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Zenith Classic Motorcycles

Zenith machines were manufactured from 1904 till 1950, in a variety of factories in or around London. From the early days proprietary engines were used, such as Fafnir, Green-Precision, JAP, Bradshaw and Villiers. Tle latter engines were used in most models from the thirties. In pre WW1 days Zenith machines gained many successes; driving force was chief Engineer Freddy Barnes, who was responsible for the famous Gradua gear.

The mechanics of the Gradua gear were a variable engine pulley worked by a handle, with simultaneous correction of the belt length made by sliding the rear wheel backwards or forwards in the fork slots. Its advantage showed itself most effectively in speed hill climbs. The Zenith rider could change during the journey up while the other competitors had to make do with a single choice of gear ratio. Rival riders and manufacturers thought that this was an unfair advantage so many leading clubs barred Gradua gear Zeniths from their hill climbs. Zenith was quick to recognize the publicity value and took the word barred as their trademark.
Bike Image Description
1911 Zenith 1911 Zenith 499cc vee-twin
1912 Zenith Gradua, 770cc 1912 Zenith Gradua, 770cc More Zenith Gradua information
1912 Zenith Gradua, 770cc Zenith Gradua
  • Engine - single-cylinder or V-twin side-valve four strokes
  • Launched - 1908-1920
  • 1918 Zenith Gradua Jap Twin, 680cc 1918 Zenith Gradua Jap Twin, 680cc
    1921 Zenith Gradua 1921 Zenith Gradua 678cc JAP motor
    1927 Zenith Onbekend 1927 Zenith Onbekend
    Zenith C5 Special 500cc 1936 ZENITH C5 SPECIAL 500cc 1936

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