In 1919 motorcycle engineer, racer and entrepreneur George Brough launched Brough Superior Motorcycles in Nottingham, England. For the next 20 years Brough created crowd-stopping, beautiful machines for the most demanding of riders.
Brough Superior was renowned for delivering a level of performance, quality of manufacture and rideability that its rivals could never aspire even to equal. For once, a much-vaunted product surely lived up to its billing, combining superlative workmanship with breathtaking performance for the era, and functional elegance with practical engineering. These were bikes that demanded to be admired, but also to be ridden – hard: the first true Superbikes in motorcycle history.
The ‘SS’ model prefix, for Super Sports, is indelibly associated with the marque. George Brough launched the SS80 in 1923. The exclusive SS100 was launched in 1924. Both the SS80 and SS100 used cradle frames that fitted snugly around the muscular motor. The numbers referred to the warranted top speeds of the bikes – from 1925 on each SS100 road bike was supplied with a written guarantee that before delivery it had been timed at 100mph or more over the flying quarter mile. The SS100 formed the backbone of the Brough Superior range for most of the company’s 20-year production period. During this time, around 3000 motorcycles of various types were built, including the most highly tuned SS100 variant, the Pendine, essentially a racer, and the Alpine Grand Sports, the ultimate street version, named to commemorate George Brough’s personal success with the prototype in the gruelling eight-day Alpine Trial.
Except for a handful of ‘smaller Broughs’, the motorcycles were all built big, and as such they became the motorcycle of choice for connoisseurs of speed. These included legendary figures such as T.E. Lawrence (‘of Arabia’), who owned seven Broughs in a row. Speed addict Lawrence was also a mileage junkie, and would think nothing of leaving Brough’s Haydn Road works in Nottingham on a Friday night on his SSI00, and returning on Monday morning with the back tyre worn down to the canvas and 1000 extra miles on the clock.
George Brough’s factory stopped making motorcycles in 1940. Sixty eight years later, in 2008, the rights to the Brough Superior name were bought by Englishman Mark Upham. Mark is a Brough Superior enthusiast who has spent his working life restoring classic motorcycles. In 2013 Mark met motorcycle designer and constructor Thierry Henriette, a fellow Brough devotee, and the new company began to take shape.
Today, Brough Superior Motorcycles is respecting its impressive heritage by building an all-new motorcycle without any compromises in terms of technical components or design. The new SS100 employs high quality materials and quality components creating a truly unique, exclusive motorcycle, just as George Brough made in the past.