Thursday, October 20, 2022

Turbo Suzi

Something a bit different for this blog. A spot on a recent holiday in France at the lovely seaside town of Pornic was this Suzuki XN85. A child of the eighties vogue for turbo charged bikes the XN85 is a noticably rare bike with only 1153 examples being made. The XN85 monicker comes from the fact that it produces, yes, 85bhp - a very respectable figure for a 650 particularly in the eighties though it needs to be said that those horses were crankshaft ones rather than rear wheel.

The XN85 has the reputation of being one of the more managable turbo bikes of the era. The reasons being the fine handling and the fact that the turbo boost was mildly strangled. The XN85 is credited with being the first production bike with a 16 inch front wheel - this is plainly nonsense (Harley WL to name just one), perhaps what is meant is that it was the first bike of the eighties fashion for tiny front wheeled sports bikes. A trend that was thankfully fairly short lived.

Saturday, October 15, 2022

Arbuthnot Trial memories

Many thanks to Jon Hodges for sending in these pictures of vintage / classic trialing from days of yore. Jon saw the write up of this year's Arbuthnot and kindly took the time to share several images and memories.

This picture is from the first of the revived Arbuthnot
Trials in 1982. Jon is riding his '27 Scott Super Squirrel
which is still in regular use. That year the Arbuthnot
Trophy for the Colonial Class (standard road bikes)
just eluded Jon but he was victorious the following year.

In subsequent years the sidecar class was
added to the Arbuthnot and Jon put together
this Matchless / Watsonian outfit for the event.
This is the outfit but the photo was taken at
Fingle Bridge on a MCC event.

And when a pillion class was introduced Jon had
a crack at that too, also with the '27 Super Squirrel.
This image is from the Ralph Venables report in
Motorcycle News.

Thanks again for the photos Jon. They epitomise the enjoyment to be had with vintage and classic bikes.

Monday, October 10, 2022

Alpine touring with a BSA Golden Flash

There's not been a photo from back in the day on the blog for a little while so here's a couple of shots of a well loaded alpine touring BSA A10 Golden Flash.

The alpine view pic is marked to the reverse '1954 Austria'.

Even though the photo is in black and white it is clear to see that this BSA is not Golden in colour. The Golden coloured edition gave the model its name but even if the bike was finished in traditional black it was still known as a Golden Flash.

Monday, October 3, 2022

Arbuthnot Trial 2022

The Arbuthnot has been on my events 'bucket list' for a good long while. I can remember spectating it as a young whippersnapper with my father when there was a section next to 'Zig Zag Hill' just up the road from home.

The Arbuthnot has always been a proper old school trial with emphasis on traditional non-tricked out and modernised trials bikes with a good turn out of rigid framed machines. There is a 'colonial' class for road biased bikes. I seem to remember that way back when the trial was only open to rigid framed bikes. Times have moved on however and now all pre-65 British machines are welcomed.

First run after WW1 as a reliability trial the original Arbuthnot carried on through to the late twenties. The event is named after local 1900s TT hero Admiral Sir Robert Arbuthnot and was revived by the Salisbury Motorcycle and Light Car Club in the eighties and runs a route of some 70 to 80 miles along the green lanes, droves and farmland south of Salisbury.

My entry came courtesy of my friend Matt who kindly volunteered to hitch his sidecar on to his Ariel HT5 which he had entered as a solo when he found out that I was free for the day.

We had a fantastic day of riding. The event truly lived up to expectations. It's fair to say that it was tough going with the sidecar. The Dorset green lanes tend to be heavily rutted  and easy going on a solo but when your third wheel is on a track that doesn't correspond to any of the ruts things can get uncomfortable. 

We did manage though to clear a few of the sections and only had one spectacular 'off' where we rolled it into a clump of bracken. A soft landing at least.

There were four outfits entered. Purely by dint of being the only finishers we went home with the class winners award. Only just mind as our progress was so lethargic that we barely made the last three sections in time, the marshals had just started to take down the flags not expecting anyone else to come through so late...

A thoroughly recommended event with a great sense of camaraderie and one that I will certainly return to. Might just go for a solo entry next time though.

Following a few photos and clips from the day. No captions, it's all pretty self explanatory.