Monday, September 16, 2019

BMW airhead Power Flow silencers revisited


These Power Flow silencers I scored a while back on eBay. When they arrived I fitted them straight off. The seller had reported that they were a bit too raucous so he had tack welded in some db killers. As I discovered not only were they db killers they were also very effective performance killers and the bike ran dreadfully at anything above 3000 revs.

Next step was to set about removing the tack welds. Not an easy job given the recess in the outlet of the silencers and the fact that the term tack weld was rather under playing the large blobs of weld that held the db killers in place. A good hour with a die grinder had the offending noise restrictors out and then back on to the bike the Power Flows went.

So, how loud would they be? Quite loud is the answer, rorty but not too offensive. Did they make any difference out on the road? Really, I'm not sure - louder always seems faster. In theory they should give a performance edge but it will have to be in conjunction with some carb tuning. In many ways though the R100RS is already more than fast enough for its brakes and handling. Fuel consumption is already on the low end of the scale so just how much of an upgrade adding more performance to the bike as it is is rather a moot point...

The Power Flows seemed like a fun idea to have a play around with but I'm not sure if they will remain a permanent feature. They look great but the original Beemer silencers are great things, models of German efficiency, whispering quiet but with no stiffling of performance. And in a way that is part of the charm of a BMW, to be whisked along at high speed without disturbing the peace.

Lower fairing removed due to imminent top end strip for oil leak.

 And a short movie to get the aural experience.
The popping was traced down to a leak on the headers.
Steam on r/h head is from a recent wash.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Identify the flat tanker competition

A nineteen twenty-something wotsit at speed somewhere.

Can you identify this flat tanker? The only prize being glory, if being an uber nerd of vintage motorcycle identification is indeed a tag that can be bestowed with glory. Tis a tricky one this to be sure but someone out there must know what it is. Please comment or mail....

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

International West Kent Run 2019 pt3

I've been sitting on these pictures for a while, the IWKR was back at the beginning of August. Here's the last tranche of images from the event, all taken at the show held on the Sunday.

AJS combo rode in to the show. BSA tank fitted
and unconventional match of green lane spec bike
attached to a large Watsonian Palma sidecar.

A few interesting scooters rode in. This one a very tasty
Maicoletta. Considered by many the 'Rolls Royce of
scooters' the Maico is a very high spec machine with
performance to match and in some cases exceed similarly
sized bikes of the day (it was available in 250 and 277cc sizes).

A real rarity: British made, Villiers engined, DKR Defiant.

The Scott Owners Club was well represented with a stand in
the club area. 

American iron was out in force at the show.

Original paint pre-war Speed Twin.

BSA Y-13 power plant. Very nice!

And the complete Y-13.

Yours truly and offspring hacking the BSA Bantam around
the motorcycle gymkhana.

More of the same. A fun way to get the kids involved with
the hobby.

Another snap, this time with other daughter!

Oldest at the event by a significant margin. The 1899 Leon
Bollée. Massive kudos for taking it around the gymkhana circuit!

One of my personal favourite bikes of the fifties, though not
too sure why, I've never ridden one. Harley KH.

I guess it's something about the concept of a
well developed side valve sporting v twin.
Personally I would have to go for flat bars though.

And a close up.

Very unusual AER fitted with Villiers two stroke parallel twin.
A E Reynolds were a Liverpool based concern best known
for modified Scott motorcycles. Albert E began producing his
own complete machines just before the War.

And a Norton ready to go home after a long
weekend of vintage motorcycling.

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Panther re-visited

A big thanks to David at for kindly doing a resto job on this photo that I published a couple of posts back.

The extra sharpness on the image plus improved light gives the chance to take in some extra details missed before. As David pointed out there is a number board on the forks. One can also see that the front wheel is a 21 inch and with a studded tyre so it looks rather like this fellow used his Panther in competition. I would have said the most likely discipline for this bike would have been long distance trials.

Extra clarity on the image prompted me to investigate Panther models of the era a bit further and I'm rather ashamed to admit that my initial diagnosis of it being a Red Panther was very erroneous... Red Panthers were a discount model available in initially 250cc size and then later 350cc bought in bulk to a specification by London dealers Price and Clarke and sold through them exclusively. 

The model available through regular Panther dealers was known as the Redwing, in 250cc form it was the Redwing 70 and in 350cc the Redwing 80. Apart from finish the difference between the Redwings and the cheaper Pride and Clarke machines was a four speed gearbox instead of three and twin exhaust ports in stead of single.

I can't find reference to a competition model Redwing being available though many manufacturers did offer off-road competition versions of their standard models so it may well have been the case with Panther too. It certainly looks as if this machine is factory rather than modified.

I shall have to get in to this image restoration lark, it's not just more pleasing to look at a sharp, well lit image, the extra insight the detail gives you can be great too. Thanks again David.

Panther Redwing set up for off road competition and loaded
for touring.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Kenilworth Motorcyclette or the joy of finding a worthy keeper

This little 1919 Kenilworth Motorcyclette is a wonderful thing and I had great plans for it. I also have great plans for several other machines but time is limited and sometimes the best thing to do is to move on and find a new keeper for stalled and long term pipe dreams. And sometimes, quite honestly, that new keeper can be so much more of a worthy one than oneself.

So it was the case with the Kenilworth: it was sitting on a shelf in my garage as a somewhat forlorn curiosity that, if I am honest with myself, was unlikely have been made roadworthy again for many years henceforth. Less than two years ago the right custodian came along and now the Kenilworth has been swiftly transformed from its previous incarnation as a mono-wheeled saw bench to being a roadworthy scooter once more. What is better still is that the restoration is a marvellous example of sympathetic preservation, the way it should be. It is just how I had hoped to one day refurbish the Kenilworth myself. See the pictures below for before and afters. Thank you David and Jane, great job!

1919 Kenilworth. Two years ago it was thus.

Now it is this. Original, authentic and roadworthy.

The business side of the Kenilworth previously.

And now. Lovely!

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Touring Red Panther

This chap has all the gear to go pre-war touring. The panniers are much more of a proper job than the lashed on suitcase that you often see in old photos and his Stormguard coat means business, that might even be a helmet on the rear carrier, quite unusual pre-war.

The Red Panther was known to be a budget bike, often sold at a discount through London dealers Pride and Clarke as a recession buster. The little 350 Panther was however a solid and dependable machine with a specification and build quality that belied its price and it found favour with many enthusiasts.

Two copies of this image came to me, one under-exposed and one over. Thought I might as well reproduce both, take your pick! 

Red Panther all set up for touring.

Same Red Panther photo, more exposure!

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Great Dorset Steam Fair 2019 pt1

Pictures from a couple of days tramping around the wonderland that is the Great Dorset Steam Fair. For five days each year this is the world's greatest working museum of industrial heritage and rural crafts. The scale of it is vast and the variety on show mind boggling. From demonstrations of traditional hazel fence making, wood turning and smithing to a re-creation of World War One trenches and steam powered heavy haulage in action there is a lot going on. There are downsides: the site is huge to walk around and set out to give priority to the market stall, fairground, catering and entertainment money makers but get immersed, get your walking boots on and a fascinating time can be had.

Ex-WD steam engine being taken for a spin.

Post War Douglas are quite striking machines but have always
been rather niche. This is a MKIII model.

Tres shiny New Hudson flat tank two stroke.

Little and large. Norvin and NVT Easy Rider.
Rudge Ulster that seems to have had a grass tracking past.

A real rarity. BSA car, made between 1921 and
1924 and fitted with a 10hp v-twin motor.

Radiator detail on the BSA car

I liked this. Grand styling for a utilitarian device.

First World War steam lorry.

And First World War steam engine.

Having fun in the playground.

Lovely Paris Tour de France in the bicycle tent.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Triumph SD

What a wonderful photo this is. From the vendor I understand that it was taken in colonial China, the date on the reverse is 1925.

Back in the day being an official in the Empire meant a healthy pay packet if you originated from the mother country. This chap's Triumph bears that out, the SD was Triumph's luxury side valve model and this particular one is looking to be quite shiny and new. It is also generously accessorised with a Cowey klaxon on the top tube, an acetylene lighting set (front light only so it appears) as well as having an electric spotlight.

c1925 Triumph Model SD in
colonial China.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

International West Kent Run 2019 pt2

Seems like ages ago now but the IWKR was only three weeks back. Here are some more images from a very excellent long weekend...

BSA ZB32 Gold Star, one of several at the event.

Lovely Nimbus Sports over from Holland. The bike deservedly
picked up a prize in the show concours.

Nice line up of machines from French club
Lisieux APAPA in the campsite.

Magnat Debon with the French line up. Also a
concours winner and a very game entrant in the
bike gymkhana.

Late thirties Rudge Ulster. A very sophisticated machine.

The Eastern Bloc!

Pat Gill with his incredible 1st World War 1914 Matchless
machine gun combination has a crack at the Gymkhana.

Worth another photo.

Rare and luxurious Raleigh flat twin.

The Raleigh boasts rear swinging arm suspension controlled
by leaf springs.

Norman motorcycles were the local brand being
produced just down the road in Ashford. They
were well represented at the show.

Sweet collection of unusual Teutonic lightweights.

Shiny blue Harley.

More of the shiny blue Harley.

And a not shiny AJS. Quite fantastically not
shiny and fully roadworthy. Excellent.

Eek! Pink Gilera CX 125.

The CX is a very striking machine boasting
some unusual design features. Here the single
sided front fork.

1910 Douglas Model D. A veteran of 17 Pioneer Runs with
the current owner on board.