History Revisited

Royal Ruby

Standard 2-stroke Lightweight Motorcycle

Our Royal Ruby was built at the end of 1913 and was used during the First World War by Sargent W.F.A Way of the 2nd East Anglian Field Ambulance.


This motorcycle has a Villiers 269cc 2 stroke Engine using its original “O” marked Villiers engine which has recently had a full engine restore.


This motorcycle starts first time and runs at about 30 mph. 

The engine has had a full rebuild with all original parts with the engine number is 01920. The Motorcycle's frame number 81042 is original and in great condition. Most features on this bike are original and have been restored. 


Motorcycle Manufacturer Brochure details from 1914:

Royal Ruby - Standard 2-stroke Lightweight Motorcycle.

Frame: Royal Ruby - Low Built, soundly constructed and with dropped back, giving low position. Height: 29" from ground to top of saddle. Made throughout of Royal Ruby fittings and best quality weldless tubing.

Forks: Druid Lightweight (manufactured under Drew's Patent).

Engine: Villiers 2½ h.p. 2-stroke, 70 m.m. X 70 m.m. with c.c.269. Big end roller bearing, patent system of lubrication, extra long bronze gas tight bearings, forged steel fly-wheel, patent double silencers.

Magneto: Original Thomson Bennett magneto fitted.

*Royal Ruby supplied an optional E.I.C Magneto.

Carburetter: Original Upgraded Brown & Barlow Carb

*Royal Ruby supplied optional A.M.A.C Special

Brakes: Bowden front brake, with outside lever and belt rim brake, operated by foot pedal, carried independently from footrest.

*This motorcycle has a Bowden front rod brake and currently has no rear brake.

Belt: Dunlop ¾ inch.

Saddle: Middlemore & Lamplugh's Pan Seat, padded top.

Carrier: Tubular, very strong.

Tank: Specially well made, holding 1¼ gallons of petrol and 1½ gills of oil, resting on rubber cushions, and fastened on two supports brazed to the frame. Enamelled in rich Ruby colour and lined in real gold leaf.

*Optional - Lubrication: From separate chamber in tank through Best & Lloyd's sight Drip Feed

Control: Ignition from Lever fastened to tank. Carburetter levers on handlebar. Compression release by outside lever worked with Bowden Wire from handlebar.

Handlebar: Simple or semi T.T (Optional)

Mudguards: Deep section steel, with side shields to front and rear, also belt shield on rear guards.

Stand: Good rear stand.

Wheels: 26 in. X 2 in. Beaded Edge Rims, well enamelled black all over and fitted with good quality hubs.

Bags: Side bag with metal case.

Tools: Good set of tools in roll.

Inflator and Clips: Bluemel's celluloid inflator and clips brazed to frame.

Tyres: Dunlop Motorcycle Rubber-studded. 26 in. X 2 in. Beaded Edge.


This specific motorcycle exhaust is a straight out pipe to a joint and water pipe to the rear of bike. This is the same exhaust as per the photo of this motorcycle taken at Brands Hatch in 1946. The original motorcycle would have a double box silencer.


Beaded Edge Tyres
Front: 26 X 2 X 1¾  
Rear: 26 X 2½

V Belt

The below length includes clips:
Length: 88.5" (current total length).
Depth: 17mm
Inner width: 11mm
Outer width: 20mm

Motorcycle History Notes:

1918 Royal Ruby 269cc Lightweight 
Registration no. KN 1422
Frame no. 81042 
Engine no. 01920
Located at Bolton in Lancashire, Royal Ruby commenced motorcycle manufacture around 1909, offering a range of machines powered by its own engines and by JAP proprietary units. Single-cylinder and v-twin powered models were offered, some of the latter being used for military sidecar duty in WWI, and the firm occasionally dabbled in the cyclecar market. Saddle tanks were adopted in 1927 and duplex loop frames introduced, before the firm switched exclusively to Villiers power units for 1930. Royal Ruby ceased production in 1933. This single-cylinder Royal Ruby was first registered ‘KN 1422’ in Kent on 10th September 1918 to first owner Ernest Sewell, of Kemsing near Sevenoaks. It was purchased from Mr Sewell a few years later by the vendor’s uncle and has remained in his family’s possession for the past 80-plus years. The machine was extensively refurbished between 1982 and 1986 - the frame being re-enamelled, the engine rebuilt, magneto overhauled, wheels rebuilt and new tyres fitted - and since completion has been used on a mere handful of occasions; hence careful re-commissioning is advised before further use. Presented in good condition throughout, it is offered with sundry invoices, Kent County Council correspondence and Swansea V5 registration document.