In 1878, John Starley started building bicycles in Britain under the name Rover Company. In 1896, Starley formed the Rover Imperial brand.
As with a lot of bicycle manufacturers, the Rover Company started building motorcycles. In 1902, the company’s first motorcycles were built under the Rover Imperial brand. From 1903 to 1924, the company built around 10,000 motorcycles.
In 1901, Starley died and Harry Lawson took over the business. The motorcycles built in 1902, had a 3.5hp engine with a lot of parts that were innovative. In 1910, John Greenwood was hired to build a 500cc motorcycle that was shown for the first time at the Olympia show.
In 1913, a TT (Tourist Trophy) was launched as a racing motorcycle. During WW I, the company started building and selling engines to the Russian Army. After the War, Rover started producing cars. Without enough sales, the Rover Imperial Company went under in 1924.
Here is a cool video on how they produced everything from engines to the completed motorcycles.
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