Thursday, December 13, 2018

Bikes I have owned part V. BMW R80

Oh BMW, wherefore art though?

Now I look at pictures of this R80 I think maybe I should have held on to it. I can't remember now but I'm sure the money was needed at the time for something or other... I sold it to a young Italian guy in London, I really hope the bike has survived the cafe racer / new wave custom fad intact as it was a really good, genuine bike. I checked and it has not been on the road in ten years, maybe it went over to Italy with him.

Once was mine...

As a 1980 model this R80 was, in my mind, the best of the series. It's still got the classic looks that were lost with the later monoshocks but has decent Brembo brakes as opposed to the rather diabolical old ATE swinging caliper jobs. Though it hasn't got a fairing it is still a very useful daily rider bike and with 50hp is quick enough to cut it with modern traffic. In perspective those 50 horses are more than a new Royal Enfield Interceptor offers and nearly match an older model new Bonneville.

This particular example was low mileage and had been well looked after and pampered. It came to me with the high and wide RT touring handlebars which I swapped for a set of Velocette ones I had kicking around, in my mind the Velo bars suited the Beemer nicely. All round an excellent bike.

Velocette handlebars and optional instrument pods with clock
and voltmeter.

I've had a BMW in my garage pretty much continuously for the
last fifteen or so years. However, they come and go. Somehow
they seem to be the first to go when I need the money or space
but another one always comes back. 

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: https://www.facebook.com/velobiciantiche

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.