Sunbeams are timeless old motorcycles and the Model 14 is a great example
from the marque. Produced between 1933 and 1938 the 250cc tourer was a solid
cross country motorcycle and many of them saw unofficial service during WWII
Combining the Model 8’s bottom-end and 90mm-stroke crankshaft with a
59mm-bore cylinder barrel resulted in a spin-off ‘Longstroke’ 250 - the
To reduce costs, Burman gearboxes were fitted to many models, the revamped
‘14’ included, but Sunbeam had built its reputation on superlative quality
of construction and finish and was unable to drop its standards sufficiently
to match its rivals for price.
John Marston Limited never produced a flat-tank 250, and it wasn’t until
1933 that they entered this particular sector of the market. They did so the
easy way, by simply reducing the stroke of the existing 347cc Model 8 from
70 to 59mm, and retaining the Model 8’s rolling chassis. They called it,
very aptly but confusingly for some, the 250 Longstroke, or Model 14.
Complete with twin-port head, the machine looked very like a scaled-down
Model 9, but it was inevitably rather over-weight.
Later in 1933 JML surprised the market with a super-sports version of the
Model 14, which they called the Little 90. This really was a racer in
miniature, looking very like the “big” Model 90, with a single-port head,
downdraught TT carburettor, bum pad and the notorious Sunbeam positive-stop
These 250cc Longstroke continued for 1934, but was replaced by a new model,
the 248cc Model 16, for 1935.
By this time the writing was on the wall for the Wolverhampton concern,
which as far as its ICI masters were concerned was insufficiently
profitable. In 1937 new owners Associated Motor Cycles took over. Production
was shifted to Plumstead where the existing range, including the Model 14,
continued for a couple of years before new models were phased in.