Zenith company was founded in England in 1905. One of her founders and the chief engineer Tully Bayker was a person with the imagination, and almost all his motorcycles had the original features. It can be told, for example, about the very first model of the company — Bicar. For the first time this motorcycle was presented at an exhibition in Cristall Peles city. At that time it was called the real break in a motor-structure.
It is worth talking about features of this model in more detail. The frame of a bike consisted of two tubes which maintained the driver's weight. The motorcycle by means of the forward plug, and a forward fork coped as that wasn't. On Bicar there was a Fafnir engine with a power of 3 horsepowers. There was a coupling of idling and the belt drive. Tricar was other motorcycle which went on sale as a Bicar motorcycle option. It had more powerful motor – in 5 horsepowers, and also a 2-speed transmission.
1907 for Freddie Burns became breakthrough. It patented the Gradua Gear system which doesn't have analogs at that time. Thanks to it, movement of a back wheel depended on a variator pulley of the engine that allowed to reach the most optimum tension of a belt of transfer. This system only one lever which allowed to switch transfers operated without stopping the motorcycle.
Now the Zenith motorcycles had the huge advantage at mountain competitions and steadily won first place. It, of course, wasn't pleasant to other producers owing to what almost all organizers of similar races forbade participation to cars of the Zenith company. But the enterprise appeared only in plus as it gave it additional advertizing.
On the basis of this development the modification of Bicar which received the name similar to the name of the company - Zenith was let out. Designed in design of that time, it was equipped with a forward fork and the amortized frame which remained from the predecessor. Also other car was released, a little changed Zenith was more exact it. On it put a rigid frame and the sprung fork, and also it had the smaller weight that allowed to overcome rises even better. The new record in discipline of mountain races was soon set. After that the company moved to the city of Veybridzh. It was the correct decision as at once after moving of business went even better.
By 1911 on sale there was only the second modification of Zenith Gradua on which Oruid fork was established. The bike in two options – with the single-cylinder and V-shaped engine of the JAP model was issued. At the same time the large-scale advertizing campaign emphasis in which, mainly, was placed on a ban on participation in competitions in rise uphill began. It bore fruit, and sales volumes strongly increased.
In 1913-1914 new replenishment came to a model range of the Zenith company. The motorcycles made those years repeatedly were modernized. In particular, the kik-starter and the coupling of coupling began to be established an intermediate shaft with the chain drive. Finally single-cylinder engines ceased to be used.
In the years of World War I outputs strongly fell. The company tried to compensate it, having designed the army motorcycle with possibility of installation of a machine gun. However this project was unsuccessful and was rejected.
After war use of JAP engines and Gradua Gear system proceeded. Also the new longitudinal engine with two cylinders of 500 cubic centimeters was invented. Grenville Bradshaw who preferred to use oil cooling of the engine was the author of this unit. Two years later release of the road motorcycle with powerful motors in 996 "cubes" began. Then also the Gradua Gear system ceased to be used. Single-cylinder engines returned, for example, Bradshaw and Blackburne, and also the chain drive, popular those years, began to be used.
In 1929 the company the economic crisis took unawares. A good few of capacities switched to easy motorcycles. Among them – Villers and Super-8. On these baizes the Vitliers engine of 175, and later – 172 cubic centimeters was installed. By then the company had new progress on the sports arena. The Zenith motorcycle broke a world record again, now in speed on direct sites – the record indicator reached 200 kilometers per hour. And in 1930 this result was improved to 241 kilometers per hour by the racer Joe Wright supporting also Zenith. However newspapers of that time ranked this achievement to other firm – OES.
This record appeared the last serious success of the company. Crisis had an effect, and soon the Zenith enterprise was bought by the London investor heading dealer firm Writer. Production didn't stop, but gradually decreased. In sale generally former, old-fashioned models appeared. Replacement of traditional forks by new Dowty Oleomatic became the only improvement, but also it is special dividends didn't bring. There was an attempt to create the new motorcycle equipped with the engine of 1000 cubic centimeters, but also it ended with failure.
World War II finally killed the company, and after several years of fruitless efforts to revive former greatness, in 1950 the Zenith firm was ruined and was closed. So the 45-year history of the best mountain motorcycles of the beginning of the XX century interrupted.
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