A bit on the side

c1914 Rudge with "Shamrock IV" on the side

Avid Rudge enthusiasts will know that Rudge-Whitworth Ltd were capable of some marketing some rather odd devices for attachment to their fine motorcycles. While the "Shamrock IV" fitted to this c1913 Multi was no doubt for amusement, the infamous 1925 Canoe Sidecar - all 14 feet of it! - was marketed for the serious adventurer. "To river lovers it gives great mobility and makes it possible to become acquainted with half the rivers in the country." Surely they were joking?

Perhaps not. I sense the presence of a real "attachment" enthusiast lurking at the Rudge works, busily thinking sidecars, caravans and trailers. The onset of the depression brought a 1931 Rudge catalogue that was both interesting and a little sad. Sure there was the glory of the 1-2-3 Junior TT victory and the 1-2 in the Senior, a range of sporty four-valve machines and the "Streamline Sports Sidecar" to fit to your Ulster, but austerity was there already in a range of sidecars and trailers aimed at the cash-strapped small business operator.

Rudge milk truck

While the Rudge Milk Truck Sidecarrier may have been a practical device designed to give "...many years of satisfactory service", which Rudge model would you fit it to? Not an Ulster I suspect. But perhaps that extra urge would be needed to propel the full Rudge commercial ensemble: not just the Delivery Box Sidecar, but also the Closed Trailer. Filled to capacity (8 cwt. for the trailer, 3 cwt. for the sidecar) with confectionery or other perishables, the rig must have approached three quarters of a ton!

Rudge van

If you fancied a challenge, you could go without the sidecar and try the solo trailer "..with perfect control and stability". Does it look a little scary? Don't worry. "It is of sturdy construction and undoubtedly solves the problem of this type of delivery outfit".

Rudge trailer

With devices as bizarre as these in the catalogue, the fine print in the Guarantee makes for interesting reading. In the definition of "misuse" of the motorcycle, three conditions are explicitly listed, all relating to the fitment of sidecars and other attachments!

Copyrightę Leon Mitchell 2001

Back to Rudge page


Home | Leon's Motorcycles | Australian motorcycles | Miscellany | Buy swap and sell | Links