Monday, August 31, 2020

Plunger framed Golden Flash

Early fifties BSA plunger framed Golden Flash, as fine a fast touring mount as there was back in the day. There's good reason BSAs of the fifties were so popular and remain so today. Nicely designed bikes using sensible engineering: reliable, decent performing all rounders. A well maintained fifties Beesa will give day in day out reliable service and can still be used as a daily rider today (Gold Stars exempted of course!)

Stopping for a break with an early fifties
BSA Golden Flash.

Friday, August 28, 2020

Veteran Triumph

This charming snap is of a veteran Triumph. Couldn't tell you the exact year but most likely 1913 or 1914 as you can just see the actuating rod going from the petrol tank to the three speed hub. Note how the lady sits side saddle as was the convention of the day.

Veteran Triumph with side saddle pillion.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Gilding the Baines lily

I had been slowly accumulating nice original parts to make my Baines International TT more period correct and have finally gotten around to fitting them all and tarting it up a bit. I had thought I was completely finished but I've now acquired a Bayliss Wiley hollow bottom bracket axle for a double chainset so it is shortly to get a 'suicide shifter' at the front. Can't wait!

Just for interest the authenticity of the cycle was brought in to question of late after it was posted up on a facebook group. It led to some interesting discussion, I learnt more about Baines in the process and thankfully there was a good outcome in that it is now fully confirmed as correct. There remains a quirk though which is an anomaly amongst other Baines in that the wheelbase is unusually long. In the Baines catalogue it states that you could order whatever wheelbase you liked for an International TT though the standard was 39.5 inches. It seems rather perverse for a customer to choose a design noted for its short wheelbase and then request it to be longer taking it back up to the same as most other cycles on the market. An explanation could be that the ultra short wheelbase fashion was very much waning by the early fifties and someone could have perhaps just been taken by the style of the Baines but wanted conventional geometry.

The Baines International TT as bought.

And as it is now.

B & T (Bantel) Manx brake levers. These levers
match the Manx 'delta' type brakes and are unusual
in that the nipple is on the brake and the clamp on the
lever. They are beautifully made but the clamp has a
very small headed screw and is difficult to tighten up
enough to avoid cable pull through. Also the angle of
the blades does not match drop bars so well and would
perhaps be better suited to flats but as far as I know these
were the one pattern of levers that B & T made and should
be suitable for both flats and drops.

Another detail and the B & T Manx levers.

And the B & T Manx brakes. In function they are
quite average. No doubt in reality a downgrade
from the GB Sport calipers that were previously fitted.

And the B & T Manx front brake.

New old stock Atom four speed block. GB wing
nuts and Benelux Type 2 mech. The Benelux mech
replaced a later Campagnolo Gran Sport and is
undoubtedly a huge downgrade. The Benelux
mech has charm but is a pig to set up and quite
feeble in function.

Milremo large flange hubs front and rear.

The Baines was fitted with these lovely Chater Lea crank arms
and pedals as it came to me but with a 40 tooth 'granny gear'.
I've not got anything against gentle gearing but aesthetically the
Chater Lea chainwheels of 40 tooth and smaller come without
the lovely CL logo on them so I moved up to a 46 tooth which
looks rather nicer. I also added the Catos adjustable alloy toe clips.

The Benelux gear lever is slightly late for the bike but the later
ones come with this lovely logo in relief on the damper knob.
For a strange reason that I have not fathomed a lot of the Benelux
levers have the logo imprinted 'upside down' on the fixing band so
when you are in the saddle it looks wrong. I searched for some
considerable time to find one that was the 'right way up'.

Final touch was on the headset. It is a Brampton headset and the
locknut that came with it was one of those awful hook spanner
type ones. I replaced it with this rather more refined one.

Monday, August 24, 2020

Triumph 3H

Despite the war (black out mask fitted to the headlight) this chap looks happy enough and well he may for he is astride a Triumph 3H. The 3H was one of the range of Val Page designed singles that had received an Edward Turner makeover shortly after he joined Triumph in 1936.

The late thirties Triumph singles embody all that it is good about thirties British bikes, lively performance, nippy handling, dependable reliability, great looks and considerable charm.

Triumph 3H with blackout mask fitted to the headlight.

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Itom Astor Competizione 1957

Printed on to a sheet of paper so thin it seems to be just one grade above tracing paper here is the brochure for the 1957 Itom Astor Competizione. The brochure screams out cheap but Itoms were a serious bit of kit back in the day. A top speed of 75 kph isn't exactly going to set the world on fire but it's pretty good for a 50cc machine from more than 60 years ago and they were very tuneable.

50cc racing was getting becoming popular in the mid to late fifties and Itoms were the weapon of choice for many clubmen. For the average Joe in the street road rider there wasn't much incentive to buy an expensive import when you could get a Brit machine of larger capacity for cheaper. And for this reason Itoms were always a rare sight in the UK.

Friday, August 21, 2020

First group ride in six months

My local VMCC Dorset Section has been organising Covid compliant runs for a few weeks now and this was the first that I had managed to make it to. To keep things in line with guidance everyone meets up outside at a set location and then rides off in groups of six with a group leader choosing the route to the pre-agreed end point. I rode my Velo along and joined the slower group led by the rather lovely MV Disco Volante below. For group runs I personally prefer to amble around and enjoy the countryside rather than race so this suited me perfectly.

So good to get out and ride a classic bike with other like mided folks after such a long break...

Sweet little 175cc ohc MV Augusta Disco Volante was group leader.

Ver ycurvy petrol tank on the MV.

Gorgeous Rudge Ulster Grand Prix at the lunch stop.

Twin clocks on the Rudge. The one on the left is a 'passive'
manually controlled rev calculator revs in any given gear
for particular speeds.

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

P & P up together

The 1924 Packman and Poppe that was featured a couple of months back is now up together as a dry build. Quick progress - wish my bikes went together that quickly. Here are the results, a really unusual and lovely looking twenties sporting bike. Obviously not to original spec, and not pretending to be, the build aims to keep the character of the bike as grasstracked in its later life whilst putting it back on the road in a useable and period appropriate form.

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Scott Flying Squirrel 1950

Here's the brochure for the 1950 Scott Flying Squirrel. This brochure would have been the last from Shipley, Yorkshire before Scott went in to liquidation and were bought out by Matt Holder's Aerco Jig and Tool Company and moved down to Birmingham.

Lovely machines these 1950 Scotts and fitted with Dowty air forks but rather heavy due to the massively weighty front and rear hubs.

1950 Scott brochure page 1.

1950 Scott brochure page 2. A range of one machine - the
Flying Squirrel.

1950 Scott brochuer page 3.

1950 Scott brochure page 4.

1950 Scott brochure rear cover.