The world‘s oldest motorcycle is to go on sale later this month.
Bonham‘s is offering an 1896 Hildebrand & Wolfmüller at its Stafford Classic Motorcycle Show sale on April 25, a machine credited as being the world‘s first production motorcycle. Earlier machines were made but these were all effectively bicycle frames with some kind of engine fitted.
The Bonhams bike has been family owned in the USA since the 1930s and is in original, unrestored condition and appears to be complete.
The bike is powered by a 1488cc engine with bore and stroke of 90 x 117mm which made 2.5bhp at 240rpm. The transmission was rather basic: the piston was fitted with two conrods which connected directly to the rear wheel, with rubber band assistance to help return them.
A little more advanced was the cooling system, which used water stored inside the rear mudguard. Lubrication was total loss, combustion was fired by hot tube ignition and a surface carburettor supplied the fuel.
Somewhere between 800 and 2,000 machines were built from 1894 to 1897, although it wasn‘t considered a great commercial success.
Bonham‘s estimated price is £40,000 to £60,000.
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