Page 27. 1923 Hobart McKenzie 169cc SOLD

1923 Hobart McKenzie 169cc 2-stroke

‘suitable for lady or gentleman’

1923_McKenzie_1 copy.jpg


The McKenzie is an attractive machine. I particularly like unusual the design of the frame which, as stated below, is practically identical to the pre-WW1 Humber.

It was not manufactured for long – by the mid-twenties you could buy a car for £100 and there was extreme competition among manufacturers of lightweight motorcycles. So these days the model is quite rare.

1923_McKenzie_2 copy.jpg

I have not done anything to this machine since I bought it. It does not run, so I’m not sure how much tinkering will be required to put it on the road. It is sold for restoration.

1923_McKenzie_12 copy.jpg


Following World War One Mr G McKenzie marketed an “ultralight motor cycle” as the type was then known. From an engineering point of view, there does not appear to have been anything new about the McKenzie design, the pre-first world war Lady’s Humber in the Coventry Museum of Transport being virtually identical. McKenzie planned to sell his bikes through franchised cycle shops, and bring cheap motorised transport to the masses.

The bike itself was made by the Hobart Cycle Co Ltd of Coventry. The early model had an open frame with solid rear end and spring front forks.

It’s interesting to note that, though we now describe all open cycles as ‘Ladies Models,’ McKenzie actually marketed this first design as ‘suitable for lady or gentleman’ as only one model was sold. If you’ve wondered why ladies bicycles of the 1910’s and 1920’s were usually so large, it’s because women were not their only users – they were also sold as ‘Ecclesiastical Cycles,’ to be used by priests, whose cassocks made gents models unsuitable.

The engine is also of Hobart make. Bore and stroke, unusually for that time, are both 60mm, giving a capacity of 169cc. With the whole machine weighing only 75lbs you might expect a lively performance but a road test of 1923 mentions “the maximum being about 28mph. At the legal limit, the McKenzie is very comfortable and can be ridden ‘hands off’.”

The deflector type piston is cast iron with three rings in two grooves: two in one groove at the top. It has plain bronze bushes for small end, big end and mains. The crankshaft is most unusual, being in two parts. The left hand part drives a large flywheel with integral belt pulley, which, by means of a leather belt, drives the back wheel. The right hand bob weight has an oblong slot that engages with flats on the end of the crank-pin, thus drive is taken to a 3 gear train that operates the ‘Baby Fellows’ magneto that is mounted behind the engine.


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1923_McKenzie_7 copy.jpg

1923_McKenzie_8 copy.jpg

1923_McKenzie_9 copy.jpg

1923_McKenzie_10 copy.jpg

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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 £70 for a 2-wheeler 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 February 26, 2008 at 12:34 pm  Leave a Comment  

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