Monday, December 10, 2018

1930s Petrol Station

Here's a great image of a bygone era. A town centre petrol station and garage advertising 'Used Car Bargains'. Note the lack of traffic, there are not even any parked cars around. Halcyon days...

It seems highly unlikely that the garage is still in existence, I wonder though if anyone can recognise the location?

Wot no traffic? Pedalling past a local petrol station.

Saturday, December 8, 2018

BSA All-Weather Ladies Model c1912

c1912 BSA All Weather Ladies Model.

I bought this BSA Lady's machine a while back on a whim. I had done nothing with it since and it seemed like a good idea to pass it on, particularly as I was getting to the point that I was beginning to feel I couldn't move for old cycles. Very wonderfully the BSA went to a museum in Italy who plan to sympathetically renovate it, keeping the original finish. The museum is the Azzini collection in Soresina. There is no website but they do have a facebook feed - take a look:

The BSA is from around 1912 and is rather a rare bird, being the All Weather Model which was offered with heavily valanced mudguards and an all painted finish. In the Edwardian period through to the twenties there was a vogue for All Weather cycles along the same lines as the 'Colonial Model' motorcycles - slightly sturdier machines based on a standard model with large mudguards, a heavier duty finish and less plating as the distinguishing features.

Sturmey Archer Tricoaster hub.

The BSA Lady's all weather was originally fitted with a back pedal 'coaster' brake. This particular example came with a rare Sturmey Archer Tricoaster three speed coaster hub and it looks like it was supplied that way from new.

The green finish appears to be original and, like the All Weather models, was a fashion of the period. Some of the green parts are overpainted on black. I wonder if bought in parts came to BSA in a black finish and were then overpainted or that the green finish was a special order and parts were taken off the production line and re-finished as required?

Powell and Hanmer reflector.

Lucas rack.

Front brake lever only. This model was fitted with a coaster
(back pedal) rear brake.

Front mudguard has suffered a bit but should still renovate
nicely and keep the original paint.

Pedals appear to be unused. A bicycle such as this in the
Edwardian era was an expensive thing and many were bought by
the wealthy as a fashion item. Early ladies cycles are
inextricably linked with the Suffragette movement.

Steering 'lock' on the head tube. The knurled nut tightens a
band around the steering tube on the forks to stop the
handlebars turning.. Rather than a security feature the
lock was for parking the bicycle to stop the handlebars
flapping around.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Parilla Levriere / Greyhound in Argentina

Roberto in Argentina has gotten in touch with pictures of his newly acquired Parilla Levriere scooter (or Greyhound as the model was known in the UK and States). It looks to be in really sound condition and is a rare and unusual machine.

It is always good to hear from readers of the blog, to see their rides, and better still to help out a fellow enthusiast. Roberto was after a workshop manual so I was able to put him in touch with Philip in France who sent in pictures of his Parilla six months or so ago.  

Parilla Greyhound in Argentina

The 150cc two stroke power plant of the Greyhound. The same
motor as Parilla used in several motorcycles too.

This motor should make the Greyhound fairly spritely.
Parilla later became known for fast two stroke go-kart motors.

The other side of the Greyhound. Like many scooter offerings
from manufacturers more used to making motorcycles the
Greyhound is designed as much as a small-wheeled motorcycle
with bodywork as a fully-blown scooter.

Handlebars and cockpit of the Greyhound.

Friday, November 30, 2018

Bikes I have owned part IV. Moto Guzzi Spada III

The fourth in an occasional series of memory lane ramblings...

This machine came into my possession, as indeed have several others, whilst sitting in the living room one evening with beer in one hand and laptop mouse in the other. It seemed really cheap, a sly bid which would surely be bettered, but no, whoops, it was now mine.

I drove from Dorset up to Stafford to get it. A considerably longer drive than I had anticipated. When I got there the bike was slightly sorry, it was being sold on behalf of the owner by a friend (alarm bells should have been clanging) and the battery was flat. Eventually aforementioned vendor got it running and then proceeded to thrape the nuts off it from cold. At that point I should have got back in my van and driven home, one day of my life wasted but without the encumbrance of another project bike.

Moto Guzzi Spada III. A gentleman's tourer.

Once home I bought a new battery for the Guzzi. Then I rode it around the block. My 'block' is on a steep hill. At the bottom of the hill the rear tyre flattened rapidly. As the bike had not fitted into my van without some considerable struggle and removing the screen I decided to ride it the couple of hundred yards home. Mistake, the rear tyre was now properly buggered.

I discovered that removing the rear wheel on a Spada III involves taking both silencers and the rear brake caliper off. I was beginning to hate this bike....

The Spada's cockpit.

Once back together with new rear tyre I balanced the carbs and gave the machine a service. By now I was the father of twin girls. It had definitely been a stupid time to buy a new project. I gave the Guzzi a couple of spins. If I could forget the fact that at six foot two the canted back screen was way too close to my face and that my knees painfully rubbed against the fairing it was quite a nice bike. 

Givi panniers. A bit clumsier than BMW Krausers. 

The Spada III was created as a gentleman's grand tourer and it lived up to that promise fairly well. The power is roughly the same as a BMW R100RS and the bike felt ever so slightly sprightlier. The quality of finish however completely paled against a BMW. Brakes were linked and pretty good, handling not bad too. If you forgot the fact that this was a machine for which basic maintenance appeared to be quite awkward to get on with then this could be quite a pleasant machine. Oh, and you need to be under six foot in height for the bike to comfortably fit you, but not too short as the saddle is quite tall.

A bit similar in lines to a Hesketh Vampire.

I had bought the Spada as I had hankered after a Guzzi for a while and I was rather seduced by the looks of the Spada. I like classic sports tourers and I would love a Hesketh Vampire, the Spada looks similar, is similar on paper and is much much cheaper. 

A few months in to my ownership of the Spada the police came knocking on my door. Apparently the guy who I had bought the bike off did not in fact have the permission of the owner to sell and it was involved in a dispute. Hmmm... definitely should have walked away from this one. This blew over and a week or so later I found out that it was all resolved. At this point I decided that parting ways with the spiteful Spada was the most sensible thing to do. Rather sick of it I contacted a breaker but the price really did involve taking a heavy hit. So it went back up on eBay....

Finish was a bit iffy. Lots of bubbling in the paint.

The Guzzi found a willing buyer despite an honest appraisal of its various vices. At least it was now on the road and had received some love and attention. The price nearly covered my expenditure, certainly not though my time and anguish but I was happy to see it go. The new owner came down from Wales to pick it up and, despite my advice to the contrary, planned to ride it home. It wasn't that I had no faith in the bike at all, rather that it had not covered more than thirty miles in the last couple of years and was an unknown quantity. However ride it back he did, I made sure that he contacted me when he got home. Great bike he said, love it, never missed a beat...

For such a mechanically simple motorcycle home mechanics
on this beast were a royal pain in the butt...

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Mystery veteran combo

I've struggled to identify this veteran. It looks to be around 1913. The extra headlamp is truly enormous. Can anyone out there identify the marque?

Identify that veteran quiz time.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Hardy Trial 2018

Another ride in our local classic trial, the Hardy, organised by the Woolbridge Motor Club. This time passengering Matt's Wasp Yamaha outfit.

I last rode the Hardy in 2016; 2017 was a fallow year for the event so it was good to see it return. Motorcycle entries seemed to be a bit down on previous which is a massive pity as it is a wonderful event. This year Matt's Wasp outfit was the oldest bike entry at 1976.

The 2018 Hardy was about as good as classic trialing can get. Clear blue skies with a chill in the air but still mild for mid November, stunning scenery and some 14 sections spread over a 65 mile route. Conditions were fairly dry but the previous weekend's storm meant that there were a lot of leaves on the ground on the wooded sections and the going was slippery. We struggled a little on the outfit (largely down to rookie passengering) on several sections but did have a couple of surprising cleans. Our co rider Toby on his Honda XL250 breezed through most sections and it looks like he lost just one point the whole trial.

Passengering the Wasp outfit was a hoot, I'll be back for more whenever I have the opportunity, it's a lot of fun, occasionally frightening, fairly physical and tiring but well worth the effort and an experience to be recommended, so cheers Matt for the ride. 

Another clean for Toby.

Pre-section guidance.

Toby's Honda XL250.

You meet the nicest people on a Honda.

Wasp on the road.

Happy days on the XL250.

Toby exhilarated following the Wasp rolling
roadblock uphill at 32mph....

Hamming it for the camera.

Another cleaned section.

Friendly marshals.

The Wasp / Yamaha XT600 in all its glory.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Winter Rallies 2018 / 2019 season

En route to the Elefant. Thanks to Ian Clarke for the photo.

Winter rally season - It's the most wonderful time of the year!

For those that are inclined towards getting freezing cold on a bike and camping in a damp / icy / snow bound field here, for your convenience, is a list of events targeted at the more lunatic fringe of the motorcycling community. All are UK / European events, if you know of any rallies not on the list, drop me a line and I will include them.

Quick disclaimer - all dates are probably correct, check for yourself to make sure. Most events will be ticket only. Winter riding and camping is very obviously not a walk in the park, make sure man or woman and machine are well prepared for all eventualities.

Winter Rally. 2 to 4 November 2018. Gower Peninsula, UK. Welsh Coast MCC

Icy Ale Rally. 7 to 9 December 2018. UK. Druids MCC.

Hivernal Les Millivaches. 7 to 9 December 2018. near Limoges, France.

Motoxeada, Concentradion Motorista Ivernal. 14 to 16 December 2018. Fonte da Cova, Spain.

Appenino Winter Treffen. 22 December 2018. Settempedana, Italy.

Force Ten Rally. 4 to 6 January 2019, Warwickshire, UK. Mayflower MCC.

Savalen Rally. 9 to 13 January 2019. Savalen Fjell Hotel, Savalen, Norway.

Pinguinos Rally. 10 to 13 January 2019. Valladolid, Spain.

Cinghios Treffen. 11 to 13 January 2019. Valdo, Italy.

Winter Bikers. 11 to 13 January 2019. Faenza, Italy.

Wintertreffen Augustusburg. 11 to 13  January 2019. Schloss Augustusburg, Augustusburg,Germany.

Agnellotreffen. 25 to 27 January 2019. Pontechianale, Italy.

Mad Cow Rally. 25 to 27 January 2019. Bury St Edmonds, UK. MAG.

Jabalinera (Wild Boar). Last weekend January 2019 (tbc). Cantabria, Spain. MC Piston

Kickstart Rally, 25 to 27 January 2019. Cirencester. UK. Ogri MCC

Hot Rod Rally. 25 to 27 January 2019. Genemuiden, Holland.

Alteisentreiber. 31 January to 2 February 2019. Austrian Alps.

Uzena Kyta Motortreffen Sonov. 1 to 3 February 2019. Sonov, Czech Republic

Elefantentreffen / Elefant Rally. 1 to 3 February 2019. Loh / Thurmansbang-Solla near Passau, Germany. The original Elefant Rally.

La Charansouillarde, 1 to 3 February 2019. TBC. Charancieu, Rhone Alpes, France. Les Accros du Bitume

Fjord Rally. 5 to 8 February 2019. Jostedal Hotel, Jostedal, Norway.

Frozen Nuts Rally. 1 to 3 February 2019. Stoke-on-Trent, UK. Danger Mouse Rally Club.

Dragon Rally. 9 & 10 February 2019, Wales. The British Elefant and a grand tradition. 

Krystall Rally. 14 to 17 February 2019, Oset Høyfjellshotell, Gol, Norway. Just because it is in a hotel don't think that this is an easy option. Temperatures this time of year can drop to minus 20 degrees.

Altes Elefantentreffen. 15 to 17 February 2019, Nurburgring Germany. Confusingly the 'Old Elefant Rally' is in fact the upstart new Elefant Rally and held at the Nurburgring.

Primus Rally. 22 to 24 February 2019, Velmunden near Bjøneroa, Norway.

Primus Borealis Rally. Mid February. Just South of the North Cape, Norway. Not sure if this one is still running but it merits inclusion by nature of being the most extreme.

Another Elefant photo care of Ian Clarke.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

DR Dougie

Armistice Day. 100 years on from the end of the First World War it seems more important than ever to remember the human tragedy and lives lost in conflict. 

The world seems to be becoming an ever more scary place as elements out there seem to be keen to re-enact the mistakes of the 1930s that led to the Second World War. People have short memories; commemorations and study of history are an important way to bring the rights and wrongs, sacrifices and tragedies of times past back in to the current consciousness.

Old images of services personnel always carry a poignancy to them as they beg the question, 'Did they make it through'. I hope this chap on his Douglas did.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

1914 Sun Villiers first ride

1914 Sun Villiers.

The stars seem to be slowly aligning for an entry in the 2019 Pioneer Run. This is the planned for steed that I am kindly being lent by my father, a 1914 Sun. Having sold my Wall Autowheel two or three years back and singularly not managed to rustle up enough money to buy a new veteran I am relying on others' generosity to get a Pioneer ride.

The restoration of the Sun was completed several years back but for one reason or another it has not been used since, so time for some fettling to see if we had a viable ride or not.

The Sun has a 269cc Villiers motor mated up to a two speed clutchless crash gearbox. It has taken a couple of short sessions to get the bike running right.

First session we managed a few pops and bangs to accompany our experimentation with all permutations of throttle and ignition settings. Day two the ignition was further advanced and after much pushing we managed to get it going, snicked it in to neutral and had it running on the stand quite sweetly. It took a wide open throttle for the initial fire up but thereafter was content with just a whisper.

Next up time for the first ride, after some pushing and paddling along with the bike not willing to pick up we remembered that first gear was forward and not aft. Once in the correct gear the bike is now an easy starter!

Only a short test run so far but the Sun is a pleasant ride. Not far off in characteristics from a late thirties or forties autocycle. The engine is light and smooth, gear changes take a bit of getting used to but overall it is a sweet little bike. Time for some more fettling and test runs and then get that Pioneer Run entry sent off....

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Royal Enfield Model D

Here's a late thirties Royal Enfield. If I'm not mistaken a 248cc side valve Model D. Not a machine to set the world on fire, but a competent lightweight motorcycle none-the-less. The pressed steel girder forks put the bike as 1936 or possibly up to a couple of years later.

The chap astride is scoring highly in the inappropriate riding gear stakes. The machine carries a London registration plate and I'm guessing the picture was taken in the UK. It's a rather unusual location when you look up close. 

Royal Enfield Model D.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Goodies for sale

A minor clear out and a few odds and sods up for sale on fleabay, a taster of which below. Need to raise some pennies to maintain my habit....

Just search for user reddevilmotors2 or click here.


Monday, October 29, 2018

Royal Enfield close ratio gearbox

Here's something for the hardcore Enfield nerds out there. Recently I managed to pick up a spare gearbox for my Enfield twin race bike (the early postwar type with the clutch operating on a scroll mechanism) in order to rob the kick start mechanism from it. The 500 twin racer is bump start only: I have it registered on the road and, quite honestly, having to run and jump on to it to start the beast is an absolute pain in the a***. I live on a hill and the very last thing you want to have to do after spending some workshop time on a bike is to find it is not running after having gotten to the bottom of aforementioned incline.

On dismantling the box fitted to the bike I got something of a surprise. Whereas I had expected just the kick start shaft to be missing (obvious as it is blanked off) I found that there is no provision for a kicker at all - the gear on the layshaft is not cut for a kickstart pawl. What's more it is a close ratio set that raises first, second and third. I've swapped the close ratios out for a pair of gears with kickstart pawl but time will tell if I miss the close ratios and regret the change....

Delving inside the Enfield twin's gearbox this is what I found.
Close ratios and no provision for a kickstart at all.

The HCR code denotes a 1953 box. Many thanks to Graham
Scarth, chairman of the Royal Enfield Owners Club for

Here's the inner cover with gearbox shaft blanked off. It's a
neat job and with the close ratios and lack of machining for
the kickstart pawl I wonder if it is a factory part?

And here is the donor gearbox with regular ratios and kickstart.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Bikes I have owned part III. BMW R100R

Instantly recognisable head on view. Iconic
is a hugely over-used word but an airhead
Beemer merits it.

The third in an occasional series of self indulgent nostalgia trips...

In my enduring quest to find the perfect airhead BMW I decided upon trying the very last one, the R100R. I had until then owned an R65 (an excellent bike that I bought with an RS fairing fitted, I later removed the fairing and the bike looked a lot nicer but performance in every aspect was worst..) Then an unfaired R80, pretty good but not one to greatly inspire. Next up to come my way was the R100R.

The R100R was introduced to mollify the hardcore of old school beardy BMW riders who had been mightily upset when the airheads were dropped in favour of the new K Series flying bricks. The 100R was in essence a GS in roadster clothing. Overall the package was excellent, an old school engine in up to date running gear. Brembo brakes, Showa suspension and paralever swinging arm.

Handsome, even in nineties purple.

Nowadays the 100R is seen as being ahead of its time in the retro market. Not only that it was something of a pre-cursor to the super moto scene - in being a big torquey motor in a naked bike with nimble frame geometry borrowed from an off-roader and excellent brakes.

The 100R pushed out 60bhp, 10 less than an RS but considerably better on torque and it had great fun point and squirt characteristics. In fact on a twisty road it was as fast as anything out there. Now I remember the bike and write about it I kinda want another one...

Personally I found the downfall of the 100R to be its low gearing. As the bike was a parts bin model with most borrowed from the GS range BMW did not bother to go to the expense of changing the gearing to be more suitable for a purely road orientated machine. This was the reason I sold it in the end - I had wanted a motorway cruiser to back up my classic bikes but the 100R was way too buzzy for a big bike when pushed along at motorway speeds.

Definitely fond memories of this machine though and one I would recommend to anyone (unless motorway stonking is your thing..)

Essentially an R100GS in road clothing.

A great gentle backroads tourer.

Retro style valve covers. Chrome on aluminium never looks
anything but naff though and is a corrosion magnet.

Purple! At least it looks better than the vile aquamarine that
they also offered as a colour option.