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Ariel

Ariel was established in 1870 by James Staley and William Hillman in Birmingham (UK) shortly after they invented the tensioned wire spoke wheel. At first the company produced Penny-Farthing bicycles called Ariel but by 1896 they ventured into motorised transport.  The Ariel Tricycle was a single seater that initially had a 2.25hp De Dion engine mounted behind the rear axle.  This however caused a tail heavy vehicle that would topple backwards in certain situations and so the rear frame was extended so that the engine could sit forward of the rear axle. You will notice in this photo that the tricycle has a cylindrical tank behind the seat.  This was a form of water cooling that would circulate water around a cast water passage that sat on top of the engine. The vehicles proved to be very popular but eventually lost favour for the inability to carry passengers.

In 1970 and now owned by the B.S.A group (since 1944), the Ariel name was used once more for a 50cc 2-stroke moped that was launched.  The “Ariel 3” was a 3-wheeler not only different to other mopeds at the time for having 3-wheels but it was also a tilting vehicle.  The front half of the moped was hinged and so the vehicle would tilt into corners whilst keeping all 3-wheels on the ground.  Production of the Ariel 3 was short and the moped was dropped along with the Ariel name shortly afterwards.

An 1898 Ariel Tricycle.  (This vehicle is in the National Motorcycle Museum, Solihull.  (UK))

An 1970 Ariel 3 Tricycle.  (Photo from http://www.mopedarmy.com)

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Museums:

The National Motorcycle Museum, Solihull (UK) has an 1898 Ariel Tricycle

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3-Wheelers.com:  View Links A - H

Google: Search for Ariel

 

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