Monday, November 30, 2020

1906 Peugeot cycle

1905 / 6 Peugeot cycle

I recently had a lucky find (thanks to James Kelly for the tip off) and picked up four early cycles that had been rotting away in a barn in France. Thankfully I didn't have to go over to France to get them as another chap had already done that hard work. It would have made a nice trip in other times but not during the pandemic.

The first I'll feature here is a Peugeot from, as far as I can work out, 1905 or 6. Luckily this cycle has survived reasonably well apart from some damage to the handlebars - sadly a couple of the the others in the haul are in a slightly more sorry state.

I'm a bit of a stranger to French cycles and had to get help from the VCC facebook group to identify. I've got to confess that I had thought it was a bit earlier as when comparing to British cycles of the period it looks to be at least five years older. It seems that British fashion was towards luxury and the French favoured minimalism. What appears to identify the age of the cycle is the fork crown - it is brazed up whereas pre-1905 models had a cast crown. Anachronistically the Peugeot still uses a block chain with skip tooth chainwheel. Looking around at other Peugeots pictured on the net a lot of folks date their Peugeots earlier than they actually are, probably due to a mixture of lack of knowledge / resources and wishful thinking. In all honesty I had desperately hoped that this would be a cycle I could join in with the London to Brighton veteran car run on (needs to be 1904 or earlier).

This site was a great help in helping to date the Peugeot too: The remit of the site is Peugeot cycles of the sixties and seventies but there is a great library of early brochures too. 

It seems like the Peugeot is a Model A which came in a very basic spec with no mudguards or indeed brakes. This one though shall receive something to slow progress at least on the front wheel. All Peugeot frames except the chainless models seem to be the same though so a pair of drop handlebars could convert this into a more desirable racer.

The plan is to give the Peugeot a sympathetic restoration and get it roadworthy again with a minimum of fuss. From a quick scan of the condition it shouldn't be too challenging.

Apologies for the poor quality photos. Taken on my phone in the rain as the cycles were dropped off at a lock up.

My Peugeot is missing its head badge.
It should look like this, if anyone knows
where I can find one then please do let me
know. Image taken from the Peugeot official

Friday, November 27, 2020

BSA Model K family outing

Here's a BSA Model K 550cc side valve combination doing exactly what is was deisgned for - providing dependable family transport. Not 100% sure of the year of the bike, hard to say but it looks like a chain drive bike - chain drive was introduced on the K in 1914 and ran concurrently with belt drive as an option for several years. Most likely this bike is early post-WW1. It's nicely accessorised with a lighting set and klaxon atop the petrol tank.

BSA Model K combination.

Monday, November 23, 2020

Velocette looking fly

I picked up this sweet little Manx style fly screen recently. It had been fitted to a Velo previously. Sadly though when I tried it out it turned out to have been a Velo with a quite different headlight from mine. Undeterred I set about modifying and this is the result. I wanted to tilt the screen back a bit. With a plain round hole for the headlight rim it wants to sit pretty much bolt upright. It looked a bit odd that way so I set to with a jigsaw. It's quite hard to imagine, draw and cut a suitable elipse on a flyscreen that will give the right angle of lean. I'm fairly happy with the outcome, just don't look too closely at the cut - rubber trim can however hide a whole range of sins... 

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Fantasy v twin

I bought a few old bike books recently in a bundle and and discovered some cuttings mingled up with everything else. A couple of which were these illustrations of an ohc v twin motor. It's a wonderful looking engine but not familiar at all to me, a bit like the Koehler Escoffier pre-war racing motor but not quite the same. I feel it is a what could have been flight of fancy on the part of the illustrator and what a lovely machine it would have made...

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Douglas 4hp combination

Here's a big Duggie. As far as I can tell one of the 4hp (600cc) models that was introduced in 1915 in response to the need for a bigger engine for use as a sidecar tug than the popular 2 3/4hp model. The 4hp model was continued through until 1923. Not too sure of the year of the bike in the photo but more than likely it is a post WW1 model (civilian production was paused for the latter two years of the war). 1919 perhaps? The very furry clothing style of the lady aboard the bike seems to be from the early twenties.

Douglas 4hp 600cc and fluffy rider!

Sunday, November 8, 2020

Battlesbridge Motorcycle Museum

It must be a sign of encroaching old farthood that recently I felt a need to return to the place of my studies (Colchester in Essex) to see how the place had changed since I was last there (>20 years, yeesh!) The answer is that I'm really not sure as late forties me has significantly different priorities of where to go and what to see from the early twenties me more concerned with parties and getting high...

The above ramble is leading to breaking the journey home with an impromptu visit to the Battlesbridge Antiques Centre, well worth a visit if you have even a passing interest in old junk. Bimbling around looking at the the myriad of units selling wares that could assist in the ongoing project of further cluttering up an already overcrowded home we stumbled upon the Battlesbridge Motorcycle Museum. Stumbled upon is a bit disingenuous as I already knew of its existence as somewhen in the distant past I had already visited. However the Museum has moved location slightly and was supposed to be closed mid-week. Officially it is only open on Sundays but being an enthusiast run place if any of the volunteers fancy coming along for a while it opens up. A nice informal way to operate but obvs if you are planning a visit on any day but Sunday and have any distance to travel best call in advance to check..

The Museum contains many volunteers' machines and is wonderfully eclectic, there are some bikes of real rarity there too. It is small but they manage to cram in an awful lot of bikes along with a great collection of memorabilia. A visit is time well spent and highly recommended.

This cracking 1930 Panther was parked
outside and offered for sale.

Any Wooler is a special bike but this one
more so than most having been John
Wooler's personal bike.

1928 Norton CS1.

An Evans Power Cycle is a very rare
sight in the UK.

Stacks of bikes!

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

The Ariel Pixie

 Another British motorcycle industry might have been, the Ariel Pixie.

The Pixie was Val Page's last design and envisaged to be a 75cc ohc machine, a direct competitor to the Honda 90 that had scared the captains of the British motorcycle industry so much. BSA top brass are nowadays derided for watering down Page's design to a 50cc ohv engine and that is held as the reason that the Pixie was a sales failure but the real reason is far wider than that. Honda succeeded because they had new state of the art machinery capable of pushing out C90s manufactured to very fine tolerances in their thousands. Not only this but Honda had a huge market in Asia right on their doorstep. BSA on the other hand were producing bikes on outdated machinery and selling to a limited market of the former Empire and the States. It didn't matter at all what fantastical world-beating design came off the drawing board the sad reality is that when it came off the BSA production line it was always going to be more expensive and less reliable than a Honda Cub. If Honda themselves had licensed BSA to produce the Cub on the BSA production line it would have probably leaked oil and had reliability issues.....

Disregarding the above the Pixie is a cute little machine and for my eyes the styling is right. They are now something of a rarity and the production run was short - 1963 to 1965. This particular brochure is dated 1962, presumably printed in time for the Earls Court Motorcycle Show held in November.

Sunday, November 1, 2020

Zorange workshop hand cleaner review

If you look carefully at the ingredients of most heavy duty granulated workshop hand cleaners they use plastic beads as the abrasive medium. That's even some of the ones that market themselves as 'natural'. I used Swarfega for years without fully realising and thinking about what polygrains actually were. Shame on you guys at Swarfega et al for ever thinking that it was a cool thing to be washing tons of tiny plastic grains down the sink.

Of course recently there has been a move away from microbeads, polygrains or whatever the marketing folk care to call the tiny lumps of plastic they sneak in to their products but many still contain them.

Nowadays there are several products on the market that are more friendly to the environment - to the extent that they don't contain actual plastic and really it's a no-brainer to buy these ones and avoid the others like the plague. After searching around I settled on 'Zalpon Zorange' by Rozalex, it is fairly easy to find and the abrasive medium is ground up pumice stone.

The good news is that Zorange is a pretty similar hand washing product to others on the market. It works just as well as Swarfega Tough or any of the others. 

Personally I'd like to find something more enviro-friendly still, in packaging and biodegradable non-toxic nature of the ingredients. Any suggestions welcome. But until then Zorange will suit me fine.

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Horex Regina

This nicely atmospheric snap features a Horex Regina, a motorcycle rarely seen outside of its native Germany. Obviously the subject of this picture has travelled at least a few kilometers, there not being many Cycles de la Gare in Deutschland. Always an exclusive brand and with limited sales Horex was taken over by Daimler Benz in 1960 who promptly dropped motorcycle production. The brand has considerable loyalty in Germany and was briefly revived by Friedl Munch (he of Mammut fame) in the seventies. In the late eighties / early nineties a Japanese / German collaboration saw a Honda single powered machine, the Osca, appear - an attractive machine very similar to the Gilera Saturno of the same period. Horex has of course recently come back to life again with a narrow angle V6 machine.

Gallic Horex Regina.

Monday, October 19, 2020

I met my girl by the gasworks wall

Evocative 50's snap of some motorcycling chums meeting up. From the gear it looks like winter.  Proper headwear for the chaps on big bikes, seems like a beret will suffice if you are on a BSA Bantam and if you are the lass on pillion then you have to make do with a scarf.

Friday, October 16, 2020

Woodhead Monroe Shock Absorbers

The brochure for Woodhead Monroe shock absorbers. Woodhead Monroe units were fitted as standard to Velocettes up to 1962 and as far as I know Velo were the only manufacturer to fit them as OEM.

Woodhead Monroes are a quality unit but they cannot have got much volume of sales through Velocette alone so must have had to rely on aftermarket fitments.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Edwardian roadster

A great old photo of a gent with his roadster cycle. As with most vintage snaps of bicycles it is very hard, if not impossible, to establish the marque of the cycle. Looking at the bike all we can say for sure is that the front mudguard finishes at the forks rather than extending forward. Most manufacturers dropped this feature and extended the mudguard forwards around 1906. This particular postcard has been sent and carries an Edward VII stamp. Given the two knowns the best we can do is to date the cycle to 1906 or earlier and the photo having been taken between 1901 and 1910 (the reign of Edward VII).


Saturday, October 10, 2020

Isolated mini-adventure

Only a month ago I posted that things seemed to be getting back to some state of normalcy with old bike meets. How wrong I was....

A small band of us meet up every year for a moto camping trip, preferably to continental Europe and with an event as the destination. Despite optimism that a late season excursion might be on the cards it became evident that this was not to be. Rather than give in we determined to meet up somewhere quiet and enjoy a couple of nights away from reality. After all it's ultimately about the ride and the company so all else is insignificant.

As it happens Dan is of good Wiltshire agricultural stock and has family connections with land and barns: so it was that we ended up camping in a field close by the Cotswolds. Not only this but the luxury of a barn to shelter from the rain, for rain it did in spades. 

Given that the journey from home to destination
was only 75 miles I had contemplated taking the
Beesa Bantam to turn it into a bit more of an
adventure. However a rare day without rain found me
re-cementing the patio whilst I could and then needing
something a bit quicker to get there. Having just MOT'd
the Buell and fitted a rack to boot it seemed like a good
chance to check out its touring capabilities. Spoiler -
they are very slight.


Arrival refreshments.

The Buell alongside Matt's Beesa A10 combo and
Dan's faithful Bullet.

A trip out to Kemble Airfield for a very modern

At this point Dan decides to check out
Matt's carpentry skills with a stress test.

Restoration project discovered. A
genuine 'hedge find'.

And ready to go home two days later. That barn
really was a life saver for the rain was certainly
more on than off for the duration of our trip.

Having a mate with a sidecar is a valuable
thing. Not only can they bring the necessaries
they can remove them when it is all over.

Monday, October 5, 2020

Africa Bullet Resurrection Part II

 After posting up Part I of the Africa Bullet 'restoration' I had imagined that the next post on the subject would follow a few weeks later and detail some minor step forward with the project. Instead I spent a few weeks labouring in my mind over what colour to do the bike (should I go for the red it was before or make it easy with black) and then when I got the frame back from the powder coaters went in to a frenzy of re-assembly and here we are on Part II with the bike looking fairly up together. Don't worry though there's still a lot to do....

Here's the offside view as it stands at the moment.
The keen Bulleteer will spot a very unorthodox spec
for a 1955 model. In fact if I am honest only really
the frame, swinging arm, engine and gearbox are
original to the bike.

Indian Enfield quick release rear wheel. I fitted this
for the Africa trip as it makes taking the wheel out
so much more easy. The original Redditch non-qd
wheel means you have to split the chain and
disconnect the brake to take out the wheel. The drive
side axle on the Indian wheel is slightly larger diameter
so to get it to fit in the Redditch swinging arm the slot
had to be filed out slightly.

I had slowly collected a few nice stainless bits and
pieces for the bike as I saw them and to spread the
cost. The idea of this bike is as a year round whatever
the weather rider. The more stainless the better. These
lower engine mounts came from a guy trading as JT
Classic Stainless on eBay. Highly recommended.

I had some stainless gearbox mounts from my last
Indian Enfield kicking around that I had never gotten
round to fitting. They are of a different size to the
Redditch ones (same spacing on the gearbox but the Indian
one is a lot taller) - they had to be re-drilled to suit
and cut down to size.

The stainless theme continues with the
front engine mount. Not so the bolts
though. I've used whatever came off the
bike as long as it was in decent condition
and correct size - you've got the reign in
the spend somewhere and having travelled
so far with the bike and taken it apart and
re-assembled it so many times these nuts and
bolts are rather like old friends to me....

Off-side view. The side stand is an Indian one - it
was lying around and besides they are pretty good.

Previously the bike was fitted with a casquette from
an early sixties model. It didn't look quite right and
I like the appearance of the separate headlight. I scored
this Hitchcocks top yoke fairly cheap so on it went.

Point of 'interest' for Bullet nerds...
The '55 model frames were current for
that year only - both the 350 and 500
ones have a casting rather than plate for
the swinging arm mount and the 500 models
have a detachable subframe that bolts up
with heavy castings just behind the saddle.

For riding around Africa I fitted a disc
front end from an Electra model. I've
got the original front wheel but decided
to stick with the disc - I hope to do some
heavy duty touring with the bike once more
sometime. Rather than the Electra fork I
switched to one from an UCE model - the
fork is a bit beefier plus you can keep the
traditional fork shrouds and mudguard
mounts - it just looks better. Trying to fit
different eras of parts together was a bit of an
experiment. Thankfully the thread on the
stanchions to the top yoke was the same.
The differences are that a longer axle is required
plus new shrouds as the diameter of the UCE
forks is slightly greater.

To get the UCE shrouds to match to the
earlier headlight ears I had to machine a
small aluminium adaptor.

In for a penny in for a pound on mixing up the parts.
I fitted a bottom yoke from an early sixties bike
as they are slightly stronger than the earlier
ones. Plus it has a steering damper. Not necessary
but it just appealed to me.

Next instalment coming up soon. The petrol tank, toolboxes and other sundries are going off to the powder coaters in the next few days. Soon as the petrol tank goes on hopefully we can start the beast up.