George Brough, the inventor of the Brough Superior which is considered the world’s first superbike, has been honoured in his home town of Nottingham with two plaques at the houses where he lived as a boy and when he was first married.
The Brough Superior became more popular thanks to T. E. Lawrence, also known as Lawrence of Arabia, who owned seven of the bikes, and to George Bernard Shaw, who was another huge fan of the motorcycle.
Around one third of the 3,048 units of the bike are still on the road, according to the Brough Superior Motorcycle Club.
George Brough’s attention to detail and his dedication to the quality of the bike led the Motor Cycle newspaper to describe the Brough Superior SS100 as the “Rolls Royce of motorcycles.” His bikes were the Harley Davidson of their day, the BBC said. However, George Brough’s contribution has been largely forgotten, despite the huge popularity of his motorcycles.
Each one of the SS100 bikes was certified to reach 100mph per hour and one of the bikes was actually used to set a bike land-speed record, when racer Eric Fernihough hit 163.82mph over a mile back in 1936, before reaching 169.79mph in 1937.
Brough Superiors still capture the attention of bike lovers and still hold high prices at auctions. One model of the bike from 1934 was sold for £166,500 in 2008. The same year, Mark Upham bought the rights to the name of the bike and began building new motorcycles.
With the motorcycles living on, so does the name of their creator.