Features of the 1914 Rudges

The 1914 Rudge lineup was announced in the October 30th, 1913 edition of "The Motor Cycle". Not that the features announced were etched in stone. As the year went by, the specification of the machines changed slightly.

Foot-operated oil pumps were a feature of all 1914 model Rudges. Although the separate tank on the saddle tube was initially only fitted to some models (those retaining the old-style tank are shown with the Bowden wire attached to the oil pump in the usual position) by May 1914 all models had adopted them. Models fitted with pedals used a long slim tank behind the tube, while short wheelbase models used the "wrap-round" design as shown here.

Brooklands oil tank

An innovation for the Multi gear in 1914 was this adjuster on the Multi gear linkage. Screwing the adjuster draws the rear pulley flanges together, effectively tightening the belt. The racing boys, like Pullin, fitted a spike to the outer tip of the adjuster so they could use their boot to tighten the belt "on the fly".

Multi belt tensioner

Other features of 1914 models were the large silencer, usually fitted with a tail pipe, and smaller wheel rims to take 650 x 65 mm tyres. These wheels are easily recognised at the rear, as for both the Multi and the single speeder, the belt pulley was now the full diameter of the wheel rim. These belt rims (or "half rims" for the Multi) are pressed into the wheel rim and the two dimpled together. Only the T.T. Multi and the Brooklands Racer were fitted with a smaller rear pulley, spoked to the wheel rim.

One model not often discussed is the three-speed, fitted with a Sturmey-Archer rear hub gear. Just how many of these were sold I'm not sure. I have never seen one, nor bits of one, and don't even recall seeing a period picture of one. Surely they must have been made in small numbers, presumably catering for Multi gear skeptics.

Rudge with 3-speed Sturmey Archer hub gear

Note the Bowden cable attached from the foot pedal on the right to the oil pump in the tank.

There were other improvements as well, such as the fitting of grease cups to the front fork shackles, but pretty much the models were simply undergoing refinement. Fairly radical - and lasting - changes came to the frame design as a result of Pullin's 1914 T.T. win, so that when production recommenced after the war, only the 750 cc machine retained the "high" frame.

Copyrightę Leon Mitchell 1998

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