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The National Speedway Museum

The Rudge Whitworth Cycles Company based in Coventry was founded by George Woodcock at the end of the 19th century 1894 following a merger between Tangent & Coventry Tricycle Company and Rudge Cycles. Daniel Rudge 1841 to 1880 founded Rudge Cycles in 1870.

After the merger Rudge Whitworth produced  the penny farthing (high wheeled bicycles) the most popular being the Rudge High, they continued to produce the safety bicycles until 1909. The company then took an interest in the increasingly popular market for motorcycles by re-badging the French built Werner. Daniel Rudge’s company continued successfully for many years after his death in 1880 no doubt due in the most part to Daniel’s invention of the adjustable ball-bearing which was patented in 1878 (British Patent No 526) This invention, when fitted to the Rudge cycles, considerably the improved their efficiency and provided the long term success of his company.

By 1911 Rudge had started to build their own motorcycles and no longer relied on the French Werner having built their own motorcycle a 500cc single-cylinder.

1912 saw the introduction of the ‘Rudge Multi’ that was propelled by a 499cc engine with a final belt-drive and continuous variable transmission that with the aid of variable groove-depth pulleys created up to 21 gear ratios. 1913 and a 750cc version was introduced and it was ridden by Cyril Pullin in 1914 to win the Isle of Man TT, then in 1915 a 1000cc model was introduced and that had a four-speed gearbox brought in from John Jardine although by 1923 Rudge had developed their own gearbox.

The development and introduction of the Rudge Ulster began in 1929 and the JAP (J. A. Prestwich) engine was added to the Rudge frame to produce the Rudge/JAP Dirt Track Machine in 1930, production of this Speedway machine was short term and the was stopped around 1933, although they were used for a number of years after that for both Speedway and Grasstrack, there are some good examples around to this day.

The Rudge

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