Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Friday bike

..... nearly got forgotten! After I'd posted about the Spanish Civil War exhibition, I completely forgot about posting a Friday bike.

Wooler was a British motorcycle manufacturer founded in 1911. They built a range of distinctive bikes, including the one that I spotted at the bike show in Alford in 2009.

Due to the extended petrol tank and the yellow paint scheme, these were nicknamed the 'Flying Banana'.
The company built bikes until 1930 when they disappeared during the Great Depression.
However, in 1945 they reappeared with a revolutionary bike - a 500cc flat four with the cylinders stacked above each other, and linked by a 'beam' arrangement.

The bike had a lot of interesting features, including exhausts routed through the frame, all the electrics contained within the headlight nacelle, and a pump hidden inside the footrests. British Pathe featured the bike in one of their newsreels. Note how light the engine is, and how the bike really is 'garden shed engineering!'

Despite the positive sound of the newsreel, the bike never actually reached production. Wooler had another attempt, this time with a Gold Wing like flat four in 1953, but only about 5 examples were built before John Wooler passed away in 1956, and the company folded.
Another of the great 'if only' stories of the British bike industry.


  1. They used to have one in Murray's Motorcycle Museum on the Isle of Man. I always thought that it looked like a Douglas Dragonfly.

  2. There's also one of the 5 'Gold Wing' type in the National Motorcycle Museum in Birmingham: http://www.nationalmotorcyclemuseum.co.uk/museum/exhibits/Wooler/1953-500cc-Wooler/115/