Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Pilot Cycle and Motor Co

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of 117 Soho Road and Farm Street, Birmingham.

See John Ridgway

1884 Production of bicycles began; the firm offered frames, forks and many other components to the trade

1895 Two listings: John Ridgway, 27 New Town Row, Bicycle Manufacturer; John Ridgway, 40 New Street, Aston, Cycle fittings manufacturer.[1]

1903 1904 Listed John Ridgway, 354 Farm Street, Cycle manufacturer.[2]

1904 Listed John Ridgway, 354 (back of) Farm Street under Cycle manufacturers.[3]

1904 First motorcycle was supplied ready to take the Minerva and Excelsior vertical pattern engine. By the end of the year they had a complete motorcycle listed for £32.

The company then dealt mainly in components.

1906 'John Ridgway, 117, Soho-road, Handsworth, was charged at the City Police Court yesterday with failing to ratify the change of ownership of a motor-cycle registered "0360". - Defendant's explanation was that, although he registered the cycle, he did not build it, but he had built three others and sold them.'[4]

1909 Mention of J. Ridgway, Pilot Cycle Co, 117 Soho Road, Birmingham.[5]

1910 Late that year they returned to making complete machines, with a range that had belt drive and sprung forks. Engines varied in size and make, and were a 4hp JAP or 4.25hp Fafnir single.

1911 JAP V-twins of 6hp or 8hp were used.

1912 Just the 8hp JAP was used, then in came Precision singles of 3.5hp and 4.25hp.

1912 Listed as Pilot Cycle Co, Cycle makers, 83 Soho Road, Handsworth; works 354 (back of) Farm street.[6]

1914 Advertisement for used 1912 model. 'PILOT Cycle-Car. 8-h.p.. 1912 model, Coventry Simplex engine, Bosch magneto, Stewart wheel, hood, screen, lamps; bargain, £55.'[7]

1913-1917 For a list of the models and prices of cars see the 1917 Red Book

1913 The JAP single was back again.

1914 Only Precision engines were used, and the four-strokes were joined by a model fitted with a 318cc two-stroke.

1915 The range was reduced to models fitted with Precision singles of 199cc and 597cc, plus a 499cc V-twin, all with sv, and the two-stroke. No further production of motorcycles

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. 1895 Kelly´s Directory of Birmingham
  2. Islington Gazette - Monday 21 June 1909
  3. Islington Gazette - Monday 21 June 1909
  4. Birmingham Daily Gazette - Saturday 01 December 1906
  5. Islington Gazette - Monday 21 June 1909
  6. 1912 Kelly's Directory of Birmingham
  7. Birmingham Daily Post - Tuesday 24 February 1914
  • 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