Monday, March 25, 2013

The great chain drive debate of 1912

It is worthwhile remembering that the 1911 Royal Enfield was one of the first motorcycles ever to feature a chain drive. At the time there seems to have been quite a bit of skepticism about chain drives. In particular the notorious commentator from The Motor Cycle that went by the pesudonym of "Ixion"  was quite skeptical. He wrote "But I think it is sound judgment, founded on the simplicity of belt adjustments, the stupidity of the average amateur, who cannot trust himself to attend to chains, and the cleanliness of a (rubber) belt a opposed to the grease which haunts a well lubricated and well-used chain". Enfield riders immediately shot back, as these letters to the editor in The Motor Cycle attest, and of course with the 20/20 hindsight of history, we know who was right!

Ixion was the nom de plume of Canon B.H. Davies, a Church of England clergymen who wrote for The Motor Cycle magazine from its inception in 1903 until the 1960s.


  1. The chain lasted 5,000 miles or more but he had to grind the valves three times in that period; and he considered it good service. They were a different breed.

  2. There are plenty of belt-driven bikes out there today..many manufactured by a company named Harley-Davidsen.



Motor Sport Blogs - BlogCatalog Blog Directory