Saturday, September 29, 2012

Rudge Sports Special period pictures

Here's another crop of old pics. This guy was living the dream late thirties with his Rudge Sports Special. I have no details about the pics other than a quick google reveals that the HNW registration pre-fix is a Leeds registration and 1939.

Happier times before the war with Rudge Sports Special. 

Rudge Sports Special. This pic is noted as 'Great Wasdale
Head'. Must have been a lucky chap to get out into the Lake
District during the war years (black-out headlight mask fitted).

1939 Rudge Sports Special.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Svalan Panther Swedish Motorcycle

Browsing through ebay a couple of days back I came across this Svalan for sale in Poland. It's a marque I had never come across before and if it was brought over to the UK there'd be little chance of seeing two in the same place. 
Svalan 'Lyx' offered on ebay.
Turns out Svalan is a Swedish marque which commenced production of autocycles shortly before World War Two in the town of Falun. Post-war they re-commenced production and produced mopeds, scooters, smaller two stroke motorcycles and four strokes using the British Panther 'lightweight' 250 and 350 engines.

1955 Svalan brochure cover page.
The lightweight Panther engine would seem an unusual choice as its British reputation was as a solid, if slightly dull, workhorse. However in those postwar days supply was limited and it could well be that manufacturers selling complete four stroke engines were few and far between. There was a 250cc rigid framed model, the 'Matcher' which also used the Dowty forks and Lucas lighting as fitted to early post war Panthers. The later plunger framed 350cc model was the Lyx, for this model NSU forks were fitted along with Hella lighting. This appears to be the model currently offered on ebay. It's a nice looking bike and even with the £300 odd pounds it would probably cost to get over to the UK is not terribly expensive even if also not a bargain. But hurry up, only two days left......

Some Svalan links:

Svalan page on 'The Pantherlair'

Panther Owners Club page on Panther derivatives

Svalan page from Mats Berglind

Jonases page on Svalans

Monday, September 24, 2012

Popham Megameet

The August Popham Megameent is now well established in the calendar. An informal ride-in show with club and trade stands. There are a couple of marquees but it is mostly outdoors and has on a few occasions in the  past fallen foul to the vagaries of the English summer. This year, despite the majority of the summer being an absolute stinker weather-wise, the gods smiled and Popham was blessed with glorious sunshine. The combination of motorcycles and aeroplanes at a good old fashioned enthusiast aerodrome is a winner and throughout the day numerous flying machines dropped by, many of them vintage and even a gyrocopter amongst their number. Here's a few photos from machines that caught the eye.. 
Open frame three speeder Scott.

Lovely unrestored dohc MV Augusta race bike.

Detail from a Moto Rumi 'Gentleman'.

Someone got a drill for Christmas! Probably seemed like
a good idea at the time and must have saved at least 50
grammes! A bit of a restorer's dilemma but personally I'd
leave this Moto Rumi Tipo Sport just as it is.

BSA A10 plunger Gold Flash mildly bobbed and with an M20
front end grafted on. Looks very right but probably handles
and brakes worst than original!

Home brewed v-twin special badged up as 'The Indomitable
Jackson'. AJS engine and the other components I'm not too
sure. Very nicely put together.

Unrestored Excelsior Roadmaster on the British Two Stroke
Club stand.

Anstey links on an unrestored Ariel Red Hunter that had been
used by a gamekeeper in Surrey for all of its life.

Cracking little Motom 50cc ohv race bike. Enormous finned
sump and probably a very effective noise generating tool.

On loan from the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu this
experimental 1944 Royal Enfield 350 sidevalve twin was made
for military evaluation. In the end they chose the Triumph TRW.

Good to see a very early Royal Enfield Crusader restored to
original spec. RE persisted with single sprung saddles long
after other manufacturers. Particularly strange as they were
the first in there with swinging arm frames post-war.

Side valve Norton Big-Four sidecar tug mated with a very
glamorous Noxal sidecar parked up in the spectators' bike
park area.

Same Norton, different view.

1911 Rudge labelled as probably the ex DC Bolton Brooklands
racing machine.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Arliguie bicycle / velo

I bought this unusual cycle chainguard at a flea market. Guessed it was post war and probably French. I've done a bit of internet trawling on 'Aliguie' but can find no details other than Rene Arliguie was a small scale quality frame builder based in Montgarnis, just south of Paris, and produced frames in the forties and fifties. For a while he had a successful team, 'Arliguie-Hutchinson'. Other than that I've drawn a blank and not found out anything about why Beelzebub should appear on an Arliguie chainguard! Or, for that matter, any other images of this distinctive piece. Anyone got any further info? It'll make a nice shed decoration or if someone comes along missing this very part it can find a new home...

Arliuguie bicycle chainguard.
Arliguie bicycle chainguard.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Jawa 350 brochure 1950

Lovely stylish brochure from Jawa for their 1950 350. For 1950 the Jawa was quite an advanced bike - where did it all go wrong! Easy to see where the rumours that Mr Turner took his styling cues from Jawa for Triumph's famous nacelle come from...

1950 350cc Jawa brochure page 1.
1950 350cc Jawa brochure pages 2 & 3.

1950 350cc Jawa brochure pages 3.& 4
1950 350cc Jawa brochure pages 4 & 5.

1950 350cc Jawa brochure page 6.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Historic vehicle MOT changes

There's already been plenty written about the abandoning of mot testing for vehicles built 1960 or earlier. In the historic vehicle movement many folks seem to be wary of the move, some reckoning it is the thin end of the wedge and will herald useage limitations on historic vehicles as exist in other European countries. Others seem to believe that they are not up to discerning the roadworthiness of their vehicle themselves and need a check over from a garage to make sure it is ok. If this is the case why not be happy that you are saving money on an mot and book your vehicle in for an annual service where you can get it checked and fixed for not a lot more money than the cost of an mot... The thing is where bikes are concerned that there are many countries out there that do not have testing for two wheelers and the roads are not an unmitigated catastrophy of junk yard motos riding around. France has no vehicle testing for motorcycles, the Isle of Man has no testing for private vehicles at all. How about we can all just celebrate that for one rare occasion we have all actually gained a little bit of freedom rather than lost it. If you are not confident about looking after your machine yourself, pay someone else to do it. If you are then get on and do it. The abandoning of mots won't change any laws about roadworthiness. The mot is after all just a snapshot, there is no guarantee that after a vehicle leaves an mot centre with a new ticket it won't be illegal the next day....

So, thumbs up to no mots. Yeehaw! Slightly more freedom and a few notes extra in the pocket.

However, there is a new proposal, mot related, that is a very scary. The 'Amendment to EC Roadworthiness Package for Historic Vehicles'. Without going in to great detail there is potential that modifications and updating of your own machinery could become illegal. This could be improving the braking or building up a 'shed special' like a Triton.

There's an e-petition up where you can put your name down to urge a parliamentary debate for an amendment:

The above is part of a new EU proposal for 'Roadworthiness Testing'. It's very drachonian and completely unnecessary. Read the synopsis on the Motorcycle Action Group site or the patient can read the proposals in full on the EU site. Then write to your MP and complain for all you're worth!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Vincent HRD 1948 brochure

Latest brochure posted is the Vincent HRD from 1948. Click to enlarge. It's a fold-out so pages not quite in order...

1948 Vincent HRD brochure front and back.

1948 Vincent HRD brochure centre fold-out.

1948 Vincent HRD brochure middle pages.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

First World War period Despatch Riders photographs

A couple of nice early pictures of military machinery.

The solo up front is a Triumph and I believe the sidecar
machines are all Royal Enfields with Vickers v-twin motors.
Picture taken in Surrey.
Unmistakably a Triumph.  I believe the picture is taken in
France and to look at the rider this seems to be so. I would have
said an earlier bike than the 'Trusty Triumph' Model H that saw
so much use in the First World War. Perhaps then an earlier civilian
bike pressed in to service or the photo is simply pre-1914. 

CZ brochure 1950

The CZ brochure from 1950. I suspect not many made it to the UK. A pity as the bikes were certainly a match for any home produced lightweight.
1950 CZ brochure page 1.
1950 CZ brochure pages 2 & 3.

1950 CZ brochure page 4.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Fitting a sidecar to a Royal Enfield Bullet

The Bullet I've had for years and is an old warrior and faithful friend. She's a 1997 model, originally a 350, now a 500 and veteran of a ride back from India and down to the Sahara in Morocco as well as MCC trials and numerous UK and European road trips. The sidecar was an ebay buy and is a sixties Watsonian Monza. I had previously bought an Avon Super Sports but when I thought about it, it was way too heavy so passed it on. The Monza is an ideal weight for a Bullet and looks right with it. I was worried that fitting the chair would ruin a good bike. Did it? Read on....

1997 Royal Enfield Bullet with Watsonian Monza sidecar.
The starting point for fitting the chair was two buckets full of sidecar fittings bought from a local auction for a tenner. As I went on to find going the mix and match route for fittings is a difficult one for a sidecar rookie but buying a set of new, ready to go, fittings can be very pricey.

The story has a part one and a part two. The part one fitting picked all the most apparently suitable bracketry and lined the chair up to the bike as per instructions from an old handbook and used straight edges to get all the angles right. Problem was though that the rig was un-rideable. Even from the lowest speeds the steering shook terrifyingly. Knowledgable folks said ride through it and it will settle down. Sadly this wasn't the case. I'm pretty sure the sidecar geometry wasn't to blame and it seemed like the front end needed a rebuild as on examination there was wear in all moving parts.

The forks were taken off, new steering head bearings fitted and then the whole lot was re-assembled with new stanchions, a steering damper from a Redditch Bullet (see earlier post) and a fancy Hitchcocks fork brace.
Another angle. The Monza is surprisingly comfortable even
for a tall adult.
Next step was to put the chair back on. I decided to throw the handbook away and go for the 'if it looks right, it is right' approach in the hope that I would learn more on the art of sidecar fitting. The Monza chair is almost the same length as the Bullet; whereas fitting it by the book the rear of the chair sat further back than the rear of the bike I decided to put it right alongside. This looks a lot better and given that you can find recommendations to place the sidecar wheel anything from parallel to the bike's rear wheel to a foot in front it is still within the acceptable range.

The other two adjustables for fitting a sidecar in terms of handling are: 'toe-in' for the sidecar (the angle to which the chair's wheel points inwards to the bike) and 'lean-out' of the bike. The toe-in will steady the handling, too much and steering will be heavier, too little and it will be skittish. Go the wrong way and point it out and handling will be pretty wild! Too much toe-in will also give heavy tyre wear. Against expectation the bike must lean out from the sidecar rather than stand upright. Without lean-out the bike will steer in to the sidecar, too much and it will pull away.
I think this is the best angle on the Bullet combo. Bullet trials
interloper in the background.
The second fitting of the sidecar seemed ok and off it went for an MOT test. Job done, it steered nicely and passed. Then first ride with a passenger in there was some movement on the fittings and the nose of the sidecar ended up meeting with the tarmac.

Some re-thinking was needed on fittings. For the front upper fitting I had gone with a straight bar, I had been told that this wouldn't work and only a 'swan neck' would be rigid enough. This didn't quite sound logical to me as it is the two points of attachment that are important, the shape of the fitting arm is irrelevant. If a short, straight bar is rigidly attached it should be better. What had moved and caused the sidecar nose to drop was the upper front bike frame attachment. It had just one clamp bolt as well as the spade bolt to fit to the arm. I swapped it out for a sturdier one with two clamp bolts. Also the rear lower ball joint was suspect. This was exchanged for a slightly stronger, if more cumbersome, set up.
Rear fittings with ball joint and rear swan neck.
The rig was now definitely rigid. I rode it around the block. It looked right and it went right. I then loaded the sidecar up to go off to the Royal Enfield Owners Club 'Fossil Rally' weekend the next day. What a revelation camping with a sidecar, I could even carry a barbecue, firewood and a sack of charcoal. Brilliant. Then I set off and it handled like a pig with a definite affinity for the gutter. I realised that, whilst the rig had been set up ok with the suspension unloaded on bike and sidecar and it rode ok on a low speed jaunt around the neighbourhood, as soon as there was weight on it the geometry all went to pot.
Front fittings, not by the book but seem to work fine.
The ride to the Fossil Rally took nearly three hours, it should have been just over one. Some time was spent sheltering from a thunderstorm and some on trying to start a waterlogged bike after. Also the steering damper came loose at one point and those violent shakes returned. It's not often I don't enjoy riding a bike but this was one of those rare times and a definite low point in my motorcycling career!

At the rally the morning after was spent re-adjusting the chair. Thankfully I had thought to add extra ballast in the form of several massive spanners, adjustables and a two foot long stilson. The handling was improved though still not perfect but the ride home approached enjoyable at times.

Once home more adjustment was possible and on the next test ride I finally got the appeal of sidecarring. When set up properly the bike should run straight on a fixed throttle, steer away from the sidecar on slowing and in to it on acceleration. Riding the outfit feels like a skill worth learning and with satisfaction to be had. Plus it adds a new dimension to motorcycling and provides heart stopping thrills at moped pace speeds..

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Aermacchi Racers brochure 1968

Here's the Syd Lawton Aermacchi Racers brochure for 1968.

Aermacchi Racers brochure for 1968 page 1.

Aermacchi Racers brochure for 1968 page 2.

Aermacchi Racers brochure for 1968 page 3.

Aermacchi Racers brochure for 1968 page 4.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Miscellaneous Norton period photographs

Nothing more than three old pictures of Nortons back in the day....

Looks like he's cutting a dash with a 1929 ES2.

Mid twenties club run to the sea with Nortons and Triumphs.

Shop display late forties or very early
fifties with a ES2 (or is it a Mod 18?), a 16H
and Beesas in the background.