Thursday, May 24, 2018

Henstridge Biker's Blast May 2018

Third Wednesday eve each month through the summer there is the chance to have a hare down Henstridge airstrip. There's no timer, but then again there are no rules apart from wear a legal helmet, pay two quid and sign a disclaimer. A good chance to race a mate, give your bike its head or make practice runs with a pukka drag bike / sprinter.

A few classics turn up, I haven't seen anyone else run their oldie down the strip which is a pity given that there's no bar on what bike you ride. I was hoping to give the Gilera a run but it was off colour on the way over so I decided to skip it. There were a few monkey bikes and chinese 125s running so I might have given them decent competition!

Always good to see a Beemer toaster. This
one an R75/5.

BB32 touring Goldie.

In my mind the BB motors are the most handsome
of Gold Stars.

And again with its Triumph TR6 buddy.

Yamaha TDR250 should have given a good run down the
strip if its owner felt so inclined.

Suzuki B-King, one of my favourite recent bikes.

Comic book brutalist looks but heaps of
character, monstrously quick and a hoot
to ride.

And this is what it is all about.

Gadzooks! Anything goes.

Slightly off colour Gilera - blocked jet I believe. Then a split
battery on the way home leaking out acid everywhere.

Laverda triples in lary colours.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Three Okefords Rally 2018

Always nice to take the family along to a local show and the Three Okefords Preservation Society's Rally is one of the better ones. Great weather helped but there were plenty of interesting exhibits of all kinds.

A Cairns Mocyc cyclemotor. 

1929 Raleigh Model 15 250cc.

BMW R75/5.

Never seen one of these before - a Honda Squash.

Excelsior Autocycle.

Francis Barnett Powerbike.

Spotted this on the front mudguard of a BSA D1 Bantam.
Bob Foster's was the local motorcycle shop in the fifties and

Seeing one of these beasts is what it is all about.

And this!

Traction engine powered saw bench.

And a close up of the saw bench. Very hypnotising to watch
and listen to. See below...

Beaulieu Spring Autojumble 2018

A free Saturday to go out and play and several events to choose from. As the weather was so hot, I didn't want to get up early and Beaulieu is just down the road, I decided on the Spring Autojumble. The added bonus was that my British Motorcycle Charitable Trust membership got me in for free.

The Spring jumble feels like somewhere between a quarter and a third of the size of the Autumn one, that said it is still reasonably large. The atmosphere is good and there are interesting things to see though the two wheeled content is small. Most of the stalls are regular traders rather than garage clear out types, I only found one bicycle light to buy but there was plenty to gawp at and just wandering around and having a natter and banter with folk along the way makes for a pleasant day. Below a few pictures of odd and sods that caught my eye...

Harding Tricycle with Cyclemaster powered wheel.

1929 Baker Villiers 250cc. Needed a full rebuild, some would
leave cosmetically as is others might restore. £2850 was the
asking price.

Another angle of the Baker.

BSA unit twin (a 1969/70 model I believe) was tidy, not too
sure if offered for sale or not.

This is the kind of thing that makes Beaulieu
special and fun to wander around.

This was my biggest temptation, a Rudge
Autocycle in fantastic unrestored condition.
£1500 was asked.

MV Augusta Ipotesi 350cc twin.

Sweet little 175cc Ducati.

A very classic motor shape.

Citroen 2CV on the road and rusty. Something
appealing about these, can't say the work
needed would appeal though. £525 to you sir.

Not being in to the old car world particularly
I was surprised how reasonably priced some
are in comparison to motorcycles of the same
era. This 1937 Morris 14 was £5000. The list of
work recently carried out must have near cost
that in parts alone.

And this 1937 Austin 10 in 'drive it away'
condition was £3250. It was a bit scruffy but
did have a lot of charm. Seems like the 'grey
porridge' of the pre-war car world is very
cheap in comparison to bikes but as soon as
you are talking about any car with sporting
pretensions the price sky rockets.

1960 Auto Union, three cylinder two stroke
1000cc. ASking price £6750.

As an added attraction the museum fired up their BRM V16.
They spent a long time bigging it up as the noisiest thing
ever to the extent of handing out ear plugs. After all the
hype is seemed actually slightly subdued, not a lot louder
than my 350 Gold Star. Granted that does reflect badly on
my Goldie and me for using it out on public roads but the
point is the BRM was not that loud...

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Mystery flat tanker

From the family album of the Powell family of 45 High Street, Pensnett, Brierly Hill, Dudley. The father Fred was a keen photographer. The bike is evidently early to mid twenties but I cannot recognise the marque, please get in touch / comment if you know. The rider looks to be rather a character!

Mystery flat tanker, can you identify it?

Friday, May 18, 2018

The Best Days are Bantam Days

 At least that is what BSA reckoned in their advertising blurb. Can't totally disagree as I've had some great fun with Bantams over the years. With the sun out it seemed like a good excuse to give the newly rebuilt D1 engine a go and see if the new Electrex World ignition has made much difference to the performance.

First stop was the petrol station. Having not run a two stroke for a couple of years I made the rookie mistake of filling it up, only just leaving enough room for the oil and then when the cap goes back in the extra displacement of the oil measure causes the petrol to slosh out everywhere. Luckily with it being a hot day the overspill evaporated off pretty quick and I gave the bike a kick with fingers crossed that we wouldn't go up in a big fireball. Then I noticed that the float had jammed and more petrol was flooding out.

Switching the petrol tap off was enough to sort that one. But first big test of the new ignition was would it have enough juice to fire up a flooded bike? Nope to that so bump start time. With petrol sloshing out of the cap we sputtered in to life.

My next mistake was to pick a route with a lot of hills. The rose tinted glasses hadn't warned me just how awful the Bantam's gear ratios are. Screaming uphill in second at 30mph, change up to third, bog down and slow to 25mph, change back to second and then repeat. I guess I carry about three stone more than teenage me though so that's not going to do the little bike many favours.

So, did the new ignition improve performance at all? Frankly no. Starting is however way way better as is tickover. The bike is certainly a lot better mannered. 

On the flat the Bantam is actually quite pleasant. Handling is fun, brakes adequate and it will buzz along at about 45mph. Give it the sniff of a hill though and all is lost. Not ideal living in a hilly area as I do. Next question then is do I keep a hold of it and develop the bike a little? Or do I find a new owner for it? I've got a 150cc D3 barrel which I hear can help iron out the frustrations with hill climbing. Perhaps give it one more go with that fitted and if that doesn't work I should get less sentimental and pass it on.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

If you go down to the woods..

Sometimes for short moments where you are can be the most beautiful place in the world for that one snapshot in time. Today the sun shone brightly, the skies were blue and out we ventured on the trusty Velocette to admire the splendor of local woodland in late spring.

The light was perfect, the woodland vividly green with moss and lichen and the ground thickly carpeted with bluebells. Wonderful!

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

New MOT regulations for vehicles of historic interest

UK applicable only this post, so if you are not using an old vehicle in Britain skip on to the next post!

It is by now common knowledge among the old vehicle fraternity that from May 20 the MOT testing exemption will be extended from pre 1960 vehicles to any that come in under the historic vehicle taxation class - ie essentially any that are more than 40 years old.

The grey area had been with vehicles that were 'substantially changed' - these would still be required to take an MOT test. There was a fair bit of concern about what substantially changed meant and to which vehicles it would apply. You could of course say, well just MOT it anyway to make sure. But what if for example you ran a BSA Bantam and it had a 175 motor fitted in place of the original 125? All well running it with no MOT until you have an accident and then it is all suddenly up for debate if you have 'substantially changed' it or not and will your insurance be valid?

Finally DVLA have produced a document that clears a lot of the confusion up. Quite honestly the guidelines are all fairly sensible and real world. Capacity changes are allowed as long as the motor corresponds to 'alternative original equipment'. Putting in more cylinders or non-period engines are not. I wouldn't like to test it in court but I read the document as even giving Tritons and other period specials the green light for skipping the MOT. Importantly and sensibly modernisation of running gear is acceptable when it improves performance / efficiency, so no problems with fitting a Hyabusa disc and monoshock rear end on your veteran Triumph...

There are still grey areas, it is quite honestly impossible for there not to be unless they were to insist on only OEM parts to be fitted to a vintage vehicle and that is not real world practical. The best bet is to have a read of the document for yourself:
And if you have any doubts left about the status of your machine then it probably is slightly sketchy so MOT it anyway!

Friday, May 11, 2018

Velos for sale-os

The bicycles in my workshop have gotten a bit out of hand of late so I've decided that perhaps several of them need new homes. I could consider posting them but would far rather they were collected. Any enquiries just email - address to the right.

CWS (Co-Operative Society) ladies single speed loop frame.
Probably thirties. Very nice and original, all working though
could really do with some new tyres. £95

Elswick Hopper Lincoln Imp. Built this one up a few years
ago and have used it a fair old bit. A great fun ride.  GB stem,
flat bars, Sturmey Steelite 3 speed with drum brakes, Alessi
aero rims. £275

Jack Hearne road bike. Very small frame with 27" wheels.
GB bars and stem, Campag hubs and gears, Mafac Racer
brakes. £250