Monday, December 25, 2023

Tuesday, December 19, 2023

Seoul biking

I was recently lucky enough to be able to wrangle a stop over in Seoul on the way to join my ship in Japan. Lots of motorcycles and scooters but nothing much old. Royal Enfields are surprisingly popular, I saw quite a few around. A significant amount of two wheeled traffic is from delivery bikes which are generally chinese machines locally modified with extended swinging arms, extra shockers and a large subframe for extra carrying capacity. There's also a significant number of motor tricycles, these again seem locally modified, though some may perhaps come from China as are. These delivery bikes seemed quite at odds with the otherwise ultra modernity of Seoul where a significant percentage of cars are electric.

This was the oldest bike I saw. A Yamaha DT175
fitted with a chinese Zhongshen motor.

One particular cafe near where I was staying
always had a selection of Harleys outside.
Regular Sportsters but well used and lightly
modded. No front mudguards and in one case
no front brake..

Delivery bike transporting a garland.

Trikes awaiting a job.

And another trike. They are all quite agricultural
in construction.


Sunday, December 10, 2023

Royal Enfield Model A

Here's a picture of a humble Model A Royal Enfield. A development of Enfield's long line of 225cc two strokes built for the budget end of the market. This is an early thirties one with sloping cylinder as was the fashion of the time. Note also the pressed blade girder forks.

Monday, November 27, 2023

1937 James Sports Ace Light Tourist

Time for a bicycle article. This very sweet James I recently finished and passed on. I had bought it a few years back from a junk shop where it had had anything sticking out on its left hand side cut off to make it hang flush to a wall. This included the left pedal (yes, not removed but cut in half!), the handlebars and half of the saddle. It being quite a special and rare cycle I took pity on it and it came home with me.

In an initial flush of enthusiasm I did half the jobs needed on it and then it got neglected for a while. I've recently been having a bit of a clearout and I noted the James as superfluous to needs. I don't like to leave something half done so fininshed off the project first before selling and here is the final result.

What marks this James out as something a little different is James' own brand of gearing which is an epicyclic gear located in the chainwheel, Sunbeam used a similar system for a number of years. It gives two speeds - 1:1 and a low ratio. Also unusual is James' own brand of cantilever brakes.

James made Sports Ace models in several different versions, I've neither seen nor heard of another survivor. The new custodian is a Veteran Cycle Club member and hopefully the bike will get some use on events.

James Sports Ace side view.

I fitted a 'Shuresta' alloy prop stand, it's postwar
but I feel an appropriate accessory.

And here's the rear brake, James' own
cantilever. The brakes are effective but
the rear very stiff to operate as the cable
run is rather torturous.

Sweet streamlined rear reflector and
stylish ribbed mudguards.

James logo on the lamp bracket.

The lines are very thirties and very British.

Constrictor pattern brake levers fitted.
Higher spec than the originals but age
appropriate and I couldn't find a match
for the missing left hand lever.

Harmo 'Fearnaught' push button bell.

The original handlebars were a North
Road pattern but I had these Moustache
type ones which are the correct era and
suit very nicely.

Tail view of the Sports Ace.

That reflector again...

The Schwalbe tyres have a
reflective band which grates slightly, I
didn't know it was there when I ordered
them. Correct metal valve cap - the devil
is in the details!

Downtube lever for the two speed chainwheel.

And the two speed chainwheel up close.

The Phillips pedals are early post war
but are very nice and I already had them
so on they went.

Rear hub. Wingnuts are fitted front and
rear and are Sturmey Archer type.

Brake detail again. The cables have a
nipple at both ends so adjustment is by
means of moving the stop.

I bought this 'Dorset' saddle a little while
back. I've never seen another. I believe it
is made by Lycette - if you put a large
enough order in with them they would logo
your saddle however you liked.

The front Sturmey hub.

And finally the front brake.

Tuesday, November 7, 2023

Ariel Tricycle and Quadricycle 1898

This brochure / manual is a copy of a copy but is rare enough that it warrants reproducing here.

The leaflet is labelled as 1898 and I believe that Ariel Tricycles and Quadricycles were current from 1898 to 1902. 

Saturday, November 4, 2023

1904 Rex

Another lovely early veteran era image. The machine is a Rex, a fairly distinctive bike of which the identification was further simplified by the bike and year being written on the reverse of the photo. Like all these photos, if only we knew the story behind them... the gent is rather fashionably dressed, though perhaps not for motorcycling. Anyone who had a motorcycle back in these days was well off. Just as a fun aside, note the 'stumpery' in the back ground - a very fashionable garden feature of the Victorian and early Edwardian era.


Monday, October 30, 2023

Flat tank special

This one has me confused. At first I hoped it was an early Japanese machine but the closer I look the more it seems to be a homemade special that just happens to have some Japanese script on the tank.

My overall synopsis of it is that the bike is something of a death trap. A powerful JAP ohv 'dog eared' sports motor with Triumph twin barrel carb, wobbly Triumph 'rocking' front forks, no front brake, belt drive and just a drive rim brake on the rear. It's rather hard to put a date on the bike, the overall spec suggests around 1920 but the engine comes from somewhat later (mid to late twenties).

The gearbox is a Sturmey Archer and the overall appearance very sporting. Having had a look at early Japanese bikes the number plate could just be Japanese but equally it could be British - if it is indeed British it comes from Bradford. The logo on the tank is a mystery but the most likely explanation is that the bike was put together as a special by someone who had a knowledge of Kanji script, perhaps an impecunious student who built their own sporting mount? Putting the tank logo through google translate comes up with 'about three' - maybe it refers to the number of different bike brands in this particular mongrel?

Saturday, October 21, 2023

Bob Foster Run 2023

Many years have passed since I last went over to a Bob Foster Run despite it being on my doorstep. The Bob Foster is organised by the Dorset Section of the Velocette Owners Club and has been running for donkeys years. I used to spectate it as a child, that's how old it is.

Obviously Velocettes are the favoured mounts of the day but anything goes. My Velocette went to pastures new a little while back but as I was only able to spectate having not been organised enough to get my entry in sufficiently in advance I chugged into the car park on the Enfield Himalayan.

Lots of Velos.

Still black and gold so fits in nicely...

This Ariel Arrow / Honda CD185 Benly hybrid created
a lot of interest. It was nicely done and looked right.

Horiel Barrow? Aronda Arrly?

Saturday, October 7, 2023

Mystery Moussard engined machine - can anyone identify?

The new owner of this charming machine, Geert, has contacted to see if I could identify his new purchase. The short answer is no! So, over to you knowledgeable folks out there. Can anyone furnish any details as to marque, year or model?

Moussard engines were manufactured in the mid twenties and also went under the 'Madoz' and 'Moussard-Madoz' brand names.

This particular machine was once in the Oltimer Motoren Museum in Oudenburg which was situated in the late lamented Bikers Loft bar and hostel, Groenedijk, Belgium and funnily enough I took a picture of the bike and it featured on this blog way back in 2014.

The frame design is fairly distinctive with its curved downtube as is the toolbox. It's quite a basic machine being a single speeder but the lighting set is a lovely luxury feature. It must have been just the job for puttering along canalside tracks. Moussard engines were fitted to a number of marques from France, Belgium and Holland. Overall the machine looks fairly close to a 'Dé-Dé' but there are a number of key differences.

If you have any ideas as to identity please comment below or mail.

Advert for the Moussard 175 unit. Image found on
Sheldon's EMU.

And the bike when it was in the Oldtimer Motoren Museum.