Classic Bike Profiles – A Brief History of HRD Motorcycles

The company HRD takes its name from the initials of its founder Howard Davies. Howard was a very successful and famous rider long before he started making motorcycles in 1924. He rode a Sunbeam to joint second place in the 1914 Senior TT, After the Great War (during which we was shot down and mistakenly reported as being killed) Howard returned to racing in the early 1920’s when he had some success riding for the AJS team.In 1924, a decision was taken to start building motorcycles in Wolverhampton, and as was common at the time, a machine was designed using a combination of parts from the best suppliers. This led to a machine based on a JAP engine, Burman gearbox and Webb forks. The machines were launched at the 1925 Olympia show with three OHV models on display – the D70, D80 (both 344cc machines) and D90 (488cc).Howard was always keen to promote his machines as being based on his own racing experience, and continued to race to add strength to this claim. He rode in the 1925 TT races where we won the Senior and finished second in the Junior.In 1926, the Super 90 was launched. This was a twin-port OHV 500cc machine. Other changes were made to the range during 1926 and 1927 including the addition of the Super 600 with a 597cc OHV engine. Smaller side valve and overhead valve models were also introduced, but by this time, the company was experiencing financial difficulties. At the end of 1928, the firm was sold to Enrie Humphries of OK Supreme, who soon sold it again to Philip Vincent. And that is the start of another great story….HRD is a name that, in its own right, had a very short life, but went on for many decades after its demise.