Monday, February 27, 2017

Healey 1000/4

The Healey 100/4 was a made to order motorcycle produced in limited numbers from 1971 to 1977. The bike used an Ariel Square Four motor (which was discontinued back in 1959) in a modern Egli style frame. The bike was light and squeezed a surprisingly good performance out of a venerable 52 bhp motor. The very nature of using reconditioned motors in a new build meant that the bike was never destined to be produced in numbers more than a handful and from the off, though a charming bike, the Healey was outclassed by the Honda, BSA and Triumph multis. Altogether 28 bikes were produced as complete bikes and kits.

Healey 1000/4 brochure front cover.

Healey 1000/4 brochure middle pages.

Healey 1000/4 brochure rear cover.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

International Motorcyclists Tour Club

I picked this machine badge up a while back, I would guess it dates from the fifties. A quick search reveals that the club is still in existence and was founded back in 1932. In 1938 the Club arranged its first 'partitour' group tour to the continent. I had assumed that these partitours were somehow connected to Ken Craven and his Mojacar Touring Club but it seems that just the name is coincidental and the Craven partitours actually began post war.

It's worth taking a look at the International Motorcyclists Tour Club site, they've got a good club history up there and are still very much active to this day.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Victoria Swing

The seriously bizarre Swing from German manufacturers Victoria was introduced in 1955 and, I believe, produced up to their merger with DKW in 1958. Very few were made and sold. Having already brought the somewhat strange Bergmeister transverse v twin 350 to the market Victoria were no strangers to the idea of presenting odd motorcycles to the general public. There was nothing wrong with the Bergmeister except that it was very complex and pricey for a 350. The Bergmeister was later copied by Japanese company Marusho.

The 197cc Swing was designed by Norbert Riedel who had previously penned the Imme R100 (yes, another weird machine). Like the Imme the Swing's engine pivoted with the swinging arm - I guess conceptually the idea was to neutralise the unsprung weight of the rear wheel and swinging arm with the engine as a counter weight. Not only this but the swing also had an electrically operated four speed gearbox - there's a nice explanation of this on the Yesterday's site.

Victoria Swing brochure front cover.

Victoria Swing brochure inside pages.

Victoria Swing brochure rear cover.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Classic and Vintage Motorcycle Events in Europe 2017

Here we go 2017. Possibly the web's biggest vintage and classic motorcycle events listing for Europe. Or possibly I have not looked hard enough for another. If you know of any events that should be added to the list get in touch, same for mistakes. The list is longer than ever and every single one of these events looks great. Wish I could go to them all. More than likely I'll be riding over to the Vintage Revival at Montlhery, hopefully one more trip across the channel later on in the year too but not yet decided when or to where.

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.

11 and 12 February 2017: Moto Retro Wieze, Wieze, Belgium.
- Billed as Belgium's biggest old bike autojumble. Been and gone at time of publishing but remember for next year...

11 and 12 March 2017: Salon de Reims, Reims, France.
- Mixed car and bike show.

31 March to 2 April 2017: Veterama, Hockenheim, Germany.
- Very big autojumble.

9 April 2017: Circuito di S.Pietro in Trento, S Pietro in Trento, Italy.
- Pre 1930 motorcycle event.

22 and 23 April 2017: Iron Bikers, Circuit Carole, France.
- Circuit based event near Paris for 50s to 80s bikes.

23 April 2017: Horsepower Run, Veenhuisen, Holland.
- Dutch equivalent of the Pioneer Run.

28 to 30 April 2017: John Bull Rally, Belgium.
- Organised by the BSA Owners Club Belgium but open to all old British bikes. Gets great reviews.

12 to 14 May 2017: ASI motoshow, Parma, Italy.
- Popular track based Italian show.

11 to 14 May 2017: IVVMCC Slievenamon pre-31 Rally. Co. Kilkenny, Ireland.
- Gets very good reports.

5 to 7 May 2017: 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.

6 & 7 May 2017: Vintage Revival, Montlhery, France.
- Bi-ennial and fantastic pre-war car and bike event. Go!

10 to 15 May 2017: Verano Indiano, Colombres, Spain.
- From the guys that brought you the revived Colombres Rally in October.

14 to 20 May 2017Motogiro D'Italia, San Marino.
- Hooning around Italy on small bikes! Touring event for big cc lovers too. Finishing the near 1000 mile course on a pre-57 sub 175cc is quite an achievement. 

12 to 14 May 2017: Tour du Calvados, Luc Sur Mer, France.

12 to 14 May 2017: Tour de Bretagne, Bains Sur Oust, France.
- Large gathering of old vehicles in Brittany. Several days of routes through the local countryside. Dates tbc.

19 to 21 May 2017: Balade des Vieux Clous, Nord Pas de Calais, France.
- Don't know a lot about this event but the location is convenient for Brits and Beneluxians keen to go abroad.

24 to 28 May 2017: FIVA World Rally for Motor Cycles, Cavaillon, France.
- The roving FIVA rally hits France this year.

27 and 28 May 2017: Coupes Moto Legende, Dijon, France.
- All old bike enthusiasts should visit at least once.

25 to 28 May 2017: Oostblocktreffen, Netherlands. Eastern Bloc bike rally.

18 to 21 June 2017: International Rallye / Fete de la moto a Luc Sur Mer

28 May 2017: 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 are vintage cycle happenings in Boulogne the whole bank holiday weekend. A good account of it and some tips here.

2 to 5 June 2017: International Ibbenburen Veteran Motorcycle Rally, Ibbenburen, Germany.
- Promises up to 400 pre-39 motorcycles.

4 June 2017: 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 online info on this event. There's an account of the 2015 event here.

1 to 4 June 2017: 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. dates tbc

9 and 10 June 2017: Ton Up, Lurcy Levy, France.
- Track based British bike only event.

10 and 11 June 2017: Reivocazione Storica Circuito Tre Monti, Imola, Italy.
- Pre-1945 motorcycle event. Dates tbc.

23 to 25 June 2017: Grand Prix de Tours, Tours, France.
- Glamorous vintage car parade held around the scenic city of Tours.

14 to 18 June 2017: Wheels and Waves, Biarritz, France.
- New wave custom and classic event. Now massive can they maintain the momentum?.

24 and 25 June 2017: Autodrome Heritage Festival, Montlhery, France.
- Car and bike, no idea what it is like but any event at Montlhery is worth a visit.

10 and 11 June 2017: Cafe Racer Festival: Montlhery, France.
- Popular does what it says on the tin bike event at the fantastic Montlhery circuit near Paris.

30 June to 2 July 2017: Biker's Classics, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium.
- Racing for more recent classics.

2 to 8 July 2017: Milano-Taranto, Italy
- Like the Moto G but lower key and possibly more hardcore. Already fully subscribed to compete.

9 July 2017: Stella Alpina Rally, Bardonecchia, Italy.
- Ride up a mountain with fellow enthusiasts.

13 to 16 July 2017: Round Kurland Rally, Latvia.
- Latvia isn't so far if you take a couple of different ferries. Dates tbc.

14 to 16 July 2017: 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.

16 to 20 July 2017: International Schleswig-Holstein ADAC Country Tours, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany.
5 day touring event for pre-1950 machines. Dates tbc.

4 to 6 August 2017: Schloss Dyck Classic DaysJüchen, Germany.
- The German equivalent of the Goodwood Revival.

4 to 7 August 2017: Journées Coyote: Nogaro Circuit, France.
- Weekend track event. Looks like mostly more recent classics.

19 August 2017: Oldtimerdag Ruinerwold, Ruinerwold, Netherlands.
- Old vehicles take over Dutch town.

20 August 2017: Oude Klepper Parade, De Haan, Holland.
- Pre-21 motorcycle parade.

18 to 20 August 2017: Belgian Classic TT, Gedinne, Belgium.
- Belgian road racing. Dates tbc.

22 to 27 August 2017: Irish National Rally, Munster, Ireland.
- Perenially popular jaunt through Irish countryside. Dates tbc.

26 and 27 August 2017: International Hengelo Rally, Hengelo, Holland.
- Large pre-41 bike rally.

3 September 2017: 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. Date tbc.

1 to 3 September 2017: Glemseck 101, Glemseck, nr Stuttgart, Germany.
- New wave customs and cafe-racers, corporate sponsorship and hipster drag racing.

15 to 17 September 2017: Imola Mostra Scambio, Imola, Italy.
- Huge Italian autojumble.

15 to 17 September 2017: Trophees Gerard Jumeaux, Circuit Carole, North of Paris, France.
- Classic racing French style.

15 to 17 September 2017: Bol D'Or Classic, Magny Cours, France.
- Good if classic endurance racing is your bag.

15 to 17 September 2017: Circuit des Ramparts d'Angouleme, Angouleme, France.
- Glamorous vintage cars racing around medieval town.

17 September 2017: International Pionierfahrt im Rheinland, Rheinland, Germany.
- Event for pre-1914 machines. Date tbc

17 September 2017: Veteranentreffen Oostende

17 September 2017: Oldtimerrit Gullegem

21 to 23 September 2017: Grossglockner Grand Prix, Zell am See, Austria
- Mighty historic alpine hill climb. There used to be bike entries too but they seem to have vanished from entry form. A shame as I would like to have ridden it. All the same, it should be worthwhile to turn up to spectate some impressive cars racing up the mountain.

24 September 2017: Montée historique Maurice Violland, Coligny, France.
- Promising looking historic hill climb. Date tbc.

24 September to 1 October 2017: 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. dates tbc.

4 to 15 October 2017: 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.

6 to 8 October 2017: Veterama, Mannheim, Germany.
- Huge autojumble.

15 October 2017: Moto Retro Leuven, Leuven, Holland.
- One day bike jumble. Date is provisional and not confirmed at time of writing.

17 to 19 November 2017: Salon Moto Legende, Paris, France.
- French show. The dates are provisional. No exact dates available at time of writing.

Finally the Dutch Veteraan Motoren Club has a good listing with some extra more small scale local events too which may be work checking out.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Dragon Rally 2017 pt2

More from last weekend's Dragon Rally.

Well done riding in on a Triumph Tiger Cub!

/2 Beemer, Norton single and one of the ubiquitous Urals.

Some rallyists go for a bush craft vibe and this
guy had it nicely sorted with his ES250 MZ,
basha keeping the weather off him, camp fire and
comfy chair.

MT350 combo in front of a BMW with Ural chair.

Part of the Dutch contingent of Harley combos.

Guzzi with Headingham.

Another Dutch Harley combo.

And another. Nice shape sidecar, not sure of the make.

Good show bringing a Vincent along.

Urals, Urals, Urals. Might be an odd Dneipr snuck in there

Lambretta and Beemer with strange choice of silencer.

Beemer 'flying brick' with Headingham.

There was some fairly extreme camping in evidence, this was
one of the most. Unless of course he wasn't really going to
sleep there and took a taxi to the Travelodge up the road...

The view Sunday morning.

Same view panned out.

There are no prizes at the Rally. Shame, for if
there was one for riding gear Matt would have
been the surefire winner with his 1945 military
issue despatch riders coat.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Dragon Rally 2017 pt1

Last time to the Dragon was 2015. We were lucky enough to have beautiful clear skies then. A magical ride up through the Brecons and Snowdonia with white capped peaks fantastic quiet twisty roads. Mind, it was bitterly cold.

This year was a lot milder as Dan and I set off from home in Dorset. Dan on his 625 Bullet and myself on BMW combo. Once again we stayed in the Hampton Hotel in Llandrindod Wells as a well priced stopover halfway on the journey. At £30 for a single room with morning fry up included it is brilliant value, plus there's somewhere to lock away bikes for the night. Call them up direct for best rates... The ride up was uneventful and only very slightly damp. The only noteworthy event being yours truly realising that tickets were still on the dining room table having gotten forty miles up the road from home. Generously the better half volunteered to drive to meet me halfway so only just over an hour was lost.

Matt joined us with his Guzzi combo soon after we arrived in Llandrindod. Tidy looking bike the Guzzi and somehow, though in theory a similar package, way more compact and sporty than my Beemer. We had a meal and a few ales and still managed to get a decent night's kip in. Next morning we woke to light snow which then turned in to a proper blizzard. Proper Dragon weather!

As we put a few miles under out belts the snow eased off. Of course it was better that way but some serious snow would have given a proper adventure. A stunning ride up to the checkpoint just outside of Bangor, we made good progress and arrived just after lunch. It was beginning to get fairly wet the last half hour of riding so we were grateful that it turned out the checkpoint was only a few minutes away from the rally site itself.

Conwy MCC had promised a 'back to basics' site and they delivered. No complaints though, I prefer it that way. A decent sized field with plenty of space, well waterlogged so there was good sport in watching bikes arrive and negotiate the mud. The rain continued for most of the rest of the day and the wind didn't let off either. Spirits were good though. Phil and Karen arrived a little later with the Kwacker combo along with John on his Harley and they all joined our encampment. It was Karen's first rally and with the promise of camping, bar and band she had been under the illusion that it was going to be sort of like a music festival with bikes. Despite arriving to a cold soggy field full of bearded bike nerds she didn't make her disappointment public.

Phil had cannily spotted a pub up the road on the way in and promised it was walkable. With nightfall we headed there and found a cozy warm local with a good vibe mostly full, but not crowded, with rally goers. Food was fully booked but they had sausage baps laid on for the rugby match on tv so all was well. A bloke on the table next to us then produced a lot of cheese that he shared. Pretty random but very welcome all the same. Back at the site the band played, folks got in to the party spirit and I wandered back to my tent broken by cold weather, plentiful beer and a long ride. The night's sleep was sound and the dawn chorus of revving bikes not particularly welcome but here's some folks like to make an early start for the journey home.

Nowt much to say about the ride home. A nine hour ride back down to Dorset, plenty of drizzle along the way and a good bit of sleet and snow to add in to the mix. Something like a 550 mile round trip. Not everyone's cup of tea but a great weekend and I'll be back again.

Now for a few snaps of bikes of the rally. Used as they were intended to be one and all.

Oil in frame Triumph.

Looks like a Tiger 750 but with different forks and wheels.

Bathtub Triumph 21.

Wot no engine! BSA / Mini special.

And here's the rear view. The business end. Must handle OK
as it was ridden to the rally. Didn't see the owner around to
have a chat but wonder if both rear wheels are driven or not.
They aren't offset so guess so.

You don't see many MZ Rotax around. Should be a very nice
good old school bike.

Quite a line up of combos in the background. A lot of Urals
this year.

Tidy A series Beesa.

Lovely MZ with period fairing and panniers.

A trio of trials Bantams turned up. These were amongst the
oldest bikes at the Rally. Didn't see anything pre-war at all
this year.

Unit Beesa and Panther.

Really like this subtly modded Yamaha SR500.

There was a lot of work gone in to this Suzuki Bandit combo.
The sidecar chassis and fittings were all home made.

Even the forks were home made. Nicely done sir!
Sweet Harley shovel.

Pair of Monkeys over from Ireland. One with trailer!

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Dragon Rally here we come....

Loaded up, winterised and ready to go. We set off Friday morning for an overnight on the way. For any other souls heading the same direction may you have a warm and trouble free journey!

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Bristol Classic Bike Show 2017 pt2

The second and final selection of photos from my wanderings around the Bristol Show last weekend. So many more marvelous motos that I didn't get to snap due to the crowds but I hope you enjoy the selection.

A Raleigh Light Delivery three wheeler. This one is the 'Factory
Truck' version. This is the forerunner of the Reliant motorcar.
Reliant was formed as a breakaway from Raleigh when in the
mid-thirties Raleigh management decided to halt three wheeler

Raleigh 500cc Sports.

Lovely early Greeves. A 1955 20T trials model. Last year of the
rubber in torsion rear suspension. Note also how the early
models have cast ally engine plates.

The Gold Star Owners Club had a brace of
pre-war Goldies on their stand.

Royal Enfield Bullet diesel conversion. One of the nicest
I've seen. Rather than using an industrial unit this motor
is from an Aixam microcar. It is 487cc, water cooled, cruises
comfortably at 65mph and gives 150mpg.

Nice period badge seen on Matchless JAP

And here is the business end of the Matchless JAP. I couldn't
get a decent snap of the whole machine such were the crowds
it drew. Goes to show that you don't need anything shiny to
interest folks. The running gear is a 1931 Matchless Silver Hawk
frame (with cantilever rear suspension as original) into which
a 750cc JAP sidevalve twin has been inserted to replace Matchless'
ohc V4 unit.

And t'other side of the Matchless JAP.

Just one of the many crackers on the Vincent
Owners Club stand. A Python engined HRD.
Python was the name Rudge gave to their motors
when they supplied them to other manufacturers.

Other side of the HRD Python. Note the four
valve bronze cylinder head.

Something rather special. A 1935 works HRD
racer used in the 1935 TT. It was rebuilt for the 1936
TT with a Zoller supercharger fitted. However the
supercharged arrangement proved unsuccessful
in practice so was removed for the race.

One of the two pre-war HRD twins on the VOC stand.

Incredible the work some people put in to their
bikes. This Moto Morini Dart has had a 501cc motor
fitted to replace the original (either 350 or 400). The
bodywork is not merely carbon fibre stickers, it's the
real deal. Each panel has been replicated in carbon fibre.

Very impressive handiwork and the bike is obviously used too.

If you're going to have a chop do it properly.
This Triumph based beast was on offer in the
autojumble. Recently imported and carrying an
American plate there was no price tag... It looks
like it has been fairly recently built, a close look at
the frame and it seems to be new. Great homage to
the golden era of chops.

1929 Harley Davidson model DL 750cc. Nearly finished and
very shiny on the Wessex Veteran and Vintage VMCC stand.

A couple of the pre-war Douglas ohv machines at the show.
Very very desirable bikes. I've never ridden one but they often
get rated as one of the best vintage machines. With their
popularity in vintage sprinting they can evidently be made to
really fly too. The machine to the fore is a 1922 S2 and the one
aft a 1928 RA. Very dull names for such exciting machines.
Note the disc brakes on the 1928 bike.

Close up on the 1928 Douglas RA currently
undergoing restoration. The RA stands for
Research Association - or British Motorcycle
and Cycle-Car Research Association to give them
their full title. The RA were the chaps behind the disc
brake design and as far as is known it is the first disc
brake fitted to any vehicle. The brake is not a disc
as we know them today - the disc itself is angled inwards
(ie very slightly conical) and a v is cut in to the friction
material on the caliper to mate with the disc. The caliper is
on a pivot and when the brake is applied it is pulled down on
to the disc. Though reputed to be good for their day, if
slightly grabby, the RA discs can't have been a resounding
success for they were not widely taken up.