cycle parts are machined. Only by working to the finest limits employed in any branch of mechanical engineering is it possible to produce an intricate piece of mechanism contained in the space of a large sized bicycle hub. The plant, installed originally by the Raleigh Cycle Co., cost thousands of pounds, and cyclists certainly owe this firm a debt of gratitude for making it possible to buy such a beautifully made gear at a moderate price.
Motor-cycle Gears. The history of the change speed gear applied to a motor cycle is akin to that of the bicycle. The early forms were very crude affairs in comparison with the modern counter-shaft gears as they are termed to differentiate them from their prototypes, which were fitted in the rear hub shell. The motor cyclist very early called for a change speed gear, because his engine refused to give off power unless it revolved at a high speed, and slow travelling on hills reduced that speed.
The first motor cycles were tricycles, and they had gears of the sliding or compound type, then came the Roc gear patented by the inventor of the Wall Auto Wheel. The latter was an epicyclic gear in the hub, the change of speed was effected by locking first one and then the other of two brake drums by means of band brakes.
The first commercially successful gear, in so much that it was marketed in quantities, was the Armstrong, fitted to the New Hudson and afterwards other motor cycles.
Sturmey-Archer Gears of Nottingham followed with a similar hub gear. Hub gears lost favour with motor cyclists on account of the weight of the gear being in the wrong place, and because so many hub gears intended for solo riding were used with side-cars and passengers,