When you mention James motorcycles people usually think of the popular post war Villiers unit construction 2 stroke models, or of autocycles. However like most well established manufacturers of the 40s and 50s their prewar history of the 1920s and 30s can be even more interesting and James Motorcycles would be no different.
James would have struggled through the depression as other manufacturers did so to produce 11 different models for 1930 would have been a brave move. Guaranteed they would have been released at the 1929 Earls Court Motorcycle Show in readiness for release in 1930, and as we all know 1929 was the collapse of the world economy with Wall St upsetting the world financial markets. So with the depression on its way how many (if any) of the models were successful in manufacture. With a mixture of their own engines and the smaller Villiers 2 stroke engines there was a lot on offer, so how many have actually survived today?
My favourite machine would have to be the B6 500cc OHV Speedway Special. Towards the end of the 1920s when cinders racing (or dirt track to some) was becoming very popular James followed other manufacturers by introducing their racing special the 500cc v twin. With a tuned engine and countershaft drive (no gearbox) its performance was regarded as spectacular more than speedy and had a harmonious exhaust note. It may not have been that fast but what a cool looking bike. I could definitely find a place in my shed for one.
To view the full range of models including sidecars for 1930 click on the catalogue page below.
The file is 3M and as usual with other manuals it is in PDF format so make sure you have Adobe Acrobat Reader