B1 1957-64
B2 1958-65
Model 1 and Model 2 1923-30
Model 3 1915-26
Model 4 De Luxe 1924-26
Model 5 1925
Model 6 1921-37
Model 7 1922-40
Model 8 1924-31
Model 9 1924-27
   
Model 10 Sprint 1931
Model 14 1933-37
Model 16 1934-36
Model 90 1928-33
Model 95 1934-35
S7 500, S7 500 De Luxe 1946-56
S8 500 1949-56

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.

The company began making bicycles and, on the suggestion of his wife Ellen, Marston adopted the trademark brand "Sunbeam". Consequently, the Paul Street works were called "Sunbeamland". John Marston was a perfectionist, and this was reflected in the high build-quality of the Sunbeam bicycle, which had an enclosure around the drive chain in which an oil bath kept the chain lubricated and clean. They were made until 1936.

From 1903 John Marston Ltd had made some early experiments in adding engines to bicycles but they were unsuccessful, one man being killed. John Marston's aversion to motorcycles did not encourage further development, and so the Sunbeam Motor Car Company Ltd was founded in 1905. However, suffering from a slump which hit car making, Marston was pushed into making motorcycles from 1912 onwards (at the age of 76), for which there was a large and increasing market. Following in the tradition of their bicycles, the motorcycles were of high-quality, usually with a single cylinder, and known as the "Gentleman's Machine". Sunbeam motorcycles performed well in the early days of the famous TT (Tourist Trophy) races in the Isle of Man.

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.

In 1943 AMC sold the Sunbeam name to BSA and Sunbeam Cycles Ltd came into being. Sunbeams were built not at BSA's main factory at Small Heath, Birmingham, but at another BSA factory in Redditch, Worcestershire. Three Sunbeam motorcycle models were produced from 1946 to 1956, inspired by BMW motorcycles supplied to the Wehrmacht during the Second World War. They were followed by two scooter models from 1959 to 1964.