Monday, April 6, 2020

Ghost rider on a Quadrant

I've become something of a Quadrant enthusiast being lucky owner of two of them. As is often the way of these things my Quadrant ownership was slightly accidental rather than the culmination of a lifelong ambition. Now I've experienced the marque I've developed an appreciation for them as well engineered and quality machines. So, nowadays, I search out Quadrant related material wherever I can find it, even if in somewhat poor condition. Such is the case with the below snap - double exposed, but at least the bike is still visible.

As best I can work out the Quadrant depicted is a 1906 model (though possibly 1905), the exhaust seems to be different from the 1906 example pictured further down otherwise the bike seems identical.

1906 Quadrant with half a rider.

1906 Quadrant image from:

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Condor Mixte Frame Cycle

This Corona Virus lock down we are going through gives the hobbyists amongst who are lucky enough to stay well a huge amount of bonus time to get on with our various projects. I've just completed this Condor Mixte Frame Tourer from the early eighties.

I've enjoyed using my Bob Jackson Super Tourist gents tourer so much I decided that Mrs M should share in the happiness. This Condor eventually turned up as a bare frame with Weinmann cantilevers fitted. As far as I can acsertain it dates from the mid eighties, I have seen similar Condor frames in the past but this one carries no frame number. To me it looks like a Vic Edwards frame - he was one of the builders Condor used during the period for their bespoke frame orders. I've built it up to be an upright comfortable ride that will hopefully be easy and fun to use.

It has taken a little while to complete as for me part of the challenge of a build like this is to use as many second hand parts as possible. To that extent I've managed to only have to buy new tyres and tubes, saddle, handlebars and gear levers. The bars I struggled to find the right bend in second hand, thumb shifters are tough to source in good condition and of high quality used and, as for the saddle, I felt like a good used Brooks ladies would be just the ticket but she wanted some extra padding.

The great thing about bicycle projects at the moment is that you can actually get out and test your handiwork as daily exercise.

Early eighties Condor Mixte.

Weinmann cantilevers came with the frame.

Leftover Brooks leather bar tape was used as grips and corks
as disposable bar plugs.

The frame is Reynolds 531ST. ST was the tubing Reynolds made
aimed at touring bikes.

Mixte frames are pretty and the best way to make
a ladies cycle.

Monday, March 30, 2020

BSA A10 on holiday

A BSA A10 can certainly be described as best of British and nowadays makes for one of the most pleasant of old bikes for dependable use with performance that can keep up with modern traffic. This one looks like it is on holiday. The Buddle Inn is a 16th Century smugglers inn on the Undercliffe at Niton, Isle of Wight.

BSA on the Isle of Wight.

Friday, March 27, 2020

Lawrie Bond Microcar Man - book review

Lawrie Bond is somewhat of a hero of mine and creator of many intriguing vehicles. The interest stems from my first car being a Bond Equipe - a fibreglass re-bodied Triumph Herald. Lawrie Bond was a designer of minimalist motoring, an enthusiast for fibreglass bodywork and the genius behind some of postwar Britain's most interesting vehicles.

The book Lawrie Bond Microcar Man passed me by until I came across it in a local remainder book store. Probably because it is marketed as a car book and titled as such. The content however is as much two and three wheeler biased as it is towards the four wheelers. A pity really that the book was aimed squarely at the car enthusiast market as this limits its sales and deprives a potential audience of the joys of Lawrie Bond's creations.

In his work Nick Wotherspoon has concentrated on the story of Bond's creations rather than the man himself and has not set out to write a biography. The book is what it is and achieves its aims excellently, though there is surely an interesting story to tell about Bond's life. Following his maverick engineering activities he ended up running a pub in Yorkshire.

For those that are not familiar, Lawrie Bond was the man behind the Bond Minicar: a three-wheeled microcar of admirable austerity - the early models were billed as the world's cheapest car and featured 122cc Villiers engines, aluminium bodies and wire and bobbin steering. The engine sat on a dolly with the single front wheel and reverse could be achieved by turning the motor unit through 180 degrees, thus the Bond could drive as quickly in reverse as forwards. Other Bond creations were the Bond Minibike (a riveted aluminium monocoque scooter lacking suspension but with ballon tyres), the BAC Lilliput (a miniturised motorcycle) and the Oscar Scooter. There was also the somewhat more conventional Bond Scooter that featured fetching fibreglass bodywork and the sporting Berkley range of three and four wheelers. Finally who could forget the magnificent Bond Bug!

The book is of 307 pages, well written, researched and illustrated. A very comprehensive work on Bond's creations and well worth purchasing. If the work had come to my attention before I saw it in a bargain basement bookshop I should have been happy to pay the £30 list price and considered it good value.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Well used BSA Sloper

Some photos of a BSA Sloper that must have been taken during the War (blackout mask fitted to the headlamp). The old Beesa would have been getting a little long in tooth by then as it is a 1931 model - easily recognisable by the instrument panel on the handlebars that was available as an option for one year only.

Posing on the family Beesa.

Note the slightly ungainly instrument panel fitted to the
handlebars. This was an option for just one year - 1931.

Same photo but with one more rider!

Monday, March 23, 2020

Horex VR6

I took a ride over to Moto Corsa in Gillingham, Dorset recently to have a test ride on a Royal Enfield Himalayan (more to come) and was quite taken by this Horex they had recently sold.

This is the VR6 'Raw' model, finished in black and with mag wheels that suit the bike far better than the other models which have wires. Personally I struggle with the point of a naked bike that pushes out 163hp. However the bike is quite a technical tour de force with its narrow angle v6 motor, how they cram so much engine in to such a small package is rather amazing. The bike carries a look of quality (you should expect that for a price tag around £35 grand) but also an air that it is thought out and potentially a lot more dependable than other boutique bikes.

Take a look at the Horex site for more technical details, pretty pictures, hyperbole and hugely expensive merch.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020


Judging from the amount of old photos I come across of BSA C10s, 11s and 12s there must once have been a lot of them around. Survival rate is not however very large: commuter bikes were generally run to the ground and then scrapped - there're probably more Vincent twins around these days than BSA C10s.

BSA C10 250cc side valve rigid frame alongside the family