Page 124. 1954 Phillips Gents Cyclemaster 32c

1954 Phillips Gents Cyclemaster 32c

Cyclemasters were sold as a wheel-with-engine that was easy to fit to the customers own bicycle. In early fifties Britain, few new vehicles were available for the home market as most were exported to help the country’s need for foreign exchange. Most folks had to rely on their trusty bicycles for transport and a cheap cycle-attachment engine was a viable option to add a few more miles per hour to the daily commute.

Several cycle manufacturers also supplied Cyclemaster Ltd with bicycle frames. So a customer could also buy a motorized bicycle ready to jump on and ride away. Mercury, Norman and Phillips were suppliers, and the Phillips frame you see here was the most funky of all the motorized frames available on the British market.

The reason for its ‘funkiness?’ – Phillips had copied American styling and added, to the front of its bicycle, a cosmetic fork brace that made its bicycle look more like a motorbike.


Phillips Cycle Co

In the 1950s, several cycle makers produced special cycles for ‘cyclemotorization.’ They would be supplied as a complete bike, or missing the rear wheel if a Cyclemaster was to be fitted. Phillips produced a range of such machines. Common features were:

  • Strengthened frame
  • Lower saddle position (more comfortable for powered riding but less suited to pedalling)
  • No rear brake on the Cyclemaster models; rear brake on the others was often a coaster hub
  • Braced (or sprung) front fork
  • Number plates
  • Lighting set designed to run off the engine
  • Lower than normal gearing – since pedals were mainly used for starting and assisting on hills.



The effect of the braces on the front fork must have been minimal, but at least they made it look stronger.

The mudguards were also upgraded, and are bigger and stronger than on a normal pedal cycle. Although extra mud protection might make an extra selling point, the most likely reason for them was that normal mudguards would not be reliable in supporting the weight of the number plates. You can compare this Gents Phillips (above) with a similar Ladies Phillips Cyclemaster I owned until a few years ago (below).


As described above, this front fork brace was actually a copy of American styling of the time. You might wonder why more British manufacturers didn’t copy it. American bicycles featured all sorts of over-the-top front fork arrangements, simply to make them look more like motorcycles. For example, the 1950 Huffman Dial-Your-Ride featured most over-the-top front fork ever made. I’m restoring the one below. To see more of it PLEASE CLICK HERE

Bear in mind though that, in 1950s America, the main market for bicycles was teenagers. By age sixteen or so, most drove cars. In contrast, in Great Britain at this time, petrol rationing was still in force. Bicycles were the mainstay of adult transport. With price the main selling point, we didn’t need fancy front forks on our bikes.


You could also compare the Phillips Motorised Bicycle. Phillips sold this as a complete machine (though the cycle parts are the same as used on their ordinary bicycle). The frame is the same as that made for the Cyclemaster.

Compare it to the ordinary Phillips cycle…

Phillips also sold this type of cycle with a factory-fitted Vincent Firefly engine; it was called the Vincent Power Cycle (see below)


You can see more pics of this Vincent Power Cycle (that I built and sold in 2009) – PLEASE CLICK HERE

According to the Moped Archive (the greatest source of information on postwar cyclemotors) the rear carrier was offset on these Phillips cycles:

‘The carrier is offset to the left so that the carrier stay keeps clear of the Cyclemaster’s fuel tank. This was a cunning re-use of tooling by Phillips. The offset carrier was originally produced for military cycles; the offset made room for slinging a rifle alongside the bike frame.’

[taken from


GRG 609

In due course, I’ll get round to restoring this Cyclemaster. In the meantime, I’m just sharing its pictures and history with you.

It sports heavy duty Phillips pedals.



OWNER: BuyVintage Online Auctions

LOCATION: Brighton, E.Sussex, United Kingdom

DELIVERY: is not included in this auction. Our website contains details of recommended delivery services.
United Kingdom – delivery is £50 for a cyclemotor  to most parts of the UK.
Europe – delivery is under €400 Germany, Austria, France, Italy, Spain, etc.
North America, Australia, New Zealand, Japan – we’ll organize shipping for you.

PAYMENT: Paypal is okay for cheap items; otherwise deposit only on paypal please.
International purchasers – I do not use paypal.

AFTER PURCHASE: Please email me your phone numbers; I prefer to speak to all purchasers personally.

FEEDBACK: I do everything I can to make your purchase a pleasurable experience. But I only leave feedback when someone has taken the trouble to leave it for me.

VEHICLE CONDITION: Vintage vehicles are wonderful beasts – but each has an individual personality and they sometimes have bad days just like you and me.
You will need basic mechanical skills (or a local mechanic) to use one on a regular basis.
2-Stroke engines – and cyclemotors in particular – are notoriously unreliable. Basic servicing is generally required if unused for even a few weeks.

These are rare vehicles whose values are not necessarily based on running order.
Unless an auction description specifically states that the vehicle is running, THE VEHICLE IS SOLD FOR RESTORATION.



If you have any questions about this (or any other vehicle in these BuyVintage Online Auctions),
you can contact Colin in our Customer Service Department between 9am and 7pm daily:

By Phone – (UK 0044) 07866-126469

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Published on June 4, 2008 at 6:27 am  Leave a Comment  

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