1923 JD Motor Bicycle Cycle-Attachment Engine
Designed and Manufactured by the Bowden Wire Ltd
Until 1898, all bicycles were fixed wheel – to stop the bicycle, you stopped pedalling. Safety bicycles were heavy, so riders usually had to get off to push them up hills. Front plunger brakes (directly onto the tyre) were an option, though riders often removed them to make the bicycle lighter for pushing.
After Starley’s famous design of the Safety Bicycle, and Dunlop’s marketing (not invention) of the pneumatic tyre, E.M. Bowden Patents Syndicate Ltd was responsible for one of the most important innovations in the history of cycling (and motorcycling) – the first effective cable brake kit for the rear wheel.
The freewheeel hub was introduced in 1898, making an efficient rear brake necessary on bicycles. The Bowden cable brake was patented a year later and immediately adopted by the cycle industry..
THE JD MOTOR BICYCLE DE LUXE
The company evolved into Bowden Wire Ltd and, in keeping with various other manufacturers, jumped on the bandwagon when cycle-attachment engines started to gain popularity in the early 1920s. Not many cyclists know of Bowden’s foray into this uncharted territory, so I’ve combined these pictures of the Bowden engine with a potted history of Bowden brakes.
BOWDEN BRAKE HISTORY
E.M. BOWDEN’S PATENTS SYNDICATE Ltd