1958 Velocette Valiant

The Odd Man Out

| April 2014

  • 1958 Velocette Valiant
    Introduced at the 1956 Earls Court Show, the Velocette Valiant was conceived as a sporting lightweight. This is a 1958 model.
    Photo courtesy Tod Rafferty
  • 1958 Velocette Valiant
    Introduced at the 1956 Earls Court Show, the Velocette Valiant was conceived as a sporting lightweight. This is a 1958 model.
    Photo courtesy Tod Rafferty
  • 1958 Velocette Valiant
    Introduced at the 1956 Earls Court Show, the Velocette Valiant was conceived as a sporting lightweight. This is a 1958 model.
    Photo courtesy Tod Rafferty
  • 1958 Velocette Valiant
    The Valiant’s 192cc opposed-twin engine was based on the LE unit, but it was air-cooled instead of liquid-cooled and featured overhead valves. Rated at 12 horsepower and equipped with a 4-speed gearbox, the 260-pound machine had a top speed of 70mph.
    Photo courtesy Tod Rafferty
  • 1958 Velocette Valiant headlamp
    Interesting headlamp “ears” are stampings fixed to the front forks.
    Photo courtesy Tod Rafferty
  • 1958 Velocette Valiant
    Like the water-cooled LE, the Valiant used a shaft final drive instead of a chain.
    Photo courtesy Tod Rafferty
  • 1958 Velocette Valiant
    A period ad for the Velocette Valiant. The brochure shows a green model, the only alternative offered to standard black.
  • 1958 Velocette Valiant
    A Velocette LE. Although not particularly successful, the water-cooled LE stayed in production from 1948 to the end of Velocette production in 1970.
    Photo courtesy Tod Rafferty

  • 1958 Velocette Valiant
  • 1958 Velocette Valiant
  • 1958 Velocette Valiant
  • 1958 Velocette Valiant
  • 1958 Velocette Valiant headlamp
  • 1958 Velocette Valiant
  • 1958 Velocette Valiant
  • 1958 Velocette Valiant

1958 Velocette Valiant
Engine: 192cc air-cooled OHV horizontally-opposed twin, 50mm x 49mm bore and stroke, 8.5:1 compression ratio, 12hp @ 7,000rpm (claimed)
Top speed: 60mph (factory recommendation)
Carburetion: Two 16mm Amal Monobloc
Transmission: 4-speed foot shift, shaft final drive
Electrics: 6v, coil and breaker point ignition
Frame/wheelbase: Dual downtube steel cradle/51.25in (1,302mm)
Suspension: Telescopic forks front, dual shock absorbers w/adjustable preload rear
Brakes: 5in (127mm) SLS drum front and rear
Tires: 3.25 x 18in front and rear
Weight (wet): 255lb (116kg)
Seat height: 29in (740mm)
Fuel capacity/MPG: 3.6gal (13.6ltr)/55-70mpg (est.)
Price then/now: $265 (1957/approx.)/$2,500-$5,000

Stateside fans of Velocette singles are well aware of the marque’s early racing history at the Isle of Man, and its sporting 350cc and 500cc single-cylinder roadsters of the 1950s and 1960s. Less familiar here in the U.S. are the Birmingham firm’s more utilitarian models like the Vogue and Viceroy scooters, and the horizontally-opposed twin LE and Valiant.

Like most of Europe, England’s crippled postwar economy created the need for inexpensive transport, and most builders responded with small-bore singles. Velocette took a different approach with the 1948 LE. Powered by a liquid-cooled 149cc side-valve flat twin, the LE (the letters standing for “little engine”) found wide use among city police forces throughout the country. Civilian sales lagged however, since the LE was much more expensive than bikes like the 2-stroke BSA Bantam, also introduced the same year. For 1951 the engine grew to 192cc and the price was lowered, but other than the constabulary, the market for the little Velo remained flat.

While the LE remained in production as an econo-commuter and civic utility machine, Velocette conceived the Valiant as a sporting lightweight. Introduced at the Earls Court Show in 1956, the Valiant’s 192cc opposed-twin engine was based on the LE unit, but it was air-cooled instead of liquid-cooled and featured overhead valves. Rated at 12 horsepower and equipped with a 4-speed gearbox, the 260-pound machine had a top speed of 70mph.



Dave Mooney’s Valiant

Owner Dave Mooney of San Luis Obispo, Calif., has restored a number of British bikes over the years, usually with the help of his son Brett. Currently, his garage includes a show-quality Triumph Bonneville and a 1953 Vincent Rapide. “The Valiant was restored some years ago in England,” he says. “They don’t usually over-restore them, though; I just get ‘em back on the road.”



The sound and the fury: celebrate the machines that changed the world!

Motorcycle Classics JulAug 16Motorcycle Classics is America's premier magazine for collectors and enthusiasts, dreamers and restorers, newcomers and life long motorheads who love the sound and the beauty of classic bikes. Every issue  delivers exciting and evocative articles and photographs of the most brilliant, unusual and popular motorcycles ever made!

Save Even More Money with our RALLY-RATE plan!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our RALLY-RATE automatic renewal savings plan. You save an additional $5.00 and get 6 issues of Motorcycle Classics for only $29.95 (USA only).

Or, Bill Me Later and I'll pay just $34.95 for a one year subscription!




Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter

Free Product Information Classifieds