I recently dug out a box of old photos in a clear out and came by these two. The bike is a 1919 New Imperial that I imported from India something like fourteen or fifteen years ago. I think it came in with the same consignment as the 1940 Royal Enfield J2 that I still have.
The New Imp was a sweet little bike, all complete except for saddle and fitted with a 293cc JAP side-valve motor. The only real damage on the bike was that the saddle tube was half rotted through, it looked strange when the rest of it was in such a well preserved condition. Apparently this was because the bike had spent a number of years leaning up against a tree and the saddle tube was the point of contact.
There were a couple of interesting features on the New Imp; it had the very wide mudguards seen on quite a few bikes of the era on 'empire models' - ie those which were made for export. Also the front forks have an unusual mechanism: at first glance they look like the mechanically awful but practically effective Triumph rocking forks with their horizontal spring, however they have a series of linkages that transform the vertical movement of the forks in to a compression on the horizontal spring. Unnecessarily complex but quite an elegant mechanism.
I sold the bike on to a guy up in the Cotswolds, he moved it on fairly quickly after that. Funnily I overheard the new owner talking to someone at the Beaulieu Autojumble wondering how the frame had rotted in such a localised manner. I didn't manage to get to talk to him before he wandered off. Sir, if you ever get to read this post, the mystery is solved!
|Sweet little 1919 New Imperial, fresh home from 80 odd years|
in India and needing restoration.
|You can just make out the rotted saddle tube if you look|
carefully. Check out too the huge 'empire model' mudguards
and unusual mechanism on the forks.