Thursday, June 22, 2017

Flat tank Nortons

A lovely small collection of flat tank Norton photos from an unknown family album.

Norton 16H modified to race.

16H with 'Zeppelin' sidecar.

Another photo of the 16H combo. A top end sporting outfit
of the period.

The same 16H outfit ahead and an unknown sporting
outfit behind.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Alan cycle finishing touches

Sometimes a project is 99% finished and then somehow just gets left for a while. I got that far with my Alan a couple of years ago and then stopped for a while and just hung it up on the wall as an ornament. Truth is the reason that it stalled was that I wanted to finish off the full Campagnolo spec but was a bit bowled away by the price of a decent set of aero pedals.

After a good while of sitting looking at it all forlorn and pedal-less I resumed the search with adjusted expectations of how much I would have to pay. After a while adrift on the bay of e a pair floated my way, they're not perfect but they're not half bad either. Seemed like a good opportunity for the Alan to see some metal polish and daylight. So here it is in all its completed glory, shiny and be-pedalled.

There's a lot to get stuck in to with the Autosol on an Alan!

Love this cycle. The only cycle I have that is a nostalgia trip
for me. All the stuff I couldn't afford as a teenager!

Campag delta brakes. Magnificent folly.

Excessive complication for no gain but beautiful
to look at.

No cycle of the era is complete without a Rolls saddle.

Campag pedals on Campag crank.

No indexed shifting here.

Cinelli XA internal wedge stem and delta brake.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Excelsior 1958 Abridged List

Excelsior's line up was always an interesting one from pre-war days right up until the end. Someone in the company obviously had a penchant for the unusual as they weren't scared to throw a few surprises in to the line up alongside the bread and butter. Pre-war, for such a small company, the range was impressive: from depression era cheapies through to the uber glamorous Manxman models.

1958 was in the twilight for the Excelsior company but they were still managing to produce their own motor in the form of the Talisman twin. The same motor they managed to sell to Berkeley for use in their microcars. There was a three cylinder 500cc two stroke Excelsior that was made for the four wheeler sporting Berkeleys, what a massive pity that it was never offered in their motorcycle range. There have been several special builders over the years who have put together their idea of what Excelsior should have done so it was certainly possible and seems like an opportunity lost. Imagine, a two stroke air cooled triple offered twenty years before the Kawasaki H1.  

The 328cc Talisman Twin Special. The
'Special' in the title being the addition of
a slightly ungainly 'bathtub' rear enclosure
to suit the fashion of the day.

The regular 328 and 250cc Talisman Twins. Quite rare bikes
now and well thought of. Those in the know rate them more
highly than Villiers twins.

The bread and butter models. For a good while the 98cc
Consort was the cheapest bike on the market. Earlier
Excelsior had a line in selling knock down price bikes
in kit form. Selling a bike in kit form exploited a tax loophole,
if you were prepared to spend half a day bolting together your
motorcycle you could be mobile on the cheap.

And last but not least the Skutabyke.
Really just a plunger framed Consort model
from a couple of years previously fitted with
an engine fairing and legshields.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Thelma and Louise

Sorry for the post title, couldn't stop myself. Nowt much to say other than a charming snap from probably the mid thirties of a pair of ladies with their light roadster cycles and a lovely coastal view in the background.


Thursday, June 15, 2017

Motorworks BMW choke lever conversion

My R80 combo was suffering from continuing rough running despite a carb rebuild. It felt as if it was running partly on the choke and with the tank off and a look at the woeful state of the choke cables it probably was. The bike only needs choke for initial start up on a cold day so I did consider dispensing with a choke altogether but thought better of it. The choke cable routing is pretty torturous and the cables are pricey. Luckily I remembered browsing through the Motorworks website and seeing their choke conversion a few weeks earlier. The conversion is only a bit more expensive than a new set of cables and simplifies set up and cabling. Of course there is the disadvantage that you have to bend down to the carbs to operate the choke but I found that a small price to pay.

Motorworks Bing carb choke conversion.
The kit is nicely made in stainless and comes with a neat aluminium blanking cover for the choke lever on the clutch cluster. Fitting is straightforward though a little bit fiddly getting the pinch bolts in place and at first it seems like the operating angle for the plunger is all wrong. In practice the new levers work fine and setting them up is a doddle. Smooth running was restored to the bike. Now, if I could only sort out the ferocious thirst of the dreaded Bings!  

And the choke conversion fitted. Whilst at it I replaced the nasty
crosshead carb top bolts with niceer looking and more
convenient stainless allen bolts.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Don R Dougies posing

Easy enough to recognise the bikes, a brace of Douglas. They are presumably from the First World War era, the bikes, riders and uniforms all look authentic enough so the studio pose is rather incongruous. I believe the uniforms are British. Wouldn't it be wonderful to know the full story..

A pair of Douglas and Despatch Riders pose
in a studio.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Flat tank New Imperial

Easy to identify this flat tanker as a New Imperial as it's written prominently on the tank, further than that I am not sure. NI had a rather bafflingly wide model range through the twenties, all with numerical codes. This could be a Model 1, 2 or 3 with perhaps an A, B or C suffix. I'm guessing at a 293 or 346cc motor and a year of arounbd 1925. Any NI experts out there please do chip in.