Francis-Barnett was originally founded in 1919, by Gordon Inglesby Francis and Arthur Barnett, and based in Lower Ford Street, Coventry, England. In the post-war era economical transport was at a premium and the new motorcycle was developed not only with the motorcycle enthusiasts in mind, but also for citizens who needed reasonably priced personal transport. Most of their light motorcycles used Villiers and later AMC two-stroke engines.
In the 1930s the company developed the 250 cc Cruiser, one of the first motorcycles to have a faired engine, protecting the rider from oil and dirt. Francis Barnett was taken over by Associated Motor Cycles in 1947 and combined with James in 1957.
The combined firm remained in business until 1966. The new ownership aims to bring back the Francis-Barnett name into the biking world with their range of new bikes. They are based just a few miles outside of Coventry, in the historic town of Kenilworth.