A large number of hopeful OEMs have followed one another in the 120 years that have passed since the invention of motorcycles. Some have disappeared, never to hear from them again. Longing is a powerful thing, however. This is surely one of the reasons why so many modern hands have stepped beyond the veil to lift the spirits of long dead OEMs to join us once again. They keep calling us, even decades later.
As BSA and Norton grabbed the headlines in the run-up to UK Motorcycle Live 2021, another revived UK brand has quietly taken its turn in the spotlight. Friends, meet Dot Motorcycles and if you don’t know much about them, buckle up.
In modern times, Dot Motorcycles is a project of Dr. Anthony Keating, in direct consultation with Guy Martin and others. The bikes are largely hand-built at the National Center for Motorsport Engineering, which is a school at the University of Bolton in the greater Manchester area. Specialty items like the saddle were outsourced to other UK companies, but overall, Keating said, Dot wanted to keep all the engineering of the chassis in the UK as much as possible.
Dot Motorcycles – Reed Racer
Dot Motorcycles – Dot Demon
The historic Dot Motorcycles brand began in the early 1900s, when founder Harry Reed established the company in Salford, near Manchester. In 1908, Reed won the Isle of Man TT twin-cylinder category on a hand-built Dot motorcycle, powered by a Peugeot engine. Very soon he built and sold five different models to the public in 1911. Incidentally, Reed’s wife, Hannah, was also an avid motorcycle enthusiast. This love of motorcycles was a real family affair, and you love to see it all the time. Although he had a good run, however, the lights apparently went out for good at Dot Motorcycles in 1978.
From the start Dot Motorcycles built chassis and preferred to source engines from suppliers they deemed appropriate at the time. Back then that might have meant Peugeot or Villiers, but in 2021 that means a liquid-cooled 650cc Kawasaki parallel twin. At the time, the name “Dot Motorcycles” was meant to mean “Devoid of Trouble,” something the company’s 2021 incarnation is keen to replicate.
At Motorcycle Live 2021, Dot Motorcycles unveiled two models powered by that same engine: the Reed Racer, which is a cafe racer, and the Dot Demon, which is a scrambler. As you can see in the video, the photos don’t really seem to do the bikes justice. Showa forks and Brembo brakes adorn the two new Dot motorcycles which were hand-built in Bolton.
It’s not yet clear what the price and availability of these handcrafted bikes is, but if this is the first time you’ve heard of Dot Motorcycles, it seems unlikely to be your last.