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Rudge Company History

Rudge Models and innovations

1894 -The company was registered on 9 October, to amalgamate the Rudge Cycle Co and the Whitworth Cycle Co. Directors are Charles Wallis, Alfred F. Bird, George Gordon Brodie, J. S. Taylor, Charles Vernon Pugh and J. Frederic Wright.

1896 - Company Directory: Listed under cycles.

1897 - Producing 25,000 cycles a year at the Spon Street works.

1907 - Details of their detachable wire wheel announced.

1908 - Details of the new detachable wheel announced.

1910 - First Rudge motorcycle assembled on 27th July

1911 - First Rudge motorcycles on sale to the public, single speed, single cylinder (499cc), belt drive, optional NSU or Mabon geared machines before the Multi.

1912 - Multi gear introduced along with single speed Brooklands and TT models.

1913 - Larger 750cc Multi introduced.

1914 - Company listed as:- Cycle, motor cycle and motor wheel manufacturers. Specialties: light bicycles, motor bicycles and detachable wheels for automobiles.

1914 - Sturmey Archer 3 speed hub available.

1915 - A 'V' twin with Jardine 4 speed gearbox appeared before the Multwin, the 1000cc V twin 'Multi' was introduced.

1921 - 3 speed gearbox introduced.

1923 - 4 speed gearbox introduced on the 7/9hp V twin machine. Last Multi produced.

1924 - New 4 valve 350cc model introduced with 4 speed gearbox, followed by 500cc version.

1925 - Production 500cc as above and linked front and rear brakes.

1926 - 350cc model dropped.

1928 - First saddle tank machines fitted with internal expanding drum brakes. Dirt Track model introduced.

1929 - Ulster model added to the range after Graham Walker (Murray's father) Ulster G.P. win, along a JAP engined  250cc  and  parallel 4 valve 350cc.

1930 - Dry sump lubrication introduced on the Rudge engined road models. Last year of the JAP 250cc and parallel valve 350cc. Gearbox internals revised for 350/500cc models. The Ulster now came with an optional 90mph guarantee at £75 and a 100mph guarantee at £85.

1931 - TT Replica models introduced (350cc & 500cc). Fully radial Rudge engine 250cc introduced with coil ignition along side fully radial 350cc. Parallel valve 500cc road machines (Special & Ulster) now had the magneto mounted behind the cylinder. 

1932 - First and only year of the fully radial 500cc Ulster. 250cc TT Replica introduced. Road models (350/500cc) gained a true oil bath chaincase. Stand handle introduced on the 350/500cc models. Limited production 6 stud dirt track engine produced.

1933 - Receiver appointed to run the company as it was in financial difficulties.

1933 - Last year the dirt track machines were catalogued. Last year of the 250cc, 350cc and 500cc TT Replica machines and fully radial 350cc. 500cc Ulster reverted to forward magneto mounting position with a semi radial cast iron cylinder head.

1934 - The business of Rudge Whitworth Ltd of Coventry and Birmingham was acquired by a new group; a company was being formed to carry on the business under the same name. Rudge-Whitworth was the largest Coventry cycle concern at the time; it was taken over by the Gramophone Company. (E.M.I).

1934 - Ulster now rear magneto with the newly introduced aluminium bronze semi-radial cylinder head. 250cc fully radial 4 valve Sports introduced.

1935 - First 2 valve 250cc introduced - the Tourist. 500cc Competition model listed.

1936 - Good orders received at the Olympia Cycle Show; the Coventry factory was working at capacity; surplus work would be handled at the Hayes plant

1936 - Last year of the fully radial 4 valve 250cc (250cc Sports). 250cc 2 valve renamed Rapid. Round tubed forks introduced. Special engine capacity changed to 495cc from 498cc. Ulster cylinder head casting revised to cure weaknesses.

1936 - The old factory in Reddings lane was taken over by MEM Co.

1936 - E.M.I. takes over control of the company and plans move to Hayes, Middlesex.

1936 - 500cc engines redesigned with fully enclosed cylinder heads for the 1937 Models. Sports Special 500cc model introduced for 1937 Model range..

1937 - Bicycle production recommenced. 500cc Competition model dropped.

1938 - 250cc 2 valve Sports introduced. Ulster head revised with extra rocker cover bolt.

1939 - Rudge-Whitworth moved to Hayes (Middlesex).

1939 - 500cc Ulster fitted with RR50 aluminium cylinder head. Villiers engine Autocycle Deluxe and Standard models introduced.

1939 - Factory closes for Motorcycle production to make room for radar production.

1941 - Contract agreed to transfer Rudge Autocycle production to Norman Motorcycles in Kent.

1943 - Raleigh bought the whole of the issued share capital of Rudge-Whitworth Ltd, after which the name was used on a bicycle range.

1943 - Norman Motorcycles buy the rights to the Rudge Autocycle and it was rebadged as a Norman.

Members Forum

The Rudge Enthusiasts Club has an active Members Forum. It's a great place to ask for tips and advice for a project, arrange to meet up for a ride out or just socialising with fellow Rudge Enthusiasts!

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The Club runs an online new spares store for Members which is growing all the time in its range of Rudge Spares. All spares are manufactured to a high specification and can be delivered worldwide.


Inside the Members area you will get access to search original Rudge factory technical drawings which are available to download in PDF format - essential for your restoration project.

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