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RAYNAL Motorcycle 1921
Assembled at 41 to 43 Fleet Street and 124 & 125 Pritchett Street in Birmingham the Raynal was a typical English lightweight motor cycle of its time being constructed by a long-established bicycle company from its own frame but bought-in mechanical parts. The example shown has a late version of the Mk. 1V 269cc Villiers 2-stroke engine fitted with a Senspray carburettor. Early models of the Mk. 1V retained the traditional-for-the-period separate chain-driven magneto, but the last versions were the first Villiers engine to have the luxury of an enclosed flywheel that held on its inside the world's first (patented) built-in magneto. This clever, neatly-engineered electrical assembly also offered the chance to fit extra coils to drive an optional (and expensive) direct lighting set - an example of which the writer would dearly love to acquire. Unfortunately, as no battery was provided (that's what "direct" meant) the voltage rose with engine revolutions and blown bulbs were a constant problem.
Primary drive was by chain to a 2-speed Sturmey-Archer gearbox and clutch and then by belt to the rear wheel - a smooth-driving system known as "chain-cum-belt". Sturmey-Archer provided not only the gearbox and clutch, but also the hand-change lever, its linkage and the necessary frame clamp.
Being sprung both vertically and horizontally the front fork was of a more expensive type than normally employed on this class of machine - and so made for reasonable comfort on the poor roads of the time.
Unlike the very similar but better-known Sparkbrook (also made by a Midlands' bicycle manufacturer) the Raynal Manufacturing Co. Ltd. appear to have produced just this one model, in very limited numbers, from around 1914 to 1922. Although describing themselves as: "General manufacturers of fittings, frames, complete cycles, accessories, motor cycles and sidecars" and "Cycle and Motor Material Merchants", one may search contemporary motorcycle magazines and lists of exhibitors at exhibitions, but nowhere can any mention of them be found--their publicity efforts were as low-key as their motorcycles. In early 1934 the Company moved to occupy part of the old Morris Commercial Plant on Woodburn Road in Handsworth, Birmingham, from where (with 30,000 square-feet of space) they offered a vast range of models as well as frames and frame sets for cycle builders to complete. By now, the original owner, a Mr. Lousis Pineda, had retired to live in Spain and the Company was in the hands of Mr. A.B.Jackson who moved to expand into export markets - sales being particularly strong to New Zealand, Canada and South Africa.
Mr. Jackson must have had a soft spot for the powered Raynal for, in 1937, the name was revived for use on a utilitarian, pedal-assisted auto-cycle. This model joined Cyc-Auto and Excelsior as Britain's only manufactures of this vehicle type during the 1930s. A successful model - around 8000 examples were made - the type finally faded away in 1951 after which the company reverted, once again, to manufacturing only bicycles.
A.B.Jackson also produced his own 98 cc Villiers-engined motorcycle, the ABJ, with production spanning approximately 1949 to 1954.
Do you have a Raynal motorcycle? If so, the writer would be pleased to hear from you.