Great British Folding Motored Bikes of WW2

Discussion in 'General Questions' started by Irish John, Apr 13, 2009.

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  1. Irish John

    Irish John Guest

    I've only just come across two British bikes from the early 1940s. The Welbike was a motorised scooter - sounds like a 4-stroke and probably a Villiers or BSA motor- that went for 90 miles on a small tank and could reach 30mph. It folded up into a cylinder for parachuting. The other bike is a BSA that folds for parachuting but it doesn't seem to have had a motor. It seems to be a rather beach cruiser style frame and, horror of horrors, it has no front brake and a rear coaster brake! I never though that the British would sink to such depths even in times of war. The Paras hated the BSA bike and left scores of them abandoned near the Normandy beaches. They could be bought Army Surplus for a song but I wasn't into bikes in the late 40s because I wasn't quite born.
    There is a great example of the BSA parachute bike in the Gulgong Pioneers Museum in Australia- it's the best museum of its type I have ever seen - no exceptions!!! More info on both these bikes can be had on:
    I am fascinated by these bikes but the little Welbike, which was made by Excelsior of motored bike fame, seems to be very powerful and can be seen started up on:
    These are the sort of things I think we might soon see a rennaissance in and I think they will come out of the UK again. It's a shame that all the really good stuff is always made for the defence industry.
    If you could pick up a Welbike plus it's container you could take it free on flights if you marked it as sports equipment!

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    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 13, 2009

  2. bluegoatwoods

    bluegoatwoods Well-Known Member

    Pretty ingenious, huh? Assuming they had enough airplanes, they could deliver a lot of mobility without the necessity of landing.

    I've often thought that WWII, in particular, might have been a lot of fun. That's if one could avoid being killed. But, of course, he'd then have to watch too many friends die.

    So there's no winning.
  3. Silvaire

    Silvaire Member

    I had one of the BSA folders - in pretty nice original condition too. The only thing that had been replaced on it were the tires. My wife found it at a yard sale for $25 - good girl! The bike had a Stanford University license sticker on it from sometime in the early 1960's. I cleaned it up and rode it some, but we eventually put it up on feeBay and it went to a collector in France. The one that I had did not have a coaster brake though, but had converntional side pull rim brakes which I'm quite sure were original. Froim researching mine, I know that BSA made more than one version of their folding bicycle.
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2009