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Brough Superior Austin Four

Discussion in 'Bike Reviews, Questions and Suggestions' started by Gromit, Dec 2, 2006.

  1. [​IMG]

    Introduced in March 1932, only 8 were ever built. Now...how many rear wheels does it have?

    Does anyone here know anything about this model? Was it intended for use with a sidecar, or was the dual-wheel arrangement an anticipation of that godawful Dodge Tomahawk thing? :LOL:

    At one of them does seem to have been fitted with a chair:


    What a fascinating bike!
  2. I SUSPECT the dual rear wheels was simply a response to the fact that the tyres of the day couldn't handle the power of the engine on just one tyre/wheel, but that's only a guess. Many British car hill-climbers would fit dual rear tyres to cope with the increased horsepower of the modified cars..
  3. Very interesting.
    So what happens when you corner it? I assume one wheel will leave the ground and when the bike comes out of the lean, the airborne wheel will gently kiss the ground or do you think it would be a harder touchdown?
  4. #4 Mouth, Dec 2, 2006
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2015
    10 (or 11), of which 7 can be accounted for. The prototype was presented at the Nov 1931 Olympia Show.

    Yup .. a" luxury passenger outfit". It has an 800cc water cooled engine similiar to that fitted to a baby Austin car, and is a 3 speed fwd with a 1 speed reverse. "Final drive is by shaft with flexible fabric joint to a spiral bevel crown wheel and pinion situated between twin rear wheels mounted on a short live axle." Price was 188 pounds and it was considered the Rolls Royce of motorcycles.

    [media=youtube]4GehsEBI__I[/media] @ the 2:00min mark is one in motion - both fwd and reverse. :)

  5. Thanks for the vid, Jase. :)

    The Brough Superior was my Dad's dream bike (he would have been 12 in 1932). I remember him telling me about them when I was a kid, and he reckoned there had been a model with dual rear wheels.

    Like most kids, I assumed my father was talking crap. I'd never heard of a Brough (or, until the Tomahawk, any other bike) with dual rear wheels, and I couldn't see how it would corner anyway. And over the years, I didn't come across any info on this bike. So I filed it away in my back-brain as "probable nonsense".

    Then yesterday I was flicking through an old classic car magazine that mentioned a visit to the National Motorcycle Museum in the UK, where they saw an Austin-engined Brough with dual rear wheels... :oops: :oops: :oops:

    Sorry Dad! :LOL:
  6. I've gotta tellya, thats a sweet looking bike. I first fell in lerv with the SS80 & SS100 series back in the early seventies, never managed to own one though. Had a collection of JAP & Matchless V-twin motors which never came to more than several boxes of bits, but no complete bike...
  7. They're a great-looking bike, aren't they!

    Lawrence of Arabia certainly liked his Brough:

  8. I read a story that the Rolls Royce company didn't like the idea of people calling the superior the "Rolls Royce of Bikes", which was first tagged by a journalist, then adopted by the company "semi officially".

    RR sent a bloke down to the factory to say "cease and desist" George Brough tried to talk himself out of trouble, but couldn't. But being the smart operator he was, he took the RR rep around the factory for a tour.

    Just so happens that the small factory was doing nothing else but final assembly of some bikes for the upcoming Olympia show, and the technicians were wearing white gloves so they wouldn't mark the finish on the bikes.

    Brough asserted that this was the "normal practice", the RR guy was so impressed, they let him keep using the "Rolls Royce of Bikes" slogan.

    If you want a good read about the beasts, try and get a copy of the first edition of "Old Bike Australasia" (shouldn't be too hard, the second edition came out only last month)

    Got great write up on Malcolm Campbell as well :)
  9. A mate of my dad's owned one of the Broughs that originally belonged to TE Lawrence ... that was in the late 60's and ive no idea what happened to it since, unfortunately

    broughs are a fantastic bike; i particularly like the OHV 1000cc bikes (SS100), because im not a big fan of sidevalves and flat-cylinder motorcycles in general. every SS100 sold by the brough factory was issued with a certificate validating that THE motorcycle you were buying had done over 100mph in test. ive also a sneaking suspicion that the all-time speed record at Brooklands is forever held by an SS100

    the flat-four so far as i know was a last-ditch effort to revive the financially ailing company ... it may have worked, but war intervened and screwed a lot of british marques, even brough.