AC Schnitzer Adler Aermacchi AJP AJS Alfer Aprilia Ariel Arlen Ness ATK Avinton / Wakan Bajaj Bakker Barigo Benelli Beta Big Bear Big Dog Bimota BMS Choppers BMW Borile Boss Hoss Boxer Brammo Britten BRP Cam-Am BSA Buell / EBR Bultago Cagiva Campagna CCM Confederate CR&S Daelim Derbi Deus DP Customs Drysdale Ducati Dunstall Excelsior Exile Cycles Fischer GASGAS Ghezzi Brian Gilera GIMA Harley-Davidson Harris Hartford HDT USA Hesketh Highland Honda Horex HPN Husaberg Husqvarna Hyosung Indian Italjet Jawa Junak Kawasaki KTM KYMCO Laverda Lazareth Lehman Trikes LIFAN Magni Maico Mash Matchless Matt Hotch Megelli Midual Mission Molot Mondial Morbidelli MotoCzysz Moto Guzzi Moto Morini Motus Mr Martini MTT Münch MV Agusta MZ / MuZ NCR Norton NSU OCC Paton Paul Jr. Designs Piaggio Revival Cycles Rickman Ridley Roehr Roland Sands Royal Enfield Rucker Sachs Saxon Shaw Speed Sherco Sunbeam Suzuki SYM SWM Titan TM Racing Triumph Ural Velocette Vespa Victory Vilner Vincent Viper VOR Voxan Vyrus Walt Siegl Walz Wrenchmonkees Wunderlich XTR / Radical Yamaha Zero
John Marston Ltd, manufacturer of Sunbeam tricycles and bicycles from 1887 and motor cars from 1899, commenced motorcycle production relatively late in 1912. This is quite surprising given the company was based in Wolverhampton, one of the early centres for the UK's motorcycle industry. It is reckoned John Marston himself was not taken with the idea following a fatality whilst testing a prototype in the early 1900s.
However, by 1912 when John Marston decided to commence production, one of the major technical disincentives to ownership - the lack of a clutch - had been overcome. Sunbeam also missed the era of belt driven transmission. From the start it employed a chain drive enclosed in its famous 'Little Oil Bath' derived from its tried and tested bicycle technology.
Sunbeam was founded by
John Marston, who was born in Ludlow, Shropshire, UK in 1836 of a
minor landowning family. In 1851, aged 15, he was sent to
Wolverhampton to be apprenticed to Edward Perry as a japanware
manufacturer. At the age of 23 he left and set up his own japanning
business, John Marston Ltd, making any and every sort of domestic
article. He did so well that when Perry died in 1871 Marston
incorporated his company into his own.
In 1937 the Sunbeam
motorcycle trademark was sold to Associated Motor Cycles Ltd (AMC)
which continued to make Sunbeam bicycles and motorcycles until 1939.
AMC's core business was the manufacture of Matchless and AJS
motorcycles. Some years after it sold Sunbeam, AMC went on to own
Norton, James and Francis-Barnett.