Built in England from 1911 to 1961, the bicycle company was started by the Parkes family and later merged with the Raleigh group. Production of motorcycles began with Villiers engined
346cc singles, and then after WWI utilised Vitesse rotary-valve twostrokes and Villiers engines, as well as larger JAP and Blackburne units. Motorcycle production lapsed between about 1936
and 1945, after which 98cc to 225cc Villiers-powered machines were produced, including the Sunwasp scooter with a 173cc engine which propelled it to 50 mph.
by Roger Yates
The brand has its origins in James Parkes & Son, a brass foundry making, amongst other things, incandescent lamps - hence the eventual "SUN" brand
name. When cycles became the rage, they diversified into cycle fittings and in 1907 they became a limited liability company as "The Sun Cycle and Fittings Company". By that time they were already producing the Sun Spider bicycle (a penny
farthing) and they continued to produce bicycles alongside the production of complete motorcycles, which started in 1911/12 using Precision engines. Sun were also prolific manufacturers of parts for other UK and overseas motorcycle
companies, the latter of which would re-brand Sun products with a local name. Examples of this are: -
SOLAR in New Zealand
BURGERS-VITESSE in Holland
E.W.B. and Waratah in Australia
KOBENHAVN in Denmark
1913 saw the introduction of the first Villiers powered 2 stroke model, a relationship that continued through to the demise in 1959, but 4 stroke JAP and (briefly) Blackburne engines were also used by Sun well into the 1930s.
If that were the whole story Sun would be just another brand of motorcycle that somehow managed to survive throughout the "Golden Age" in spite of the recession, but alongside the proprietary engine range they developed the VTS engine following the acquisition of the Valveless Two-stroke Company. These were advanced single cylinder 2 stroke engines of 269cc with an excellent performance.
First introduced in 1916 alongside the Villiers and JAP models, initially these VTS engine machines were largely exported to such places as Portugal and Australia until war work ended production at the end of the following year.
Production of the engine recommenced in 1920 with a changed layout and a model name change from Sun VTS to Sun Vitesse. The previously vertical engine was inclined forwards, and although the regulation flat tank frame initially remained the same, that too soon changed with a more sporting triangulated shape taking over. This redesign coincided with the introduction of the an even more advanced 247cc Rotary Valve sports version of the Vitesse of which two competed in the 1921 Tourist Trophy on the Isle of Man, doing very well with a 9th and 10th place in the Junior (350cc) event. This encouraged an entry in the new 250cc "Lightweight" class in 1922 but the over-lightening of engine components gave rise to excessive vibration, which caused the fuel lines to fracture. Nevertheless Gus Khun and L J Lord finished in 12th and 13th places after wrapping handkerchiefs around the fuel pipes to staunch the leaking. This lack of success ended Sun’s involvement in racing but the models continued and a rotary valve Vitesse lapped Brooklands at over 70 mph in the hands of Kaye Don.
The brand name was eventually acquired by Raleigh industries, who used the Sun name for their "Sun Wasp" scooter during 1960/61, but that was just a post-script to nearly 50 years of successful motorcycle production. Although this was largely centred on utility 2 strokes, it must be acknowledged that the Sun Cycle and Fittings Company always produced machines with their own distinctive styling.
Sun Villiers 247cc 1924
A tidy 1924 Sun Villiers 247cc in working order
Sun VTS 1916
A 1916 Sun VTS "awaiting a piston" prior to restoration
If you have questions about SUN Motorcycles, or if you have information to share, please contact Roger - rogersrecords at hotmail dot com
Another Sun model not previously mentioned:
1955 Sun Hornet Military Model, 98cc
More history of Sun Motorcycles:
Sun Feb 19 2017
david.onslow at btconnect.com
1931 98cc Sun Tourer
I wish to sell the SUN, it is unrestored , the 98cc Villiers engine runs and the Albion gear box works. Please see attached photo of the bike, as I said in my previous email it is unrestored, the handle bars do not look original apart from that I think it is all as built.
I bought the bike on 06/10/90 27 years ago it has 4 previous owners all local to me in the old buff log book which will come with the bike , I have the current V5C registration certificate ,
I had a MOT on the bike in Dec 2015 to allow me to put the original reg. number on retention, the bike now has aged related number YXG 278. I will sell the bike with or without its original reg. number OD228. I have attached a copy of the MOT cert.
The bike starts OK smokes a bit, has good brakes. That's about all I can think of.
Fri Aug 12 2016
georgemadden at me.com
Sun Wasp Scooter
Looking for a fuel tank for sun wasp scooter also a wiring diagram
Sun Jul 05 2015
hi, just wondering if you could give me any info' on this bike? i believe it to be a sun from approx 1951? unfortunately i have no paperwork etc for the machine and no idea of the original registration number. i do have what i think is the chassis number PNC 167 and engine number 716 16003. how do i go about obtaining an age related number? many thanks in advance. steve
Posted in the forums
Fri Sep 20 2013
1930s SUN MOTORBIKE
SUN DONT NO
hi everyone, i may have a early 30s sun powered by a villiers 3C engine and would love to talk to anyone that has any info on sun motorbikes.
Wed Dec 19 2012
sun 1951 to 61
98 cc autocycle
the picture is of me on a sun in 1965
Thu Aug 02 2012
wirig diagram for sun wasp
sun wasp scooter
has anyone got a sun wasp wiring diagram
Sun Sep 09 2012
villiers junior 1949
Where can one find a carburator and a good copy of the SUN logo
Tue Jan 31 2012
Am looking for saddle for Sunwasp, either the whole thing or one that can be reupholsted
Scunthorpe, N. Lincs
Fri Dec 23 2011
for sale - sun genie scooter, no metalwork but good frame, petrol tank, wheels and villiers 4F engine. To good home £30
Wed Feb 02 2011
sun 197 trials bike
are there any photographs of a sun 197cc trials bike i would be able to look at,kind regards ROD
Mon Nov 08 2010
george.popplewell<at>virginmedia dot com
saddle required for Sun Wasp, not neccessary to be padded as long as the body can be re-upholsted
More information under Vintage Motorcycle Seats & Saddles
Fri Jul 16 2010
tony.jenkins<at>terex dot com
Information on a Sun Wasp
Can anybody please help. I am try ing to trace a motorcycle my father owned in the 60s. All I know was ikt was known as a Wasp, 200cc, a roadbike and was painted green. I wish to try and verify its details in order to possibly purchase one to restore if necessary and use. Many thanks.
Mon May 03 2010
arranarran2000<at>yahoo dot com
eng nr 739A17754
frame nr 5148A or possibly S148A
Mon Mar 15 2010
Photograph of Sun 197cc
Hi i am looking for images of a Sun 197 for my father he had got on of these bikes in the 1950's
Fri Mar 05 2010
sun villiers 125cc - not sure on model
i have to identify my bike with owners club to get it registered. have not registered it since 1973! are you the right organisation to ask. i have to fill in a V765 form to send to dvla. I can supply engine nbr/frame nbr on request- its in bits in my dads shed at moment.
Wed Jan 27 2010
wizard-of-ash at hotmail.co.uk
I have obtained a Sun Waratah 1937 in pieces. Do you have any info on such a bike? Thanks Mark
That sounds like an Australian-assembled Waratah, built using a Sun frame and other components as I understand it. However, it's possible the bike was built and branded in the UK. Ed.
Sat Dec 12 2009
george.popplewell at virginmedia dot com
Information on Restoration (Sun Wasp)
SunWasp 175cc Scooter
Hi I've got a SunWasp in pieces at the moment I probably got things missing, I would welcome any info' on the cluster of dials on the handlebars and if replacement ones are available, or a wiring diagram would be appreciated,I will post an image when I've had the respray finished.
Tue Jul 21 2009
pietere at iafrica dot com
Spares /parts needed
Sun Hornet 49cc 1955
I am urgently looking for a headlamp , cahinguard and any relative info on this bike
Fri Jan 30 2009
scottchiles at live.co.uk
hi i have one of the above woundered what there worth
See the page on Vintage Motorcycle Prices
Thu Jan 01 2009
d.e.wood at blueyonder.co.uk
Sun Motorcycles 1954' ish 98cc mark F4 villiers engine
Anyone out there have any spare parts for this machine ie petrol tank, toolbox etc.
Tue Nov 25 2008
Bobmcgrath21 at hotmail dot com
In answer to a question posted under Villiers
Hi again, Sue A,
The Sun Cycle & Fittings Co of your home town Birmingham, were a major supplier of frame components to the motorcycle trade including Australia from 1911. They supplied the trade for many years finally fading away in the late 1950's. Amongst others they supplied Waratah which is why the Waratah looks familiar. Sun transfers are available from the English VMCC.
Mon Aug 11 2008
cockeycockney at tiscali.co.uk
I have just acquired a sunwasp and need some parts. If anyone has any technical info regarding wiring, parts, specs etc.. Id be grateful.
Fri Aug 01 2008
astonsoo2 at blueyonder.co.uk
sun villiers 1923
desperate need of new/secondhand replacement vintage leather saddle.
ps....not at £300 though
Numerous seat manufacturers at Bikelinks here:
Wed Jul 30 2008
charles.little at hunt.co.nz
Sun Overlander ?
Hi , I had a Sun with the Villiers 2T in the mid 60's ( Edinburgh).I was great bike but my ignorance of the correct 2 stroke mixture meant I always needed a plug spanner to keep the plugs clean . The leading link front forks were a bit soft for road riding and the brakes were average but I guess par for the time.I could not quite get the "ton" out of it . 95MPH was the max before a plug would foul.It certainly beat my mates Triumph Tiger Cub!
Attached is the only photo I have so you have to put up with the schoolboy perched on it.
I hope this is of interest.
Mon Jun 02 2008
mitchcons at xtra.co.nz
Hi there, I have recently purchased a 1950s Sun Motorbike, and I am trying to identify what model it is. Any info/photos would be greatly appreciated, Thanks Gordon
Fri Feb 08 2008
rvms at xtra.co.nz
Sun Precision 1913
Hi,have recently picked up this bike and am missing part of the fuel tank.Was told it is a 1913 Sun Precision.I have 2 engines with it..500-600cc and a smaller 300cc.Both are side valve engines.Check out the photo please and see if this is a Sun.Thanks for any assistance given and l am after any related parts..ie seat and rear guard etc.
Sat Nov 03 2007
tiger955i at googlemail dot com
Sun motorcycle salvaged
Pulled this Sun motorcycle out of my late fathers shed. Thought it may be useful to somebody as spares or a pretty ambitious restoration (some parts appear absent). Also have the maintenance handbook and parts list. Contact me if interested .
Newcastle upon Tyne
Tue Sep 04 2007
telgriffith at aol dot com
1958 sun overlander 250 twin (blue)
sun 250 twin
i have a 1958 sun overlander complete with all tinware etc. and in good condition i have been told it is rare is this so and whats it worth.
See the page on Vintage Motorcycle Prices
Sun Jul 15 2007
philtaylor207 at hotmail.co.uk
hello i have sun wasp for sale the one from allan cooper too many projects ring phil on 01226 203569 thanks
Tue Jul 10 2007
derek.tyrrell at jci dot com
Hi, I have what I think is a 1949 SUN, it has a villiers 1F 98cc engine.
I was wondering ,does any one have info on these bikes and pictures so that i can get started on the restoration,ie origional colours.Also,where is the frame number?Ican get the engine number but cant seem see a frame number.Any help on this would be greatly appreciated?
I managed to get the Engine Number & the frame number.
Engine No. 716A-8155
Frame No. OMC-41
Sat Jun 16 2007
jpmarujo61 at hotmail dot com
identificacion moto sun
quiero saber que modelo es mi moto motor jap numero a/c96719/u se agradece informacion javier uruguay
Tue Feb 27 2007
merry at pipeline.com.au
What Model & Year
Have just purchased this Sun Autocycle/Moped & would like to find the the model name & year of manufacture. It has a Villiers Junior Engine No. 586/4633 & a frame No. NA145. I am hoping with a lot of TLC it will be bought back to original condition so any information or literature would be a great help.
Wed Jan 10 2007
jamesgriffin at chels53.fsnet.co.uk
possible Viliers f4 / f6 engine?
amateur restorer needs help to identify:frame No:WMC384H; Engine No:739A18795: Reg Plate: MZ 9003.Plus are there any applicable spares / engine sales out there? Ta in anticipation!
Many thanks for your prompt and much appreciated response. Please find attached a photo as requested. From a classic novuce stance I think the bike may be a Sun, but I cannot be sure from friends / our local DVLA records, and of course Villiers made engines for many manufacturers! Hope this helps, and thanks in anticipation.
Regards, Jim Griffin.
Sun Jan 14 2007
bobmcgrath21 at hotmail dot com
Jim Griffins Mystery Villiers
Jim is quite right. His bike is a 1956 Sun powered with a 98cc 4F Villiers engine. Both frame and engine numbers are correct for that year.
Cheers guys......its nice to right for once!.......which sickens the wife big time!...now on to the next hurdle....If you guys are familiar with registering such a machine for the roads (I am told by DVLA I need to join a recognised Vehicle Owners Club to verify the authenticity of bike
identification.....but the list of such clubs thtey sent me does not have a Sun club) I would be very grateful if you could tell me where to go next and / or if the detailed info which got you to your I.D. on the bike would suffice. Sorry to be a pain.....I can send an A4 SAE if that helps to forward info.
Thanks again in anticipation.
Regards, Jim Griffin.
Mon Jan 08 2007
Alencooper at hotmail dot com
Sun Wasp 175cc Villiers 1964?
I own a Sun Wasp Scooter in Cream and red and am looking to sell it to a great home. It has a 175 Villiers engine with 12volt system and an electric start.
Unfortunately I do not have any photographs currently as I am in California and the bike is in the UK at my fathers house. I will email my Dad and ask him to take some photographs of it, and email them to you, if you would like. The bike is in very good condition although it has not been run for probably 10 years. I know that it has around 3500 miles from new and I know the history. My grandmother was going to be a distributor for these bike and so this was her demo model. I was around 14 years old when I got it and stripped, painted and rebuilt it. My father owned a garage business at the time and so it was my project! That was back in 1978 and I have owned it ever since. I know that I have the original 'fold out' log book in the UK.
If you would like any additional information please contact me. I have no idea what it is worth so some guidance on this would be welcome also.
regards, Alen Cooper
Sat Dec 23 2006
alanmusgrave at hotmail.co.uk
scooter sun wasp
hi, alan here I am restoring a sun wasp scooter and need a wireing diagram and one medium front floor runner, help
Tue Dec 12 2006
woodhouse42 at btinternet dot com
Sun Precision TT model
I have a fully restored Sun Precision TT model
is it of interest to you
Jack Sizer said it was the best he had ever seen
Tue Nov 28 2006
rafbea at bigpond dot com
In 1962 I had a Sun Genie 98cc, rego WYR17. Any chance you could email me a jpg of a similar bike? I never got a photograph of it. (Mine was red).
Tue Aug 01 2006
petomick at hotmail dot com
Sun Overlander Villiers 2t engine
Hello,I owned a bike as above around 1962 and regret having sold it to a mate who wrote it off in an accident.I would love a picture of one of these.It was attaches to a sidecar when I first saw it but I only bought the bike,what a wonderful click click from those long silencers, like a turbo I used to think! If you can,t help me thanks for trying.
Sun Jul 23 2006
jquatro at iprimus.com.au
hi my name is john ,my dad owned a villiers sun motor bike,can you tell me a little about it and do they hold any value?
Try the page on Classic Motorcycle Values. Ed.
Thu Jul 06 2006
ethal at paradise.net.nz
Sun 1926/1932? frame no S9441
Front forks have springs outside arms Villiers motor noW45001 Any imformation will help
Tue Jul 04 2006
rogersrecords at hotmail dot com
Bits Wanted and Information given
SUN - most models
If you need information on Sun motorcycles, or if you have any parts or complete bikes to dispose of, by all means email me!
Tue Apr 04 2006
shepppy39 at yahoo.co.uk
I have found a frame, tank, front forks and a small No of other bits in my fathers garage. The tank has Sun on it . There is no engine.
Where can I find more on this marque?
Tue Nov 29 2005
paulatkinson1822 at yahoo.co.uk
1952 the" sun" motorcycle
hi i,ve just bought a 1952 the sun motorcycle (burgany in colour) it is a villiers powered mk 10D 125cc with 13995 miles on it. has anyone any photos of these bikes or any information on them i would be most greatfull. thanks
Fri Nov 18 2005
hallcross-furniture at hotmail.co.uk
villiers sunwasp scooter
I am trying to locate a Villiers Sunwasp scooter in any condition. Any information on these scooters would also be very welcome.
Sat Aug 27 2005
pedro.r.filipe at netcabo.pt
I have a 1916 Sun Motorcycle but I don´t have any informations of my motorbike and I dont have the gearbox .
Can you help me with photos or something?
Fri Jul 15 2005
pal at tdi.net
I have a motorcycle that was used in Canada by a constable in the 1920's-30's. It has a Villiers V engine in it, serial number 8011579. It is called the "sun". I would like to get some more information on it. It was my grandfather's. You have to pedal it to start it.
I can send you a picture if that would help.
Thank you for your consideration.
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