Monday, February 26, 2018

Bullet to the Isle of Wight '54

The bike is an early fifties Royal Enfield Bullet, probably a '53 model, and the location and year is the Isle of Wight Ferry 1954 (I only know because it is written on the reverse). The lady aboard the Bullet is a mystery, she certainly doesn't look to be too well dressed for motorcycling....

1953 Royal Enfield Bullet.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Triumph 21 3TA

Nowt more than an old snap of a Triumph 3TA, or Twenty One as they were also known, standing outside the (presumably) proud owner's garage. A couple of explanations exist for the 21 nomenclature: it could be the 21st anniversary of the Triumph Engineering Company formed after the Triumph Car and Motorcycle divisions split or it could also be 21 cubic inches as the engine capacity in a nod to the transatlantic market.

I owned one for a while which I bought when I was 17. I thought I was the Fonz, Marlon Brando and James Dean all rolled in to one though the opposite sex just didn't quite get it. The 21 was a sweet enough bike even though mine was frankly a bit of a pup - buy cheap and you get what you pay for! The rear enclosure was nicknamed the 'bathtub' and quite honestly for a Turner design it was rather ungainly. The bathtub didn't prove to be hugely popular and was soon revised in to the 'semi-bathtub' or 'bikini' as Triumph preferred to call it. Eventually it was dropped altogether and the bike got a more conventional appearance as it lost the bulbous front mudguard at the same time.
Early Triumph Twenty One / 3TA complete with bathtub.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

The Villiers Two Speed bicycle gear

A scan of the brochure for the Villiers two speed gear. Not a derailleur system as it is essentially a chain gearbox. An interesting dead-end in bicycle gear design. Puzzlingly complicated to fathom and rather heavy the Villiers two speed was a product of the thirties, though when production was started and ceased exactly I am not sure.

Villiers freewheels brochure 1927

This brochure I already shared on the Vintage Bicycling blog, but as it is currently not getting updated and the library of sales literature over here on RDM is far larger and indexed I thought it was time to bring the cycling brochures over....


Here's the brochure for Villiers freewheels from, I am guessing, 1927 - the brochure states that the freewheels had been in production for 25 years and Villiers started making them in about 1902.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Fifi the Enfield and Lulu the Matchless Model X

Fifi the Royal Enfield featured a few months back and here she is with Lulu. Fifi is an ex War Department Royal Enfield Model C 350 side valve and Lulu a Matchless Model X from before the War. This photo reveals the human subjects as the Saxby Family, the image was taken in May 1946 and the location Western Avenue. Fifi has a London reg number so I'm guessing that Western Avenue could well be what is now known as the A40 going in and out of London from the West. If so it couldn't be more different from today.

Fifi the Enfield to the left and Lulu the Matchless on the

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Vintage, veteran and classic motorcycle events in Europe 2018

Spring 2018 and a young chap's fancy steers towards saddling up his venerable motorcycle and riding off to sample continental delights. Year on year the list grows, I make the rash claim that it is the largest Europe-wide listing of classic and vintage bike events on the web,if this is indeed so then that is down to the woeful lack of other folks stepping up to the mark rather than any sort of comprehensive nature to this list.

The original reason behind this listing was that I and several other good friends take enjoyment in riding our old nails to events abroad at least once a year: as we already did the research in to what was going on it seemed a good idea to share the knowledge and save others having to do the same. Most of the events below are those I have been to or have secondhand knowledge of. This year I hope to make it to at least one, perhaps two. As ever the listing is heavy on events in France, Belgium, Holland, Germany and Italy and very lacking in ones in Eastern Europe, the Balkans and Scandinavia. If you can help me rectify that error with events to add to the list then please get in touch. 

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.

10 and 11 February 2018: 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...

10 and 11 March 2018: Salon de Reims, Reims, France.
- Mixed car and bike show.

21 to 25 March 2018:Techno Classica Essen, Essen, Germany.
- Large car and bike autojumble.

6 to 8 April 2018: Veterama, Hockenheim, Germany.
- Very big autojumble.

6 to 8 April 2018: Auto Moto Retro, Dijon, France.
- Mixed car and bike show.

15 April 2018: Circuito di S.Pietro in Trento, S Pietro in Trento, Italy.
- Pre 1930 motorcycle event.

15 April 2018: VFV/ADAC Northern Germany Spring Ride, Schmalfeld, Germany.

21 and 22 April 2018: Brussels Moto Retro, Brussels, Belgium.

22 April 2018: Horsepower Run, Veenhuisen, Holland.
- Dutch equivalent of the Pioneer Run.

28 and 29 April 2018: Iron Bikers, Circuit Carole, France.
- Circuit based event near Paris for 50s to 80s bikes.

27 to 29 April 2018: John Bull Rally, Belgium.
- Organised by the BSA Owners Club Belgium but open to all old British bikes. Gets great reviews.

29 April 2018: Ventoux Classic, Mont Ventoux, France.
- Classic and vintage motorcycles racing up Mont Ventoux. What more could you want?

30 April to 6 May 2018Motogiro D'Italia, Italy.
- 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. 

9 to 13 May 2018: Oostblocktreffen, Friesland, Netherlands.
- Eastern Bloc bike rally.

10 to 13 May 2018: IVVMCC Slievenamon pre-31 Rally. Co. Kilkenny, Ireland.
- Gets very good reports.

11 to 13 May 2018: ASI motoshow, Parma, Italy.
- Popular track based Italian show.

11 to 13 May 2018: Tour du Calvados, Luc Sur Mer, France.

18 to 20 May 2018: Tour de Bretagne, Bretagne, France.
- Large gathering of old vehicles in Brittany. Several days of routes through the local countryside. Dates tbc.

18 to 21 May 2018: Ibbenbürener Veteranen Rallye, Ibbenbürener, Germany.
- Large riding event for pre-1939 machines.

18 to 21 May 2018: 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.

25 to 27 May 2018: 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.

27 May 2018: 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.

31 May to 3 June 2018: XII Cantabria Tour, Cantabria Spain.
- MC Piston organised. Sure to be a fine event.

1 & 2 June 2018: VFV Niedersachsen Pioneer Run, Niedersachsen, Germany.
- pre 1914 event.

2 and 3 June 2018: Coupes Moto Legende, Dijon, France.
- All old bike enthusiasts should visit at least once.

2 & 3 June 2018: 2nd French Festival of Slowth, Etange-du-Merle, France.
- From the organisers of the Monthlery Vintage Revival an exhibitor only event for early, feeble and unusual two, three and four wheelers. Should be good, hope to be there!

2 and 3 June 2018: Autodrome Heritage Festival, Montlhery, France.
- Car and bike, no idea what it is like but any event at Montlhery is worth a visit.

3 June 2018: 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.

14 to 17 June 2018: Wheels and Waves, Biarritz, France.
- New wave custom and classic event. Now massive can they maintain the momentum?.

15 to 17 June 2018: International Rallye / Fete de la moto a Luc Sur Mer
- dates tbc

21 to 24 June 2018: International FIVA Rally, Budapest, Hungary.
- Dates confirmed on the FIVA website but good luck navigating the organisers one above!

23 and 24 June 2018: Grand Prix de Tours, Tours, France.
- Glamorous vintage car parade held around the scenic city of Tours.

23 and 24 June 2018: Cafe Racer Festival: Montlhery, France.
- Popular does what it says on the tin bike event at the fantastic Montlhery circuit near Paris.

29 and 30 June 2018: Biker's Classics, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium.
- Racing for more recent classics.

8 July 2018: Stella Alpina Rally, Bardonecchia, Italy.
- Ride up a mountain with fellow enthusiasts.

8 to 14 July 2018: Milano-Taranto, Italy
- Like the Moto G but lower key and possibly more hardcore. Already fully subscribed to compete.

15 to 19 July 2018: International Schleswig-Holstein ADAC Country Tours, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany.
- 5 day touring event for pre-1950 machines.

20 to 22 July 2018: 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.

20 to 22 July 2018: Windmill Rally, Kaltenkirchen, Germany.
- Riding event for pre-1946 machines.

21 July 2018: 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.

3 to 5 August 2018: Schloss Dyck Classic DaysJüchen, Germany.
- The German equivalent of the Goodwood Revival.

4 and 5 August 2018: Journées Coyote: Nogaro Circuit, France.
- Weekend track event. Looks like mostly more recent classics.

18 August to 8 September 2018: Tour de France.
- Looks fantastic. A Tour de France for old motorcycles. 19 stages, 4500km. There's already a strong entry list with years ranging from 1928 to 1959.

18 August 2018: Oldtimerdag Ruinerwold, Ruinerwold, Netherlands.
- Old vehicles take over Dutch town.

19 August 2018: Oude Klepper Parade, De Haan, Holland.
- Pre-21 motorcycle parade.

23 to 26 August 2018: Irish National Rally, Munster, Ireland.
- Perenially popular jaunt through Irish countryside. Dates tbc.

24 to 26 August 2018: Belgian Classic TT, Gedinne, Belgium.
- Belgian road racing. Dates tbc.

25 and 26 August 2018: International Hengelo Rally, Hengelo, Holland.
- Large pre-41 bike rally.

31 August to 2 September 2018: Glemseck 101, Glemseck, nr Stuttgart, Germany.
- New wave customs and cafe-racers, corporate sponsorship and hipster drag racing.

7 to 9 September 2018: Imola Mostra Scambio, Imola, Italy.
- Huge Italian autojumble.

14 to 16 September 2018: Trophees Gerard Jumeaux, Circuit Carole, North of Paris, France.
- Classic racing French style.

14 and 15 September 2018: Bol D'Or Classic, Circuit Paul Ricard, Le Castellet, France.
- Good if classic endurance racing is your bag.

14 to 16 September 2018: Circuit des Ramparts d'Angouleme, Angouleme, France.
- Glamorous vintage cars racing around medieval town.

16 September 2018: International Pionierfahrt im Rheinland, Rheinland, Germany.
- Event for pre-1914 machines. Date tbc

16 September 2018: Veteranentreffen Oostende, Oostende, Belgium. Date tbc

16 September 2018: Oldtimerrit Gullegem, Gullegem, Belgium

20 to 22 September 2018: 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.

22 September 2018: Nationaal Veteraan Treffen, Woerden, Holland
- large and longstanding gathering for all old two wheelers.

23 September 2018: Montée historique Maurice Violland, Coligny, France.
- Promising looking historic hill climb.

23 to 30 September 2018: 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.

1 to 14 October 2018: 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.

12 to 14 October 2018: Veterama, Mannheim, Germany.
- Huge autojumble.

21 October 2018: Moto Retro Leuven, Leuven, Holland.
- One day bike jumble. 

25 to 28 October 2018: Auto Moto d'Epoca, Padova, Italy.

24 to 26 November 2018: Salon Moto Legende, Paris, France.
- French show. The dates are provisional. No exact dates available at time of writing.

Finally, other useful listings: 
- The Dutch Veteraan Motoren Club has a good listing with some extra small scale local events too which may be work checking out.
- The Solexia site has a very comprehensive listing of French events, for all machines, not just Velosolexes.
- The Motards Montmorrillonnais site also has a long listing of French events.
- For Italian events (car and bike are listed) check the ASI site.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Motorcycles at the Haynes Museum

Compared to the floorspace given over to four wheelers the motorcycle hall at the Haynes Museum is modest in size but holds some gems. A visit to the Museum is well recommended: the four wheeler collection is very impressive and two wheeler fans have the speedway collection and the British Motor Scooter collection to amble around as well as the motorcycle hall. Below a few pictures from my after hours wander around the Museum on the night of the Exeter Trial.

Very well executed BSA A7 Star cut away. It wan't labelled
as such but I feel it must have been a BSA factory job for shows.

That cut away A7 again.

1923 Francis Barnett Model 3 147cc.

Unusual 1927 Triumph Model W 277cc. The strange capacity
was actually a tax dodge. and a sales pitch. At the time there was
a cheap road tax bracket for motorcycles under 200lbs in weight.
Most machines aimed at that market were 225 or 250cc,
Triumph added a few extra ccs in the hope it would attract more

 Very rare 1936 Excelsior Warrior 348cc

1938 Scott Clubman Special 596cc

1939 AJS 'Silver Streak' Model 39/22 250cc 

Matchless engined Brough SS80 combo.

The collection's 'moderns'.

And the 'olds'.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Royal Enfield Ensign 2 1956

Brochure for Royal Enfield's Ensign two stroke. Postwar there were several manufacturers making copies of DKW's prewar RT100 model, the design of which was taken as war reparations. DKW continued themselves making the machine along with, most famously, BSA (Bantam), Harley (Hummer), Sokol of Poland, Minsk, IFA, MZ. Even Yamaha took advantage of the fact that the allies had voided the copyright and made their own version, the YA1.

The Royal Enfield was distinguished from the other DKW clones in that the bike actually had its roots pre-war. The story is that in Holland the DKW importers were a Jewish owned company (Stokvis and Sons), the Nazis banned trading with Jewish companies in 1938. As the RT100 was a popular seller the enterprising Dutch approached Royal Enfield to make a clone, Redditch obliged and had two prototypes on view in 1939. The war intervened and the 'Royal Baby' as the new design was known didn't make it in to production.

In 1942 the British War Office developed an interest in a lightweight motorcycle that could be dropped with Paratroopers and used for rapid regrouping and mobilisation. The Royal Baby design was revisited and with some modifications to decrease weight it was found to be a suitable tool for the job. James also scored a contract with their ML (Military Lightweight) model as did Excelsior with the Welbike.

Postwar Royal Enfield produced a civilianised version of the 'Flying Flea' as it was popularly known - though its official name was the RE125. Development continued and the RE125 became the Ensign and eventually the Prince.

Not greatly different from a BSA Bantam the Ensign never achieved anything like the phenomenal success of the Bantam though was a steady seller for Royal Enfield in the commuter market for a number of years.

Royal Enfield Ensign II brochure front cover.

Royal Enfield Ensign II brochure inner page 1.

Royal Enfield Ensign II brochure inner page 2.

Royal Enfield Ensign II brochure rear cover.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Panther Model 75 c1956

Today's picture from yesterdays is a Panther Model 75. Panther's 250 and 350cc heavyweight singles were worthy enough machines but certainly not ones to get the pulse racing. Without wishing to offend owners these machines were perhaps amongst the least glamorous in the 350 single segment: budget ride to work machines very much in the mold of the Royal Enfield Clipper range. As noted previously in this blog though, what a bike was then and how it is viewed now can be two very different things. A Panther 75 may have made an Ariel Red Hunter look like exotica in its day but now can be seen as having a charm of its own and undoubtedly gives pleasure in ownership and has a certain cachet of rarity.

This particular Panther 'lightweight' (a complete misnomer but this is what they are known as in relation to Panther's 600 and 650cc single behemoths) is well equipped with screen and panniers. Little chap on board is ahead of his time safety-wise wearing a helmet in an era when most wore cloth caps on their bikes.

I remember as a child often visiting scrapyards with my father in the early eighties searching for interesting old vehicles and bits and pieces. One particular local scrappy had one of these Panthers; back then they were very much unloved and I suspect that, despite local enthusiasts knowing of its existence, it probably met its end in the crusher. 

Panther Model 75 looking loved back in the day,
they had a dark period in the seventies and eighties but
are now cherished classics.