Classical cars, including the history of the great classical automobiles
September 4th, 2006

Steamworks Report No. 3: 1896 Roper Steam-driven Motorcycle

Roper Steam Cycle

jay leno will covet this one. The TV host is a renowned car collector who maintains a vast stable of vintage motorcycles and is also fascinated by steam propulsion. You are looking at a 1896 example of the first powered motorcycle, the Roper. It was driven by steam; though not very far as it required a water top-up every eight miles. But at least the chuffing sound was more relaxing than the Harleys that keep me awake at night as their ego-obsessed owners race to the Victoria-Vancouver ferry dock. The 2006 Steamworks Concours was distinguished by, among other things, a display of rare vintage motorcycles that included a Francis Barnet, the bike that many young Englishmen rode as their first transport in pre-WW2 years. Is steam practical today? Maybe not, but a Leno Steambike would attract many well-heeled buyers who just want to have fun.

by Philip Powell | Posted in Concours | 1 Comment » |

1 Comment »

Comment by Harley Ferguson
  • It is probably no worse than an engine, but a boiler between my legs – - No thanks.

    September 5, 2006 @ 3:34 am
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