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Omega Junior - 1923

When I bought my Omega 350cc in 2006 I had never heard of the brand. Therefore I started to look on internet for information about it, and also got in contact with other Omega enthusiasts. It turned out to be a relatively small brand, but with a very wide range of models. Only a small number seems to have survived. This makes almost every Omega bike a unique machine. All together I got really enthusiastic about the brand.

In the summer of 2021 an Omega Junior, a small motorcycle with a 170cc 2-stroke Omega engine, was offered on Facebook. The bike appeared to be in good original condition. It was missing the engine and had no gearbox. The owner explained that he had several loose parts with it, including 2 small gear boxes, a magneto and a carburettor. So the only important part missing seemed to be the engine.
I contacted another Omega enthusiast of whom I knew that he has a spare Junior engine, and we agreed that I could buy that one from him when I would buy the bike. This would make the Junior almost complete, and a nice addition to my collection!
I started to negotiate with the owner. Unfortunately he lived in England, and at that time it was not possible to travel due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We agreed on the price, but the seller did not want to wait until I could come over to pick up the bike, and he was not willing to send the bike with a courier service. So I thought that I had to give up buying the bike.
But then my Omega friends sprang into action! Finally I got in contact with Barry, an Englishman who is also an Omega enthusiast. He was willing to pick up the bike and store it at his house until I was able to pick it up, or arrange any other transport. Thanks to him I could close the deal and become the new owner of the Omega Junior.
Next problem was how to get the bike in the Netherlands. When the travel restrictions due to the pandemic were over, I was not in the opportunity to travel to England due to my work. Again I was lucky: another friend who knew from the bike was going to England and offered to pick up the bike.
So finally, in the autumn of 2022, I had the bike at my home. Thanks to the very good help of Peter, Barry and Michiel! Thanks guys, good to have friends like you!

Let's see how the bike looks. First an image of the Omega Junior from the 1923 catalogue, the year the model was introduced:

Omega - linkerzijde

This is the simplest (and cheapest) version, the single speed. For a surcharge the bike could also be delivered with several transmission options:

  • "plain Two-speed", that means a 2-speed gear box without clutch
  • Two-speed and clutch
  • Two-speed, clutch and kickstarter

With the bike I got 2 Albion 2-speed gear boxes with clutch but no kick-starter, so the middle option. Seems good enough to use the bike in modern traffic, especially the clutch is very welcome!

Here some pictures of the bike as I received it. Still without engine, but with the best fitting gear box installed:

Omega - linkerzijde

Omega - rechterzijde

Remarkable is the very wide and low handlebars with inverse levers:

Gearbox under 1923 Omega

In the 1923 and 1924 catalogue the Junior had higher handlebars and "normal" levers, only in the 1925 catalogue this type of handlebars is shown.
So perhaps my Junior is from 1925, but of course it can also be that the handlebars are not factory standard. In earlier years some Omega models could at choice be delivered with normal or "touring style" (sometimes also with footboards instead of foot pegs) or "TT style" handlebars. Although it was just a small brand, there are a lot of varieties in their motorcycles!

At the moment my plan is to leave the Omega Junior in its current state, as it seems to be still in original condition. But if further investigation shows that is in not original anymore (the bright red side panels of the tank are a bit suspicious) it might become a full restauration. Anyhow, some missing parts, like the exhaust, will have to be made completely new. So anyhow it will need quite some time to get the Junior back on the road.