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 Rover - 500 Sport
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Photo ou archives : F-M. Dumas

Capacity : 500
Model : Sport
Production : 1912 - 1914
Category : (R) Street Bike


500 Sport & Racing - 1913

Proof of reliability

Best known as an engine maker, Rover was a pioneer of the cycle industry in the 1880s and once was a well-known manufacturer of motorcycles, building its first in 1902 and the last in 1925.

Quality and Reliability

The firm rapidly became famous for its quality and reliability. In 1913, Rover developed a 500cc side-valve machine with an own-make engine, entering a team in the Isle of Man TT. But the works machines already had an oddly dated air, with a high saddle position inherited from the pedal bicycles, and the standard model still used direct-belt drive from the crankshaft pulley and the rear wheel, without a clutch or gearbox.

Insurmountable Handicap Realizing that this would be a huge handicap in the TT, Rover fitted its racing bikes with the Philipson pulley, a kind of rudimentary clutch with moveable cheeks that could be moved apart to allow the belt to slip or closed to give a higher drive ratio. Rover's participation in the TT was intended to demonstrate the reliability of the standard production machine rather than to win big-money prizes. It was very successful in this respect, since the three Rovers entered finished in 15th, 19th and 28th places. The cast-iron pistons were lightened by holes made with a hand drill. The lack of a gearbox was a grave handicap in the struggle with the more advanced Scott, Indian, Sunbeam and Rudge machines.


Engine: 499cc (85x88mm) air-cooled single-cylinder four-stroke; magneto ignition; total loss lubrication

Power Rating: 6 hp @ 3200 rpm

Valves: side

Fuel System: carburet or

Transmission: direct-belt drive with Philipson variable pulley

Suspension: Druid girder forks (front); rigid (rear)

Brakes: cycle-type rim brake (front); belt rim (rear)

Wheels: 26x2.50 inch wire clincher (front & rear)

Weight: 194 lb

Maximum Speed: 65 mph

Rover's entry in the Tourist Trophy race was a bold attempt to prove that its production machines could perform well in competition.

Le fichier Moto Passion réalisé par François-Marie Dumas réunit près de deux mille photos accompagnées d'un historique très complet des machines présentées.
Il sera progressivement mis à jour ici et toute information complémentaire est la bienvenue sur info@moto-collection.org.

Cette documentation unique, qui constitue sans doute l'encyclopédie la plus exhaustive jamais écrite sur l'histoire de la moto, a été réalisée avec l'assistance de nombreux spécialistes dont principalement Didier Ganneau, Christophe Gaime, Mick Woollett, Jean Goyard, Bernard Salvat, Christian Rey, Yves Campion, Helmut Krackowizer, Michael Dregni, Michel Montange, etc. que je remercie ici.

Disponible sur demande :
- Les fiches originales sur papier
- Les photos et archives signées de mon nom en haute définition ou les documents originaux.
Me contacter sur info@moto-collection.org pour les conditions et droits d'utilisation.