Some say you can’t re-invent the wheel but that’s just what happened during the 1950’s when the Cyclemaster appeared, drawing heavily on the concept of the Singer Motorwheel of 1900.
Both designs were uncannily similar. A small petrol engine within the confines of a bicycle wheel, a self-contained aid to pedal-power that today is being (once again) aped by various electric cycle products.
The Cyclemaster manufactured by Phillips Cycles at Hayes, Middlesex, was based on a Dutch design and sold as a complete rear wheel that replaced the normal bicycle one. A 25cc two-stroke engine, with a disc inlet valve, drove by chain a countershaft carrying a clutch, with a further chain drive to the hub. The engine, of course, sat stationary within the hub, and the petrol tank sat above and behind the engine. In 1952 the engine capacity was increased to 32cc.
The Cyclemaster (re)started the ‘motor bicycle’ as a means of low-cost transport. The BSA Winged Wheel was similar, whilst several other designs for assisting pedal-power mounted a small engine above the, front or rear, wheel with drive transmitted through a roller pressing on the tyre. Cyclemaster production ended in 1960.
THE COLLECTIONS EXHIBIT
This is a 1958 model Cyclemaster, selling at £25 when new and offering an economy of 300 miles per gallon.
Manufacturer: Phillips Cycles, Hayes, Middlesex, England
Engine: 32cc two-stroke, single cylinder
Top Speed: 15mph