One of the First Motorbikes Ever Up for Grabs
Their design was powered by a twin-cylinder, water-cooled, four-stroke engine displacing 1,488cc, which until recently was the largest power unit ever fitted to a motorcycle. Despite a maximum power output of only 2.5bhp at 240rpm, the H&W was capable of speeds of almost 30 mph.
“Patented in January 1894, H&W's motorcycle was greeted with considerable enthusiasm and plans were drawn up to build a factory in Munich to produce it. It was also licensed to a firm in France and marketed there as 'La Petrolette',” a company statement reads.
“Despite some impressive demonstration performances by factory riders, the H&W's shortcomings became all too apparent once deliveries to paying customers commenced, and early in 1897 both the German and French ventures collapsed. Opinions differ with regard to how many machines were produced, figures range from as low as 800 to as high as 2,000. Survivors are, needless to say, exceedingly rare.”
The example on offer by Bomhams has been in the ownership of the vendor's family in the USA since at least the early 1930s, which is when it last ran. Presented in original, unrestored condition, the machine is estimated at £40,000 – 60,000.