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British Motorcycles

Hillman Motorcycles

Hillman was a motorcycle produced in 1902, by William Hillman. It had had a number of interesting features, including all-chain drive. The 1½hp engine was mounted high up behind the headstock, and the crankcase became part of the downtube. The magneto was driven by crank and rod, so oscillated, and the chain drive was in two stages, via the bottom bracket. The mixture was provided by a crude spray-carburettor - a very advanced feature for the era. Only one model was built. Premier logo

  • Premier were motorcycles produced from 1908 to 1920, in Coventry, by William Hillman.
  • 1908 A model was produced that had a 3½hp White and Poppe engine, Brown and Barlow carburettor, Bosch magneto and belt drive.
  • 1909 By now they were building their own version of the engine and their own design of forks replaced the original Chater-Lea. They took an injunction against Premier Motor Co over the use of the name Premo.
  • 1910 The single was joined by a 3¾hp V-twin that had horizontal cooling fins and a crankshaft that allowed both pistons to move together despite its angle. Late in the year, a completely new 3¾hp V-twin engine was announced, and this had cylinders set at 45 degrees and kept the horizontal cooling fins. A two-speed gear was available.
  • 1911 A 2hp lightweight model joined the range. It had its engine mounted inclined in a loop frame above the pedals. It had a rear-mounted Bosch magneto, belt drive and Druid forks. Later, a 2½hp single was added.
  • 1912 Premier Cycle Co listed at Hertford St. and Lincoln St (Tel. 796), Read St (Tel. 514), Coventry and as manufacturers of motorcycles.
  • 1912 The range now included a 3½hp ladies' model with open frame.
  • 1913 They produced a 499cc side-valve 3-speed machine, and brought in a two-speed gearbox and Druid forks for the 3½hp single. In came a new V-twin with increased power and out went the 2hp model.
  • 1914 A new model was announced, but few were built. It had a 2¾hp in-line, twin-cylinder, two-stroke, over-square engine of 322cc, mounted in a duplex frame.
  • 1915-1916 The range was still listed.
  • Post-WWI. The company concentrated on a three-wheel Runabout.
Sources: Graces Guide



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