Hobart 1921 2½ HP Spring Frame 269cc TS 3407



Hobart 1921 “2 ½ HP Spring Frame” 269 cc Villiers MK IV two stroke engine # C 2285

William Hobart Bird (c1851-1934) started to manufacture bicycles in 1884. In 1901 motorcycle production was also taken up and soon the company developed an excellent reputation for the high workmanship that was apparent in their bicycles and motorcycles. The company also supplied frames and engines to other manufacturers. At first Dalton and Wade engines were employed, later models were fitted with JAP singles and V-twins. In the early years of the First World War production was restricted to Villiers two stroke machines and after the war JAP and Blackburne engines were added to the Villiers-engined model. In 1922 the Villiers engine was superseded by a Morris two stroke power source. In the early twenties the company ran into difficulties and in 1923 it was taken over by Rex-Acme and a number of Hobart-Acme machines were produced, but by 1924 this venture ended.
The machine we offer is fitted with a sprung rear frame, which was relatively unusual in the early twenties. During 1919 and 1920 a spring frame model had been extensively tested and had gained a Gold Medal in the 1919 London-Edinburgh Trial. The spring frame was introduced to the public at the Olympia Show that was held from November 29 till December 4, 1920. In “Motor Cycling “ of December 1 there’s a description of the Hobart stand: “Half a dozen sturdy lightweight machines are on view at this stand, with 2 ¾ h.p. J.A.P. engines and Villiers MK IV engines. The new tanks of the saddle pattern, becoming so popular, improve the already attractive lines, and the new handlebars with obtuse angles in place of the usual curves also contribute in this direction. The front wheel is now fitted with a dummy belt drum brake, a component not often found on lightweights. The spring frame model, incorporating the new Hobart spring frame, is proof against the frequent blows of poor paving and the less frequent but more severe potholes of roads actually breaking up. The first are taken by quickly-acting but comparatively weak springs, and the second by stout ones with a good range of movement, but slow periodicity.

There’s a two speed Sturmey Archer gearbox and Luxor acetylene lighting on board and the Villiers engine is equipped with a flywheel magneto. Neat aluminium footboards with “Hobart” cast in are fitted, as is a Brooks saddle. Few of this technically interesting model appear to have survived; the VMCC Register of Machines list no more than seven Hobarts and none of them is a 1921 Villiers Spring Frame model. With the machine come digital copies of a pre- restoration photograph and some contemporary press clippings.