James Motorcycles

Post-war James models were powered by Villiers two-stroke engines at first, though from 1957 many used parent company Associated Motor Cycles’ own engine, the Captain changing to AMC power in 1960. A new addition in 1961 was the Sports Captain, which featured a more powerful engine, 6″ front brake, folding kickstart lever and footrest, ‘Ace’ handlebars, alloy mudguards and a fly screen.

James’s first post-war ‘125’ was the ML, a 122cc Villiers 9D-engined machine derived from a successful military design. It was superseded in 1948 by a new model similar to the 98cc Comet but using heavier cycle parts and the 10D engine. For 1950 the 122cc machine was named ‘Cadet’ and by the time the L15 model offered here was made, featured the 149cc AMC engine and revised cycle parts incorporating a telescopic front fork, swinging-arm rear suspension and full-width hubs.

James had begun concentrating on the manufacture of two-stroke lightweights in the 1930s and continued the policy after WW2. Its first post-war models were the ML, a 122cc Villiers-engined machine derived from a successful military design, and an autocycle. The next introduction – in 1948 – was the Comet, again Villiers-powered but this time using the 98cc 1F unit, the latter housed in a simple loop-type rigid frame fitted with single-tube girder front fork. Standard (direct lighting) and de luxe (battery) models were offered.

First introduced in 1948, the Comet used the 98cc Villiers 1F two-speed engine/transmission unit with cable-operated gear change, which was housed in a simple loop-type rigid frame fitted with single-tube girder front fork. In 1953 the 4F unit was standardised while the following year the Comet was equipped with a telescopic front fork and plunger rear suspension. The final major change came for 1956 when the Comet was updated with a new swinging-arm frame made from a combination of tubes and pressings.