Class A: More Wheels – Early Attempts for a Passenger Ride
In the early days of powered transport, a motorised bicycle (that’s really all the early two-wheelers were) was regarded as an outstanding success if the vehicle managed to reach its destination under its own power. However, particularly daring spannermen were already thinking more ambitiously and pondering how they might accommodate a passenger in the setup. These mechanics tried out a variety of different solutions and they continue to captivate today’s audience with their imagination.
Where might the motorcycle rider be able to offer his pillion passenger a suitable perch? The frames were hardly appropriate for this option. What’s more, it didn’t seem very gentlemanly to suggest that a lady should come on a trip sitting behind the rider astride a saddle on the frame. More comfortable, sophisticated seats were needed for the valued passengers. In actual fact, hobby mechanics tried out all the options that appeared theoretically feasible. Today, these experiments can be classified into four categories. Alongside tricycles, there were designs – usually also tricycles – that towed wicker seats on wheels rather like a trailer. Attempts were even made with two-wheelers but this solution proved to be not very practical on the streets of the day.
Forecars were a much better proposition. Engineers mounted two wheels on an armchair and they then fixed it to the motorcycle in place of the front wheel. The chauffeur sat behind and was always able to keep his eye on his guest. Rather simpler and certainly more elegant was attaching a lateral outrigger with a stabiliser wheel for the passenger seat. The constructor was able to decide whether a comfortable armchair or even a specially designed body could be provided for the passenger. Basic design features were already being engineered. Tricycles and motorcycles with sidecars were to shape future developments.