HOME   CONTACT   CONVERTER   VIDEO   TECHNICAL 

 

Classic Bikes

Custom Bikes

Racing Bikes

 

AC Schnitzer

AJP

AJS

Alfer

Aprilia

Ariel

Arlen Ness

ATK

Bajaj

Bakker

Barigo

Benelli

Beta

Big Bear

BigDog

Bimota

BMS Choppers

BMW

Borile

Boss Hoss

Boxer

Brammo

Britten

BRP Can-am

BSA

Buell

Bultaco

Cagiva

Campagna

CCM

Confederate

CR&S

Daelim

Deus

Derbi

DP Customs

Drysdale

Ducati

Dunstall

Exile Cycles

Factory Bike

Fischer

Foggy Petronas

GASGAS

Ghezzi Brain

Gilera

Harris

Harley Davidson

HDT

Hesketh

Highland

Honda

HPN

Horex

Husqvarna

Husaberg

Hyosung

Indian

Italjet

Jawa

Kawasaki

KTM

KYMCO

Laverda

Lazareth

Lehman Trikes

LIFAN

Magni

Maico

Matchless

Matt Hotch

Megelli

Midual

Mission

Mondial

Moto Guzzi

Moto Morini

MotoCzysz

Motus

Mr Martini

MTT

Münch

MV Agusta

MZ

NCR

Norton

Oberdan Bezzi

OCC

Paul Jr. Designs

Piaggio

Radical Ducati

Richman

Ridley

Roehr

Roland Sands

Royal Enfield

Rucker

Sachs

Saxon

Sherco

Suzuki

Titan

TM Racing

Triumph

Victory

Viper

Vincent

Vilner

VOR

Voxen

Vyrus

Wakan / Avinton

Walz

Wrenchmonkees

Wunderlich

Yamaha

Zero

   

Ariel Square Four

 

   

The Ariel company started life making bicycles and in 1870, founder James Starley and William Hillman invented the wire-spoke wheel which allowed them to build a lighter weight bicycle naming it Ariel-the spirit of the air. In 1896 the company began making motorized four-wheeled vehicles followed by a motorized three-wheeled bicycle. In 1902 Components Ltd., owned by Charles Sangster bought the company and began producing motorcycles but their progression over the next two decades was sluggish. During the 20's, Charles' son Jack Sangster hired some of the best designer/engineers in Britain and the marque was beginning to show promise. To little to late perhaps?

Ariel's parent company went bankrupt in 1932 when Jack Sangster bought the rights to the Ariel name and much of the tooling at a reduced cost and started a new company called Ariel Motors (J.S.) Ltd.. After the Second World War, Ariel voluntarily allowed itself to be absorbed by the BSA empire.

One of Ariel's most notable engines was the Square Four, the first prototype emerging in 1930. As the name suggests, the cylinders were configured with two cylinders directly behind the front two cylinders. Starting as a 500cc engine, then increased to 600cc and finally the 1000cc configuration. The 'Squariel' was plagued with heat problems as one might imagine having two cylinders directly behind the front pair. Despite the heat issues it remained in production until 1958

It is an oft-told part of motor cycling folklore that London-born Edward Turner sketched out his idea for an entirely new type of four-cylinder engine (with the cylinders arranged two by two in a square) on the inside of a cigarette packet, took a train to the Midlands and hawked the scheme all around the British motor cycle industry.

The people at AJS were tempted, but turned it down after second thought. Yet there was a good fairy waiting in the wings after all, in the form of Jack Sangster, chief of the Ariel factory. He gave Edward Turner his chance, and the outcome was a machine that took the 1930 London Olympic Show by storm. The same exhibition saw the coming of a rival four-cylinder machine, a narrow-angle mono-bloc design from London's Matchless factory, known as the Silver Hawk. Good as the Silver Hawk may have been, however, it was destined to live in the shadow of the Ariel Square Four and, after a few years, it had faded from the scene.

Turner's new Square Four engine was, in effect, a pair of vertical twins (although with all four cylinders in a single casting) with their crankshafts coupled by central spur gears. Three of the crank throws were overhung, or single-sided, the fourth was a full crank, with an output shaft which provided the primary drive to the gearbox. Originally Turner had planned a unit-construction engine, light enough to be fitted into the standard Ariel 250cc frame and with a horizontally split crankcase assembly. For policy reasons (the Ariel works had a contract with Burman, the gearbox manufacturer) a separate engine and gearbox were used for the production versions.

The first Square Four was a 500cc model with a single, chain-driven overhead camshaft, but before long the capacity had been raised to 600cc, the smaller model being dropped after a couple of years in production.
Inevitably, the new machine attracted the attention .of those who wanted to make it go a whole lot quicker than the makers had intended, and these included Cambridge University clubman Howard Somerville Sikes, and Brooklands speed specialist Ben Bickell. Both had the idea of building supercharged 500cc Square Fours, but each for different reasons. Sikes wanted his for the 1931 Senior TT, while Bickell had the aim of covering one hundred miles in an hour.

Unhappily, both men were thwarted —for the less, in the course of an endurance test for which the Ariel company gained the coveted Maude's Trophy, a 500cc Square Four did succeed, under ACU observation, in packing 700 miles into 700 minutes.

In the late 1930s the Square Four underwent a complete redesign to emerge as a 997cc pushrod-overhead-valve model for which the claim of 'ten to a hundred in top gear' was made. Indeed, it was the sheer effortlessness of the Ariel's power delivery that was its greatest charm. As time passed, however, so the initial concept of a relatively light-
weight four seemed to have become obscured, each refinement (such as the compensated-link rear suspension system) adding just a little more weight.

Finally, it was decided to put the model on a slimming course, resulting in the two-pipe and—later— four-pipe all-light-alloy fours of the post-war years. Yes, post-war, because the Ariel Square Four did not die until 1958, and in the eyes of many enthusiasts the last models were the best that were ever produced.

Specification

(1949 model)
engine frame
Air-cooled, four-stroke, Single down-tube
four-cylinder. suspension
65 mm (256in) bore X 78 mm Front - Telescopic fork
(307in) stroke = 997cc Rear - Plunger-link sprung
(6084cu in), maximum power brakes
34-5 bhp at 5500 rpm. Front - Drum
Compression ratio 6:1. Two Rear - Drum
valves per cylinder operated weight
via pushrods and rockers by a 430 lb (195kg)
single central camshaft. Single performance
SU carburettor Maximum speed
transmission 98mph
Four-speed gearbox. Chain Fuel consumption
drive to rear wheel approximately 42mpg

1958
 

 

 

 

NOTE: Any correction or more information on these motorcycles will kindly be appreciated, Some country's motorcycle specifications can be different to motorcyclespecs.co.za. Confirm with your motorcycle dealer before ordering any parts or spares. Any objections to articles or photos placed on motorcyclespecs.co.za will be removed upon request.  

 Privacy Policy       Contact Me      Links