Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Triumph SD combination

It rather looks like someone here has a shiny new toy. This Triumph Model SD is very imposing and very immaculate. The Triumph is fully accessorised with speedo, mirror and early electric lighting set (I would date the bike as 1923 or 24). A pity that the sidecar is slightly cut off in the picture, it seems to be both unusual and quite vast.

Triumph Model SD combination.

Monday, June 28, 2021

Thetic elliptical chainwheel

Thetic chainwheel (yes I know it's not
oriented correctly!)
Here's one of those old fart, there's nothing new under the sun, it's all been done before posts...

The Thetic chainwheel is from the late thirties, Belgian made and is an eliptical chainwheel designed to flatten out dead spots in the pedalling stroke. I picked this one up a while back on fleabay. I've mated it to a Stronglight chainset and it'll find a home some time in the future on an appropriate cycle.

Vaguely popularised by Shimano with their 'Biopace' rings in the eighties and early nineties and now once again undergoing a resurgence. Elliptical chainrings have been around since the 1890s and they are an idea that gets trundled out with regularity to shift a few more units every two or three decades...

Do they work? Well, I used to ride with Biopace back in the day, like many others. Now I don't. Do I notice a difference not using them? No. The best I can find in favour of elliptical chainwheels is that they might work and they certainly won't hinder you.

Thetic chainwheel ad from the late thirties.

Saturday, June 26, 2021

German Henderson combo

A picture from Germany from the late twenties or early thirties of a magnificent combo. It's a Henderson KJ from 1928 or '29. A powerful and sophisticated machine offering 100mph performance. The rider looks justifiably pleased with life, the wife and children in the sidecar significantly less so!
The machine in the background I cannot recognise, its lines are quite German of the period, does anyone have an idea what it is?

Henderson KJ sidecar combination
Henderson KJ sidecar combination.


Monday, June 21, 2021

1930 Norton Model CJ

A couple of pictures of children trying a Norton for size. To me it looks like a 1930 model and my best guess is that it is the 350cc Model CJ - the larger 500cc CS1 models had an extra bracing strut on the rear triangle.

1930 Norton Model CJ 350cc.
1930 Norton Model CJ 350cc.

1930 Norton Model CJ 350cc.
1930 Norton Model CJ 350cc.

Friday, June 18, 2021

Moto Rumi full range 1958

I'm a fan of Moto Rumi, their machines combine two loves of mine: two stroke twins and quirky engineering.

The Formichino really is a symphony of the unusual. No frame to speak of, a rear casting for the aft of the bike and a vertically split front casting to carry the front end with the engine in the middle holding the two together. The quirkiness even extends to Rumi making their own fasteners with their own pattern of heads for holding the frame members together.

All very unusual but also highly effective. Rumis were a quality product, notably smooth and notably fast. One famous marketing gambit for Rumis in the UK was to balance a 'threepenny bit' (a wide 12 sided coin) on the crankcase and rev the engine, the coin would allegedly stay stock still. The Formichino was even available in production racing trim as the 'Bol d'Or' model commemorating Rumi's victory in that event.

Rumis never sold in great numbers in the UK being very expensive (in part from import tax and in part from just being bloody expensive bikes to make compared to lesser machines) and only available in 125cc size. They were moderately successful however through the rest of Europe and were made under license by Sarolea in Belgium and there was a subsudiary company in Argentina.

Thursday, June 17, 2021

German Model H Triumph

An intriguing backdrop to this photo of a Triumph Model H. There is a note on the reverse of the photo saying, "Wilhemstrasse 2. 1921". Note the unusual belt driven speedo drive on the front wheel, something I personally have not seen before.
Sehr gut! Triumph Model H


Sunday, June 13, 2021

Components Limited Edwardian cross frame cycle


Here's another from the recent 'haul' of cycles that were brought over from France. This one, like the Premier is clearly English and its history a mystery. Though it could have well been sold originally in France it has been updated with British made components in the thirties.

Colin Kirsch of The Online Bicycle Museum fame kindly helped to identify the cycle as a Components Ltd. As such it could have originally carried the marque of any one of hundreds of small local bicycle shops who assembled bicycles from components and sold them under their banner. From the date of the patent one is to presume that the frame is from recently after 1901.

The Components Ltd patent reproduced here
with acknowledgement to Colin Kirsch and
the Online Bicycle Museum.

The 19030s update was quite thorough and includes swapping from 28" to 26" wheels along with forks from a sporting cycle appropriate to a 26 inch wheel. The mudguards appear to be the originals though are heavily rusted. The chainset may just be correct though the pedals are 1930s Halfords branded ones (or is it just the rubbers were changed?) The saddle is curious in that it seems to match the period of the cycle though is a ladies one and is also Halfords brand.

Though rusty the frame is solid. I am on the hunt for a suitable cheap Edwardian donor that can provide the parts to build this cycle up to correct period spec. It is a very rare and unusual cycle and worthy of resurrection. If you look at this blog regularly you'll know that there is a fairly long queue of projects but as and when I get to spend quality workshop time with this one I shall post the results.

The Componenents Ltd cross frame design
is differentiated from other x frames in
having parallel downtubes.

The style of rear drop outs indicate a good build quality.

Possibly some minor damage here to address.

And the full view here. How did it end up in France?

Stamped on the head tube is 'PIA' and '5193S'.

The small ding on the head tube should
come out easily enough.

Beatifully tooled Halfords ladys saddle.

Another view of the saddle.

Bolt on rear stay.

Original mudguard and a very foul and furry tyre!

The shift to 26" wheel achieved with a hand carved
wood block.

Thursday, June 10, 2021

ABC and TT Triumph

An interesting and unlikely pair of machines in this photo, chalk and cheese - different in style, speed and even era.

The bike on the right is an ABC, designed by Granville Bradshaw and manufactured by the Sopwith Aviation Co. As with all of Bradshaw's designs it was fairly unorthodox and ahead of its time. Following a minor vogue of a few years earlier rear suspension was swinging arm controlled by leaf springs (Matchless and Indian were there with that a few years previously), the motor was a opposed twin 400cc ohv unit and legshields and footboards were integrated in to the frame. The ABC was a sophisticated bike but developed a reuptation for fragile valve gear and upgrading with aftermarket kits was a popular mod for ABC owners. The design was licensed out to Gnome et Rhone (also coincidentally airplane manufacturers) in France who produced a 500cc version with better developed valve gear. The bike wasn't a great success and was made from 1919 to 1923.

The other machine is a 1927 TT Triumph, a fast, strong and reliable road burner. The TT Triumph was a simple and dependable machine that replaced the earlier 'Ricardo' model developed by Harry Ricardo and featuring a four valve head.

ABC flat twin and TT Triumph
ABC flat twin and TT Triumph riding partners.

Monday, June 7, 2021

Power Pak News - Financial Edition 1953

Advertising material in newspaper format - that old gambit to make your message seem more authoritative...

In this case the good people of Power Pak are persuading you that their cyclemotors are unfeasibly cheap and that they don't chew up tyres as popular rumour might have it. 

The brochure is undated but the Power Pak was introduced in Spring 1950 and there is a testimonial contained within stating 2 and a half years of use. The price of the Power Pak was reduced to 25 Guineas in early 1953 so it's a fair assumption that this edition of Power Pak News was published marking this price reduction.

 For more information on the Power Pak check the icenicam page.

Also have a look at the nacc archive.

Friday, June 4, 2021

Excelsior Super X Model 19

Excelsior Super X Model 19
Excelsior Super X Model 19 combination on
a family outing.

 This would have been an extremely rare and imposing machine on the roads of Britain back in the day just as now. It's a Excelsior Super X Model 19 61cui ioe engine made from 1915 to 1919. Excelsior were suppliers to the American military alongside Harley Davidson during the Great War. The Excelsior Motorcycle Company sold machines under the Super X brand and from 1912 onwards were part of the Schwinn empire. Schwinn shut the brand down in 1931 at the height of the Great Depression.

Given that Super X were used by the American military it seems that there is a good chance that this example was sold military surplas after the war and hitched up to a British sidecar (they were used as solos by the military).

Excelsior Super X Model 19
Excelsior Super X Model 19 on the road.

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Mitsubishi Silver Pigeon C-25

A rare image of an early Mitsubishi scooter. The Silver Pigeon range was originally based on the American Salsbury scooter, The story goes that a Japanese engineer at General Motors had brought one back from America, Mitsubishi saw the potential in it and asked him to join them on making a copy of it. As the first Silver Pigeon prototype was made in 1946 and went in to production in 1947 and that the first Silver Pigeon more resembled the pre-war Salisburys it was likely that a pre-war model was copied.

The Silver Pigeon range developed: initially closely following Salsbury designs but soon forging their own path. And by the late fifties Silver Pigeons were being exported to the States and sold by Montgomery Ward.

The Silver Pigeon in this image is a C-25 which was current from 1950 to 1952 and still resembles a Salsbury. As a point of interest note the trafficators (turn signals) mounted on the handlebars.

Mitsubishi Silver Pigeon C-25 scooter
Mitsubishi Silver Pigeon C-25 scooter.