Tuesday, December 29, 2015

RIP Lemmy

A legend has left us. Who hasn't had Ace of Spades or Silver Machine running through their head whilst out riding? In tribute a medley of images cropped from the interweb...

And treat yourself to a listen...

Silver Machine

Ace of Spades

Finally this is pre-Lemmy Hawkwind but a nice homespun clip with bikes and it seems somehow suitable...

Monday, December 21, 2015

Velocette brochure 1956.

The Velocette brochure from 1956. The Venom and Viper were new for the '56 model year bikes but actually appeared late '55. Later on in '56 the flat twin Valiant was introduced at the November Earls Court show as a '57 model.

1956 Velocette brochure front cover.

1956 Velocette brochure page 1.

1956 Velocette brochure page 2.

1956 Velocette brochure page 3.

1956 Velocette brochure rear cover.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Vintage Indian Combination

Blurry and badly cropped snap of an Indian combination dating from the early twenties. On the plus side the focus isn't too bad! The CR prefix on the reg number denotes a vehicle registered in Portsmouth (UK).

Vintage Indian sidecar combination.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Early fifties continental touring

A series of images that came as a job lot from the same album. Mostly all continental touring in the early fifties though the Stonehenge image is very obviously in England. Somehow it seems right to keep them all together as a record even if the times and places are different. Where the images are annotated I've added this to the caption.

'Belgium - France'

'Swiss Police'



Saturday, December 12, 2015

Matchless in Cyprus

Spotted in Larnaka, Cyprus, a short while back whilst there for work. This Matchless (G15CSR?) was parked up by a beach front cafe. It seemed to be in regular use; I spotted the owner riding it sedately through the old town the following day too with his groceries on the back.

Matchless G15CSR in Cyprus.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

The mystery of the compression-less Gold Star

Top half of a BSA CB32 Gold Star.
I've owned a CB32 Gold Star for longer than I care to remember. I say longer as in all the years of my ownership I've never gotten round to making it work properly. It's been a real heartache machine, there's not much intrinsically wrong with it but getting it working spot on has eluded me, and it's not through lack of effort. Time has come now that I'm fed up of seeing it on the bench and have decided to have a final push at getting it on the road for the next season.

The last big go at making it work involved sending the motor off to a friend of a friend for a rebuild. It came back all checked over but untested. The motor was installed back in the bike and started up. However there was a mysterious lack of compression. For various reasons disappointment set in and rather than get it sorted straight away the Goldie was put to one side again. Since then various vain attempts have been made at sorting the bike without stripping it down. But now the time has come and the top end has been stripped.

What has this top end strip revealed? Absolutely nothing. I had hoped that the valves would obviously be leaking, the piston rings misaligned or for there to be some other obvious cause. The valves seal perfectly, there is no obvious leak from the head gasket, the piston rings are fine. I had even wondered if too low a piston was fitted but it slides up to the very top of the bore at the top of the stroke and is a dome topped Omega which should give a ratio of something like 8.5 to 1. Not much to do now apart from re-assemble and hope it magically becomes better unless someone out there has any ideas... 

And the bottom half of a CB32....

Piston seems fine. It's new. No obvious signs
of piston rings not doing their thing. The valves
seal properly and the valve timing is right.

Shiny CB32 Omega piston.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Moto Guzzi 1927

Here's something a bit rare and unusual, the Moto Guzzi range catalogue for 1927. It's in German so great if you speak or are learning the language, if not then just enjoy the illustrations.

Moto Guzzi 1927 front cover.

Moto Guzzi 1927 page 1.

Moto Guzzi 1927 page 2.

Moto Guzzi 1927 page 3.

Moto Guzzi 1927 page 4.

Moto Guzzi 1927 page 5.

Moto Guzzi 1927 page 6.

Moto Guzzi 1927 page 7.

Moto Guzzi 1927 page 8.

Moto Guzzi 1927 page 9.

Apes spotted in the Dolomites

Spotted a few months back in Falcade in the Dolomites, a pair of Piaggio Apes. There were quite a few Apes out and about in the mountains. Great to see that they are still in use.

Piaggio Apes spotted.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Thor Thor Indian

Fantastic period photo from around 1911 of two Thors and an Indian. The picture is annotated '4 Carpenters outside our house' on the reverse.

Left to right, Thor v-twin, Thor single, Indian v-twin all
dating from around 1911. Note the enormous headlight on
the middle bike.

Monday, November 30, 2015

1973 Hagon Triumph Weslake Sprint Bike

This bike just stood out for me so much at the Westonzoyland Sprint that I've decided to dedicate a whole page to it. Maybe it's something to do with me trying to self-teach machine tool work at the moment and I am in awe of the skill and time gone in to this bike or it could be just that it is an incredible thunderous beast.

It is a 1973 Hagon-framed Triumph. Originally a full Triumph engine it blew up in 2004 and was rebuilt with a lot of Weslake parts. What makes it so special though is the number of home machined parts it carries and the care and attention that has been lavished upon it. Not just that but it is an extremely effective tool at doing the job it was made to do. It's one of those bikes that the more you look at it the more exquisite detail you see. 

The lines are right and the period nose cone
finishes it off perfectly.

Fast standing still.

Enough detail to keep an engine nerd occupied for a good while..
See the gearbox. Home-made.

Open polished rockers on the eight valve Weslake head. A
lot of extra bracing to keep that barrel and head from flying off!
Monster SU carb and home-made supercharger.

Home-made barrel too. 

Just look at that twist grip. Imagine the hours that went in
to that alone. Just the shape of it and then managing to knurl
it when it isn't round. I don't even know how that it done.

And here it is in action warming the tyres up.

And it's off. The noise was truly earth shattering. You
feel it inside you as it takes off the line.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

AJS Rudge Ariel

Mid thirties snap of bright young things having fun featuring an AJS, a Rudge and an Ariel.

Thirties AJS, Rudge and Ariel

Thursday, November 26, 2015

John Lloyd - England to Australia 1949

You won't normally find posts of copied magazine articles on this blog but this one is from such a low circulation source and a great story that it warrants circulating.

I'm always fascinated by early long distance motorcycle adventures and John Lloyd's travels are remarkable for the era that he did them. In 1948 the War would have been a close memory and the Europe that John travelled through on his way to Australia still visibly scarred. The machine he rode was a 350cc ex-WD Triumph, pretty much as decent a machine for the job as there would have been at the time. Slow, but plenty of folks overland even today with 350cc Royal Enfield Bullets which would be pressed to gain the edge on the Triumph in a race. John seems to have done his travels on the quiet for his own satisfaction and this article is perhaps the only record of them. I wonder if he is still around today?

Click on the images for larger, better definition scans.

John Lloyd's journey is featured in Motor
Cycle Sport from the days before it became
a wide circulation monthly.