Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Val Page

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Valentine Page (1892-1978) was a British motorcycle designer. Described as Britain's greatest motorcycle designer, he worked for most of the leading marques, including Ariel, Triumph, and BSA.

Val Page served his apprenticeship as a motorcycle engineer and designer with J. A. Prestwich Industries and developed the racing motorcycles which made riders such as Bert le Vack famous. Page designed engines used in the Brough Superior SS100 and SS80 luxury motorcycles.

1925 Most of his career was spent with Ariel Motorcycles, whom he joined in 1925 where he became chief designer and began by developing a new range of motorcycles for the 1926 season. Starting with an advanced engine, page had to wait until 1927 before a suitable frame and cycle parts were designed. These formed the basis for what was to be the Ariel Red Hunter, which continued successfully until Ariel ceased production of four strokes in 1959

1932 He left Ariel Motors (J.S.) Ltd to become Chief Designer at rival motorcycle producers Triumph Motorcycles where he developed the vertical twin and a range of singles, including a 150cc two-stroke and 250, 350 and 500cc four-strokes, with Edward Turner.

1936 The motorcycle part of Triumph was bought from the failing Triumph by Jack Sangster and renamed Triumph Engineering Co.

Moving on to BSA just before World War II Page developed the high performance production BSA Gold Star, named in celebration of Wal L. Handley’s lap times, the Gold Star model was considered a revolutionary design and featured a single cylinder 500cc engine with twin push-rods in a cast-in-place tapered push-rod tube which operated double-coil springs and overhead valves. Page also designed the reliable wartime BSA M20 motorcycle.

After the war he returned to Ariel.

He died in 1978.

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