HISTORIC MOTORCYCLE BRANDS

In this website section we will list the motorcycle brands that are of most relevance to the Australian road transport history. This section will build in mid-2021. We’ll research thoroughly, but we’re more than happy to add factual information that our website visitors may have. Just drop us an email!

New Imperial

New Imperial

New Imperial was a British motorcycle manufacturer, founded originally in 1897 in Birmingham as a bicycle parts maker by Norman Downes. The company became New Imperial Motors Ltd in 1912, when serious motorcycle production commenced. 

read more
Paton

Paton

Not many motorcycle makers have been able to survive by making competition-only bikes, but Paton managed to do just that, until 2007. The brand was revived by exhaust-system specialist SC-Project in 2016 and international racing success immediately followed.

read more
Derbi

Derbi

Derbi has been a manufacturer of motorcycles, scooters and mopeds since 1944, but Derbi’s origins began back in 1922, with a little bicycle workshop in the village of Mollet, near Barcelona.

read more
Janus

Janus

Janus Motorcycles is an American manufacturer of retro-design, small-displacement motorcycles, located in Goshen, Indiana. The company was founded in 2011 by Richard Worsham and Devin Biek, and has been delivering motorcycles since 2013. 

read more
Aprilia

Aprilia

Aprilia was founded in 1956, by Cavaliere Alberto Beggio, to produce bicycles in a factory near Venice. Motorcycle production began in the 1960s.

read more
Waratah

Waratah

Waratah motorcycles were manufactured in Sydney, from around 1911 until the late 1940s, although Waratah-badged motorcycles were sold into the 1950s.

read more
Magni

Magni

Magni is an Italian company that began building specialist motorcycles in 1977. In addition to building the bikes that bear its name, is also a supplier of special parts for the restoration of MV Agusta classic motorcycles.

read more
Husqvarna

Husqvarna

The Husqvarna brand was founded more than 300 year ago, near the town of Huskvarna in Sweden, in 1689.  As a subsidiary of the Husqvarna armament firm, it began manufacturing motorcycles in 1903, making it the longest-lasting, continuously-produced motorcycle brand in history.

read more
Dot

Dot

The Dot Cycle and Motor Manufacturing Company was established by Harry Reed near Manchester, in 1903. By 1906 Dot had built its first motorcycle, using a Peugeot engine and scale production was interrupted by the Great Depression and finally ended in 1966.

read more
Bultaco

Bultaco

Bultaco was a Spanish manufacturer of two-stroke motorcycles from 1958 until 1983. In May 2014, the Bultaco brand was reintroduced on a range of electric bikes. 

read more
Egli

Egli

In the 1960s, Swiss engineer and bike racer, Fritz Egli, put a tuned Vincent Rapide engine into a tubular-backbone frame of his own design and won the 1968 Swiss hillclimb championship. Thus began the ongoing history of Egli bikes, with a range of different engines.

read more
Vespa

Vespa

Before Vespa there was Piaggio, founded in 1884 by Rinaldo Piaggio, a 20-year-old entrepreneur, to supply components for ships, locomotives and railway carriages. The Vespa scooter brand was born in 1946 and had its 75th birthday in 2021.

read more
Yamaha

Yamaha

Yamaha is a Japanese manufacturer of motorcycles, outboard motors and other motorized products. The company was established in 1955 by Genichi Kawakami and began production of its first motorcycle, the YA-1, two-stroke,125cc model, in 1955. 

read more
Vincent

Vincent

Vincent Motorcycles was a British manufacturer of motorcycles from 1928 to 1955. Philip Vincent bought out HRD and formed the brand Vincent HRD, powered by proprietary engines. From 1934, Vincent 500cc single cylinder and 1000cc V-twin engines propelled the world-famous Vincent models.

read more
Velocette

Velocette

Velocette motorcycles were made by a small, family-owned firm that sold almost as many hand-built motorcycles during its lifetime as the mass-produced machines of the giant BSA and Norton concerns. Renowned for innovation and the quality of its products, the company was prominent in international motorcycle racing from the mid-1920s until the 1950s.

read more
Triumph

Triumph

Triumph Engineering Co Ltd was originally a British manufacturing company, based originally in Coventry and then in Meriden. It was founded as a bicycle importer in 1886 by German immigrant, Siegfried Bettmann, who was joined in 1888 by another Nuremburg expat, Moritz Schulte. Motorcycle production began in 1902.

read more
Suzuki

Suzuki

In 1909, Michio Suzuki (1887–1982) founded what became the successful Suzuki Loom Works in Hamamatsu, Japan. He diversified into building small cars in 1937, but World War II ended that endeavour. After the War, Suzuki re-entered the automotive business and began producing motorcycles in 1952.

read more
Sunbeam

Sunbeam

The ‘Sunbeam’ name was registered by John Marston in 1888 for his bicycle manufacturing business. Sunbeam motor car manufacture began in 1901 and Sunbeam motorcycles were not made until 1912. There were three distinct generations of Sunbeam bikes.

read more
Scott

Scott

The Scott Motorcycle Company was a manufacturer of innovative motorcycles and light engines, founded by Alfred Angas Scott in 1908. Scott motorcycles were produced until 1978.

read more
Rudge

Rudge

Dating from 1894, Rudge Whitworth Cycles was a British bicycle, bicycle saddle, motorcycle and wheel manufacturer. Rudge motorcycles were produced from 1911 to 1946. The firm was known for its innovations in engine and transmission design, and its racing successes. 

read more

Stay informed and receive our updates

From Jim Gibson & Allan Whiting directly to your inbox

You have Successfully Subscribed!