HRD Motorcycles
HRD Motors Ltd was a British motorcycle
A motorcycle is a single-track, two-wheeled motor vehicle. Motorcycles vary considerably depending on the task for which they are designed, such as long distance travel, navigating congested urban traffic, cruising, sport and racing, or off-road conditions.Motorcycles are one of the most...

 manufacturer in the 1920s. It was founded by Howard Raymond Davies. He had worked in motorcycling, and had raced with some success in the mid-twenties, but often not finishing due to unreliability. This inspired him to build a reliable performance motorcycle, using the advertising slogan "Built by a rider". Others also aimed at a similar market, like George Brough of Brough Superior
Brough Superior
Brough Superior motorcycles, sidecars, and motor cars were made by George Brough in his Brough Superior works on Haydn Road in Nottingham, England, from 1919 to 1940. They were dubbed the "Rolls-Royce of Motorcycles" by H. D. Teague of The Motor Cycle newspaper. Approximately 3,048 of 19 models...


After the First World War many motorcycle makers assembled their machines from engines and other major components sourced from different manufacturers. Davies' goal was to build a superior motorcycle from the best components available.

Motorcycles were produced from 1924 to 1928, but the undercapitalised company, although having a reputation for performance, struggled to survive, and was ultimately sold to OK-Supreme
OK-Supreme was a British motorcycle manufacturer from 1899 to 1939 located in Birmingham. Grass-track racing versions of the machines continued to be available until 1946.-History:...

, who then sold the name and goodwill to Philip C Vincent. The name was then incorporated into a new company, The Vincent HRD Company Ltd


In 1924, with E J Massey, the first HRD motorcycles were built. Motors were sourced from JA Prestwich Industries Ltd
JA Prestwich Industries Ltd
JA Prestwich Industries, was an English engineering company named after founder John Alfred Prestwich, which produced cinematographic equipment, internal combustion engines , and other examples of precision engineering.-History:J. A...

 (JAP), close ratio gearboxes from Burman
Burman and Sons Ltd
Burman and Sons Ltd, of Ryland Road, Birmingham, England, manufactured Burman-Douglas steering gear.Their recirculating worm and ball design of steering gear was fitted to pre-war vehicles such as the Ford Eight and the Ford Prefect, the Bedford CA, plus many other vehicles - both pre and post-war....

, forks from Druid or Webb, chains from Renolds, oil pumps from Pilgrim, and carburettors from Binks. The bikes targeted the more affluent among the mechanically-minded, with sporting performance and quality components.
  • 1924 Models
  • HD90 – 500 cc JAP racing engine – 90 mi/h – 90 guineas
  • HD80 – 350 cc JAP OHV double port – 80 mi/h – 80 guineas
  • HD70 – 350 cc JAP OHV – 70 mi/h – 70 guineas
  • HD70 S – 500 cc JAP sports sidevalve – 70 mi/h – Solo: 66 guineas, Sidecar: 83 guineas


In 1925 Davies rode his own motorcycles at the Isle of Man TT
Isle of Man TT
The International Isle of Man TT Race is a motorcycle racing event held on the Isle of Man and was for many years the most prestigious motorcycle race in the world...

, coming second in the Junior and winning the Senior. This brought in orders, but while appearing successful the firm was losing money. The first premises were too small, so they had to enlarge, but were undercapitalised. There was always a waiting list, but only small numbers were produced. In September H Le Vack set a speed record of 104.41 mi/h on an HRD at Brooklands
Brooklands was a motor racing circuit and aerodrome built near Weybridge in Surrey, England. It opened in 1907, and was the world's first purpose-built motorsport venue, as well as one of Britain's first airfields...

  • 1925 Models
  • HD Super90 – 500 cc JAP twin port engine – 100 mi/h – 98 guineas


In 1926 the opposition at the TT were faster, and the best placing for HRD was fifth.
The model range was broadened, but production didn't meet demand. A general strike inflicted more financial damage.
  • 1926 Models
  • HD75 – 500 cc Jap OHV engine – 75 mi/h – 75 guineas
  • HD 600 De Luxe – 600 cc JAP sidevalve – 72 guineas
  • HD65 – 350 cc JAP OHV – 65 mi/h – 65 guineas
  • HD60 – 350 cc JAP sidevalve – 60 mi/h – 60 guineas
  • The HD Super 90 gained the option of a 600 cc JAP OHV motor, raising the price by 5 guineas.


In 1927 Freddie Dixon took first place in the Junior TT, and sixth in the Senior for HRD. Despite this victory, the financial situation worsened.

Sold to Vincent

In January 1928, the company entered voluntary liquidation. It was bought by Ernest Humphries (of OK Supreme Motors), who sold the name, tooling and patterns to Philip C Vincent for £450 in May, 1928. Vincent subsequently formed The Vincent HRD Company later that year.

External links

HRD History
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