1912 Abingdon King Dick

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Forgotten as the marque is now, King Dick was once well known for its simple but elegant single-cylinder and V-twin motorcycles.
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Lighting the night the old-school way: the King Dick has an acetylene lamp with a handlebar-mounted reservoir.
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Owner Jack Wells with his 1912 AKD, which nabbed our Editor’s Choice award at the 2006 Barber Vintage Festival.
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The Watford speedometer of the King Dick.
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The King Dick’s telescoping shock absorber attaches to the bracket for the acetylene lamp, its motion guided by the hardened steel bolt extending from the lower steering yoke.
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The King Dick’s pushrod 500cc single, featured Abingdon’s own carburetor. The bike’s unique name was supposedly lifted from the company owner’s bulldog, King Dick, named after King Richard of England.
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Final drive is by a sectioned belt, which can be shortened when it stretches. The variable drive pulley on the engine changes the drive ratio by making the belt ride lower or higher in the pulley groove.

Abingdon King Dick
Claimed power:
3.5hp
Top speed: 35mph
Engine: 477cc side valve
Fuel capacity: 3gal
MPG: 50

Unless you’re a student of early motorcycle technology, it’s doubtful you’ve ever seen anything quite like the sliding spring fork on the Abingdon King Dick. A uniquely odd classic British motorcycle, it might just be the motorcycling world’s first telescoping shock absorber.

Chances are good you’ve never heard of Abingdon King Dick motorcycles, either. Founded in Birmingham, England, in 1856, the company got its start making tools, but branched out into motorcycles in 1903, when the industry was still in its infancy.

At the time, the move to motorcycles was logical. The nascent motorcycle industry was booming, and Birmingham, with its strong industrial base and equally strong work force, was on its way to becoming the epicenter of the British motorcycle industry. From 1894 to 1975, some 100 motorcycle manufacturers came and went in Birmingham, including the mostly-forgotten Abingdon King Dick.

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