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 149,270 pages of information and 234,239 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Challenge Cycle Co

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March 1903. Coventry-Challenge sold by Edward O'Brien.

Challenge Cycle Co of Challenge Works, 210 Foleshill Road, Coventry with designer and manufacturer Edward Salmon O'Brien

1901 Company established at 24 Bishop Street, Coventry and later at Bishop Street before settling in Foleshill Road in 1903.

1903 The Coventry-Challenge were motorcycles produced by them from 1903 to 1922. Production and design was managed by Francis Salmon O'Brien

1903 to circa 1913. Produced by a small firm, the machines were built by a cycle dealer who fitted various engines and other bought-in parts to his heavy-duty bicycle frames. Engines used were Minerva and Fafnir, followed by JAP and Precision.

1905 Although there was a slump in the motorcycle industry, the firm managed to keep going, and at one point returned to the manufacture of bicycles only

1914 onwards. At about this time they returned to the production of powered machines and used Villiers two-stroke engines, with the models sold as Challenge-Villiers.

After the First World War they used JAP single and V-twin engines. It is then presumed that lack of supplies meant that the production of bicycles and carrier cycles was better business.

See Challenge Cycle and Motor Co

In the 1920s Coventry Ensign Cycle and Motor Co was at this address, as was Coventry-Eagle Cycle and Motor Co

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
  • The Encyclopedia of the Motorcycle by Peter Henshaw. Published 2007. ISBN 978 1 8401 3967 9
  • Coventry’s Motorcycle Heritage by Damien Kimberley. 2009. ISBN 978 0 7509 5125 8