The Mostyn spring frame

When Bill Tanner - resident of Wagga Wagga, Australia - showed his Mostyn spring frame motorcycle to the UK in 1928 he was following a well-worn path. Like Saville Whiting before him, he had the unenviable task of convincing the motor cycle trade that the future lay in the manufacture of luxurious - if complex - spring frame motorcycles. But by 1928, it was getting a bit late for radical ideas. Still, the press treated him nicely, with The Motor Cycle devoting a full page complete with illustrations to what could best be described as free publicity.

The machine on test was a converted 350 cc Humber, said to have been brought over from Australia "...for demonstration purposes". Apparently it handled the rough stuff pretty well, with the suspension bottoming only when a foot-deep gutter was traversed " moderate speed". The tester was polite enough not to mention that, overall, the design seemed a bit complex.

Mostyn on bumpy ground

I don't know how Mr Tanner's trip to England finished up, but it's a fair bet he came home disappointed. Certainly manufacture of his design was not pursued in Australia. If his spring frame machine returned with him, it doesn't seemed to have survived. Has it been sighted in the UK?

In a pre-Wagga Wagga incarnation, the Mostyn Cycle Works was based in Melbourne where Mr Tanner sold re-badged Healing Big Fours under the Mostyn name. One of these machines - essentially identical to the Bullock Big Four discussed elsewhere - was in part responsible for my love of veteran motorcycles. In the early 1970s the bike stood in the window of a Melbourne motorcycle shop in truly outstanding original condition. Complete to the smallest fitting, and with paint, plating and transfers unmarked, I remember (as a teenage trials enthusiast) being strangely attracted to it. Sadly it was later "restored", but at least it has survived as a reminder of William Mostyn Tanner's days in the motorcycle trade.

Copyright Leon Mitchell 2001

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