British Motorcycles

Welbike Military Motorcycles

A Brief History of the Marque
Manufactured: 1942-1945

Lieutenant Colonel John Dolphin was the commander of a secret British military research near the village of Welwyn which developed the Welbike for use by parachute troops. The miniscule folding motorcycle small enough to fit in a 130 cm long, 35 cm high and 30 cm wide container. Prototypes were built in 1942 in Scotland, and it seems likely that it was the first motorcycle to be tested by dropping it from an aeroplane.

Once identified by its green parachute and the cunning codeword "Motor Cycle" printed large on the container, assembly of the machine could be achieved in 11 seconds. (I suspect there may be some poetic licence used by the source).

Production was carried out by Excelsior, it was used in combat first in Italy and then in Normandy during Operation Overlord.

The Welbike weighed 32 kg and could travel at speeds up to 45 km/h, with a range of 100km. The engine was a 98cc Villiers. Single speed, no gearbox.

Sources: welbike.net et al

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