Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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November 1902.
October 1903. Martin Rucker with a Bowden.
November 1903. 3hp.

Bowden of Gray's Inn Road, Holborn, London, a type of motorcycle built from 1902 to 1905 by E. M. Bowden's Patents Syndicate Co.

1902 The earliest model had a 2hp Simms engine with magneto tucked in behind the seat tube, on top of the chain-stays. With a clutch and shock-absorber incorporated in the drive, the rear wheel was driven by silent chain and the pedals were placed ahead of the crankcase.

1903 The engine, with coil ignition, was supported in a cradle and Bowden controls were fitted. Another version was fitted with a Belgian FN engine and some of the models were sold as the New Bowden. Also used his own engines. It was the name first used for the Bowden (1902 to 1905) using Simms and FN engines which were usually positioned behind the seat pillar with silent chain-drive including a clutch to the rear wheel. The use of the prefix to the name did not last long and the company went on to become better known for carburettors and control cables.

1904 The FN engine was still used and moved ahead of the pedals. Two tricycles were listed along with a quadricycle powered by a 4hp water-cooled Daw engine with magneto ignition.

1905 This was the last year of manufacture. After that the parent company concentrated for many years on producing control cables, levers and, eventually, carburettors.

  • Note: There was further mention of the name in the early 1920s when there was a short-lived involvement with a lightweight motorcycle, the JD by the Bowden Wire Co. It is thought that it was a method of promoting their existing product line as mentioned above.

See Also


Sources of Information

  • The British Motorcycle Directory - Over 1,100 Marques from 1888 - by Roy Bacon and Ken Hallworth. Pub: The Crowood Press 2004 ISBN 1 86126 674 X
  • [1] Ian Chadwick's motorcycle web site
  • The Encyclopedia of the Motorcycle by Peter Henshaw. Published 2007. ISBN 978 1 8401 3967 9