Levis (motorcycle)

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A Levis motorcycle with the distinctive belt drive

Levis motorcycles (1911–1940), manufactured by Butterfields Ltd of Birmingham, England were for many years one of England's leading marques of two-stroke motorcycle. Levis built two-stroke machines from 1911, adding a line of four-strokes in 1928, which ran to 1941 when production ceased.[1]

The first Levis was made in the Norton works by designer Howard (Bob) Newey, but James Norton turned it down.[1]

Newey then joined with the Butterfields, Arthur and Billy, and sister Daisy, to set up a motorcycle company (Newey later married Daisy). Their first model had a capacity of 211 cc.[1]


In 1916 the 211 cc vertical two-stroke engine produced 3 hp (2.2 kW). An enclosed chain from the crankshaft drove the Fellows magneto and drive to the rear wheel was by Pedley ‘Vee’ belt. The machine weighed approximately 120 lb (54 kg).[2]

Their first racing success was in the Lightweight 250 class within the 1920 Isle of Man TT Junior race with a 247 cc machine, repeated in the 1922 TT Lightweight race. They then adopted the slogan, "The Master Two Stroke".[1]

Levis built 211 cc and 246 cc three-port single-cylinder machines, including sporting versions. Most had 67 mm (2.6 in) bore with a 70 mm (2.8 in) stroke, and there was also a six port model.[3]


1932 OHV 350 cc

From 1928 onward Levis produced 247 cc (67 mm (2.6 in) bore x 70 mm (2.8 in) stroke) and 346 cc (70 mm bore x 90 mm stroke) four-stroke ohv machines and later added 498 cc and 600 cc ohv four-strokes. For a brief period a 346 cc side valve single, and also a 247 cc sohc single with chain-driven overhead camshaft were available.[3]


Levis two strokes, ridden by Geoff Davison, R. O. Clark, Phil Pike and others, won many races including the 1922 Lightweight TT, while the four strokes excelled off-road. Percy Hunt rode a 346 cc model successfully in races, and just before World War II Bob Foster gained many wins on a Levis ohv 598 cc bike in trials and moto cross.[3]


In 2014 the brand of Levis motorcycles was acquired by David Redshaw of the Auto Crowd Group, a business providing online car, motorcycle, yacht and aviation clubs.[citation needed]


  • 1911–1925 211 cc Levis (TS Model 'Popular')
  • 1926 246 cc Levis (TS Model 'K')
  • 1927 246 cc Levis (TS Model 'O')
  • 1928 346 cc Levis (OHV Model 'A')
  • 1938 496 cc Levis (OHV Model 'D-Special')
(TS = Two Stroke)[3]


  1. ^ a b c d Ian Chadwick, British Bikes 1, retrieved 2006-11-26
  2. ^ Levis motorcycle, 1916, ScienceAndSociety, retrieved 2006-11-26
  3. ^ a b c d Erwin Tragatsch (ed.) (1979), The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Motorcycles (1988 Revised ed.), New Burlington Books, pp. 193–194, ISBN 0-906286-07-7CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)

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