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Sheppee - Cykelaid de Luxe 1924

1924 Sheppee Cykelaid. British motorized bike manufactured from 1920 by The Sheppee Motor Co Ltd. This specimen is dated 1924 and it's got unique history. Below you can find detailed story, written by previous owner.



„When I bought this Sheppee, it had been in storage since the early 1980s. It had only one owner registered in the old and new logbooks prior to my ownership.It has now been recommissioned in our workshops and is running well.

Some of the pictures below were taken when I first bought it: you can see it was quite dusty. Other photos, taken more recently, show it thoroughly buffed and polished.

This Sheppee Motorized Gents Bicycle was first registered on 26th August 1924.

It’s remarkably well-preserved for an 85-year-old vehicle. This was the 141st Cykelaid to leave the works of Sheppee Motor Co Ltd, and was purchased by Mr. S.W. Webb, one of the partners in the Cheltenham car dealers Clifford & Webb. You can tell that the bicycle was sold as a complete unit because the frame has a similar number to the engine.

Mr. Webb actually bought two of them, a Lady’s and a Gents. His sister preferred this one, so he rode the Lady’s model. But she didn’t use it for long as she found it awkward to ride. The addition of an engine on the front wheel certainly does make a bicycle heavier.

I purchased it from Chris Tee, whose father worked for the company as a mechanic.

Mr. Tee Senior (Brian) and Mr Webb used it for riding between Clifford & Webb’s various workshops in Northleach, and it was then subsequently parked up. It remained in storage for 25 years – until Mr. Webb and Brian Tee met again at a company anniversary celebration in the early eighties, and Brian ended up restoring it for Mr. Webb. The handlebars were re-chromed, the cycle was repainted, and the engine restored. They could only find new tyres in Devon, so had to drive there to buy them. Unfortunately, Mr. Webb passed away before completion of the work, and Mrs. Webb gave the bike to Mr. Tee as a reward for his long and loyal service to the company.”

[img]Engine parameters. Though this advert quotes an engine capacity of 1¾ hp, the description below (and other descriptions available) show a maximum engine capacity of 133cc. The original logbook for this Sheppee records it as 1½ hp, and the catalogue further down the page mentions 1¼hp.

THE SHEPPEE MOTOR Co Ltd, Thomas St, York.

[img]The founder, Colonel H.F. Sheppee, had already been manufacturing steam-powered vehicles, making fourteen different models over a ten year period.

[img]The Cykelaid made its debut on Stand No 49 at the Cycle & Motorcycle Show, Olympia, in 1920.

The following is taken from Grace’s Guide:

1921 In production the complete power unit was carried on a special front fork, with the 104cc two-stroke engine on the left with its main-shaft run through the wheel spindle to a flywheel. Ignition was by chain-driven Runbaken magneto bolted upside-down to the crankcase base, and transmission was by chain up to a counter-shaft carrying a clutch and then back to the wheel by a second chain. The firm offered a package of wheel, engine unit and front fork or the choice of complete ladies’ or gents’ machines. The complete Cykelaid could be purchased for £50. The specification included an Eadie coaster hub, rear hand-operated brake, number plate, rear stand and Brooks saddle. The wheels were 28″×1.75″, shod with Dunlop Roadster tyres. Alternatively, the complete front fork assembly was available for £32, as a conversion of an existing bicycle.

The early versions were not fitted with a front brake and, as mentioned above, the complete machine was fitted with two independent rear brakes. Presumably, when buying the front fork unit to convert an existing bicycle, one was also expected to fit an additional rear brake to the machine. Although the engine was lubricated by the petroil mixture, an additional oil tank was fitted. An oil pump driven by the front wheel hub delivered a measured supply of oil to the engine’s main bearings. It would, therefore, be inadvisable to allow the engine to run for a long period with the clutch disengaged, since this would cut off the supply of oil to the crankshaft. None of the available options proved to be very popular with the buying public.

1922 Late that year modifications were made and the machine appeared as the New Cykelaid with simplified ignition and a pump system in place of petroil lubrication. Capacity was increased to 133cc and girder forks were added. The wheel size was reduced to 26″×2″. Protection for the rider was improved by fitting deep valences to the mudguard and by lengthening the exhaust pipe. A front brake was now fitted. The 133cc two-stroke engine fitted to the left of the front wheel, chain drive via a counter-shaft and a flywheel magneto on the right that was driven by the main-shaft running through the wheel spindle. Although the performance was quite adequate, it had become outdated.

1925 A dummy-rim rear brake was adopted.

1926 The last year of production.

Note: The engine unit increased the weight of a cycle by 35lb. It was claimed that it would propel a bicycle at speeds from 3mph to 20mph and that a 100 mile journey could be completed on a full tank of fuel.