Monday, June 8, 2020

Packman & Poppe frame

Here's a recent and unusual visitor to my workshop, it's the frame from a 1923 Packman & Poppe. Sadly not my machine, but my father's so hopefully I might be lucky enough to experience riding it when it is completed... 

My job was to weld on the petrol tank and saddle mountings which had been cut off in an earlier incarnation of the bike. The bike was modified sometime just before the war or after for use as a grasstrack bike, the changes made to it over the years were fairly extensive but it carries its original character and is being restored as a road going bike with a nod to its grass track past. Examining the P & P frame up close it's an impressive bit of kit, very advanced for its time and a good choice for a grass tracker. The design is simple and rigid, a fully duplex cradle at a time when most other bikes used single tubes on open frames. It seems the frame needed a little reinforcing for racing even so as the bracing tube on the drive side is a later addition. An unusual feature of P & Ps is that the rear wheel bearings are carried on the frame rather than in the wheel.

Not much is written about Mr Packman but Erling Poppe was a distinguished designer with engineering in his blood. Erling was the son of the Norwegian engineer Peter Poppe of White & Poppe engines fame as seen in early Ariel motorcycles as well as many early cars, notably Morris.

Packman & Poppe produced motorcycles between 1923 and 1930 (in 1926 they were sold out to Wooler). Erling Poppe's greatest claim to fame was designing the postwar Sunbeam S7 and S8 bikes produced by BSA.

Here is the P & P as purchased. The forks and front wheel are
from a later bike and it originally left the factory with a sidevalve
motor, but you wouldn't want to change out that magnificent
Blackburne overhead valve lump would you?

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