Monday, January 28, 2013

BMW combination in Crete

Just came across this snap I took a few years ago on holiday in Crete. This late fifties BMW-Steib combo was parked up in a back street in Hania. It looked a bit tired but cared for and had probably given good service for fifty or so years.

Well used Beemer combo in Crete.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Unidentified twenties combo

No idea what is going on in this picture, what the bike is or where it was taken. The guy standing in the middle of the street is quite interested in the proceedings, or is he in fact the subject of the photo into which some inconsiderate sidecarist has barged? The bicycle mounted rubber-necker  is also keen to be in frame. Probably not a lot happened on this street. Cameras must have been fairly old hat by then although probably not mass market products and the outfit, though glamourous looking, can't have been entirely alien to them.

As for the rig itself, there is not enough detail for me to work out what it is apart from to say that it is early to mid-twenties. The aluminium wheel trim disks are a nice touch, popular in their day but hardly seen in today's world of catalogue perfect restorations.

Unidentified twenties outfit.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Brochures Index

Brochures are being added regularly and the list gets updated. Follow the links through and when on the page click on the pictures to enlarge. As a tip, if you want higher res right click on the image to open in a new tab.

Aermacchi Racers 1968
AJS Model B 1921
Amazonas / Kahena VW engined Brazilian
Ambassador 1952
Ambassador Super S 1959
Ariel Arrow and Leader
Douglas range 1920
Douglas Con Rod magazine 1928
Douglas range 1952
Douglas Dragonfly 1956
Ducati 250 Monza
Ducati Puma Moped, 48cc Sports and 80cc Sports 1962
Dunelt Lightweight Model K
Dunelt Moped 1956
Dunkley Whippet Sports
Economic Babyweight Motor Cycle
Excelsior full range 1937
Excelsior Universal c1947
Excelsior Abridged List 1958
Fafnir Motor Cycle engines 1911
Francis Barnett ascent of Snowdon 1926
Francis Barnett 1954
G.A.B. Auto-Scooter
Gilera 150cc Sport
Gilera 1958
Gilera 175
Greeves 24MD, 24MDS & 24ME 1963
Greeves 24TE & 24TES 1962
Greeves Roadsters 1963
Greeves Scramblers 24 MD & 24MDS 1962
Greeves Silverstone RAS 1963
Harley Davidson range 1975
Harris Matchless G80
Healey 1000/4
Henderson 1925 De-Luxe Model
Holden Motor Bicycle 1898
Honda CB360 1975
Honda CB500 1975
Honda Cub, 'How Honda Got on Top' 1963
Honda 50 Cub early sixties
Honda SS50 1975
Humber Motor Cycles 1927
Indian Brave 1955
Indian Dakota 4 1999
Morgan Three Wheeler 1946

Parts and Accessories:

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

BSA Bantam 1948 brochure

BSA Bantam brochure from the first year of production, 1948.

BSA Bantam brochure 1948 page 1.

BSA Bantam brochure 1948 pages 2 and 3.

BSA Bantam brochure 1948 page 4.

Monday, January 14, 2013

AJS flat-tanker out camping

Certainly not taken by a professional photographer but a nice evocative period shot of a chap out camping on his flat-tanker. To the best of my knowledge it's an AJS, certainly a side-valve model and dating from the mid-twenties. Check out the huge pillion seat! Looks like one of the ones designed for a lady to ride side saddle on.

The registration number NP 5636 is a Worcestershire one. I don't stoop to the depths of nerdery of in-depth knowledge of registrations. A list of letters corresponding to regions can be found here:  ( I remember one time riding back from Montlhery on the Velo and stopping at a cafe. A fellow brit came running over very excited. An old bike out and about normally creates some interest but this guy was very animated. He said, "Crikey, LJN, that's a Bournemouth registration plate". Not a spec of interest in the bike buy very stimulated over the plate. Takes all types...

Flat tank AJS on a camping trip.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Exeter Trial 2013

This post was planned as a blow by blow account of my successful Exeter Trial on my wonderfully prepared Royal Enfield Bullet accompanied by the equally intrepid Dan on his road-going Bullet and Matt on his Beta Alp. Instead it is a tale of mechanical woe and physical collapse. The only pictures I bring you are from the massed start at the Haynes Museum, Sparkford. Enjoy the pictures and read on below if you care to hear my sorry tale...

Some bikes entered for me can be truly classified as 'heroic'.
This BSA M21 and Steib combo is one such. There really is
no concession to off-roading bar the removal of the sidecar
seat and its replacement with a pad on the boot. This gives
better traction on hills but its most significant purpose must
surely be to drastically reduce passenger comfort.

Another heroic mount. Plunger BSA A7.

Home-made Citroen 2CV based three-wheeler.

Rather nice and purposeful Dellow.

Pair of Dellows waiting to be used for what they were made for.

Another valiant hero. Francis Barnett Falcon. In fact there are
a pair of them ride together.

A further pair to be saluted. There are two 1920's Trojan
two stroke cars normally enter. They are standard save for
upgraded lights and lowered gearing.
The Bullet made the trip from home in Dorset to the start at Cirencester via Matt's folks for dinner (thanks Bill and Lyn!), some ninety miles or so without trouble. We had a late start number at Cirencester and headed off just before nine pm. All was well until we got closer to the gathering point at Sparkford, another ninety miles on. The bike started to misfire slightly under load. High revs and steady running fine but increasing throttle openings gave trouble. I suspected spark plug problems. All the same we made Sparkford in nice time and had a good two and a half hours there to natter, check out machinery and take a break.

With time to spare the points were checked and the spark plug examined. All looked to be in Bristol fashion and starting and running seemed improved. I did the driving test at Sparkford. It went well but then the bike was hard to start after.

Riding on to Windwhistle Restart Test the misfire got work and the bike had to be revved or it would die. By this point I was wondering if my alternator was keeping up with draw from the lights but stopping the engine the battery was still up and the lights good. I wondered about a fuel blockage...

Hit the start line for the restart test and the bike died. Terminally. It was on a steep and narrow hill with a long queue behind. Matt and Dan went ahead as there was nowhere to wait. I kicked the bike aimlessly for ten odd minutes on the verge before giving up through exhaustion of body and spirit. There was nothing to do but push the bike back down the hill and as it happened back up the next until I could find somewhere to work on it. By this time it was somewhere around one am. Out came the headtorch and tools and on with a carb strip. Carb back together fitfteen minutes later and no improvement. Hmm... how about that sparkplug? I changed it and it was perfect. Should have gone with gut instinct straight away.

On with the show. Restart test no problem. Next section. Underdown II. Much queuing, Class O section was abandoned due to the extremely muddy conditions. I queued for a long time to get to the section. I was waved on past it. I did a circle and queued through again. This time I did the section and got up ok. Next Normans Hump. Gave Matt and Dan a call. Was catching up nicely. Normans Hump was rather difficult, very muddy and on a slightly overgeared and underpowered for purpose Brit bike it was hard work. With a lot of revving and wheel spinning to keep the motor in its sweet spot I made it to the restart box. Stopping at the restart was a mistake. No way could I get traction again. The clutch overheated and that was it. I had to manhandle the bike around and back down the hill. Next hill was Clinton and I got up ok but with a couple of footings.

Coming off the tracks from Clinton and back on to the road I realised I had a front puncture. Now four am. Nothing to do but have a crack at repairing it. Bike covered in mud. No centre stand. On a hill and in the dark. Still, got a new tube in, pumped it up and down it went again. Extreme exhaustion and a considerable degree of demoralisation followed. A pair of gents in a Dellow let me inflate from their airline and I resolved to try to make it to the closest service station before the tyre flattened once more.

I got to Tower Services in Seaton just as they were opening at six thirty am. Food and liquid restored me somewhat. Called up my recovery service and hoped they would come out and bring a tube. Two hours later nothing so I called. Apparently no fix, no help but a recovery lorry was on its way. A bit infuriating as by this time the local bike shop would have been open. I could have fixed the problem, skipped a few sections and carried on. Still, bed and a shower did seem appealling. The guys at the service station were fantastic as were numerous locals, interested in the bike, free coffee, a chair to sit on whilst waiting and one guy from up the road even brought me down a bacon sarnie.

So, that's the tale of woe. One of those, why do I do this? Never again days. But by Sunday I was plotting changes to the bike, rueing on my bad luck and thinking about the next one...

Monday, January 7, 2013

The Scoo-ped 'tempts' teenagers...

Not my normal thing to blog a copy of a magazine article but this snippet from Scooter World February 1959 is a gem.

When you consider that this awful bicycle encased in a fibre glass body apparently modelled on a childrens' fairground ride was up against the mighty NSU Quickly and Mobylette then it is small wonder the British two-wheeler industry hit the doldrums. The 49cc Trojan motor was hardly a power house when used as a cyclemotor attachment but when hindered by several pounds of fibreglass encumbrance it would have truly met its match when put up against the skin of a rice pudding.. When a manufacturer promotes the lack of gears as 'What isn't there can't go wrong' then something truly is wrong.

I'd never heard of the Scoo-ped before seeing this and there's no mention on the web anywhere else so it is to be imagined that buyers didn't turn up in droves and very few were produced. Perhaps this happy family out on a promotional assignment are representing the complete production run.

Happy model family out on a Scoo-ped outing. Click to enlarge.

Rex-Acme Blackburne period picture

Nice period photo of a Rex-Acme with Blackburne engine. The number plate is a Berkshire one and the picture is labelled as 'nr. Stockbridge', so not too far away from home. That's all I can tell you about it. Tasty bike.

Rex-Acme Blackburne.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Sturminster Newton New Years Day run

New Years Day morning was greeted by an unfamiliar yellow disc in the sky giving out light and warmth. A good few weeks since it had last made it presence felt. Going from not particularly looking forward to the inaugural ride of the year imagining it would be a damp plod through sodden misery all suddenly looked rosy in the world.

Round these parts the traditional thing to do for retro petrolheads is the New Years gathering at Sturminster Newton in aid of the Air Ambulance. There's always a heartening number of folks willing to bring out precious, delicate and exotic machines in the middle of winter.

The bike run follows a different route from the four wheelers and ends up at a different pub but the start point is the same. Bikes set out first but I was keen to see the cars go off so made a delayed start.

Detail from a wonderfully paint-free Model T pick up. Check out
the blue sky!

Another detail from the Model T.

And here's another detail. Brilliantly matured and preserved.

Noticing a theme here? A penchant for the not quite terminally
rusty. The is the rear flank from a late twenties Overland tourer.

Here's self same Overland's front quarter.

Late twenties cammy Velo enjoying the sun.

Triumphs from the late twenties and later thirties.

Great detail period kit in the back of a twenties Renault Torpedo
pick up.

Despite the rain letting off in the past couple of days, floods still
very much apparent in lower lying areas.

Nicely used pre-war HRD Meteor out and about.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Getting ready for the Exeter Trial

Just a couple of days to go now to the Exeter Trial organised by the MCC (link to the right). A few last minute preps to the Bullet. A standard road tank for extra range, an ugly homemade route holder and lots of extra tools, spares and spare tubes and a pump.

Put some miles on it today and all seems well apart from a persistent problem in jumping out of second on the upwards change that no amount of tinkering seems to fix.

So here's crossing fingers that it's not too cold or wet and the bike holds together. We're not in it for medals, just finishing is achievement enough. Pics and post from the event to follow after the weekend....