massive 997 miles on his 250cc Terrot at over 41mph, while Texier won the smaller class with team-mate Chocat second. Staggering achievements when it’s remembered that in these pre-WWII Bol d’Or events the entered rider raced for the full 24 hours without a break other than pit stops. However, Terrot fared less well in the IoM, with a 12th for Manuel Simo in the 1936 Lightweight their best result.
Against the background of their successful racing programme Terrot progressively expanded its range and developed even more engines, including a 750cc side-valve V-twin unit (VA) to replace JAP power. Autocycle engines, two and four-stroke lightweights, big singles and V-twins, Terrot made the lot. Supply to the military continued including the big VA, which became a favourite for outfit use. A range of singles and occasionally their V-twin went to some French police forces.
With sales booming, even in the mid-Thirties, Terrot developed four ohv racing singles for their works team in 175, 250, 350 and 500cc capacities, LCP, OCP, HCP and RCP respectively and riders such as Pache, Leger and Stigani joined the company for both racing and record breaking attempts. The team enjoyed many more successes up to WWII and sales of production models remained strong. Military supply for the French forces for WWII included the 498cc side-valve and ohv RDA and RGMA models for both solo and sidecar uses.
Terrot continued with pre-WWII models after the war as they returned to civilian production. Their mainstay was the 350cc type H range which can be traced directly back to their mid-Twenties reworking of the period JAP engine. With French law permitting the use of up to 125cc models without need for either driving licence or insurance, Terrot developed neat 98cc two-stroke and 125cc side-valve models for 1949. Other ‘new’ models included the 500cc RGST, in effect a rework of the pre-WWII type R but with telescopic front forks replacing the girders.
Terrot re-entered the racing and record breaking scene, usually focusing on the smaller classes and in 1951 joined the scooter market unveiling their VMS at the year’s Salon de Paris Show. The 98cc pontoon shaped scooter had foot-controlled two-speed transmission, right foot for first and left for second. Although Terrot continued building well made larger models including ohv 500s, lightweights were their bread and butter. In 1953 came the 125cc VMS2 two seater scooter, and mopeds were developed like the 48cc Lutin and 49cc Cyclomatic. Further lightweights including a 98cc Villiers engined model were introduced and the VMS3 or Scooterrot, which was imported into the UK by P&M. A sign of things to come as Magnat-Debon offered an almost identical range of scooters.
By the mid-Fifties Terrot was struggling and shareholders became unhappy. M Dossier was installed as company chairman in 1956 and immediately set about slashing the range and introducing new models which along with badge engineering was planned to save Terrot. Progressively, out went the 250-500cc models and scooters and in came more lightweights and mopeds. In April 1956 the 125cc EDL appeared followed later by the 175cc Tournoi and then the 175cc Rally, an 80mph development of Tournoi. Badge engineering included the 49cc Terrot Terromatic moped which was also sold as the Magnat-Debon Magnamatic.
Despite further development including face-cam ohc design, Terrot was delivered more body blows. Due to the large number of under 125cc motorcycle accidents, French law was modified whereby driving licences were needed for a greater range of machines and also insurance. For cash strapped buyers this was one step too far – Terrot sales plummeted.
Their ever lucrative military and police orders dried up too and Terrot was taken over by Peugeot. Later the Dijon factory closed and limited Terrot production including mopeds and the 175cc motorcycles was transferred to Peugeot’s St Etienne’s works. Towards the end of 1961 Terrot production ended and Peugeot, who’d already dropped their own motorcycle range, focused on the more lucrative moped market.
Alongside this slide Terrot had developed one final 175cc racer for record breaking and despite rumours over the next few years it never raced nor went record breaking despite its 90mph-plus potential, which it could maintain endlessly. For years Terrot represented a cut-price bargain to classic motorcycle fans, especially in British and American eyes but now they are more appreciated for what they are worth, well made often surprisingly quick machines.
Note: Czechoslovakian subsidiary established during mid-Thirties to make limited Terrot range and Spanish subsidiary Torrot established c1960.
Testi 1951-83 Italy
Bologna maker which took the Italian lightweight market by storm with an extensive range of mopeds, sports mopeds and up to 125cc motorcycles using variously German Sachs, and Italian Demm, Minerelli and Franco Morini engines. Dashing, often fast and well styled, Testi grabbed a sizable market share in the highly competitive Italian lightweight market. Testis were also exported to countries including into the UK by Mick Walker M/Cs and some models were sold by Horex and Gitane.
Models considered outstanding include the hot Champion P6 sports moped, Monocross motocross/enduro series, Trail King and Executive Cross. Alongside these there were conventional mopeds including the de-luxe Cricket, small wheeled Pull, Mini-Cricket and the Amico scooter. Rather than focused development Testi rapidly produced a succession of new models.
In hindsight some models bordered on the bizarre, including the 49.6cc eight-speed Militar equipped with gun holder, ski attachment and instant tyre re-inflation bottle with ‘get you home goo’ to seal the puncture. However, perhaps Testi had the last laugh as both the Italian and Finnish military bought a few and some went to the civilian market. Apparently the gun holder was ideal for fishing rods!
Along with rivals, Testi was hit by a collapse of sales in the early Eighties, which led to closure.
Thiem 1903-14 USA
Minnesota maker that developed a small range of models which later comprised ioe 500/550cc singles and 890/1000cc V-twins, often with two-speed gear. Yet another pre-WWI American brand from a time when the USA led the world with these types of motorcycle.
Thomann 1921(1912)-1954 France
Founded at Nanterre by the Thomann family, headed by Jean and Alphonse, to make lightweights including a 175cc two-stroke model. During the mid-Twenties became part of the Alcyon group building a range of 98-250cc models. Odd examples surface at modest prices, including at French autojumbles, making another inexpensive option for the Continental lightweight enthusiast.
Thomas 1904-05 UK
Initially assembled machines with Belgian Minerva kits and then used other proprietary engines. A few survivors known but none recently offered on the open market.
Thor 1903-15 USA
The Aurora Automatic Machinery Company of Aurora, Illinois began supplying engine castings and carburettor parts to the Hendee Manufacturing Co (Indian) in 1902. Aurora AMC made these for Indian who as cycle makers had no foundry for casting. The agreement permitted the Aurora Automatic Machinery Co to supply these castings or complete engines to other makers including Manson, Rambler, Reading-Standard and Warwick. Later, the concern couldn’t always supply castings on time, leading Indian to establish its own foundry at their new Springfield factory. The arrangement finally ended in 1907.
Branded Thor, the first machines looked every bit an Indian with the automatic inlet valve single cylinder engine in place of part of the saddle down tube. Drive was by chain in stages, the Indian style camel hump rear mudguard/tank carried both oil and fuel and the diamond frame had a rigid front fork. For 1909 the engine was mounted more conventionally upright in the frame. In the same season a V-twin was launched with one upright cylinder and one sloping forward by 45 degrees.
By 1911 the V-twin had gained mechanical pushrod operation for its overhead inlet valve and a year later the V-twin engine was tilted backwards in the frame, to a more conventional V-twin position. Also the magneto was relocated to the front of the front cylinder and in 1914 a 1245cc version was offered.
Thor manufacture ended in 1915. The Aurora Automatic Machinery Company continued with other business including their foundry work. During their production of proprietary engines and crankcase castings many were cast with the customer’s brand, some with Thor, others with their company brand and some it’s been claimed with nothing.