Page 126. 1961 Lambretta Trojan Trobike (98cc Villiers) The 1st British Minibike. SOLD

Photograph of Trojan decal fitted to Trobike front mudguard

1961 Trojan Trobike 98cc Villiers


Folks often offer me a motorcycle and say something like “there are less than ten of this model still in existence.” I really like obscure vintage vehicles, but I feel obliged to point out that there are dozens of machines of similar rarity. It surprises people at first. However, when you think about it further, you realize there are many hundreds of obscure British motorcycle models from the first 60 years of the last century.


Most small motorcycle manufacturers could only afford low volume production, often because their output was really still only at a prototype stage, to be launched upon an unsuspecting public who had to experience its inherent faults before the model was updated – or withdrawn. Consider the Cylemaster Piatti, for example – an atrocious scooter. Even larger manufacturers, such as BSA with their Dandy, made sub-standard models.


The Trobike was novel in its day, being one of the first British ‘minibikes.’ Unfortunately it was fitted with an  atrocious American pull-start Clinton lawnmower engine. I hate those engines. Maybe you could put up with pulling on a cord constantly to try and start your lawnmower, but that’s not good enough, in my opinion, for a motorcycle. Though I suppose Trojan didn’t make enough Trobikes for it to matter.

This one has had a sensible engine transplant. Obviously a previous owner shared my dislike of Clintons because, at some time in its life, it was fitted with a Villiers Mark 1F engine.

The Villiers is obviously a far superior engine, with easy spares availability (Villiers still supply parts). This one starts easily and runs well.

The tyres on the  Trobike are good, with new inner tubes. These 5 inch tyres are fitted to go-karts and mobility scooters, so are easily obtainable. As the Trobike started life as an offshoot of Trojan’s Trokart, it was obviously logical to fit the same wheels and tyres.

The brakes work, the bike has recently been serviced, and you can see a video of it running further down the page.




Trojan Ltd, Purley Way, Croydon, Surrey.

Telephone MUNicipal 2499.


Trobike was one of the early makes of mini-bike and also one of the earliest to be sold in kit form to avoid purchase tax. The Trojan Lambretta group was founded in 1959 when Lambretta Concessioinaires Ltd took over Trojan Ltd, one of the oldest firms in the British motor industry. At about the time the group owned the Clinton Engine Corporation of Maquoketa, Iowa, USA.

Clinton were world famous for their engines used in lawnmowers and chainsaws. At this time many were supplied for use in portable generators, paint sprayers etc.

During the late 1950s the British public were becoming aware of the craze sweeping teenage America – karting (or go-karting). The sport arrived in Britain with US servicemen bringing outfits over and even making their own.

At first, the most popular engine was the 2.5 HP 95 cc Clinton engine – being both readily available and cheap. By 1959 Trojan began making the Trokart using this engine and sold as a kit to avoid purchase tax, it sold for only £25. By 1963 it was estimated that 250,000 engines in the US and 10,000 in Britain had been sold; all for karting.

The first printed mention of the Trobike is June 1960 and the first road test published on Thursday 22nd December 1960 in Motor Cycling with Scooter Weekly. The price then quoted was £35 in kit form although two adverts in 1962 quoted £29.

By November 1961 the factory, also producing the Lambretta scooters, had also tooled up to produce the Heinkel three-wheeled bubble car, then know as the Trojan Cabin Cruiser. It seems that the Trobike was a limited success with perhaps only 500-600 being sold over the two-year period – the last confirmed despatch being 6th March 1962. Known frame numbers range from TB504 to TB1090.

The very last machines were sold to a farmer and known as the Sussex Miniscooter. Later still, a variant known as the Lowline Chimp appeared using a very similar frame and again a Clinton engine.

Originally, machines had black handlebar rubbers but some later models were fitted with buff-coloured rubbers. The twistgrip on early machines (as appear on factory literature) was manufactured by Amal with the cable entering parallel to the handlebars. Later bikes had the more typical Amal twistgrip with the cable entering from below. Later models were fitted with a bashplate between the lower frame downtubes (by frame number TB879). The bashplate was dual purpose; to stop dirt entering the air filter and also to protect the carburettor from damage. Even later models (by frame number TB1029) were fitted with a further small light steel plate shielding the carburettor float bowl and fitted under the heads of the front two engine mounting bolts.


Manufacturer: Trojan Ltd, Purley Way, Croydon, Surrey. Telephone MUNicipal 2499.
Model: Trobike.
Wheels: Trojan pressed steel 5-inch (130 mm) split rim with tapered roller bearings.
Tyres: Front 3.00 x 5 Dunlop, Rear 3.50 x 5 Dunlop.
Tyre pressures: 20 pounds per square inch.
Accelerator and Brake linkage: Enclosed cable.
Brakes: two 5-inch (130 mm) drums.
Chassis: ⅞ inch tubular steel, duplex.
Colour: White frame, red mudguards, black seat, yellow engine.
Chain: ⅜ inch pitch x 7/32 inch wide. 105 links.
Engine sprocket: 12 tooth.
Rear sprocket: 64 tooth.
Starter: Recoil.
Cut-out switch: Push button.
Overall length: 48 inches.
Width over handlebars: 21 inches.
Wheelbase: 37 inches.
Height over top of handlebars: 28½ inches.
Seat height: 23 inches.
Engine: Clinton A490 Panther 2-stroke (de-governed for Trobike application).
Lubrication: Petroil, 16:1 ratio.
Cylinder size: Bore 2⅛ inch (54mm), Stroke 1⅝ inch (41mm).
Capacity: 95cc
Power: 2.5 b.h.p. at 3800 R.P.M.
Fuel tank: All-welded ⅜ gall tank mounted on engine.
Transmission: Single speed via Clinton centrifugal clutch.
Electrical: Flywheel magneto.
Suspension: None.
Weight: 60 pounds.
Max speed: 32mph
0-30mph: 21 seconds
Braking distance: 28 ft (8.5 m) @ 30mph
Quote from Trobike brochure: “The really featherweight runabout.” “Build it yourself for garden or road use.”

Frame. The frame is manufactured from high-quality steel tube which is electrically welded to resist shock and impact. The steering head is mounted on ball bearings to provide ease and smoothness of movement. The front mudguard and the integral rear chain and mudguard are built of resin reinforced glass fibre and finished in red to contrast with the white enamel finish of the frame assembly.

Engine. The Clinton A490 Panther 2-stroke engine is centrally mounted to ensure perfect balance at all speeds. The engine position is adjustable to suit chain tension. The starting is by recoil starter, power being delivered to the rear wheel through and automatic centrifugal clutch which comes into effect upon opening of the throttle.

Models. Two models – the Garden Model and Road Model – are basically similar, with the difference that the Garden Model does not include number plates, front wheel brake and brake lever, hooter or tax disc. Trobikes have and eye-catching colour scheme – white frames, forks, handlebars, and wheels – yellow engines – red chain/mudguards. A foam rubber saddle covered with black plastic leather cloth is fitted to each machine.

Wheels. Wheels are made from extremely strong pressed steel and are of the split rim type for easy tyre removal. Both front and rear wheels run on opposed high-grade taper roller bearings on an alloy steel spindle, which is designed for easy wheel removal. Highly efficient car type internal expanding brakes are used.







I forgot to re-fit the flywheel cover on some of the above photos, but here’s a photo, below, with the cover on.











OWNER: BuyVintage Online Auctions

LOCATION: Brighton, E.Sussex, United Kingdom


DELIVERY is not included in this auction.

This means that it is not my responsibility,

BUT I can put you in touch with a delivery chap and organize collection;

you liaise with them direct re delivery and pay them separately.

Great Britain delivery is ONLY £45 for this motorcycle to main parts of England;

extra to extremities such as Scotland, Wales, Cornwall, etc (and may take longer to arrive)

(Please email your postcode if you want to confirm price).


(Collection when they’re in my area; delivery when in yours).


If you want it fast, please organize your own collection.


Ireland & N. Ireland – I’ll recommend some companies, but you’ll have to organize it yourself.

Europe – delivery is probably around €400 to Germany, Austria, France, Italy, Spain, etc. I can recommend two companies.

North America, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, etc – I’ll organize all the crating and shipping for you.

PAYMENT: Paypal is okay for cheap items; otherwise deposit only on paypal please.


You must communicate with me before the end of the auction to discuss payment and shipping options.


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

I do everything I can to make your purchase a pleasurable experience.

I’ve been selling obscure vintage vehicles on ebay since 2002.

Sharing similar interests, I’ve become good friends with many of my customers.

Please feel free to email or phone with any comments or questions…


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.

Two-strokes invariably need basic servicing before starting them, if they’ve been left to stand for more than 3 weeks or so.

These are rare vehicles whose values are not necessarily based on running order.




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:

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Published on June 5, 2008 at 6:46 pm  Leave a Comment  

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