Monday, October 16, 2017

Triumph Tiger 80

Sweet posed wartime photo with a Triumph in the background. Looks like the model is a Tiger 80 350cc single from the late thirties. Note the wartime black-out headlight mask.

Wartime sweethearts posing in front
of a Triumph Tiger 80.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Moto Piston Rally Santander Part 4

The final post on the Moto Piston International rally in Santander. The weather was looking ominous first thing for Sunday's ride but in the end the rain held off and the event for the day was a shortish jaunt out to a Moto Cafe for a big paella lunch followed by a visit to the impressive Moto Piston club house.

This was the day to give my '27 Triumph some exercise. We set off late and then made it about half a mile along the Sardinero sea front road before I came to a halt with some terrible binding noises coming from the Triumph's front wheel. Returning to the hotel initially seemed like an option but then spinning the wheel on the stand it locked up all together so there was no choice but to take it apart. Big thanks to Matt for hanging around and helping out with the job. The Triumph has an expanding band front brake and turns out the band is held in place by two bolts, one had fallen off and was rattling around getting caught up inside the drum. It looked like one bolt should still do the job well enough so with the stray bolt cleared out of the way and the whole lot back together on we went.

The woes weren't totally over for the Triumph as two cables went on to break, luckily though it was the air and decompressor so not show stoppers. Other than that the Triumph went well and hussled through the bends as well as much later bikes. In fact overall, despite the 40mph cruising speed, we kept up with everyone pretty well.

So, it's all over for another year. Had a fantastic time and here's to hoping I can make the next one... If you enjoy properly using your old bike and getting plenty of quality miles in this is definitely your kind of event. Do yourself a favour and enter next year.

Final thing to say is another big thank you to the organisers. Excellent rally.

Dai's drop dead gorgeous Matchless again.

Never enough pictures of cammy Velos either.

This Dutch BMW has been in same family
ownership and constant use since new.

Matt's Crusader sports next to a pre-war Ariel Red Hunter.

There were a few Harleys on the event this year. Foot clutch
seemed like hard work in town and in the mountains but
didn't seem to hold anyone back.

This 'Black Ariel' looked well used and indeed was. We saw it
heading home on the motorway leaving the Portsmouth Ferry

The very brilliant Moto Piston club house.

Every bike club should have a club house like this.

Inside is a club workshop, a collection of Spanish bikes, tons
of bike memorabilia and a bar.

Well exercised Triumph N in the foreground.

This Dutch cammy Norton was very
The underground parking at the Santemar Hotel
is one of the great sights of the rally. The whole
car park is taken over. Probably close to 500
classic bikes down there.

Pack up time. This is how a lot of the Dutch bikes
got there and back.

36 old bikes stacked up in there!

Monday, October 9, 2017

Moto Piston Rally Santander Part 3

The third day of riding for Matt and I. Got to confess that last time I did the rally it was sunny all the time so I hadn't really entertained the thought that it might be rainy. Pretty daft really what with the Atlantic Ocean, mountains and it all being so lush and green....

A bit achy from the 5000 Curves, both in body from the ride and mind from the post-ride celebrations, so got up late. It was rainy. Waited a while for it to clear up. It did, a bit. I wheeled James' little 175 Gilera out from the Santemar Hotel's underground garage and off we set. The rain returned and then returned some more. Another mistake was not to change the Gilera's rear tyre before leaving home: it is of uncertain vintage but definitely more than fifteen years old and of Chinese origin. After the bike stepped out a couple of times I began to lose my nerve with it. That combined with the rain and the extreme riding position of the Gilera causing lower back pain right around where I slipped a disc nine months back I ended up wimping out after about ten miles and sitting in a cafe supping coffee watching folks ride by before trundling back to Santander.

Nimbus in the rain. 

Unmistakable profile of an early Honda four.

Sweet! Honda CX500 Turbo.

Sanglas. Rain didn't put off the local boys as much as the
soft foreigners!

Soggy Gilera.

Kawasaki ZX6 Ninja had a mishap earlier in the week. Rider
was walking wounded. If it was you, I've got a tidy '89 Ninja
with a shot engine that I want to part with. If that sounds
interesting, get in touch...

Back to Santander and much as I was there to ride it's a pretty
city and the opportunity to have a good wander around was
not to be missed.

A Seat 600 spotted whilst strolling.

Love these late Spanish two stroke road bikes. Would be
proud to have either of these in my garage. A Montesa 350
Cronos and an Ossa 500 Yankee.

Montesa Impala.

Early seventies Sanglas. Nice thing about
Sanglas is that they had their own individual
aesthetic going on. Look carefully and there
is a transfer saying 'Freno al disco' on the side

And here is that disco freno. Looks like a drum.
It is double sided and is indeed a disc brake.
Couldn't work out how it operates just from
looking at it so I've checked it out on google.
Basically there are four pistons and the centre of
the hub is a thick single disc. It's easiest to look
at some pictures to get the gist of  it, see below..
Sanglas inboard disc internals. Picture lifted from the ever
excellent bike-curious.

Lovely hefty Harley combo. A UL?

Ducati Darmah and Hesketh. Interesting to
see them side by side.

Moto Piston put a few special bikes on display in the hotel
foyer. Here's a 1903 Werner.

And a 1925 ohc Matchless. Super rare, I've
never seen one of these before. The cam drive
is behind the barrel. Apparently they were not a
roaring success. A very pretty and exotic bike though.

Stunning 1915 Harley. Not just a show queen it was wheeled
out several times and fired up.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Moto Piston Rally Santander Part 2 - The 5000 Curves

Friday was the big event, the 5000 Curves. More than 500 kilometers on windy mountain roads and quite possibly literally 5000 bends to be negotiated.

I rode it on my BSA Bantam race bike last time and it took somewhere around nine and a half hours to complete. From before I learnt that the way to get through it all in the hours of daylight is to keep stops to a minimum. There are three checkpoints on route with food and drinks, keep each stop under fifteen minutes and you should be doing well. Of course you could just relax and not care about what time you arrived back., narrow windy mountain roads with stray cows and dogs are however not so much fun in the dark...

This year the Velocette Venom was the weapon of choice, a lot more comfortable than the Bantam but heavier and actually marginally slower in the twisties and worse braked than the little Beesa. The route for the 5000 Curves is not signposted but the way finding is fairly easy with a clear route card and plenty of other bikes on the road. Riding solo is quickest but a small group is more sociable and offers support in event of problems. I rode with Matt on his Royal Enfield Crusader and James on his Gilera B300; on the windy roads there wasn't a lot between us in terms of speed. We were lucky and had a clean run through, the only snags were the Velo losing its charging somewhere along the way and the Gilera blowing its headlight bulb (daytime lights are mandatory in Spain for all except historic vehicles first manufactured without lights). Our electrical woes didn't cause any real problems as we made it in before dark, we just had to keep a keen eye open for police vehicles on the way! Even with a clear run it took us something like 11 hours. Hard work but a really satisfying event and a good test of man or woman and machine. There're not so many photos from the day as it was heads down and keep on trucking all day long!

Stunning 1926 4.95hp Matchless at the start in Santander.

And a thirties cammy Velo too. Set off is from
8.30am. You can leave a little earlier if you care
too though you may arrive at the first check point
before it is open.

We broke the no stopping rule for this spot.
The scenery was just too stunning to pass by.
These two local lads on an eighties Kawasaki
four and a BMW R100CS rode smooth and
quick through the route but they stopped more
often and longer than we did so they ended up
blasting past us on several occasions!

Watching me watching you. James from
literally in this case across the pond.

Plenty of amazing scenery en route.

And back to the Santemar hotel for the finish line where cold
beer awaits in a complimentary finisher's tankard. The machine
is a 'fake' MV four based around a Honda 750/4. Looked right,
sounded right and had a few folks fooled for a while.

Dutch BMW combo was ridden hard and made it home in
very good time.

After dark finisher on an Enfield Bullet.

Harley D Aermacchi and late Triumph twin come in after

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Moto Piston Rally Santander Part 1

Well, Moto Club Piston's Piston Rally in Santander has been and gone and the dust has settled. Another fantastic and slickly organised affair from the guys in Santander. More than 450 entrants for the event on a huge variety of machines, this is perhaps Europe's if not the World's greatest road riding event for old bikes.

This was my second Piston Rally, the first was back in 2014. Sadly this year I didn't have the time for the Picos Tour that ran from Monday to Wednesday but was there for the main event in Santander from Thursday through to Sunday.

Here's a bunch of images from the first day of riding. Each day has a long and short route and is clearly signposted all the way making route finding easy. There's a 5 mile or so ride to get out of Santander and once out you hit the hills for some stunning scenery.

A massive thanks to the guys and gals of Moto Piston for once again organising a wonderful rally for astonishingly little cost to entrants. Bravo!

Let's start with a Spanish machine. The first model Sanglas,
a 350cc from 1949.

Close up on the Sanglas. Very stylish.

Late model BMW R100RS.

Village square line up in the mountains.

James' sweet Giler B300 twin.

Nicely executed Grumph (Greeves frame Triumph engine
hybrid) with a Gold Star in the background.

This Dutch BMW kept up a good pace.

Bikes, bikes, bikes.

Well done sir for hauling a v twin AJS flat tanker through
the mountain curves.

Egli Vincent exotica from Holland.

My '55 Velocette Venom in the hills.

Moto Guzzi Falcone at speed.

French registered post-war Nimbus.

That Sanglas again with suitably attired rider!