FN 3 hp four-cylinder motor cycle, 1905.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Early in the 20th century a few motorcycle designers, hoping to reduce vibration and improve reliability, produced large four-cylinder engined touring machines. Some of these were reasonably succesful begin with, but ultimately declined in popularity due more to their high initial cost rather than their technical complexity. This Belgian example was built by the Fabrique Nationale d'Armes de Guerre in Liege. The FN had a four-cylinder in-line engine gave a total capacity of 363cc, and a technically advanced transmision which included a pair of spur gears to the final drive contained within the rear frame stay. The design proved to be quite succesful, and manufacture in this general form continued until 1923.