Ner-a-Car motor bicycle, 1925.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
This motorcycle was designed by the American Carl A Neracher in 1920, and built by the Sheffield-Simplex Company in Kingston, Surrey. The design was based in some respects on contemporary motor car lines, and its innovative hub-centre steering and low centre of gravity gave remarkable stability and enabled the use of efficient mudguards. The original two-stroke 285cc engine lacked power, allowing a top speed of only 35 mph, and the friction-drive transmision produced problems. Popularity increased somewhat with later models, but the Ner-a-Car's unusual appearance was a disadvantage and production ended in 1927.