Fast and elegant, the Brough Superior SS100 was considered the Rolls-Royce of Motorcycles
1934 Brough Superior 8/75 SS100
Claimed power: 74hp @ 6,200rpm
Top speed: 110mph, guaranteed
Engine: 996cc air-cooled OHV 50-degree JAP V-twin
Weight (dry): 440lb/200kg (est.)
Fuel capacity: 4.8gal (18ltr)
Price then (when given): £180 (approx. $907)
George Brough didn’t have to coin the cherished “Rolls-Royce of Motorcycles” slogan that he used to promote the prestigious range of performance motorcycles built under the Brough Superior name — a magazine road tester of one of his early bikes did it for him first, in print.
It’s a mark of the high respect his products held in the pre-WWII era that nobody (apart from HRD-Vincent owners!) ever questioned the validity of such a boast. Until, that is, a man from Rolls came visiting, demanding Brough cease from infringing his company’s trademark. Brough hit on the idea of showing his visitor around the small factory, where by chance his hand-picked team of skilled artisans were preparing the bikes due to be displayed at the forthcoming Olympia Show in London. To prevent their fingerprints soiling the gleaming finish of these show bikes, the workers had donned white gloves — allowing Brough to imply that this was the normal modus operandi for such a high-class motorcycle operation, well worthy of being likened to Rolls-Royce. The visitor — a high-up Rolls executive — was so impressed that Brough received explicit permission to use the slogan, and so the tag stuck.
And if ever a motorcycle was more than the sum of its parts, it was the Brough Superior, which combined functional beauty with practical engineering and superlative workmanship, giving breathtaking performance for the era. These were machines that demanded to be admired, but also to be ridden hard. They were the first true Superbikes in motorcycle history.
Order the March/April 2012 issue of Motorcycle Classics to read more about the Brough Superior SS100, including riding impressions by Alan Cathcart. Contact Customer Service at (800) 880-7567 or contact us by email. To learn about how the Brough Superior is making a comeback, read Back in the Saddle: The New Brough Superior.