In 1899 Edwin Perks and Frank Birch unveiled their ‘Motor-Wheel’ design. A year later close neighbour, the Singer Cycle Company acquired the rights to the P&B Motorwheel, to create motorized versions of their tricycles and bicycles.
The Motor-Wheel consisted of an eight-spoked cast-aluminium wheel containing a single cylinder engine unit and fuel tank and was designed to simply replace the front or rear wheel of a pedal cycle. Noteworthy features include auxiliary fuel and oil tanks suspended from the crossbar, protected by a leather case, an option available from 1901 that greatly increased the range.
It was an unorthodox but successful design of the period although it was reported that on bad roads the ride was uncomfortable, as the relatively heavy wheel banged into every pothole and bounced over every bump.
Very few Singer tricycles are known of, making this an exceptionally rare machine from motoring’s pioneering age.