Cyclemaster "Petrol" Hub Motor Anyone ?

jerrysimon

Esteemed Pedelecer
Aug 27, 2009
3,277
108
Cambridge, UK
These units facinate me :eek:

My dad tells me about them every time he sees my bikes and how he rode his for hundreds of miles. If I had the time I would seriously consider getting it.

Ebay link here

I think this is a picture of the same one fitted.



I am sure flecc will chip in. A couple of questions.

1. Having number plates will this be legal, or will all the paper work and a new MOT be required ?

2. Was there only one gear/cog ?

Seems there is a website for them too.

Reading it there seems there was a real cult following for them including newsletters etc. this site being the modern day equivalent I guess :D

PS seems it came in front and rear engine options just like today!

Regards

Jerry
 
Last edited:

neptune

Esteemed Pedelecer
Jan 30, 2012
1,743
353
Boston lincs
Flecc is the expert on these things, [and many others ]. I am 99% certain that there was only one gear. Unless currently in use on the road, you may have paperwork hassles, but these can be overcome. You will need the expertise of the cult boys to help you, so join. It is worth more with the original reg number, if you can get permission to use it. If that number has been re-issued, you will be given an "age related" reg number. If you make it road worthy, you will get an MOT.
 

flecc

Member
Oct 25, 2006
44,692
21,110
That was the 25 cc version illustrated, the later 32 cc was grey, always single gear. Although you'll read the odd contradiction on here, the Cyclemaster was rather gutless (both versions), neat compactness the main thing in it's favour. Anyone turning to these after our e-bikes will be disappointed, like all tiny petrol motors ok for speed to about 20 mph or so but very poor low speed torque so nothing like as good as e-bikes on real hills. You'll also have the nuisance of thoroughly premixing petrol and oil in small quantities but accurate ratios.

They have to be registered and rear number plated, carry a tax disc costing probably the same as moped now, and will be subject to annual MOT immediately due to being over three years old. In the UK you'll have to wear a regulation motorcycle helmet too.

All in all, stick to an e-bike!
.
 
Last edited:

jerrysimon

Esteemed Pedelecer
Aug 27, 2009
3,277
108
Cambridge, UK
Thanks for the info Tony.

I was not really thinking of buying one just find them interesting given what my day told me about them. I think his was a larger motor i.e about 49cc as he said it would do 25mph +.

Regards

Jerry
 

mike killay

Esteemed Pedelecer
Feb 17, 2011
2,660
1,323
Flecc,
Are you absolutely sure about all the black ones being 25 cc?
I recall an awful lot of black ones about, but only a few grey ones.
I notice the bike in the photograph has rim brakes, it could be one of the very early ones I have read about that did not have the coaster brake, or more likely, because the coaster brakes were so feeble, the owner retained the rim brake despite the oil on the rim!
As far as I am aware, there never was a 49 cc version, and the similar type that fitted in the front wheel was not a cyclemaster.
 

mike killay

Esteemed Pedelecer
Feb 17, 2011
2,660
1,323
Ps.
That plug lead, although looking original will need a TV suppressor. I remember fitting them to mine and my friends cyclemasters
 

neptune

Esteemed Pedelecer
Jan 30, 2012
1,743
353
Boston lincs
Anyone who rode a powered two wheeler in the old days, will not need to be reminded what happened if you allowed your wet waterproofs to flap against the exposed plug terminal. A galvanising experience!
 

flecc

Member
Oct 25, 2006
44,692
21,110
Flecc,
Are you absolutely sure about all the black ones being 25 cc?
I recall an awful lot of black ones about, but only a few grey ones.
Yes I'm absolutely sure, I sold and fitted enough of them! It's quite true that most were 25 cc, the later 32 cc being introduced too late to make much impact and they lost some popularity due to higher powered alternatives.

The one often confused with the Cyclemaster was the later BSA Winged Wheel, a 49 cc rear wheel motor. Unlike the Cyclemaster that had the cylinder external below the l/h frame lower tube and the petrol tank on the carrier, so nowhere near all-in-one like the Cyclemaster.

All in all these cyclemotors were very successful only because their was little alternative. Most cars and motorcycles had been requisitioned for the forces in WW2, and public transport was in a sorry state post war after more than a decade without investment, few spares and war damage losses. No-one could buy a new car or motorbike without an essential use reason since everything we made had to go for export to pay off our huge war debts. So it had to be existing bikes, and these motors made cycling a bit easier. Over a million hit the roads from about 1949, but the sales soon fizzled out. For example, the 49 cc PowerPak was immensely popular after its introduction in I think 1951, quickly outselling most others, but they went broke in 1955 and most of the others disappeared by the end of that decade. The introduction and availability of the vastly superior scooters like the Vespa and Lambretta had replaced them, cars and motorbikes were beginning to become more available and public transport was improving. Only the French Velosolex which was a complete pedelec bike continued for a further decade due to it's home market support.
.
 

smudger1956

Esteemed Pedelecer
Jan 26, 2012
519
3
West London
Anyone who rode a powered two wheeler in the old days, will not need to be reminded what happened if you allowed your wet waterproofs to flap against the exposed plug terminal. A galvanising experience!
Ooooh..yes....more a 'sterilising' experience............:D
 

neptune

Esteemed Pedelecer
Jan 30, 2012
1,743
353
Boston lincs
By around 1960, most of these devices were relegated to the back of the shed or garage, as the age of austerity gave way to relative prosperity. Some of these were aquired by teenage boys, and ridden illegally in the fields and green lanes of South Lincolnshire. I remember standing outside the village pub one winter evening, and hearing a pair of two-stroke engines approaching out of the darkness. Two local lads came past on stripped down push bikes, their engines screaming. No number plates, no mudguards, and probably no brakes .

Next to come round the corner was the long suffering PC Plodd, on his Rudge sit-up-and-beg in hot persuit.All the locals cheered him on, but I don`t believe he ever caught up with them. Another local lad was expelled for turning up to school on one !
 

mike killay

Esteemed Pedelecer
Feb 17, 2011
2,660
1,323
Taking me back a bit now! Quite a few of my friends also had cyclemasters which in my area predominated as opposed to all the other types. In our ignorance, we thought that they were 32cc models, but at long last, Flecc has disabused that notion.
They handled all the main hills in Swansea with pedalling so they cannot have been too bad.
I recently did a test on my Tonaro. There is a country lane near my house which has a slight hill. Because I had been having trouble with it, I rode the cyclemaster up this hill repeatedly as a test without pedalling so I can clearly recall the episode.
The Tonaro took this hill in 4th gear (4 out of 8) without pedalling, but I am sure it is a bit slower than the old cyclmaster.
 

flecc

Member
Oct 25, 2006
44,692
21,110
Yes, where the Cyclemaster could cope, if necessary with enough rider help, they were definitely faster, but once speed dropped too much they were not as good. The Tonaro isn't the best e-bike comparison though, a hub motor bike would be a better one, ungeared motor drive and more powerful. It's on genuinely steep hills where the petrol motors were poor, just lack of torque at lower speeds.
.
 
Last edited:

flash

Pedelecer
Apr 1, 2009
144
40
64
CW12
Taking me back a bit now! Quite a few of my friends also had cyclemasters which in my area predominated as opposed to all the other types. In our ignorance, we thought that they were 32cc models, but at long last, Flecc has disabused that notion.
They handled all the main hills in Swansea with pedalling so they cannot have been too bad.
I recently did a test on my Tonaro. There is a country lane near my house which has a slight hill. Because I had been having trouble with it, I rode the cyclemaster up this hill repeatedly as a test without pedalling so I can clearly recall the episode.
The Tonaro took this hill in 4th gear (4 out of 8) without pedalling, but I am sure it is a bit slower than the old cyclmaster.
You were probably a lot younger and fitter then. I recently walked up to Stanage Edge, a place I did a lot of climbing in my teens, then it seemed a level walk to the rock face :) now it is quite steep :(
 

flecc

Member
Oct 25, 2006
44,692
21,110
You were probably a lot younger and fitter then. I recently walked up to Stanage Edge, a place I did a lot of climbing in my teens, then it seemed a level walk to the rock face :) now it is quite steep :(
How true, either that or the geology is changing over the years, gradients constantly getting steeper.