A Brief History According to Garysguide
Rudge motorcycles were produced from 1911 to 1946. The firm was known for
its innovations in engine and transmission design, and its racing successes.
Their sales motto was "Rudge it, do not trudge it."
1911 Rudge announced a variable gear in which
both engine and rear-wheel pulley flanges were moved.
1912 The variable gear appeared on a model that
was to be known as the Rudge 'Multi', which remained on their list for
1913 Little altered but a new model with a 749cc
engine was produced. It was designed to take a sidecar and was available
with the clutch or the 'Multi' gear.
1914 Cyril Pullin, riding a Rudge, won the Senior
1915 Three models were listed, but the firm turned
to war work and the production of motorcycles ceased.
1924 Trade had dwindled so the Rudge engine was revised.
1925 The range was available in 346cc and 499cc models. The 499cc was
also available as a Sports version. They all had four speeds with coupled
front and rear brakes - both operated by the foot pedal. The 346cc was
soon found to be lacking in performance and was dropped.
1926 Only the 499cc model, in both versions, were produced.
1927 The two 499cc models were joined by a Special model.
1928 Rudge started using drum brakes. These were particularly necessary
for sidecar use and even more so if the new Rudge caravan was towed. Saddle
tanks also appeared that year; as did a new Speedway model for dirt-track
1929 Following success at the Ulster Grand Prix, the all-new Rudge
'Ulster' was launched. Also listed were the 'Special' and 'Dirt Track'
1930 Rudge started using dry-sump lubrication. The firm had its most
successful year at the TT, following the development of a four-valve cylinder
head with radially disposed valves and six rockers. They took the first
three places in the Junior and first and second in the Senior.
1931 The depression years meant that the firm were unable to profit
from their previous TT wins as their sports models were expensive, although
they managed a win in the TT Lightweight. They began to sell their engines,
usually given the name of Python, to other firms - in direct competition
1932-1934 The TT brought them seconds and thirds. Several models had
minor revisions and modifications.
1935 Rudge 'Ulster'. Exhibit at Nottingham Industrial Museum
1935 Financial difficulties had set in; at the end of the year they
went into liquidation and were eventually bought by EMI who continued their
|1937 Production was moved to the EMI plant at Hayes in Middlesex.
1939 Manufacturing ceased. This was because the factory space was needed
for radar equipment.
1940 An autocycle appeared and although it originated from the Hayes
plant, it was later made in Kent by Norman.
|1943 Raleigh bought the whole of the issued share capital of Rudge-Whitworth
Ltd , after which the name was used on a bicycle range for some time.
1981 A London show exhibited a sport roadster with the Rudge badge.
It combined modern techniques with an old and famous name, but nothing
further came of it.
Words from Gracysguide (edited by the dogdragon)