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Roe motorcycle

I’ve been advised to contact you as I’m trying to find information for a Roe motorcycle I purchased a little while ago. It was first registered to Robert Corteen in the Isle of Man. I haven’t been able to find any pictures or references relating to any other surviving Roe motorcycles and all sources I’ve tried to date haven’t been able to help.
Simon Butler, via email.

As you know Simon, none of the recognised motorcycle encyclopaedias list the Roe motorcycle, nor is one listed in any of the period Buyer’s Guides published in the later veteran to early vintage period.

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The subject Roe’s frame was made using either a frame lug kit of a complete frame kit, which is likely to have been supplied c1914-1922 by Sun Cycle and Fittings.

The tank is of a type fitted to Federal, Federation, Connaught, New Knight and other motorcycles, while the seat and mudguards are also proprietary parts.

Verdon-Roe, the renowned aircraft designer, was an advocate of enclosed, weather-protection-offering motorcycles.

All makers of these parts (and also magnetos, engines, gearboxes etc) would supply in even quite small volumes to tiny motorcycle makers. In effect, if you had the money to buy these parts, they were sold to you.

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And either directly from the makers or through factors you could also buy the parts individually to build a single motorcycle if you wished to follow this route.

The motorcycle weeklies often carried reports or readers’ letters detailing their latest ‘build’.

Read more and view more images in the September 2019 issue of TCM – on sale now!

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Francis-Barnett and… What?

Yesterday, a friend brought some Morgan photographs into the museum to show me, along with a couple of motorcycle pictures.

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One is obviously a ‘built like a bridge’ Francis-Barnett but the other I’m not too sure about. Is it a Harley-Davidson or an Indian? The two levers by the side of the petrol tank are confusing and don’t look right for either.

Chris Booth, The CM Booth Collection, Kent.

As some readers know, Chris Booth is a world-leading authority on Morgan three-wheeled cars.

He has restored Morgans for the best part of 50 years and regularly drives them in events, including the annual SMCC Pioneer Run and SMCC Graham Walker Memorial Run.

His personal collection of Morgan three-wheeled cars – ranging from veteran models and including a four-wheeled three wheeler (confusing I know, but that is what it is) – are on display along with other vehicles including a Humber Forecar, cycles, tricycles, a couple of motorcycles, models and automobilia at
The CM Booth Collection, 63-67 High Street, Rolvenden, Kent, TN17 4LP.
Open Monday-Saturday, 10am to 17.30.
Closed Sundays.

As you write, Chris, the attractive Francis-Barnett is a ‘built like a bridge’ model and in this case is a 1927 Two-Stroke Super Sports Model 9.

What this motorcycle and sidecar is, is something of a mystery. American? Mainland European? A special? Any ideas?

Powered by a Villiers 172cc (57.15x67mm) Super Sports engine mounted in the famous triangulated Francis-Barnett frame, constructed of straight, weldless tubes bolted together to give excellent strength, combined with light weight.

Due to this construction design, which F-B registered, vintage enthusiasts know them as the ‘built like a bridge’ models.

Read more and view more images in the September 2019 issue of TCM – on sale now!

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