Founded in Gloucester, England in 1920, Cotton Motorcycles became a hallmark by its own fame. Seven years prior to the opening of Cotton Motorcycles, founder Francis Willoughby Cotton, first designed the Cotton Motorcycle which would utilise the same triangulated design until 1939. As a lawyer by trade, Francis Willoughby Cotton was more than able to fend off any person or company who even thought of attempting to steal his motorcycle design.
The first time a Cotton Motorcycle was to be raced at the Isle of Man TT it was ridden by none other than Stanley Woods who won his first Junior TT championship a year later in 1923.
A Cotton Motorcycle driven by Stanley Woods also pulled two second place wins in 1924, and another two second places in 1925 and managed to pull a first place win in 1926 for the Lightweight division, when the Cotton Motorcycle managed not one but 3 first place wins.
Although these wins would be the peak of Cotton Motorcycle racing history, it was never about the wins, it managed to put Cotton Motorcycles in the view of the public, which it did very successfully.
By 1930 when the depression started, the effects of Cotton motorcycle Isle of Man TT wins started to wear off forcing Cotton Motorcycles into hard times. To counter set the effects of the depression Cotton Motorcycles began to offer a wide range of models using other companies' proprietary engines, which were mounted into Cotton's own rigid, but light frames.
By 1933 the range of Cotton Motorcycle Models extended a bit to include 250 cc two stroke Villiers engines, both side valve and over head valve JAP engines as well as an over head valve Python engine. Cotton Motorcycles had 17 models, and produced one of each model every week which in those times amounted to good sales and even better income and profits.
By 1934 Cotton Motorcycles upped the anti with two more models, all of which still utilised Cotton's original and distinctive triangular motorcycle frame. Cotton also had several variations from his original concept but those variations were limited in production and usually included different tanks and wheels, but these variations were of limited production.
1936 brought around Cotton Motorcycle's first Super sport motorcycle with a whopping 500 cc JAP engine and also modified one of their Blackburne engine motorcycles into a super sport.
By the end of 1939, Cotton Motorcycle began to offer a small two-stroke model that was released with a 122 cc Villiers engine. Although this smaller motorcycle may have been cheap it still maintained the triangular frame design that Cotton had used on all of its motorcycles since their first production model in 1920 just in a smaller version of the original form.
By the late 1950's, many Cotton Motorcycle models had been dropped, but the company managed to continue into the 1960's.
Original Authors: Nicholas
Edit Update Authors: M.A.Harris
Updated On: 02/06/2008