H.B. motorcycles

H.B. motorcycles were produced by Hill Brothers of Walsall Street, Wolverhampton. The company was founded in 1914 by brothers Walter Hill, Tom Hill and Roland Hill.

Their first model, using a 2¾hp., side-valve, Blackburne engine, was launched in 1919, and sold for £73.10s.0d. Due to the high rate of inflation at the time, the selling price had increased to £99.15s.0d. by 1921.

From an edition of 'The Motor Cycle' dated 27th November, 1919.

The H.B. 2¾hp. two-speed, solo mount, medium-weight machine, powered by a Blackburne engine. From 'The Motor Cycle' magazine of 4th September, 1919. Courtesy of the late Jim Boulton.
The 2¾hp. medium-weight machine from 1919 had a 350c.c. Blackburne engine, and a 2-speed gearbox mounted below the bottom bracket, with a speed-change lever mounted on a lug on the frame below the tank, that was fitted with a patent spring selector. The drive consisted of a ¼ inch Coventry chain from the gearbox, and a ¾ inch Dunlop belt to the rear wheel. The machine had a kick starter, a hand-operated Ferodo lined clutch, and a Brooks saddle.

It had an unusual silencer that it was carried together with the tail pipe, within a neat sub-frame which carried the foot boards. Downward sloping slots in the rear fork ends allowed the rear wheel to be easily detached. The mudguards were very wide, with a substantial flap on the front mudguard to prevent splashes reaching the rider. The machine was finished in black, and lined in gold.

An H.B. machine from 1921.

H.B. machines had a chain and belt drive until 1921, when an all-chain drive version was released.

Although sales were poor, the company increased its product range to five models in 1922.

Sales didn't improve and production ended in 1923.

An advert from the 25th March, 1920 edition of 'The Motor Cycle'. Courtesy of the late Jim Boulton.

The photograph on the right is of Roland Hill, who rode in the 1922 Isle of Man T.T. on a 350c.c. H.B. machine. He achieved an average speed of 50m.p.h.on the 27 mile course and had high hopes of winning the race.

Unfortunately a change of tyres, 24 hours before the race, led to his downfall.

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