Friday, May 13, 2022

London Classic Bike Show at Kempton Park May 2022

Some photos from a visit to the London Classic Bike Show at Kempton Park last weekend. The visit was thoroughly enjoyable but the autojumble was smaller than in the past and the number of show stands was down too. Maybe it's an effect of the pandemic or maybe there are just a lot more events to choose from these days and this one has lost momentum a bit. Either way it was still fun despite being reduced in size.

Below a selection of pictures of show exhibits, autojumble offerings and bikes ridden in to the car park.

A cammy Norton is always a good place
to start. This one a 1935 350cc International.

1938 Royal Enfield 'S' 250cc in the show area.

Eric Patterson's hyper rare c1928 Speedway Sunbeam
nearing completion of its restoration.

Really gorgeous 1939 BSA M24 Gold Star.
The first of the Gold Star line.

This wonderful device was on the Hayes and Southall
Motoball Club stand. The bike is in the condition it was
last used in anger back in the fifties and the owner
sensibly is not going to restore it though is seeking some
girder forks to bring it back to an earlier spec.
The engine is an Ariel Red Hunter, the frame an ex-WD
Royal Enfield Flying Flea and the forks currently fitted
look like Dowty fitted with a short extender.
There's a great Pathe News colour film clip from 1959
that features this very bike in action. Well worth checking out.

Sweet little Royal Enfield 225cc two stroke
from the late thirties. Their budget model but
still featuring a nice switch / instrument panel
in the petrol tank.

Pressed steel girder forks were the vogue of the time
for lightweight bikes and, for a short while, across the
whole Royal Enfield range apart from the big twins.
Hand gear change was slightly anachronistic by then though.

Veteran inlet over exhaust v twin project. I didn't see
the owner to ask but it's either a Royal Enfield or a
Motosacoche (they were virtually identical).

On the same stall was this very rare twenties FN
petrol tank in great condition.

And still on the same stall this purposeful grass
tracker. Fitted with a Blackburne engine but the
frame is an unknown. Presentable but probably a
bike built up from parts for the early postwar make
do and mend grass track scene. Never the less it looked
like fun for the asking price of £4.5k.

Gigantic fuel filler on this BSA A65 cafe racer.

Proper old rocker's bike!

This BSA beagle was in remarkably original condition
and quite sweet. Designed as BSA's answer to the
Honda cub and variants they should have been better
but were let down by being made on ancient machinery
and beset with a poor reputation for reliability. To this
end there are a fair few virtually unused survivors!

An AJW Fox Cub from 1977. The styling can
best be described as 'brave' or 'unusual'. An easy
and unusual project it seemed like a bargain at £350.

1964 Italjet 'Vampire' 50cc racer. Apparently
a 'works' bike it came with another example
in pieces for the asking price of £4.5k.

Practical BSA B31 awaiting a new home.

Well turned out BSA Bantam racer was
offered in the autojumble. £2100 if my
memory is correct. Seemed reasonable.

Full view of the Bantam. Full traditional
mid to late sixties Bantam racer spec with
Velocette LE front forks and wheel.

Much modified Vincent combo.

Prize for shinest bike surely went to this
flat tank Douglas.

Sweet G3 Matchless ridden in. There's
something very appealing and workmanlike
about these Matchlesses.

Ducati Mike Hailwood Replica in the car park.
A beast of a bike to be riding around London.

Nicely used unit Triumph in the car park

And another used Triumph ridden in.

Vincent Black Shadow in the car park.
Those updated Honda 'Comstar' wheels
and forks are not to my taste but then its
not my bike and it certainly seems like a
bike that racks up the miles, so maybe not
a bad mod for regular use on today's roads.

This once lovely BSA Golden Flash plunger must
have broken the restorer's heart. In great condition
apart from the fact that the top layer of gold paint
hasn't adhered to the primer and is flaking off
prodigiously. The bike was offered in the autojumble.

Full view of the flaky A10.

My overall first prize of the day goes to the chap
who rode in on this mid twenties AJS v twin.
Well done sir!

Also in the car park this Hesketh is a bike to covet.

The Hesketh V1000 power unit.

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

P & P v twin

Below the flyer for the 1925 ohv JAP v-twin Packman and Poppe racing 1000cc v twin. A formidable looking machine of which (as far as I am aware) there are no survivors.

Happily several P & P machines do however survive with different engines fitted, apparently there was just the one frame design which would take anything from a small sidevalve up to this beast of a JAP twin.

P & P have an interesting, if chequered history. The bikes have several distinctive features, notably an early use of a fully duplex cradle frame and the fact that the rear wheel bearings are hung in the frame rather than the wheel itself. The company was founded by Gilmour Packman and Erling Poppe and bikes were produced from 1922 up until 1930.

Packman was unfortunately killed in 1925 in an argument with a salesman when he stopped off at the company offices on the way to the TT. Later in the year the factory was destroyed in a fire. In 1926 the company was sold to John Wooler of Wooler motorcycles fame.

Erling Poppe later went on to design the Sunbeam S7 in line twin.

Flyer for the 1925 v twin racing model
P & P.

Friday, May 6, 2022

Sammy Miller Autojumble April 2022

The weather forecast was for the rain to hold off and I had a free Sunday so what better way to spend it than a ride over to Sammy Miller's Museum for an amble around the biannual autojumble.

Due to my work timetable and covid it's been several years since I was last at one of Sammy's jumbles and I was amazed just how full of stalls it was. Amazed too that I turned up at just after 9am and seemingly was one of the last in through the gates. Despite the plethora of stalls I actually didn't manage to find one single thing to buy at the jumble, a first for me though not really an indictment of the items on offer. It's the nature of old tat, just sometimes there will be nothing you either need or want on offer.

I rode my Norton Dominator over, the number of old bikes in the car park has always been an attraction for me of the event. This time however there were very few old bikes parked up, maybe a reflection of the slightly iffy weather forecast (and in the end the rain arrived far earlier than predicted). Below a few pictures of the more worthy bikes ridden in....

Triumph TR6SS in 'desert sled' trim.
That flat plate front mudguard may
look shonky but it's authentically
what the racers fitted back in the day.

TR6SS from a different angle. Should
be a lot of fun on the road.

A Harley 45 is a bike with a strong presence.

This BSA B31 is apparently the only
motorcycle the owner has ever possessed.
In many ways too a B31 is the only bike
you would ever need. I've said it before
but these are definitely the best of the British
motorcycle industry, from a time when they
were on top of their game. Solid and
dependable all round bikes built for a lifetime
of reliable use. Easily serviced, full of character
and with a satisfying performance.

The B31 again. Look at the way the chrome
has worn on the tank exposing it layer by
layer. Proper chrome plating with copper
and nickel layers the way it should be.

And another plunger BSA, I've got a
soft spot for them. This one a Golden Flash.

Thursday, May 5, 2022

The glory of spring

Late spring as when the bluebells are in full bloom is unquestionably my favourite time of the year. The blanket of purple blue flowers in the local woodlands is something to behold. The vibrant blanket of sweet smelling bluebells combined with the tang of wild garlic in flower interspersed with a smattering of wood anenomies and wild daffodils is one of life's finest genteel pleasures.

I always make it a mission come bluebell season to get out on two wheels and make a tour of the finest local spots. This year the Velocette was pressed into service and the display was spectacular.

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Golden Mile Gold Star

I've just recently had my entry confirmed for the Lundy Flyers beach sprint in North Devon at the beginning of December.

I've entered my 350 ZB Gold Star as it seems to fit the bill. Enough power to be fun but hopefully not enough to hurt myself, the weight on the bike is nice and low down too so that should be a benefit. It doesn't seem to be a hardcore race to win type event but I like to put in a good showing - it's going to be my first time sprinting on sand so any tips gratefully received...

Most importantly it looks like a fun weekend of camping on the beach, hanging out with like minded folks and riding bikes.

More details:

Sunday, April 10, 2022

Magnificent FN Four

Certainly the most sophisticated European machine of the veteran era, the FN was a grand touring machine par excellence - see Ron Fellowes' ' Old Bloke on a Bike' site detailing his epic travels from India to Belgium on a 1910 FN. Sadly Ron has just recently passed away.

The particular machine pictured below I believe dates from 1913. The image is rather good and scanned in high resolution so if you want to see all the detail right click and open the image in a separate tab and then enlarge away to your heart's content...

Note the top tube mounted klaxon. There is an annotation on the back of the image stating ' April 1919'.

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

Royal enfield v twin combination

Here's a gorgeous Royal Enfield combination. It's a Model 180 v twin from 1926 or '27. A very impressive machine in either solo or sidecar form, lithe by the standards of many big twins of the time and with Enfield's excellent eight inch brakes front and rear. Really just about the perfect quintessential flat tank v twin and now highly sought after. Personally I'd love one...

What on earth is that over-inflated inner tube about though? 'The Charli Onion', is that what it says? The story behind it is surely lost in the mists of time.

Royal Enfield Model 180 combination.