Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 126,760 pages of information and 199,768 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Premier Cycle Co

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May 1894. Helical cycles.
April 1899.
March 1904.
March 1904.
March 1904.
1912. Gent's 3-speed Roadster.
1912. Gent's 3-speed Roadster.
December 1912
December 1912.
January 1913.
Advertising sign.

of Premier Works, Coventry


1891 July. The Premier Cycle Co Ltd was formed for the purpose of purchasing Hillman, Herbert and Cooper as a going concern. Directors are: [1]

1891 September. Company wound up. 'The Premier Cycle Company Limited....Resolution was duly confirmed, viz.:— "That the Company be wound up voluntarily under the provisions of the Companies Acts, 1862 and 1867." And at such last mentioned Meeting Stephen Herbert Norton, of Coventry, was appointed Liquidator...' T. W. Hargeaves is Chairman.[2]

1893 Production plant also at Nuremberg and Egger to serve markets outside UK[3].

1896 The New Premier Cycle Co was registered on 29 June to acquire the business of the Premier Cycle Co. Directors are: [4] [5].

1896 The cycle boom was at its peak, with improved road surfaces and the introduction of the pneumatic tyre. Employment in the industry almost quadrupled, to 30,000. It was reported that "agents hurried from factory to factory, cash in hand, pleased if they could secure even a couple of machines"[6].

1896/7 Directory: Listed under cycles as New Premier Cycle Co. Limited, of Premier Works. [7]

1902 The original title of Premier Cycle Co was reverted to.

1912 Listed in Spennell's directory of Coventry as Cycle Manufacturers. [8]

1912-1913 Advertised a car

1913 The German operation went into receivership and the Japanese operation was in trouble. [9]

1915 Further losses mainly due to operation in Japan. [10]

1914 Changed the name to Coventry Premier Ltd

1920 Company acquired by Singer.


Premier motorcycles were produced from 1908 to 1920 in Coventry.

1908 The first Premier motorcycle was produced, with a White and Poppe side valve engine and Chater-Lea front forks.

1908 A model was produced that had a 3.5hp White and Poppe engine, Brown and Barlow carburettor, Bosch magneto and belt drive.

1909 By now they were building their own version of the engine and their own design of forks replaced the original Chater-Lea. They took an injunction against Premier Motor Co over the use of the name Premo

1909 The company made their first V-twin.

1910 Company made a 499cc single cylinder machine.

1910 The single was joined by a 3.75hp V-twin that had horizontal cooling fins and a crankshaft that allowed both pistons to move together despite its angle. Late in the year, a completely new 3.75hp V-twin engine was announced, and this had cylinders set at 45 degrees and kept the horizontal cooling fins. A two-speed gear was available.

1911 A 2hp lightweight model joined the range. It had its engine mounted inclined in a loop frame above the pedals. It had a rear-mounted Bosch magneto, belt drive and Druid forks. Later, a 2.5hp single was added.

1912 Premier Cycle Co listed at Hertford St. and Lincoln St (Tel. 796), Read St (Tel. 514), Coventry and as manufacturers of motorcycles.

1912 The range now included a 3.5hp ladies' model with open frame.

1913 They produced a 499cc side-valve 3-speed machine, and brought in a two-speed gearbox and Druid forks for the 3.5hp single. In came a new V-twin with increased power and out went the 2hp model.

1914 A new model was announced, but few were built. It had a 2.75hp in-line, twin-cylinder, two-stroke, over-square engine of 322cc, mounted in a duplex frame.

1914 The company produced a range of motorcycles

1915-1916 The range was still listed.

After the First World War the company did not resume production of motorcycles

Post-WWI. The company concentrated on a three-wheel Runabout.

Premier motorcycles continued to be produced under licence in Czechoslovakia throughout the 1930s.


1912-1913 Advertised the Premier Cycle Car with "all the comforts of the motor car at the cost of motorcycling".

See Also


Sources of Information

  • The British Motorcycle Directory - Over 1,100 Marques from 1888 - by Roy Bacon and Ken Hallworth. Pub: The Crowood Press 2004 ISBN 1 86126 674 X
  • [2] A-Z of Historic, Classic, Vintage and Veteran Motorcycles web site
  • [3] Miscellaneous A-Z Classic and Vintage Motorcycles web site
  • Miller’s Price Guide to Classic Motorcycles
  • Trademarked. A History of Well-Known Brands - from Aertex to Wright's Coal Tar by David Newton. Pub: Sutton Publishing 2008 ISBN 978-0-7509-4590-5
  • [4] Wikipedia
  1. The Times, Saturday, Jul 25, 1891
  2. [1] Gazette Issue 26207 published on the 29 September 1891. Page 23 of 58
  3. Lloyd's Weekly Newspaper, 22 January 1893
  4. The Stock Exchange Year Book 1908
  5. The Times, Wednesday, Jul 01, 1896
  6. The Story of the Bicycle, by John Woodforde, 1970
  7. Peck's Trades Directory of Birmingham, 1896-97: Cycles
  8. Spennell's Annual Directory of Coventry and District, 1912-13
  9. The Times, Monday, Oct 13, 1913
  10. The Times, Saturday, Dec 11, 1915