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 Rudge - 500 Multi
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Rudge Multi motocyclette motorrad motorcycle vintage classic classique scooter roller moto scooter
Photo ou archives : F-M. Dumas

Capacity : 500
Model : Multi
Production : 1921 -
Category : (R) Street Bike


500 Multi - 1921

The first infinitely variable two-wheeler transmission

Rudge – already famed for its bicycles and its detachable wheels – was late on the motorcycle scene, but its first model, launched in 1911, made up for its late entry.

Complete Redesign

The company had carefully considered all the elements of the motorcycle. The engine had an overhead inlet valve and side exhaust, which allowed a more efficient combustion chamber shape. Starting was by a dedicated pedal gear, and the enclosed-spring girder front fork was of the very latest design. And from 1912, the famed Rudge "Multi" – its makers modestly talked of its "unapproachable perfection" – came on to the market.

A Single-Cylinder Multi

At first sight, it seems foolish to call this single-cylinder machine a "Multi ," but the designation in fact referred to the ingenious infinitely-variable belt drive invented by company founder John V. Pugh. A similar system is still in use on automatic scooters and small automobiles, and involves letting the front and rear pulley faces move together and apart, thus changing the effective sizes of the pulley (and the overall gear ratio) while keeping belt tension constant. It was so effective that it remained in production until 1923. This transmission gave Rudge a tremendous edge in competition, though the 1913 Tourist Trophy was lost by just five seconds because of rider error. In 1914, Cyril Pull in rode his Rudge to victory in the Senior TT at 49.5 mph. Rudge bikes were widely used in WWI, and from 1919, the 1000cc Vtwin "Multwin" was added to the Multi range.


Engine: 499cc (85x88mm) air-cooled single-cylinder four-stroke

Power Rating: 3.5 hp

Valves: overhead inlet, side exhaust

Fuel System: Senspray carburetor

Transmission: belt drive (ratios infinitel-variable between 3.5-7.00:1)

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

Brakes: none (front); belt rim (rear)

Wheels: 26x2.5 inch wire clincher (front & rear)

Weight: 190 lb

Maximum Speed: 70 mph

Because the Rudge singles were so tall, the upper frame tubes were bent sideways to accommodate them.

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.