The Rainbow Joyrider was designed and constructed by Frank Rainbow shortly after he had finished the Mark I Swallow Gadabout; it was intended to be a successor to the Gadabout, which was Britain's first post-war scooter. This machine was redesigned from the earlier Rainbow Sprite reviewed in the July 6th 1950 issue of the Motor Cycling magazine.
A number of novel ideas were incorporated into the Joyrider which was designed as a lightweight shopping machine for use by short-distance riders, principally women, so great attention was paid to keeping the weight down to only 112 lbs.
The twin tube frame is made of chrome-manganese aircraft specification tubing. From the steering head a pair of 1 5/16 inch diameter tubes run down below the engine and then up and back alongside the rear wheel, Cross tubes are MIG welded at intervals between the main tubes; the whole assembly proved exceptionally strong and light. Front forks are made from Reynolds 531 tube with rubber band suspension.
A 98cc Villiers 1F engine, with an easily removable cover, provided a maximum speed of 42 mph. A two-speed gearbox was built in and operated via a Villiers handlebar trigger-lever. Power was transmitted to the rear wheel via a chain drive on the left hand side of the machine. A specially designed unique annular silencer containing a spiral expansion chamber was claimed to give increased performance to the engine. A six pint tank is located under the Moseley "Float-on-air" pneumatic seat. Twenty inch wheels covered with flared aluminium mudguards gave a comfortable ride at a cruising speed of 30 mph.
Helen Rainbow rode the Joyrider on its first long trip of over 120 miles with no problems apart from stopping to refuel. The petrol tank capacity was intended for short journeys around town, it was however intended to increase the size in view of its long distance comfort.
The Swallow Coachbuilding Company purchased the prototype and complete drawings as their next two-wheel design intended for production in 1951-52 but did not proceed with it. Frank subsequently purchased it back. It was then used regularly by his wife for "what it was intended".
||Villiers Mk 1F two-stroke, Capacity 98cc.
47mm x 57mm.
Rainbow annular silencer.
||Two-speed gearbox. Hand change
by handlebar trigger.
||Welded twin tube with no rear suspension.
||Single tube forks with rubber in tension suspension.
||Front and rear 20" Dunlop chrome
||2.50" x 20"
||Cylindrical steel, located under saddle, capacity 6 pints
||Drum brakes - front controlled by hand lever, rear by foot pedal
||Wheelbase 44", ground clearance 5½", unladen seat height 24"
||Headlight 5½" diameter
All the above images and text are used and provided for non-commercial research and educational purposes. If you object to the use of any of the material, please contact me immediately and the items will be removed.