The Strange Death of the British Motorcycle Industry

The Strange Death of the British Motor Cycle Industry


At long last, Steve Koerner presents an original and in-depth analysis, based on hitherto unused sources, of what really happened. Fascinating, detailed and totally convincing, this book provides the first thorough explanation of the strange death of the British motor cycle industry. New print version, back by popular demand.


Product Description

The British motor cycle industry once stood ‘at the top level of world production’. BSA, Ariel, Norton, Triumph, Matchless and Vincent led the world in design, technology, and popularity. After 1945, when the German industry failed to develop, British bikes continued to be untouchable both on the racetrack and in the showroom.

Then it all began to go horribly wrong. Lucrative overseas markets began to decline, and foreign scooters tore into the UK market. At the same time, rates of motorcycle accidents rose and many British consumers were deciding to buy cars instead of two-wheelers.

Finally there came a whirlwind from the East, as fierce competition arrived from innovative, sophisticated and more mechanically reliable Japanese machines. By the early 1970s, with alarming rapidity, the British motor cycle industry had all but disappeared.

‘Comprehensive, exhaustively researched, and fully annotated and indexed, if you were only to own one book on the demise of the British m otorcycle industry, The Strange Death of the British Motorcycle Industry is the one you must have.’

‘… covering aspects such as racing, exports, the changing image of motorcycling in the UK, industrial disputes, and national politics. This really is the definitive work.’

‘Enthusiasts who are snapping up new motorcycles made by the Hinckley-based Triumph company … would be well advised to read this industrial morality tale, so that they can appreciate what is now being done right. Readers more interested in the lessons to be learned from a one-time world-dominating industry reduced to ruins in the space of two or three decades will be equally well served.’

‘Steve Koerner is a well-trained and effective historian and his judgments are copiously and professionally end-noted.’

‘… handsomely produced and lavishly illustrated. The photographs – personal as well as archival – are well selected and not common.’

  • Author: Steve Koerner
  • Binding: Paperback
  • ISBN: 978-1-905472-03-1
  • Pages: 368
  • Illustrations: 100 Photographs
  • Size: 6 1/2″ x 9 1/2″

1 review for The Strange Death of the British Motor Cycle Industry

  1. :

    ‘Steve Koerner is to be congratulated for such a fascinating, exhaustively researched and thought-provoking tome.’ – Jonathan Hill

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

10% off prices for all online purchases - Just use code: CARN10 at checkout