Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Royal Enfield Sports Combination

Here's one of the vintage motorcycles I would most like to have in my 'stable'. It's a 9.76hp Royal Enfield Model 182 Sports from 1927. This particular machine is fitted with the matching Royal Enfield sports sidecar, though the 182 was equally useful as a solo machine.

A great looking bike with its stacked silencers and 'pie crust' scalloped petrol tank. Very functional too with 8 inch brakes, light weight and a decent performing motor.

1927 Royal Enfield v twin Model 182 Sports.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Winter Bike Rallies 2019 / 2020 season

Winter rally season - It's the most wonderful time of the year!

Woefully late in getting the listing published this year, in fact a couple of events have already been and gone.. Just remember them for 2020.

As ever if you know of any events you can recommend that are not on the list just drop me a line, equally any mistakes happily corrected.  And if you attend any of these and feel like sending some snaps in for publishing, please do.

Quick disclaimer - all dates are probably correct, check for yourself to make sure. Most events will be ticket only. Winter riding and camping is very obviously not a walk in the park, make sure man or woman and machine are well prepared for all eventualities.

Winter Rally. 8 to 10 November 2019. Gower Peninsula, UK. Welsh Coast MCC

Icy Ale Rally. 6 to 8 December 2019. UK. Druids MCC.

Hivernal Les Millivaches. 13 to 15 December 2019. near Limoges, France.

Motoxeada, Concentradion Motorista Ivernal. 13 to 15 December 2019. Fonte da Cova, Spain.

Appenino Winter Treffen. 21 December 2019. Settempedana, Italy.

Force Ten Rally. 3 to 5 January 2020, Warwickshire, UK. Mayflower MCC.

Savalen Rally. 22 to 26 January 2020. Savalen Fjell Hotel, Savalen, Norway.

Pinguinos Rally. 9 to 12 January 2020. Valladolid, Spain.

Cinghios Treffen. 11 to 12 January 2020. Valdo, Italy.

Winter Bikers. 10 to 12 January 2020. Faenza, Italy.

Wintertreffen Augustusburg. 11  January 2020. Schloss Augustusburg, Augustusburg,Germany.

Agnellotreffen. 24 to 26 January 2020. Pontechianale, Italy.

Mad Cow Rally. 24 to 26 January 2020. Bury St Edmonds, UK. MAG.

Kickstart Rally, 24 to 26 January 2020. Cirencester. UK. Ogri MCC

Hot Rod Rally. 24 to 26 January 2020. Genemuiden, Holland.

Tauerntreffen. 23 to 26 January 2020. Austrian Alps.

Elefantentreffen / Elefant Rally. 31 January to 2 February 2020. Loh / Thurmansbang-Solla near Passau, Germany. The original Elefant Rally.

Fjord Rally. 4 to 7 February 2020. Jostedal Hotel, Jostedal, Norway.

Frozen Nuts Rally. 7 to 9 February 2020. Stoke-on-Trent, UK. Danger Mouse Rally Club. The last one apparently.

Dragon Rally. 8 & 9 February 2020, Wales. The British Elefant and a grand tradition. 

Krystall Rally. 6 to 9 February 2020, Oset Høyfjellshotell, Gol, Norway. Just because it is in a hotel don't think that this is an easy option. Temperatures this time of year can drop to minus 20 degrees.

Altes Elefantentreffen. 14 to 16 February 2020, Nurburgring, Germany. Confusingly the 'Old Elefant Rally' is in fact the upstart new Elefant Rally and held at the Nurburgring.

Primus Rally. 21 to 23 February 2020, Velmunden near Bjøneroa, Norway.

Oddballs Frozen Balls Up. 21 to 23 February 2020, Shropshire, England. Odballs MCC.

Primus Borealis Rally. Mid February. Just South of the North Cape, Norway. Not sure if this one is still running but it merits inclusion by nature of being the most extreme.

Also check out this listing by the Leicester Phoenix MCC for a few other options.

New, unused 1908 FN 4

New, unused 1908 FN.

Without doubt one of the most remarkable motorcycles I've ever seen for sale. A 1908 FN 4, never run, all original and excellently preserved. Apparently it was owned by the FN factory museum from new and sold to an employee in the 80s. It's not often that I think a motorcycle is better off in a museum, but please let this amazing artefact be preserved and on public display.

The FN is offered by HD-Classic in Belgium, more details here.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Saroléa brochure 1955

1955 Brochure for Belgian made Sarolea motorcycles. A very jolly piece of fifties advertising art. Sarolea were one of the earliest motorcycle manufacturers: having started bicycle production in 1892, they began to sell motor bicycles in the early 1900s.

A brand largely unknown in Britain Sarolea had a stab at selling in the UK in the mid fifties, as this brochure attests to. It wasn't the first time Saroleas had been offered in Britain though, as from 1902 to 1906 they were imported by the London Rubber Company of Shoreditch and sold under the Kerry brand. The British connection continued in the twenties as Sarolea fitted several British components to their machines such as AMAC carbs and Sturmey Archer gearboxes.

The 1955 range was quite broad and I have to admit that I was not aware of most of the models previously. As seen from all the crosses in the brochure only a limited range was imported to the UK. The Atlantic is rather gorgeous and a great European take on the British parallel twin theme. I'm also drawn to the scooters, I've a soft spot for Moto Rumis and the Sarolea offering is a Rumi made under license.

The Sarolea marque has been revived recently and offers one of the nicest electric motorcycles there is out there, but with a very high price tag to match.

Sarolea brochure front cover.

Sarolea brochure page 1.

Sarolea brochure page 2.

Sarolea brochure page 3.

Sarolea brochure page 4.

Sarolea brochure page 5.

Sarolea brochure page 6.

Sarolea brochure page 7.

Sarolea brochure page 8.

Sarolea brochure page 9.

Sarolea brochure page 10.

Sarolea brochure page 11.

Sarolea brochure page 12.

Sarolea brochure page 13.

Sarolea brochure page 14.

Sarolea brochure rear cover.

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Surrey Sidecars and the Syvan

 One of the things I enjoy most about writing this blog is when someone gets in touch with stories about their own machinery or bikes they have known.

One such gentleman dropped me a line after seeing the scanned Surrey Sidecars brochure I posted back at the beginning of summer. He is the grandson of Edward Ford (the chap behind Surrey Sidecars), of whom it is rather nice to hear is 94 years young and still with us. Edward still has some material relating to his Surrey Sidecar days and, no doubt, some interesting stories to tell.

Richard, grandson of Edward, has kindly forwarded several images of Surrey Sidecars to share. There were several rather nicely styled chairs in the Surrey range and a number of the models had some unusual / innovative features. One such was the Syvan sidecar caravan / tent of which there are a couple of images reproduced on this page.

And now, a plea. Are there are Surrey Sidecar owners out there who could get in touch? Richard would very much like to see one of his grandfather's creations in the flesh. If you are the proud owner of a Surrey Sidecar please drop an email to this blog or comment below and I'll put you in contact.

The Surrey Sidecars Syvan. Basic, but that's
how holidays were for most folks back in the
immediate post war era.

At a time when the sidecar was family transport for many and
mini caravans were on the market for towing behind your outfit
the Surrey Sidecars Syvan would have seemed like a very
suitable alternative. Even recently I've seen folks at bike rallies
using old child adult sidecars as sleeping quarters that are a step
up from a tent.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

New book - Royal Enfield The Early History 1851 to 1930


Definitely a vested interest here as the author is my father so don't expect an unbiased review. Not that I have to embellish this book's qualities - it is a lavishly illustrated, thoroughly researched and readable definitive history of Royal Enfield from the company's origins to the end of the vintage era.

The book is hard-backed, 280 pages and in a large 28 x 21cm format. Bicycles, tricycles and four wheelers are covered as well as motorcycles and the book should be of interest to anyone into Royal Enfields or vintage and veteran motorcycles in general.

Needless to say the book would make a great Christmas present.....

Available direct from the author via eBay:

 or from the following vendors:

Gordon May's Royal Enfield Books

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Norton 16H flat tank combo

A really cracking combo this one. A very fine 1920s sporting outfit - no wonder the chap looks happy. It's a Norton 16H: 1924 I would say and fitted with a rather splendid early electric lighting set.

Norton 16H sporting combination.

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Port Talbot Steel Works Corgi

The first solo ride I had on a motorcycle was on a Corgi so I've got something of a soft spot for them. I'm not alone in that, they are fairly desirable nowadays and the cheeky appeal of them is quite widespread it seems. A number were bought as factory / worksite runabouts (though quite why anyone really thought they would be more fit for purpose than a simple bicycle is beyond me...) and some were even used on ships.

This particular Corgi is at the Port Talbot Steel Works (currently Tata Steel) in Wales. The photo is annotated 'New method of transport. AP 1950' on the reverse.

Port Talbot Steel Works Corgi 1950.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

A visit to Amberley Museum

A recent visit to Amberly Museum in West Sussex. For those not familiar Amberly Museum is a vast indoor / outdoor industrial heritage museum located at an old chalk mine. The exhibits are far and wide ranging, from a telecommunications hall to lead molding to woodland crafts and the majority in working condition and demonstrated. Amongst all of it are numerous transportation exhibits, a small selection of which below. A visit falls well within the cliché of being a great day out for all the family. Thoroughly recommended and if you can make it there on one of the special events days so much the better.

Side valve BSA Sloper in the pre-war workshop re-creation.

And a Douglas combo in the same place.

Very nice. An original BSA factory produced
cutaway of a C12 engine.

The plaque on the plinth of the cutaway Beesa motor.

Outside view of the motor engineers shop.

A Sussex bus station of old.

The bicycle shop.

A peek through the window of the cycle shop.

1933 600cc BSA Sloper Linesmans combination.
A lovely period piece, the sidecar carries a three
piece ladder underneath and a comprehensive
tool kit on top. Part of the Post Office Engineering
Department the combo would have been used for
telelphone line installation duties.
An Enfield 8000 electric car from 1976. Not successful in its
time but undoubtedly pioneering the little Enfield was developed
by Royal Enfield with funding from Greek millionaire Giannis
Goulandris. This particular example was one of 66 that were
owned by the Electricity Board for evaluation between 1974
and 1984.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Flat tank Ajay

This smartly dressed gent is astride a mid twenties AJS side-valve. If I had to guess I would say a 1927 model.

1926-ish AJS.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Streamline Sidecars brochure 1960

Here's the brochure for Streamline Sidecars from 1960. A forgotten brand now and I dare say not well known when current either. Never-the-less the range is attractive, if slightly old fashioned for 1960 with their boat / launch shape and large wheels. 1960 was the very twilight of sidecar sales in the popular market, I cannot find any information but I suspect Streamline went under very soon after 1960.

Streamline Sidecars brochure 1960 front cover.

Streamline Sidecars brochure 1960 page 1.

Streamline Sidecars brochure 1960 page 2.

Streamline Sidecars brochure 1960 page 3.

Streamline Sidecars brochure 1960 page 4.

Streamline Sidecars brochure 1960 page 5.

Streamline Sidecars brochure 1960 page 6.

Streamline Sidecars brochure 1960 rear cover.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Royal Enfield Constellation 1958

A snap from back in the day of Royal Enfield's Constellation model. The picture is marked on the reverse '1958'. This was the first year of the Constellation and at this time it was the biggest and most powerful Brit bike you could buy. The 692cc engine was bigger than rival marque's 650cc offerings and the 52bhp on tap was a significant amount of power for the time - to put in to context this was 7 horses more than the Rapide from now defunct Vincent but 3 less than a Black Shadow.

Note the remote float chamber of the TT carb fitted to the bike, early Constellations were fitted with racing carbs, later replaced by twin monoblocs.
1958 Royal Enfield Constellation.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Stafford Classic Motorcycle Mechanics Show 2019

Last weekend was spent up in Stafford standing on an autojumble stall endeavoring to have a bit of a clear out. Overall the exercise was a success, cash was raised and unwanted parts disposed of.

With the concentration on autojumbling I didn't get much of a chance to wander around the show and when I did it was crowded to the detriment of photography but here are a few images taken during quieter moments...

This '21st Century Commando' was on the Metal Malarkey
stand and looked very right.

Vintage and Veteran were offering a very early Royal Enfield.
1904 to be precise. I would have loved to have taken it home
but it fell majorly North of my price range.

Allen Millyard's beautifully executed vision of what Velocette
might have produced had they manufactured a v twin in the

Early 75cc face cam Capriolo.

Tiny Italians were out in force. Here a Ducati 50.

Bonvicini and Velocette.

Detail on the Bonvicini.

And finally on the Yeoman's stall this Norton
v twin special. Built around running gear that I
would best guess came from a WD 16H and fitted
with a JAP watercooled engine that probably
started out life as an industrial motor the bike
represents about the cheapest pre-war v twin Brit
you can find at £9750. The bike was tidily executed
but let down by the radiators which were fairly out
of keeping with the rest of the bike. The offside looked
acceptable but the near side stuck out a mile and
really was a bit of an eyesore.