Brough Superior SS100 Alpine Grand Sports activities 1928

1928 Brough Superior SS100 Alpine Grand Sports activities

With Ian Falloon

Pre-war England sported a thriving bike trade. However whereas majority of bikes on the street had been utilitarian single cylinder ride-to-work machines for many who had cash, one of the best, and most costly, was the Brough Superior SS100.

Some issues by no means change and right now the Brough Superior SS100 stands on the pinnacle of collectability and remains to be some of the costly bikes accessible.

The Brough Superior SS100 featured an imposing stance with twin headlights
The Brough Superior SS100 featured an imposing stance with twin headlights

George Brough was initially concerned in a partnership along with his father William producing the Brough bike. After World Conflict 1 George needed to construct a luxurious bike for gents and William didn’t, so in 1919 the 29-year previous George determined to go it alone.

Throughout the Twenties, out of small premises in Haydn Street, Nottingham within the North of England, George Brough, got down to construct the final word luxurious bike to, “cater for the connoisseur rider who may have one of the best and quickest machine on the street.”

In contrast to the flat-twin of William’s Brough, George selected a V-twin and instantly termed his the Brough Superior, or “The Rolls-Royce of Bikes”. From all accounts William was lower than impressed with the title, commenting that presumably this made his bike the “Brough Inferior”.

Bonniksen clock and speedometer
Bonniksen clock and speedometer

George additionally needed his machines to be appropriate for sidecar attachment and at the moment the one competitors for giant twin bikes got here from the American producers. Priding himself on the end of his bikes, nickel plating was evident all through, even on the gasoline tank.

At a time when bikes featured rectangular gasoline tanks beneath the highest body tube all Broughs had a particular rounded saddle-style gasoline tank. In contrast to different bikes of the interval the Brough Superior got here fitted with quantity plates, horn, acetylene lamps and generator.

Brough Superior frames and a few cycle elements had been made in home, whereas the engines, magnetos and carburettors had been sourced from outdoors suppliers. The benefit of this scheme was Brough was insulated from extreme tooling and design prices, however the draw back was the corporate was depending on the standard and provide from outdoors considerations.

The primary Brough was the SS80, powered by a 1000 cc side-valve V-twin specifically manufactured by J.A. Prestwich (or J.A.P.) and in 1924 the engine was redesigned to incorporate overhead valves. The brand new 50-degree V-twin overhead valve design had two camshafts, every with two cams and enclosed rockers working on ball bearings. The 2 valves had been opposed at 90-degrees and lubrication was by a continuing loss mechanical oil pump.

A JAP 1000 cc V-twin was used for better reliability
A JAP 1000 cc V-twin was used for higher reliability

Brough housed the brand new J.A.P. engine in a double cradle body developed from Bert le Vack’s record-braking machine that had achieved 182 km/h at Brooklands in 1924. Sturney-Archer supplied a stronger three-speed handshift gearbox and the SS100 debuted on the 1924 Olympia Present, every coming with a assure that it had been timed at over 100 mph (161 km/h).

George Brough was additionally greater than an organization director. Together with his private 1000 cc SS80 racer “Previous Invoice”, George received over fifty velocity trials and hill climbs throughout 1922 and 1923. In 1923 the entrance tyre exploded and the bike crossed the end line by itself at 140 km/h, with George sliding by after.

In 1925 Brough and engineer good friend Harold Karslake patented the Citadel entrance fork, these extra like these used on Harley-Davidsons than the Brampton sort that distinguished different British bikes. Later within the yr the SS100 advanced into an excellent sportier model, the Alpine Grand Sports activities.

The chrome fuel tank was a Brough trademark
The chrome gasoline tank was a Brough trademark

The 995 cc engine was now longer stroke (80 x 99 mm) with a curler bearing decrease finish and Brough and F.P. Dickson entered two within the Alpine Trial, each profitable trophies. Ultimately the Alpine Grand Sports activities advanced into the Pendine, named after the Welsh racetrack and assured to exceed 110 mph (177 km/h).

In 1928 (as on the instance right here) an elective body that includes a triangulated rear part and beneath seat springing was supplied on the Alpine Grand Sports activities. The Achilles heel of all Broughs had been the pressed metal single main shoe brakes, just because George was extra fascinated by going quick than stopping.

Throughout the Nineteen Thirties the SS100 gained a foot gearshift, and in November 1933 it acquired a brand new twin carburettor twin magneto J.A.P. engine and a four-speed transmission. However finally George Brough grew uninterested in coping with J.A.P. high quality management points and switched the SS100 to an overhead valve Matchless 50-degree V-twin.

Twin fuel filler caps
Twin gasoline filler caps

The Matchless engine was not as highly effective because the J.A.P., however extra refined and the SS100 remained in manufacturing because the spearhead of the vary till bike manufacturing ceased in 1940. Different Broughs emphasised quietness and luxury however the SS100 was at all times unashamedly efficiency oriented, and due to this the J.A.P. powered variations thought-about the extra fascinating.

Brough Superiors had been additionally extremely profitable velocity file machines and in 1937 Eric Fernihough achieved 273 km/h on an SS100. Noel Pope nonetheless holds the lap file for solo and sidecar bikes at Brooklands at 200 km/h and 170 km/h respectively.

1928 Brough Superior SS100 Alpine Grand Sports 
The SS100 is among the most fascinating bikes in existence

Why is the Brough Superior so revered? In as of late of mass manufacturing it’s tough to envisage how Brough Superior survived. Between 1920 and 1940 solely about 3,000 Brough Superiors had been constructed, with a handful of SS100s, and the corporate was nearly a one-man concern.

Each side of the Brough Superior positioned it past the attain of the common motorcyclist. George Brough was pleased to construct only one prime quality bike rather than ten cheaper machines and his obsession with high quality and efficiency has ensured his bikes are nonetheless amongst essentially the most coveted of all.

At all times constructed to the best normal, they signify a bygone period; one the place high quality got here first and income second. There’s additionally the celeb issue. Probably the most well-known Brough Superiors had been these of Colonel T E Lawrence, “Lawrence of Arabia”. Lawrence was a private good friend of George Brough and an avid motorcyclist.

Superb attention to detail was a Brough Superior trademark
Excellent consideration to element was a Brough Superior trademark

He rode Broughs for greater than 13 years, typically calling in on the Nottingham works to debate modifications and specs. It was on an SS100 that Lawrence died in Could 1935 when he swerved to keep away from two boys on cycles on a rustic street in Dorset close to his cottage in Clouds Hill.

Brough Superior SS100 Alpine Grand Sports activities Specs

Brough Superior SS100 Alpine Grand Sports activities Specs
Engine 988 cc JAP four-stroke V-twin, side-valves, single carburetor
Energy 45 hp @ 4500 rpm
Transmission Three-speed hand-controlled gearbox
Suspension Citadel leading-link forks, inflexible rear
Brakes Drum – Entrance/Rear
Wheels Spoked, 3.00 x 20in
Weight 199.5 kg
Max Velocity 169 km/h