Sunday, March 28, 2021

BMW R100 Bob Porecha fairing bags

The '76 RS has been the latest recipient of my fetish for period accessories. There's just something about vintage bike luggage..... Here are a pair of fairing pockets made back in the day by London based BMW guru Bob Porecha.

The bags fit neatly between the tank and the fairing and are neatly shaped to match the RS fairing pretty much spot on. They attach with velcro straps on the fairing brackets. In use the bags are not in the way as they are neatly tucked away. They have no internal stiffening so any load has to be balanced, light or shaped to the bags, preferably all three of these. I'm not sure of the capacity, suffice to say that they are capacious and should be just the job for keeping odds and sods to hand whilst touring. Their test run was on a ride to a local farm shop where they proved to be particularly adept at keeping a pair of pasties snug and safe on the ride home.

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Sixties Beemer buffs

Looks like some owners club action going on here. BMW motorcycles would have been a rare sight on British roads in the fifties and sixties. They were prohibitively expensive and slower than the British offerings of the time. The Beemers may have had the edge in real world mile after mile flat out down the autobahn performance but a good Brit parallel twin could usually beat them to the next cafe. As such BMW ownership was a somewhat niche activity.

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Douglas combo on holiday

A charming photo of an early to mid twenties Douglas combo. Presumably the couple are on holiday given that the bike is parked outside a hotel. Tamplins were a brewers in Brighton, so the location in a seaside town gives credence to the holiday theory. Tamplins were founded in 1821 and continued through to 1973, although they were taken over by London brewers Watney's in 1953.

Take a look at the angle of the saddle, the product of a pillar fitting seat and bumpy roads. I ended up putting a blob of weld on my Triumph's saddle when I got totally fed up of this happening, a nasty and very personal accident waiting to happen!

1920s Douglas combination.

Thursday, March 18, 2021

c1895 Premier helical frame ladies model

Another of the haul of four cycles that came over from France last year. One was a Peugeot and one a Labor, both good solid French cycles but the other two were an, as yet, unknown cross frame and this - which through the help of the NVCC (for Veteran Cycles) Facebook Group has been identified in year as approx 1895 and through further investigation it turns out to be a Premier.

The Premier abounds with unusual features, the first of which is that the tubing used is helical - ie it is made of thin gauge sheet that is wound together into tubes - enlarge the pictures and you can see the spirals on the tubing. This makes for a remarkably light cycle for the age. Sadly it also makes the frame particularly susceptible to the ravages of time and this particular example has rather severe damage to both down tubes. Though suffering rather from the effects of poor storage, remarkably everything on the Premier is free and the handlebars and seat post are both willing to be removed easily.

Take a close look and the drive is on the nearside of the cycle. It was only in the late 1890s that it became standard for the chainwheel to be on the offside (right side of the cycle looking down whilst riding). 

Apart from the two downtubes all other tubing is straight. All tubes are also of constant diameter. no doubt it is extremely difficult to make sharp bends and tapering on a helical tube. This means the the chainstays are of unusual construction.

Such a pity that the cycle hasn't been better stored as so many of the parts are original. The only thing missing is the front brake (which would have been spoon type direct on to the front tyre). Above can be seen the Dunlop maker's plaque which features on both rims.

As can be seen above the spokes have obviously had it! Though basically sound the rims have a couple of holes in them that could be fixed by a skilled welder.

Unusually the handlebars are blanked at the ends. I am unsure of the purpose of the screws - perhaps to hold handlebar grips in place?

Above another chainstay detail.

The bottom bracket is quite odd with the downtube being underslung. I guess in 1895 bicycle builders were still finding out the best methods of construction and what seems logical to us now and with hindsight was not so at the time.

The chainwheel featuring skip tooth chain. Drive is through a freewheel and not fixed.

Fork crown and where the front brake should be.

Full chainguard was leatherette and celuloid in construction.

Finally another view of the chainwheel. I'm not sure of the manufacturer of the chainset but it seems to be of a pattern that was in fairly common use in the period.

If anyone can help with a front brake or knows where one can get helical tubing to repair the frame please do get in touch.

Thursday, March 11, 2021

MV Augusta brochure 1956

Thanks James Kelly for loan of this cracking MV Augusta brochure.

Unusual for a small Italian manufacturer at the time to have a flashy brochure aimed solely at the UK market. Perhaps in the early days the UK distributors had high hopes after recent competition successes.

1956 MV Augusta brochure front page.

1956 MV Augusta brochure page 1.

1956 MV Augusta brochure page 2.

1956 MV Augusta brochure page 3.

1956 MV Augusta brochure page 4.

1956 MV Augusta brochure page 5.

1956 MV Augusta brochure page 6.

1956 MV Augusta brochure rear page.

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

AJS Model D v twin combination

1920s AJS are distinctive machines so even from this angle it's not too hard to recognise this as a Model D v twin. A bit harder to know the year but 1927 would be a fair guess. I wonder where the location is? It looks like moorland and the rider is dressed up for cold weather.

1927 AJS Model D v twin with sidecar.

Saturday, March 6, 2021

Exuberent French Illuminator

 A mystery item here. All I know is that it is French, stylish in a quirky manner and slightly crazy. Is it from a bicycle or a moped / autocycle? It appears to mount on the handlebar stem. I'm guessing the age is thirties, forties or perhaps early fifties. I do not really have anything suitable to fit this light to but it is the kind of item that makes me feel the urge to build up a two wheeler around it! 

Can anyone out there assist with further information?

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Nigel Dean World Tour - Sturmey X- RF 8 hub

 Eek - save me from impulse purchases! I bought this touring cycle a few months back as it looked nice, the price was right and I fancied trying out a Sturmey 8 speed hub.

The problem is, apart from having a garage already bursting at the seams, that the frame is way too small for me...

On the plus side I have gotten to try out a Sturmey 8 speed so all is not lost.

The frame carries Jack Taylor transfers but is evidently not a Jack Taylor. I have been reasonably reliably informed that it is most likely a Nigel Dean, a World Tour model, and this certainly seems to be a good match. Either way it is a nicely built machine made with sweet heart-shaped cutaways on the lugs - this style of lug was used by several builders of the eighties and nineties. My Bob Jackson Super Tourist uses the same lugs.

So, the X-RF8 hub. How is it? Well, slightly oddball is the answer. Really the hub was designed for small wheelers such as the Brompton and for this reason it gears up rather than down, meaning that the direct gear is the lowest ratio. So, greatest efficiency whilst climbing steep hills, that does actually make good sense for a hub gear. Gear ratios are wide - 100 to 325% so no problems there. What I do find a bit peculiar is that it is a noisy old beast. If you are used to the regular old Sturmey three speed hubs these have one set of planetary gears and they satisfyingly tick as you pedal along. The 8 speed has three sets of planetary gears and each one has a 'tick' so, depending on the gear selected and the number of planetary gears in action it can create quite a cacophony. On the plus side you know what gear you are in from the noise it is making!  

So, end of the story is that the Nigel Dean has been an interesting diversion but it must find another owner. It's on eBay UK right now....