If you’re a fan of historic British motorcycles, chances are good that you’re at least a little familiar with the Rudge Ulster. For everyone else, the Rudge Motorcycle Company was formed when bicycle makers Whitworth Cycle Company and Rudge Cycle Company came together in 1894. The Ulster—of which a restored 1933 example is currently up for auction on Bring A Trailer—is one of its most famous creations.
Motorcycle racer Graham Walker won the 1928 Ulster Grand Prix aboard a Rudge, managing an average speed of over 80mph. This was a first at that time, and Rudge naturally capitalized on that victory by creating the Rudge Ulster model as a race replica to sell to the public.
The National Motorcycle Museum wrote that “early Rudge engines used parallel valves in a pent-roof combustion chamber. Later valve trains used four valves, and some were radial in layout, much like systems Honda introduced in the 1980’s.” This 1933 example is a four valve variant, with a pair each of parallel intake valves and radial exhaust valves within the 499cc single-cylinder engine.
Gallery: 1933 Rudge Ulster
The early days of motorcycling saw a frenetic pace of innovation, and Rudge was responsible for a number of advances still in use in some form today. For example, the Rudge Multi is widely credited as the first automatic, and a forerunner of the continuously variable transmission. We can also thank Rudge for the advent of linked brakes, among other things.
This specific 1933 Rudge Ulster is up for sale now on Bring A Trailer with no reserve. It was fully restored in 1994, and as you can see from this video, there are literally stacks of documentation and books from the restoration to go along with this sale. It has sat in the previous owner’s living room as a display piece for the past 10 years, and according to the seller in this video, had not been run over that time.
The fuel tank on the bike was sealed at one point, but the sealant is beginning to delaminate. As a result, in the walk-around video above, you’ll see that seller Denwerks starts the bike with an external fuel tank.
This auction ends on December 27, 2019, and bidding is currently up to $7,500 on this no-reserve auction. You can read more details and see tons more photos on Bring A Trailer.