Thursday, January 27, 2022

Early veteran cafe racer

A rather amazing photo of a modified early veteran. A cafe racer of its day, it dates from around 1905. The engine is certainly a NSU (though I would have expected to see a magneto in front of the motor) and the frame parts generally match that id - there is a NSU in the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu that is very similar and is dated as 1906.

Most striking though is how far the bike has been modified, the front brake (contracting band) seems to have been removed, the petrol tank has been changed to a torpedo style one in plain brass, pedal gear has been swapped for footrests and the rear stand is abbreviated. The saddle has been lowered and positioned further back and the handlebars lengthened to match.

Veteran NSU, early custom bike!

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

BSA Model E combination

Here's a bike made to be used. BSA v twin fitted with a tradesman's box sidecar. Heavily accessorised to be ridden every day and in all weathers

Hard to say if it is the 770 or 1000cc model but more likely the 770 as this was the bigger seller by far. Look at the enormous front mudguard, these were known as 'colonial style' to cope with the mud and dust to be found in far flung areas.

The bike has been updated with a drum brake from a later model, it would have originally had a dummy rim brake (see the mount on the forks for the lever). If it's a 770 the bike is a Model A and dates from approximately 1922 (dated on the front fork design which BSA phased out in 1923).

Sunday, January 16, 2022

Triumph Model H stunt riding

There's a lot of photos of vintage and veteran Triumphs around, this one is a bit different and fun though. Several lads having fun with their Model H. From the dress and the bike the photo must have been taken shortly after WW1, having gone through that these guys have every reason to be out there larking around and enjoying themselves.

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Saturday, January 8, 2022

ABC 400cc flat twin

A couple of photos of an ABC flat twin. The ABC was a Granville Bradshaw designed bike that was manufactured by the aero company Sopwith.

A typically Bradshaw design, the ABC was both futuristic and flawed. The bike featured leaf spring rear suspension at a time when most bikes were rigid. The motor was a 400cc ohv flat twin but the valve gear was a notable weakness and several different brands of after-market improved valve gear appeared soon after the bike's introduction. With standard valve gear the bike was notorious for shooting pushrods out on a horizontal plane.

The 400cc ABC was a limited success with the buying public and was made from 1919 to 1923. The demand for a small, expensive and sophisticated machine was limited in a conservative market. The peculiar fact that Bradshaw designed the bike without a kickstart and that it had to be paddled off to start cannot have helped.

The design was licensed out to Gnome et Rhone in France who had a connection with Sopwith as fellow aviation manufacturers. The Gnome et Rhone version received several improvements (strengthened valve gear, a kickstart and a boost to 500cc) but was also not a big seller and made only from 1920 to 1924.

ABC flat twin. The very dropped bars are slightly
incongruous with footboards and legshields.

The ABC was a luxury machine so it is fitting
to see it in the garden of an upmarket house.
A small dog's butt has cheekily crept in to the picture!

Sunday, January 2, 2022

New Hudson Cyclone Club Model G37

New Hudson Cyclone Club Model G37.

It's always satisfying to post up a restoration finished even if it is a minor one. This little beauty came to me earlier this year via a good friend (thank you James!). He got in touch to ask if I would like a pair of Lauterwasser handlebars from the thirties, them being slightly earlier than his period of interest in cycles. The price was right so why not? Later on he turned up with most of a cycle. My suspicion is that James hates seeing a perfectly decent original and unusual cycle broken for spares as much as I do but didn't want to take it on himself: delivering it to me assured him of a caring home. A bit like finding an abandoned puppy by the side of the road.

New Hudson, a proud Birmingham marque
dating back to 1890.

Not to say that I am ungrateful, it's a lovely cycle. It came in a couple of cardboard boxes, the initial piecing together was a joy, it really seems as if the cycle has been hardly used. Even the cables are original. Aside from a couple of nuts and bolts all that was missing were the rims, spokes and tyres. Apparently the bike had been standing on a damp floor and these rotted through.

It's getting ever harder to find appropriate 26 x 1 1/4" rims and tyres are currently unobtainable here in the UK. I lucked out with finding a pair of Conloy rims on ebay that were a bit moth eaten but usable and of suitable patina. The original spec was steel rims but the Conloys are a nice period match. I was lucky too with tyres as I got one of the last pairs available before the 2021 supply chain problems sank in.

I cleaned and greased the hubs before passing them over to local man Dave Benn to lace up to the rims. I would normally have a crack at wheelbuilding myself but didn't really feel confident with getting spoke length and offset quite right. In due course the wheels came back to me built up and they finish the cycle off nicely.

Wheels and tyres on and then some final setting up and the cycle was ready to roll. Another one saved! It's a bit small for me and rather superfluous so if there is anyone out there who would like a really nice original clubmans cycle of the thirties, will look after and cherish it and is prepared to come by and pick it up it's yours for what it cost me (approx £380)

The G37 dates from 1938 or 39 and was New Hudson's mid level clubmans machine. A bike that would normally have been ridden to work and then used on club rides at the weekend, though in this case it seems to have been hardly used.

The rear brake is unusual, rather than the
axle fitting through the bridge horizontally there
is a steel plate that mounts with a bolt vertically
through the bridge. The shortened axle bolts on
to this plate and there are supports against the
frame to counteract flexing.

Bayliss and Wiley Freewheel Hub Unit. This is the
father of all modern day cassettes. The first freewheel
incorporated into a hub offering multiple gearing. It
was introduced in 1938. When I got the bike the hub
had the most beautiful click, I regreased and it lost it,
hopefully it'll come back with use.

New Hudson frame numbering can be found on the

New old stock grips fitted to the celluloid coated
Lauterwasser style handlebars.

Original Bluemels mudguards.

The mount for the Cycle three speed
derailleur is very unusual. Normally they
are mounted further forward. I suspect that
the thinking behind this design is to get the
derailleur closer to the block to give a better
chain line and smoother changes. Chain is
the original Perry and took a lot of cleaning up
with citric acid and brass wire brushes.

Nearside view of the Cyclone Club.

And the New Hudson chainwheel.