Motorcycle Throwback - The 1931 Sunbeam Lion
Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Motorcycle Throwback - The 1931 Sunbeam Lion

In the early 1900's John Marston and his sons were famous for their high quality bicycles. But, just like everyone else, they became caught up in the new motorcycle frenzy and began to experiment with putting an engine on their bike frames. In 1912, John Marston succeeded in producing his first motorcycle. The bike had a 350 cc side valve engine with a two speed gearbox. And as Marston's motorcycles evolved over the years along with the technologies, the Sunbeam motorcycle line became known for its impeccable quality.

In the early years of the company's motorcycle producing history, Sunbeam motorcycles was one of the leading manufacturers in producing premium motorcycles. Each bike was known to have a standard of excellence and perfection.

But as the depression took its toll, the company went into the 1930's with the intent on changing things up a bit in order to save money. No longer were parts made in house, they began to be shipped in from other manufacturers. This greatly changed the range of motorcycles that were being produced. This 1931 Sunbeam Lion was a restyled version of the pervious Model 6 Longstroke. Rather than featuring the typical soldered petrol tank Sunbeam gas tank, the Lion had a welded, chrome plated tank that was brought in by another manufacturer.

Sunbeam   The 1931 Sunbeam Lion was the beginning of the end for the Sunbeam brand.
Sunbeam's motorcycles were a high brow brand; marketed as the "Gentleman's Motor Bicycle."   The 1931 Sunbeam Lion was the beginning of the end for the Sunbeam brand.

The changes to the bikes allowed the company to drop the prices of the motorcycles in order to help with the depression. Unfortunately, Sunbeam motorcycles were known as being a high brow brand with exceptional standards. The changes to the bikes affected their quality, which killed their reputation. It wasn't long before sales began to drop to a perilously low rate. By 1937, all production had stopped and the Sunbeam company and factory was absorbed by the ICI. But regardless of how the life of Sunbeam motorcycles came to an end, their rides are still known for their exceptional quality. Even today, many of them are still around and looking good.

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