The Classic Motorcycle

1956 H.C.M. Her-cu-Motor


Sketched on the NACC stand, this lovely little Her-cu-Motor caught my eye initially because the 49cc engine was mounted with an inline crankshaft driving the Miller Magneto up front and a bespoke two-speed gearbox behind, which transfers the power to the final chain drive via a pair of bevel gears. All very clever stuff, which must give a more balanced feel to the ride. The other detail I noticed was the leading link suspension, which utilised rubber blocks in a method called rubber-in-shear, where the rubber blocks act as the damper between the metal linkages in the suspension. Not only is this effective, one assumes that the cost of building these suspension units was much less than hydraulic suspension.

Made by the Hercules Cycle and Motor Co. Ltd, Birmingham, this moped was originally called the Grey Wolf, which explains both the colour and the wolf on the head badge. Soon after its release in 1955 the name was changed to the Her-cu-Motor, possibly because they wanted to appeal to both sexes, but this is a guess.

The Suez Crisis in 1956 meant that there would be a ration on fuel and so the popularity of mopeds and cyclemotor­s was extended slightly, as they continued to be the best option for everyday commuting during this time. This particular example was bought in 1956 to cope with fuel rations, clocking up 474 miles over two years before its owner stored the machine for the next six decades. It was recently bought by an enthusiast­ic NACC member who will no doubt keep and ride the Her-cu-Motor in its incredibly original condition.

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