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Riding a pre WWI Triumph

March 31, 2013
tags: , ,

Occhio Lungo recently received a note from reader Cydney Kaster with some nice photos.  She is writing a book about her grandfather, and has found that he rode motorcycles before WWI.

IMG_0023 - motorcycle

As information for her book, Ms. Kaster is looking for any info that our readers can provide about the bike, the location, the general experience of biking back then, etc.  She thinks that he registration number is a from a Rex 2.5hp, registered in Perth in 1909-1911, and thinks that reg number may have been transferred when Mr. Pearse bought a larger bike.  I replied that this is not a Rex 2.5, but that is appears to be a pre WWI Triumph 3 1/2hp. 

IMG_0031 - motorcycle 2

From the second photo, we can see that the bike features Triumph’s ratcheting exhaust cutout.  Does anybody recall when that was introduced?  I think it was on their ‘12 models, but I cannot make out the patent details in an old fuzzy parts diagram that I have.   There is no gearbox, so it predates the Model H of 1914.  But there is an open horseshoe mag, and I think that is a Triumph one-speed hub with a clutch.    I really love that curly-que horn and his great expression with his pipe in hand.  He looks like an old time movie star.

The man’s name was Godfrey Scott-Pearse, and for her book, she’d love any more info that we can provide.  If you have any comments, you can either click on the “comment” button at the bottom of the page, or email Cyndey directly:  cydneykaster at  Please note that both photos are copyrighted by Ms. Kaster



Here is a 1911 Triumph, submitted by Andrew Mather.  See the comments for his notes.1911 Triumph

11 Comments leave one →
  1. Luis permalink
    March 31, 2013 11:27 pm

    hi, I remember that Ixion mentions the pre WWI Triumph and writes about his riding experience on one of these excellent bikes in his epic masterpiece “The Motorcycle Cavalcade” – I cant locate my copy right noe, but will get back to you as soon as i have.
    I schould have a reprint postcard of that bike somewhere, let me find it …

  2. Doug Lyon permalink
    April 1, 2013 12:18 am

    Hi Pete, The original Triumph Patent can be found here
    which was applied for November 1909, and granted 1910. The British outlawed this device in 1912, as around town use was commonplace and it was said to frighten the horses! Other makes had cutouts of their own, but all should have ceased being sold by 1912.

  3. John Quirke permalink
    April 1, 2013 4:33 am

    its a 1910 model as it has the front brake passing through the front mudguard and the oil pump is angled. The town and country exhaust was banned in England after Janurary 13. It is the Free engine model costing £55 in England

  4. Allan Johnson permalink
    April 1, 2013 7:37 am

    From the front mudguard (fender) shape and the large magneto splash shield it would appear to be a 1912 model. As it does not have the pedal gear and has the standard handlebars in a near-flat position, it would be what Triumph called their “3 1/2 hp Tourist Trophy Roadster”. It also has the TT racer pattern fork spring.

    • April 1, 2013 8:32 pm

      Hi Allan. Thanks for the info. On my copy of the photo, i could zoom in enough to just barely see the pedal crank. So i think that makes it a standard, not a TT. But I’m not an expert on Triumphs. I’m glad that so many readers do know them well.

  5. April 1, 2013 10:51 am

    I’d estimate this to be a 1910 as John has said. The 1911 had a three loop mount on the fuel tank see attached pic (Pete I’ll will email to you). This bike has two mounts as the middle one is missing. The handlebars don’t seemed to be a TT racer type…they are shorter in length, although the front fork spring is definitely a TT type however it does have the pedaling gear so its most likely a roadster version of the TT racer.
    1908 owner (

    • Geert permalink
      April 3, 2013 9:15 am

      I’m not an expert on Triumph’s, but I do have an article from “Old Bike” called “sussing out a veteran Triumph”
      From this article it is clear that this machine is pre 1912, when one big spring for the frontfork was introduced, also the mag lever on the tank was last used in 1911.
      The rachet controled cutout was first used in 1910 and also the angled oilpump was new for 1910.
      For 1911 a front stand was new and also the stirrup front brake was now passing around the outside edge of the mudguard, rather then passing through the mudguard.
      On tis photo we do see a front stand, but the stirrup brake is still passing trough the mudguard, so my guess is late 1910 or early 1911?????

  6. Cydney Kaster permalink
    April 3, 2013 8:31 am

    To Luis, Doug, John, Allan and Andrew – many, many thanks for your information, insight and goodwill in helping me. Heartfelt thanks particularly to Pete for posting my request. I’ll keep an eye on this page in case anyone else has something to add.

    • April 17, 2013 12:14 am

      Hi Cydney ,your Grandfather is mounted on a 1911 Triumph.
      Three over the top frame tube mounting saddles holds the 1911 square top edges Fuel/Oil tank in place. GF’s coat covers the rear most tank saddle , the front most tank saddle can be seen clearly, the middle tank saddle can just be made out in the first photograph and also in the second where it is mostly out of sight behind the Magneto A/R Hand lever. The U in Triumph on the drive side middle top of crankcase is covered by a casting for 1911 as can be seen in the A.M. photograph ,the same casting can also be seen in the second photograph of your GF.
      (1910 Fuel/Oil Tank has Two holding saddles only and 1912 tank has no saddles ,1912 tank mounts from underneath and has rounded top edges on the fuel/oil tank.)
      Regards Aussie.

      • Cydney Kaster permalink
        April 17, 2013 8:45 am

        Thank you for taking the time to post this information. This means that the pictures were taken late 1911 or 1912 (assuming he bought ‘new’) which is about 2 years before he went into WWI battlefield. For what it’s worth, he parlayed his love of ‘going fast’ and ‘mechanical things in general’ into flying – have great shots of him in his de Havailland Gipsy Moth and BAC Super Drone – and later cars (ditto a Siddeley Special).

        Greatly appreciated.

  7. Peter Connon permalink
    August 8, 2014 4:01 pm

    Hi Cydney, Your grandfather landed a Tiger Moth at Carlisle in February 1936 and damaged his Drone G-ADXD at Gleneagles Hotel in June 1936
    Peter Connon

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