Saturday, January 30, 2016

Stayer Bonanza pt II

Following the Stayer Bonanza of a few months back here are a whole load more stayer images. Once again the celebrity of both the stayer pilots as well as the cyclists themselves comes across. The stayer riders needed great skill to accurately pace their partner cyclist and a good rider knew a trick or two to get his cyclist ahead and stay in the lead.

Paced cycle racing still goes on though is very much a minority sport. There's been a strong revival of board track racing motorcycles of late; it would be great to see a similar renaissance for the stayers. A stayer was always a very limited production machine, not so many years back they were broken up for their motors but appreciation is rising and there are a few survivors out there. Wouldn't it be wonderful to re-create the spectacle of racing the boards. I have a c1910 track cycle - if you've got a working pacer get in touch and let's see what we can do!

At a guess dating from just before or just after WW1. The
stayer looks like a gentle giant with a big bore inlet over
exhaust v-twin. The cyclist is Seres and the pacer Moreau.

The caption reads, 'Nat Butler, American stayer lead by

This Gentleman goes by the name of Cavé.

The translation of the captions can be confusing. In French the
cyclists are referred to as 'stayers' and the motorcyclists are
'entraineurs'. Somehow in translation to English the motorcyclists
have become stayers. This is French champion, L. Minardi
led by Lavalade.

German cyclist Karl Wittig with stayer
Seppi Käser.

Just imagine if the fastest thing you had ever seen was a galloping
horse and then you turned up to a velodrome, paid your few centimes
to get in and then saw several stayers circulating at 60mpg spitting
fire from stub exhausts with cyclists tagging along behind. The noise,
the spectacle!

Cyclists Dickentmann and Robi with their stayers. Apparently
taken from the book, 'Major Taylor'. If you do not know the story
of Major Taylor you must read it. Try the wikipedia biog.

Linart, a Belgian rider who was world
champ in 1921.

This very stylish gent goes by the name
of Guignard.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Sidecar cruelty

Matt's Kawasaki combo loaded up with folding trailer about to recover a poorly CX500 en route to the Flying Herman's Sidecar Treffen. Who needs the AA? Thanks for the picture Matt.

Kwacker combo earning its keep...

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Pre-War Velocette Press Photos

A few more Velocette press photos, these dating from the late thirties and all featuring the same MSS.

Possibly this chap could neither be more English nor more
from the thirties.

Sensible screen on the Velocette MSS this time. The rider
scores points for natty gauntlets, beret and goggles. Those
loon pants are going cause some drag though. The bike looks
to be well used.

Just a great photo. She looks genuinely happy to be on the Velo!

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Scottish tour by Triumph Speed Twin 1961

Collection of snaps from a family album dated August 1961 of a tour of the Scottish Highlands on a pre-unit Triumph Speed Twin. The captions underneath the images are what is written on the reverse.

'Kyle of Tongue - Tongue - Caithness'
'Pass of Glen Coe. Rannoch Moor from Fort William. Perth.'
'Pass of Glen Coe. Rannoch Moor from Fort William. Perth.'
'John O' Groats 1 mile'
'View of John O' Groats. Caithness.'

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Berini Super Sport

Advertising flyer for the very jet age Berini Super Sport moped from the late fifties / early sixties. Interesting to see at the bottom of the flyer that the importer was Cotton Motorcycles of Gloucester. The Berini name still lives on in its native Holland as a brand name for imported Chinese scooters.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Petrol tanks and ethanol..

Personally my aggravation with ethanol has been minor. I haven't noticed a great deal of difference in running, nothing that a tweak of the carb settings won't cure. What I have noticed are minor foibles, prematurely dying spark plugs on machines that have been left standing. A carb 'varnished' on the insides from slowly dissolving pre-ethanol Petseal tank liner to the point it stuck wide open. A greater than expected number of 'weeping' fuel taps. My main beef with ethanol has been the outlandish pointlessness of it. Burning it is no better than burning hydrocarbons and growing it takes land away from food crops in a time of rapidly growing population and climate catastrophes with the backdrop of regional conflict brought on by poor harvests. Our Governments actually subsidise and promote this cul de sac of idiocy whilst the market itself is inextricably moving towards electric vehicles.

Of late though I have found one more reason to hate ethanol, in the last year three of my machines have been stricken by tiny pinhole leaks in petrol tanks. The racing Bantam sprayed a fine mist of fuel over my crotch from a leak in the top seam as I thrashed it through the Picos mountains during the 5000 Curves. My J2 Enfield sploshed toxic fuel down my leg as I set off for a gentle Sunday run a couple of months back and the Gilera dripped and dripped over a hot engine threatening spontaneous combustion in a Social Club car park.

These leaks have all been from the top seams of tanks. It is commonly held that ethanol can secretly rot out the bottom of tanks as it degrades and forms a layer of water and promotes an electrolytic reaction. I have found that it seeks out the tiniest of weaknesses and exposes them.

A little research reveals that ethanol has a slightly lower viscosity than mineral based fuel, could it be that small holes overlooked by good old fashioned pre-ethanol fuel are highlighted by the accursed plant juice?

Whatever the case it is here to stay and I have three petrol tanks with holes that need to be plugged. A review of at least one petrol tank sealant brand will be forthcoming.....   

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Indian Brave brochure 1955

The once noble Indian Motocycle Manufacturing Company of Springfield, Massachusetts had to endure many an ignominy before reaching the current revival. The first of these was at the hands of the British Brockhouse company who bought the rights to the name after Indian went under in 1953.

Brockhouse was a heavyweight engineering company who had already dabbled in motorcycles in a small way with the Corgi scooter. After purchase of the Indian name the Corgi was marketed in the States under the Indian brand as the Papoose model. The next step was the Brave.

The Brave was sold primarily on price and was notable for having a sidevalve motor of 250cc when other manufacturers had moved away from that format to overhead valves or two strokes. Also noteworthy was the Indian's woeful lack of power, one can only speculate in disbelief over how appalling the performance must have been when hitched to the optional sidecar. Despite all this the Indian Brave is now sought after (just shows the power of branding folks!). This brochure dates from 1955; the over-egging of the 'Red' Indian Brave connection is hugely crass to modern eyes. 

Brockhouse were later responsible for bringing Royal Enfield motorcycles in to the States under the Indian brand.

Front cover of the 1955 Indian Brave brochure. The 'S' in
Model 'S' is for spring frame.

It's a fold out brochure. Apologies
for cutting it up in the scan but it
was the only way to do it.

'No reservations about this Indian' - eugh!

Last scan of the centre fold out.

Rear cover of the 1955 Indian Brave brochure.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Vintage Douglas Combination

A flat tank Douglas combination out promenading.

Vintage Douglas motorcycle and sidecar.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Classic and Vintage Motorcycle Events in Europe 2016

The time has come around again for a listing of excuses to pack up and head across the Channel on two wheels. Once again I haven't managed to find any decent calendar of continental events online so here is my humble offering. By no means comprehensive the listing has greatly expanded this year though it still simply represents a list of events that I have either been to in person, friends have been to, or I have heard good things about. If you have feedback or events you know of that should be included in the list then how about getting in touch. There's a noticeable shortage of events in the listing out in Eastern Europe and Scandinavia and I'd love to put this right.

There's the usual caveat that only a rash fool would use this page as the sole information source before heading off into the sunset. Check details for yourself, dates change, events get cancelled.  

Get out there and enjoy, don't be scared to take something old on a long trip, they were made for it, breakdown cover is a cheap and wonderful thing and there's a great joy to be had riding with friends on machines you've put together yourselves. Even roadside tinkering and repairs aren't so bad. Many of my personal greatest motorcycling memories come from long weekend jaunts across the Channel on old bikes... free camping in a French woodland and listening to a nightingale serenade us the whole night long, horizontal rain at the side of the road in northern France whilst trying to clean out a dirty carb, racing an Enfield through a Dutch tunnel listening to the music from the exhaust until a valve seized up and it had to be pushed out to the other side in darkness.. ah, happy times! Step on your bike and create your own adventures and memories.

13 and 14 February 2016: Moto Retro Wieze, Wieze, Belgium.
- Billed as Belgium's biggest old bike autojumble.

12 and 13 March 2016: Salon de Reims, Reims, France.
- Mixed car and bike show.

1 to 3 April 2016: Veterama, Hockenheim, Germany.
- Very big autojumble.

17 April 2016: Circuito di S.Pietro in Trento, S Pietro in Trento, Italy.
- Pre 1930 motorcycle event.

23 and 24 April: Iron Bikers, Circuit Carole, France.
- Circuit based event near Paris for 50s to 80s bikes.

29 April to 1 May 2016: John Bull Rally, Belgium.
- Organised by the BSA Owners Club Belgium but open to all old British bikes. Gets great reviews.

6 to 8 May 2016: ASI motoshow, Parma, Italy.
- Popular track based Italian show.

12 to 15 May 2016: 20th IVVMCC Slievenamon pre-31 Rally. Co. Kilkenny, Ireland. email:
- Gets very good reports.

13 to 15 May 2016: Paris Dunkerque Rally, France.
- An event for adventure bike types rather than classics but no reason not to take your old nail along. Non-competitive and looks like fun.

18 to 25 May 2016Motogiro D'Italia, San Marino.
- Hooning around Italy on small bikes! Touring event for big cc lovers too. Route this year drops in to Croatia and Slovenia too.

20 to 22 May 2016: Tour de Bretagne, Bains Sur Oust, France.
- Large gathering of old vehicles in Brittany. Several days of routes through the local countryside. Dates tbc.

21 and 22 May 2016: Coupes Moto Legende, Dijon, France.
- All old bike enthusiasts should visit at least once.

30 May 2016: Boulogne Bicycle Rally, Boulogne, France.
A leisurely and tipple fuelled trundle around the former Boulogne Grand Prix Circuit. There's no official website, the whole event is informal. There's a good account of it and some tips here though.

5 June 2016: Rando Cyclo, Sars Poteries, France.
- Event for those who favour fewer horsepower. Double check the date if planning to go, I always find it difficult to get info on this event. The best info I can find at the moment is here on this Mobylette forum. Good if you speak Dutch, if not get the google translate out. There's an account of last year's event here.

2 to 5 June 2016: MC Piston Cantabria Tour, Cantabria, Spain.
- I rode a MC Piston event a couple of years ago and it was great. Expect wonderful scenery, great hospitality and laid back but efficient organisation.

10 and 11 June 2016: Ton Up, Lurcy Levy, France.
- Track based British bike only event.

11 and 12 June 2016: Reivocazione Storica Circuito Tre Monti, Imola, Italy.
- Pre-1945 motorcycle event.

25 and 26 June 2016: Grand Prix de Tours, Tours, France.
- Glamorous vintage car parade held around the scenic city of Tours.

8 to 12 June 2016: Wheels and Waves, Biarritz, France.
- New wave custom and classic event. Now massive can they maintain the momentum?.

11 and 12 June 2016: Autodrome Heritage Festival, Montlhery, France.
- Car and bike, no idea what it is like but any event at Montlhery is worth a visit.

18 and 19 June 2016: Cafe Racer Festival: Montlhery, France.
- Popular does what it says on the tin bike event at the fantastic Montlhery circuit near Paris.

23 to 26 June 2016: Fiva World Motorcycle Rally, Prague, Czech Republic.
- Annual FIVA rally, held in a different country each year.

1 to 3 July 2016: Biker's Classics, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium.
- Racing for more recent classics.

3 to 9 July 2016: Milano-Taranto, Italy
- Like the Moto G but lower key and possibly more hardcore. Already fully subscribed to compete.

10 July 2016: Stella Alpina Rally, Bardonecchia, Italy.
- Ride up a mountain with fellow enthusiasts.

14 to 17 July 2016: Round Kurland Rally, Latvia.
- Latvia isn't so far if you take a couple of different ferries. Dates tbc.

15 to 17 July 2016: Classic Bikes Chimay, Chimay, Belgium.
- Belgian vintage street racing. I went along a couple of years ago. Great fun, proper street racing, Belgian beer. Close to the town. Camp at the circuit for the full experience.

17 to 21 July 2016: International Schleswig-Holstein ADAC Country Tours, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany.
5 day touring event for pre-1950 machines.

22 to 24 July 2016: International Windmill Rally, Gieten, Holland.
Bi-annual vintage motorcycle regularity team trial.

5 to 7 August 2016: Schloss Dyck Classic DaysJüchen, Germany.
- The German equivalent of the Goodwood Revival.

6 and 7 August 2016: Journées Coyote: Nogaro Circuit, France.
- Weekend track event. Looks like mostly more recent classics.

20 August 2016: Oldtimerdag Ruinerwold, Ruinerwold, Netherlands.
- Old vehicles take over Dutch town.

21 August 2016: Oude Klepper Parade, De Haan, Holland.
- Pre-21 motorcycle parade.

19 to 21 August 2016: Belgian Classic TT, Gedinne, Belgium.
- Belgian road racing.

23 to 28 August 2016: Irish National Rally, Munster, Ireland.
- Perenially popular jaunt through Irish countryside. Dates tbc.

27 and 28 August 2016: International Hengelo Rally, Hengelo, Holland.
- Large pre-41 bike rally.

3 and 4 September 2016: Red Bull Alpenbrevet, Lugano, Switzerland.
- For me Red Bull is the Devil's own piss but don't let big corporate sponsorship put you off: a 1000 moped endurance run over Swiss Alpine passes must by its very nature be an awesome event.

2 to 4 September 2016: Glemseck 101, Glemseck, nr Stuttgart, Germany.
- New wave customs and cafe-racers, corporate sponsorship and hipster drag racing.

9 to 13 September 2016: Imola Mostra Scambio, Imola, Italy.
- Huge Italian autojumble.

16 to 18 September 2016: Trophees Gerard Jumeaux, Circuit Carole, North of Paris, France.
- Classic racing French style.

17 and 18 September 2016: Bol D'Or Classic, Magny Cours, France.
- Good if classic endurance racing is your bag.

16 to 18 September 2016: Circuit des Ramparts d'Angouleme, Angouleme, France.
- Glamorous vintage cars racing around medieval town.

18 September 2016: International Pionierfahrt im Rheinland, Rheinland, Germany.
- Event for pre-1914 machines.

24 to 26 September 2016: Grossglockner Grand Prix, Zell am See, Austria
- Mighty historic alpine hill climb. Mainly four wheelers but with some motos too. Dates tbc.

25 September 2016: Montée historique Maurice Violland, Coligny, France.
- Promising looking historic hill climb.

26 September to 2 October 2016: MC Piston Rally Meeting, Santander, Spain.
- Rode this event a couple of years back. Excellent. Great atmosphere, hospitality and stunning roads. Opt in to the event as much as you like, the three day tour at the beginning was great. Very good value. Possibly the largest old bike road riding event in Europe.

2 to 9 October 2016: Rally de Colombres, Colombres, Spain.
- This is what the MC Piston event started out as. MC Piston moved the rally to Santander and some guys formed a club called Moto Club Indianos and carried on running it as it was.

7 to 9 October 2016: Veterama, Mannheim, Germany.
- Huge autojumble.

16 October 2016: Moto Retro Leuven, Leuven, Holland.
- One day bike jumble. Date is provisional and not confirmed at time of writing.

18 to 20 November 2016: Salon Moto Legende, Paris, France.
- French show. The dates are provisional. No exact dates available at time of writing.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

LE Velocette press photos

A couple of images so clean and staged that they can only be press release photos. Looks like a MkII LE (Little Engine) to me. 200cc of twin cylinder side valve raw power and a hand crank starter. Finely engineered machines and still undervalued.

LE Velocette MkII press photo.

LE Velocette MkII accessoried out with panniers and screen.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

DKW Hobby scooter

A 75cc DKW Hobby scooter. The Hobby was notable for being the grandaddy of the current wave of twist and go mini-scoots. The might of the Hobby's 3bhp two stroke motor was harnessed by a primary belt drive constant variable transmission. It must have worked well enough as the Hobby was in production from 1954 to 1958 in Germany and then licensed out to the Manurhin concern in France who continued with production up until 1962.

There's a great article with history and road test of the Hobby on the Iceni Cam Mag site. Well worth reading the road test section of the article where the experience of riding the Hobby is compared to, 'like sitting on a washing machine full of brick rubble, and running spin cycle'. The conclusion is that the 'only happy cruising speed seems to be stationary', the main problem being that with just 3hp on tap the automatic transmission keeps the motor on full power which happens to be at full revs.

DKW Hobby scooter.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Sturminster Newton New Year's Gathering 2016

Happy New Year to all.

Along with a few hundred others I braved wet and windy weather along with a mild hangover to herald the New Year with fellow enthusiasts. Mainly a car turnout but a few two wheelers too. Here is a small smorgasbord of snaps from the morning. Apologies for the scant details on the captions, I appreciate a vintage car but bikes are my area of knowledge.

Delightful aging on a vintage Renault.

Fantastic Stutz straight 8.

The Stutz motor in all its glory.

Wonderful vintage Vauxhall. A 30/98?

Another view of the Vauxhall.

It was a bit of a vintage Vauxhall benefit. At least three turned
up. Here's the dash of another.

Jensen CV8 detail.

I'm no vintage car expert. The radiator badge
says 'HC'.

Whatever it is it is stunning.

Triking grumbles by.

Another one of those Vauxhalls.

Also guilty of not knowing the marque of this
military lorry.