Bikes | Features | Events | Books | Tech | Magazine | About | Messages | Classified | Links

more bike profiles...

Bike Review - Posted 11th September 2008
Home -> Bikes -> Road Tests and Profiles ->

1914 Wall Auto-Wheel - Riding Impression

Previously, Reg Eyre has explained to us the what, why and how of motorised bicycles. Now 'brave' Robert Rendell takes his first ride on a Wall Auto-Wheel...

'I noticed that Robert has a weakness for small gutless motorised machines,' says Reg Eyre, 'hence I sold him a Velo-Solex, which he rode at the Cotswold Signpost Rally. He expressed an interest in riding a veteran, so I arranged for him to have a ride on my Wall Auto-Wheel made in 1913. The engine sits in its own sub-frame and is attached to the bicycle frame on a pivot. This allows the sub-frame to follow the action of the bicycle rear wheel in a parallel motion which is a weird sensation for the rider, as is the one sided pushing action on the bicycle frame.'

The first thing I needed to do was learn to ride a bicycle, a very old bicycle with a third wheel and motor attached…

Approved safety gear includes rolled down shirt sleeves. Can't be too careful... 1914 Wall Auto-Wheel

I took no persuading to ride a Wall Auto-wheel without an engine initially (Reg's other Auto-wheel project has the third wheel fitted but no engine), and this gave me a feel for the beast. It's a strange sensation to pedal a rather tall bike with a lump attached to its frame, and of course the bike was nearly 100 years old with feeble brakes and, shall we say, a certain 'looseness'.

Having learned to ride a bike all over again I got to try one with a motor, but just up and down the drive and with the decompressor activated. I was still wobbling a bit, but getting the feel of it.

Finally Reg allowed me to release the decompressor and let the motor fire.

Until now I'd only ridden conventional, post-1960 bikes, so having to pedal, release a decompressor and simultaneously operate a lever throttle, whilst perched atop an Edwardian bicycle, all proved a bit tricky. After a few false starts however my efforts were met with a reassuring and steady pop-pop sound from behind my right foot and I was grinning like a maniac. I made a couple more runs up and down the drive before heading for the open road.

Robert was last seen heading for the M4 and Wales... 1914 Wall Auto-Wheel
Veteran stuff on

After a while I got used to the wobble and I never felt it was unsafe, the meanderings of the vehicle were actually much less than they seemed. As speed increased the stability improved and corners could be taken with confidence. The third wheel meant the turning circle was greater than that of a conventional bicycle but its cunning design allowed adequate degrees of banking.

The little motor was easy to start, surprisingly tractable, and capable of pushing me along at a brisk pace (around 15mph perhaps). From a standstill only a couple of turns of the pedals were required to get going, and I'd expect to have to pedal on hills. The brakes were weak, but planning ahead and use of the throttle allowed good speed control - although I'd want a lot more experience before even considering driving it in traffic.

Terrific fun - I want one!

Artists impression of Robert on the M4... Light Pedal Assistance Reqired...

Like this page? Share it with these buttons:


More Classic Motorcycles on Right Now...

Bikes | Features | Events | Books | Tech | Magazine | About | Messages | Classified | Links

More Bike Profiles...

RedLeg Interactive Media

© 2017 The Cosmic Motorcycle Co. Ltd / Redleg Interactive Media

You may download pages from this site for your private use. No other reproduction, re-publication, re-transmission or other re-distribution of any part of this site in any medium is permitted except with the written consent of the copyright owner or in accordance with the provisions of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.