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NEWS All about shows and bike lifts and shiny parts and… things like that



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PAUL D’ORLÉANS Wheels and whatsits

The rich man’s game?

Save money, get the magazine early.



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The current best of the current breed?



SUNBEAM S7 Built for gents. Few gents

BSA A65 REBUILD Challenge is its own reward

CAFÉ RACER HONDA Take a sad CB450 and

CLUBBING There are lots of bike clubs. Here’s a few

bought them, of course

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MOTO GUZZI T3 Long legged, and affordable too

ARIEL SQUARE FOUR Always a delight. Mostly

INFO ARCHIVE Great knowledge here. Surely

READER ADS Send us bargains. We need many more bargains.

BOOKS! Plenty of great reading. Ideal for (whisper) Christmas



make it badder

generation of Bonnies?

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Long term ownership

Boxing clever with a boxer

The best of the last


NORTON DOMINATOR is its own reward


Thrills undiluted. Excitement intense

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LETTERS Much congratulatory stuff. More complaints required

We do, we really do…

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PAUL MILES The carry tool kit

BENELLI 900 SEI Something grand and pretty wide too

129 130

INK WHEELS Café Noir by Brett Breckon

FRANK WESTWORTH Never buy a project…





EDITOR || Frank Westworth PUBLISHER || Tim Hartley SENIOR DESIGNER || Kelvin Clements DESIGNER || Michael Baumber PICTURE DESK || Paul Fincham, Jonathan Schofield EDITORIAL ASSISTANT || Jayne Clements PRODUCTION EDITORS || Sarah Palmer, Sarah Wilkinson ADVERTISING || Leon Currie 01507 529413 Nicole Appleyard 01507 529576 ARCHIVE ENQUIRIES || Jane Skayman 01507 529423 SUBSCRIPTION MANAGER || Paul Deacon





I’VE JUST RATTLED back from a show. Any excuse to slope out of the office while the magazine’s in the final few days of production. Rode up to Shropshire from Cornwall on the Saturday. It rained a lot. I can reveal that my new Bering jacket and less new Held overpants do not leak. Yet. I was due to borrow a bike on the way – it was lashing down and dark as night, so no joy there. Coffee and laughter instead. Can’t be beat. Next, dinner with a friend, a one-time MD of Norton Motors, no less. It was hysterical, as our encounters always are. He paid. Life could hardly be better. Show Sunday found sunshine, busy roads, mostly because the handsome nearby town of Ludlow was hosting a food festival… my, my, the temptation. But I was booked for the show, so off over the hills and… armed police. Lots of them. Road closures and much mayhem. Interesting. As the roads were closed I rode down the pavement. No one, police or otherwise, shot me. The show was as entertaining as shows can be. Loads of friends there, ancient and modern, some remarkable bikes, some very shiny mundane bikes and some scruffy gems too – lots there to interest anyone with an interest in old bikes. Which would be all of us, I hope. The Borders Classic Bike Show, to give it its complete handle, is organised and sustained by Jim Reynolds, who co-founded this very magazine along with… me. Jim and I have worked together for thousands of years, we worked hard, cursed and laughed together, enjoyed the ups, endured the downs, and have remained stalwart friends. His show is always worth my taking the time out, having a 500 mile ride (there and back – my navigation is not yet that bad) and having a couple of Travelodge nights, which may be like Arabian nights but quieter. The local show is there to raise money for the local school, which hosts it and us every year. Jim, all the organisers and all the school staff are volunteers, giving up their time and their money to raise some more money for a very good cause. So far, so good? Okay; get this. A hand-made cheese roll, fresh that day and made by one of the volunteers, cost £2.50. I had one for lunch. It was great. Whatever profit there is in £2.50 went to the school funds, so hurrah for that and an extra rosy glow for the happy eater. Imagine my disappointment to read online comments from another showgoer who refused to pay that much for a cheese roll. It’s not just a cheese roll. It’s part of the fundraising. If the event doesn’t raise funds for its hosts then… no more events. No doubt the same individuals will be at the front of the queue complaining – as I hear all the time – that there are no local shows any more. Why don’t people put on local shows like they used to? And so on. Is it difficult to make the connection? Great show, Jim. Thanks. Hope to see you next year. That’s it. See you out there. Frank Westworth


CONTRIBUTORS IN THIS ISSUE Brett Breckon, Alan Cathcart, Rob Davies, Grant Ford, Rowena Hoseason, Richard Jones, Phil Mather, Frank Melling, Paul Miles, Paul d’Orléans, Mark Williams, Nolan Woodbury EDITORIAL ADDRESS Mortons Media Group, Media Centre, Morton Way, Horncastle, Lincs LN9 6JR WEBSITE GENERAL QUERIES AND BACK ISSUES 01507 529529 24hr answerphone Email: Web: SUBSCRIPTION Full subscription rates (but see page 12 for offer): (12 months 12 issues, inc post and packing) – UK £50.40. Export rates are also available – see page 12 for more details. UK subscriptions are zero-rated for the purposes of Value Added Tax. DISTRIBUTION COMAG, Tavistock Road, West Drayton, Middlesex UB7 7QE. Telephone 01895 433600. USA SUBSCRIPTIONS CLASSIC BIKE GUIDE (USPS:002-674) is published monthly by Mortons Media Group Ltd, PO Box 99, Horncastle, Lincolnshire LN9 6LZ UK. USA subscriptions are $54 per year from Motorsport Publications LLC, 7164 Cty Rd N #441, Bancroft WI 54921. Periodical Postage is paid at Bancroft, WI and additional entries. Postmaster: Send address changes to CLASSIC BIKE GUIDE, c/o Motorsport Publications LLC, 7164 Cty Rd N #441, Bancroft WI 54921. 715-572-4595 PRINTED BY || William Gibbons & Sons, Wolverhampton. ISSN No 0959-7123 ADVERT DEADLINE || October 7, 2016 NEXT ISSUE || October 26, 2016 © Mortons Media Group Ltd. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or any information storage retrieval system without prior permission in writing from the publisher.

Independent publisher since 1885 Member of the Professional Publishers’ Association

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Stars at Stafford

FOUR OF THE racing celebrities who starred in the iconic film On Any Sunday will be reunited at the Carole Nash Classic Motorcycle Mechanics Show on October 15-16. Nominated for an Oscar, the documentary portrayed the riding lives of hotshot motorcycle racers of the early 1970s. Directed by Bruce Brown, it was produced by Steve McQueen who also appears in the film, along with champions and rookies from desert racing, short-circuit competition an moto-cross.

Mert Lawwill’s appearance at Stafford will be his first visit to the UK in four decades



David Aldana, Don Emde, Mert Lawwill and Gene Romero not only found fame on the big screen but also participated in the massively popular AngloAmerican Match Races, held in the UK in the 1970s at circuits such as Brands Hatch, Mallory Park and Oulton Park. Show-goers can expect to see the stars interviewed on stage and there’s usually an opportunity to secure a precious autograph or two. Modern classics of the 1960s, 70s and 80s take centre-stage at the autumn Stafford event, and there



High mileage Moto Guzzi

Ariel’s square solution

Books about bikes




will be a dedicated Suzuki area at this season’s show. The Suzuki Owners’ Club, Kettle Club, Air Cooled Suzuki (including Katana), Team Classic Suzuki and the GT/X7 Owners’ Club will all be in attendance, and Robinsons Foundry will be selling parts and clothing. Crooks Suzuki and Redcar Motorcycles will also be on hand to help with any customer enquiries. In the Suzuki GB area, Barry Sheene’s 1976 and 1977 world championship-winning bikes will be displayed alongside the GSX-R750F and TL1000S which have been refurbished and rebuilt. Have your earplugs handy when you venture outside to the Classic Racer GP Paddock where famous race bikes are fired up, and check out the Classic Dirt Bike Experience which host trials demonstrations alongside. The live indoor Restoration Theatre will demonstrate workshop techniques and a rapid rebuild. Back outside, in the main show ring, owners will show off their classics in cavalcade sessions – and the On Any Sunday stars are also expected to take part.


Above left: When Gene Romero won Daytona in 1975 he was piloting a Yamaha, but his earlier career including a stint campaigning the Triumph triple Above right: Don Emde, winner of the Daytona 200, is another of the Stafford Show’s extra-special guests

THE CAROLE NASH Classic Motorcycle Mechanics Show takes place on October 15/16. For more details visit

Meanwhile, in the dedicated auction hall, Bonhams auctioneers will be seeking the highest bids on an eclectic array of vintage and classic machines. Highlights of the sale include the ex-works Formula 1 Ducati 905 proddie racer which was ridden by Roger Nicholls to second place at the IoM in 1977, expected to fetch around £60k. At the other end of the scale, a pre-unit Triumph Tiger which can only be described as ‘ripe for restoration’ is valued at £3000. The ultimate evolution of the Ariel Square Four – a Healey 1000 – is estimated to fetch £30k. But if you’re looking instead for a Japanese classic which you can rasp around on, then a 1974 Yammie Y5F at £3500 might be more likely to turn your head. The rest of the Stafford Show will feature its traditional blend of hundreds of trade stands, concours displays of private entries and a staggering array of club stands, a massive autojumble, rebuild projects and ready to ride classics for sale, and more. Parking is free; weekend camping is available. Prebook adult admission cost £12 (£14 on the gate).



HIGH QUALITY ARIEL AND BSA specialist Draganfly Motorcycles recently celebrated its 40th anniversary. The company has never claimed to be the cheapest but founder Roger Gwynn chose instead to produce popular items to a certain standard, and set a fair price, helping to fund production of less popular items. Recently, the firm noticed a growing demand for superior quality spares, regardless of budget, so created a new, top quality, in-house brand to meet this demand, aptly named ‘Hawker’. The Hawker is a dragonfly found locally near Draganfly’s HQ in the east of England. Believed to be extinct in some places in the 1970s, it has staged a comeback in recent decades. The Hawker represents the regeneration of the Norfolk broads and the success of conservation, so Draganfly chose this name as a symbol of its beauty, success and resilience. In line with this philosophy, Draganfly explains that “each component under the Hawker brand is made from local materials where possible. Each product is checked meticulously to ensure quality and a high standard of finish, so we sell with confidence and you can buy with peace of mind. While currently a compact range, we are expanding the variety of Hawker products constantly. Parts include oil pumps, timing pinions, taper roller head races and brand new rocker boxes”. The Hawker brand is another string to Draganfly’s bow, which also includes the successful Craven classic motorcycle luggage line. The company surely looks set for another 40 years in the bike business… See


BEST OF BRITISH REMEMBER, REMEMBER THE fifth of November – but don’t bother blowing up the Houses of Parliament. Instead, head for the National Motorcycles Museum in Birmingham to make the most of the NMM’s massive ‘Live’ open day. The NMM’s extensive collection of British bikes – the biggest in the world – has been extensively reconfigured so you’ll find something different in every one of its five halls. More than 1000 motorcycles represent more than 170 different marques; and that’s just the icing on the Victoria sponge on this jam-packed open day which features free admission among its many other attractions. Pick up a timetable on your way in so you don’t miss any of the key events, which include: • STARS ON STAGE: Racing legends Carl Fogarty and Jamie Whitham will host two hour-long chat shows at 11am and 2pm, where Carl and Jamie will be joined by other motorcycling personalities including TT superstar Ian Hutchinson and BSB rider Peter Hickman.

• HEAR ME ROAR! New this year, NMM staff will fire up some of the most famous race machines in the world. Bikes old and new being revved up for your entertainment will include the Hislop ‘White Charger’ rotary Norton, the NVT Cosworth Challenge and the Vincent ‘Super Nero’ sprinter, plus Moto GP Ducatis and WSB machinery. • MEET THE EXPERTS: Some of the museum’s specialist suppliers and craftsmen, including the NMM’s own restoration team, will be on hand to chat and answer questions. Visitors will also be able to get the first view of an exciting new display, the history of wheel building, which has been presented by wheel builders to the museum, Central Wheels. • INDOOR AUTOJUMBLE: As well as trade stands and displays from industry experts, such as Bonhams and Footman James, NMM Live also features a large indoor autojumble held within the warm and dry surroundings of the museum’s conference facilities.

• SHOP & RESTAURANT: The NMM shop and restaurant will be open throughout the event offering breakfast, lunch, a range of hot meals and snacks plus a special BBQ. Famous motorcycling personalities will be signing copies of their books in the museum shop during the event.


• ONE TO WIN: Last, but by far from least, the draw to win an awesome Norton F1 will be held during the afternoon. The rotary roadbike, handbuilt in 1990 and easily worth £20,000, is up for grabs in the museum’s raffle and tickets are still available from 01675 444140. The National Motorcycle Museum is located on Coventry Road, Bickenhill, Solihull, B92 0EJ and opens 8.30am to 5.30pm. See


RIDINGLIFE || NE EWS LIFT OFF! IF YOU’RE STILL scrabbling around at ground level every time your bike needs an oil change, then try adding this new hydraulic lift to your Christmas wishlist (although getting it down the chimney migght be something of a challenge for Santa). New from CJ Autos, this slim-width, scissor-action lift can be stored upright when it’s not in use to saave space in your garage. It carries up to 450kg, which is more than a fully-fuelled Gold Wing weighs, an will raise a motorcycle from 190mm to 860mm high – so from shin to hip-height, with a safety locking bar b which can be set at four levels in between. The slim lift comes with a removable ramp, adjustable wheel

chock to suit different size wheels, four tie hooks and two straps. Prices start at £299 plus VAT. Available from 01706 367649 /


ARTS & CRAFTS THE ART OF THE MOTORCYCLE returns to London Olympia on October 29/30 in the form of the Kickback Motorcycle Show, an exhibition dedicated to the promotion of motorcycling engineering excellence. Kickback is the definitive platform for professional and enthusiast designers, builders and customisers to show off their two-wheeled meisterwerks alongside some of the UK’s most exquisite classic and vintage motorcycles. There will be around 100 customised and classic specials in the showcase, and at Kickback these are typically displayed with plenty of room for manoeuvre. Showgoers can get up close to each machine, study what’s been done to it, and frequently chat to its creator about the nitty gritty of each build. Expect to see some of the UK’s finest examples of individually crafted motorcycles as well as a collection of rare classics, choppers, bobbers, café racers and trackers. For instance, the team from Stile Italiano will be bringing one of their hand-crafted one-off special ‘Harton’ café racers – like the bike we featured last year – while other intriguing exhibits include a steam-powered drag bike. Level Two at Olympia Central will also host a special motorcycle art exhibition, trade stalls displaying the highest quality motorbike gear and apparel, parts and gifts plus vintage biker movies in the TV lounge, accompanied by live music and frothy coffee. Kickback opens 2pm to 7pm on Saturday, October 29, then 10am to 4pm on Sunday 30. See





IF YOU CRINGE when insurance renewal time comes around, a new deal from RH Specialist Insurance may ease the aggravation in your life. They’re doing away with the need to reassess machines for agreed value. For motorcycles which are valued at less than £3000, RH will accept the owner’s own valuation. For collections or single motorcycles valued at between £3000 and £50,000, RH will accept the terms of your existing insurance schedule, providing the cover is already on ‘agreed’. They’ll only need to arrange an in-house confirmation (at no extra cost) or request a valuation from a recognised motorcycle club or independent specialist if your collection is worth more than £50,000. Plus, unlike many insurers, RH charges no broker admin fees so you could easily end up saving 50 quid into the bargain. Contact 0333 043 3911 / classicuw@ers. com


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The real deal Triumph’s best new Bonnie WORDS & PHOTOS BY FRANK MELLING

Above: There’s a ‘load of old cobbles’ joke here, but we’ll move swiftly on – as is apparently easy on a Thruxton R

1: The modern face of the heritage obsession. If you can work out what all the idiot lights do, you get a prize. There’ll be a test later 2: This is a seat. It is probably a very good seat. It is not easy to get excited by a seat, but we should all try 3: In keeping with the glorious Triumph heritage, the Thruxton R boasts yellow suspenders – in exactly the way a Meriden Thruxton Bonnie did. Not

YOU’RE IN A rush, right? You want to go out for a ride, not read a magazine. I’ll come straight to the point. The Triumph Thruxton R is not only the best-ever retro bike made, it’s one of the greatest motorcycles of all time. If you love classics, you’ll sell your kidney for this bike. If you are thirty-something, then you’ll be trading in your R1. Triumph dealers all over the world can confirm this, as the Rs fly out of their showrooms. The Thruxton R is at the top of the Bonneville family tree but shares the family gene pool with the Street Twin 900 and its even more closely related sibling, the T120 Bonneville 1200. So, at the heart of the R is the same twin-cylinder, eight-valve engine with twin counter balancers and 270º firing order. The result is a thoroughly modern, vibration-free engine that still retains a lovely anthropomorphic feel as the big pistons bang up and down in the barrels. It’s a really clever job that Triumph has done, melding an authentically classic feel into something young riders will find acceptable. The engine is air/liquid-cooled, a concept that


serves both marketing and practical reasons. There is no doubt that having the big, angular fins stuck out into the breeze like a real Meriden Bonnie is a priceless attraction. Equally, the finning does cool the engine so the radiator can be tiny and unobtrusive. Tucked away between the front downtubes on the frame it’s not much larger than an oil cooler. The catalyser, now compulsory with Euro 4 regulations, is hidden beneath the engine and the plumbing is equally well concealed. If you wish, it’s easy to find the engineering intrusive and have a really good sigh and grumble about modern regulations, but, equally, if you just want to ride the R or pretend that this is really one of Doug Hele’s creations, then you can do this too. Just as neat is a sweet, six-speed gearbox with an extremely light clutch action thanks to Triumph’s Assist Slipper Clutch. The R’s exhaust note is the subject of some controversy. Because of the change in the way exhaust sound is measured under Euro 4 regulations, it is actually much nicer and reminiscent of a




£11,700 new







Meriden Bonnie in a way that the emasculated T100 Bonneville never was. The R makes a lovely growl, which is involving, pleasant and which, unless you drop the clutch at 8000rpm and wheelspin up the road, won’t upset anyone. However, some younger journalists felt this wasn’t sufficiently ‘real’ – whatever that word means – and the standard silencer was considered to be a bit of a woosie. Triumph agreed and it offers Vance & Hines exhausts as accessories. These are simply offensively loud and will get right up the nose of every non-motorcyclist. Those whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad... Although it’s billed as the rooty-tooty super sports bike in the Bonneville range, in the real world the R is the easiest and most pleasant of the three new bikes – even with a lighter crankshaft and higher compression than the T120. With 95bhp on the end of the ride-by-wire throttle, there is ample power to lose your licence without trying, but the R does not demand committed riding. Contra-intuitively it is actually smoother and easier to ride than the T120 Bonneville, with completely linear power delivery. Given a choice of the two engines for either touring or commuting, I would take the R every time. The power is creamy smooth and is helped by some subtle electronics. There is ABS and traction control. I can’t see the reason for not using either of these aids. It’s a bit like saying that, in the good old days, TT100 tyres were the only rubber to use. This may have been true but compared to a modern tyre a TT100 is fit only for wheelbarrows. Why not make


Standard Thruxton 1200 (lower spec suspension and brakes, heavier, £1300 less). Ducati 1200 Monster (35% more horsepower for almost 20% more ££). BMW R nine T (more solid than outright sporty but no slouch; similar prices)


OWNERS’ CLUB Triumph Owners MCC

4: Shatteringly effective brakes and totally competent forks are a feature of the Thruxton R. The subtle gold finish of the legs reflects the Bling is King approach, possibly

If you don’t want to wait for the all-new Thruxton R to be delivered, then how about a zero-miles custom-build last of the previous line? Birmingham Triumph based this on the old 900; it comes with one-off billet alloy yokes, Ohlins suspension, Arrow 2-1, Daytona bars, ASV levers and stacks more special parts, for £11,000

use of current technology if it doesn’t interfere with the riding experience? There is a particularly relevant reason for having ABS. The R comes with a pair of truly magnificent 320mm front discs carrying Brembo four-piston, radial-mount, monobloc callipers. Ooooh, these are truly, fantasy inducingly magnificent. Simply rest your middle finger on the lightweight alloy front brake lever and it’s like hitting a science fiction force field of speed reduction. Equally, this stopper is ultra-sensitive. Trail brake all the way right up to



Above: Much attention is drawn to the engine’s cooling fins while the radiator is cunningly and subtly hidden away. All that really matters is that riders like the looks, despite the fake carbs

the apex of the bend and then whack on the power – and move out of the way young Mr Rossi. I really did have a lot of fun playing GP racing. The chassis data suggests that the R should be a flighty, nervous beast. It has a short 1415mm wheelbase and the steering head angle is sports bike steep at 22.8º. Yet on the road the results are completely different. The R can be eased into corners almost degree by degree and will respond with laser accuracy. Alternatively, it can be chucked around in

MANUFACTURED: 2016 onwards ENGINE: Liquid-cooled 8 valve, SOHC, parallel twin BORE / STROKE: 97.6mm x 80mm CAPACITY: 1200cc COMPRESSION: 11:1 POWER: 96bhp @ 6750rpm TORQUE: 112Nm @ 4950rpm FUELLING: Multipoint sequential electronic fuel injection CLUTCH: Wet, multi-plate assist clutch GEARBOX: 6-speed FINAL DRIVE: O-ring chain FRAME: Tubular steel cradle FRONT SUSPENSION: Showa 43mm USD big piston forks, fully adjustable REAR SUSPENSION: Twin-sided swinging, adjustable Öhlins twin shocks FRONT BRAKE: Dual Brembo 310mm floating discs, 4-piston radial monobloc calipers, ABS REAR BRAKE: 220mm disc, Nissin 2-piston floating caliper, ABS FRONT TYRE: 120/70 ZR 17 REAR TYRE: 160/60 ZR17 SEAT HEIGHT: 810mm WHEELBASE: 1415mm DRY WEIGHT: 203kg


true sports bike style. I’d run this bike in the intermediate group of any track day and feel very happy that I wouldn’t get in anyone’s way. Clearly, the steering geometry is the key factor in the sublime handling, but the numbers are made to work with a USD, floating piston, Showa front suspension and a pair of very competent Öhlins shocks on the rear. This set-up provides instant feedback on what is happening to the 17in Diablo Rosso Corsa tyres and, although firm, they will still soak up big potholes or poorly surfaced roads. Everywhere you look on the R there are lovely touches. I can live without the fake Amal Monoblocs, as much as I can do without black and white TV, but I did love the twin digital clocks. These are a loose tribute to the Smiths originals that fell apart on Meriden Bonnies with such enthusiasm, but they work in a way that Smiths instruments never did. The fit and finish of the R is also exemplary. Purists say that the R is not a real British bike because it is made in Triumph’s Thai factory but there is no debating the quality control that has produced an outstanding motorcycle. Is everything perfect in R land? No, not quite – but it is fixable. Unless you are under 25 years of age, the low bars will soon cause agony. Triumph does a higher handlebar but this is an accessory. It’s the same with a dualseat. Yes, this will fit straight on but it’s another cost on top of the already far from cheap asking price. Finally, the footrests are a long way back, which is fine for the track but not ideal for slow speed riding. Would these problems stop me from buying an R? No, not for a single second.



Hot 100 The Bonnie which blitzed the 1969 Production TT WORDS BY FRANK MELLING PHOTOS BY CAROL MELLING / MORTONS ARCHIVE

Above: In 1969, Malcolm Uphill rode a Thruxton-spec T120 to victory in the Production TT at the Isle of Man, recording an average speed of 99.99mph into the bargain

IN 1958, MIKE HAILWOOD and Dan Shorey won the Thruxton long distance race and a year later the Thruxton Bonnevilles were born. Strictly speaking, the name Thruxton only applies to the 49 machines made for homologation purposes in 1964/65. However, it was Triumph practice to put a ‘Thruxton’ note in the build book when the bike was a 650 intended only for racing. These bikes were nominally available with a whole list of optional extras from the High Performance List; high compression pistons, carburettors, cams and followers and, with a good tuner, it was possible to build a quick Triumph. There was some criticism that the factory was not keeping to the spirit of production racing, so Triumph decided to build a batch of true production racers to works specification. The key modification was to provide a positive oil feed to the exhaust


cams, which were prone to seize under extreme conditions. This was done by fitting an external oil pipe to feed them directly. There were also wider front brake linings, 19in alloy wheels and chopped Monobloc carburettors with a central float chamber. Interestingly, although the bikes had been built for homologation, the Triumph race shop immediately improved them by machining standard crankcases internally so that the oil feed was kept inside the engine. The original aim was to build 50 Thruxton Bonnevilles, but apparently someone ‘mislaid’ one of the special big-valve cylinder heads and so the 50th bike was broken for spares. This brings us to the most famous of all the Bonnevilles, four bikes carrying the numbers MAC 231E to MAC 234E. These were arguably the finest production racers of their day, as demonstrated





1: Cutaways in the oil tank assisted air flow to the racing Amals


2: The Thruxton’s silencers were key components that worked with the balance pipe and reduced-bore exhaust to release 58bhp for the 1969 Isle of Man races


by Malcolm Uphill’s famous 100mph TT lap. Yet the MAC bikes started off in the most humble way – all were production line failures. If a bike had a major problem on test it was dropped off at the experimental shop for transformation into a racer. Les Williams explained: “If it was a problem like a porous crankcase, then this would be replaced, or perhaps an oil pump had failed and we might have more work to do. The main modification to the works bikes was that they had toolroom heads and BSA Spitfire profile cams. To prevent excessive wear the cams were faced with Eutectic and the three-inch radius ‘Big Foot’ tappets were used. “The pistons were normal Bonneville racing types and gave an 11:1 compression ratio. We always used American S&W valve springs that we knew we could trust under racing conditions. Flywheel weight was increased to smooth out the roughness caused by the increased power. The best engines gave 58bhp at 7000rpm with a safe limit of 7200rpm. The rotors were skimmed to reduce drag and when the bikes were first built they had four-speed gearboxes because we weren’t 100% happy with the Quaife five-speeders. Later on, all the bikes were fitted with the five-speed box. “The carburettors were quite special and were built by Amal. They had extra-long tapered needles, and jet holders longer than standard too, which gave excellent mid-range power. We also introduced the balance pipe between the two exhaust pipes, again for mid-range power, and it was an immediate success. The silencers were another Hele success. They kept the bike quiet but still allowed good breathing. “The chassis was very standard and is a credit to Hele’s design ability. The front forks were shortened by an inch and we ran AM3 red linings in the rear brake and AM4 green linings in the front with standard hubs. The 19in wheels with alloy rims were essential.” So to MAC 231E, seen here. This was one of four built in the Triumph race shop over the winter of 1966/67 but was not one of the works bikes. The


3: The Thruxton’s eight-inch 2ls front brake was designed and made in-house and could be made to work very well, as could the shortened front forks 4: Unusually for a racing machine, the cockpit of the Thruxton Bonnie is quite comfortable for the rider, reflecting the bike’s long distance and endurance racing development

Above: Dunlop was so pleased with the performance of its high speed tyre on the Thruxton Bonnie that the K81 was rapidly renamed the TT100

You might wait an entire lifetime for a genuine (or even a half-decent fake) Thruxton T120 to come along. But there’s always a good selection of late 1960s roadbike Bonnies available, like this 1966 UK-spec T120. Recently restored, yours for £11,999 from / 07989 751567

best ones were kept for the works teams and the others released to favoured dealers. MAC 231E went to production racing enthusiast Stan Hughes, of Wallington, and after a long and chequered history, I borrowed it from Triumph enthusiast Tim Whitham a few years ago. Tim left the bike’s cosmetics untouched and concentrated on the mechanical side of things. Certainly, the bike looked authentic and original. Glancing down at the original TT100s, complete with sidewall age cracks, I couldn’t help wondering whether this approach was wholly appropriate for a racing bike. However, after just a few laps it was easy to see why this Bonnie was the top of the production tree. It is immediately striking that the Bonnie does not feel like a production racer. Everything about the bike is comparable with a full-blown race machine of the time. It’s not up to the definitive over-the-counter racer of the day, the G50-engined Seeley, but it is right in there when compared with a standard



Above: For shorter race distances, 11:1 pistons were normally fitted. Over 500 miles, the compression was lowered from the standard 8.8 to 8.5 by using a copper head gasket, in case the riders missed a gear – second didn’t always engage cleanly

Plumstead-made Matchless G50. The Bonnie has soft, forgiving, docile handling, which must have been a dream in long distance races or on true road circuits like the Isle of Man. There is no escaping the fact that this is a big bike. At 5ft 11in and 182lb, I am tall and heavy for a road racer and so the long stretch didn’t bother me, but I could understand why small, lightweight pilots found the Bonnie production racer something of a lump. Interestingly, Malcolm Uphill was tall compared with the norm, so perhaps this is one of the reasons he enjoyed the bike so much.

MANUFACTURED: 1965 (spec variable depending on event) ENGINE: Air-cooled ohv parallel twin BORE / STROKE: 71mm x 82mm CAPACITY: 649cc COMPRESSION: 8.8:1 POWER: 52bhp @ 6700rpm LUBRICATION: Dry sump, plunger pump CARBS: 2x Amal chopped Monoblocs GEARBOX: Close ratio four-speed / Quaife five-speed PRIMARY DRIVE: Duplex chain IGNITION: Lucas twin coil FRAME: Brazed and lugged tubular loop, adjusted steering geometry FRONT SUSPENSION: Shuttle-damped shortened tele forks REAR SUSPENSION: Swinging arm, twin Girling shocks FRONT BRAKE: Full-width 8in 2ls ventilated drum REAR BRAKE: 7in sls drum FRONT TYRE: 3.00 x 19 REAR TYRE: 3.50 x 19 TOP SPEED: 124mph (135mph in 1969)


Ray Knight rode the Triumph to third place in the Brands Hatch 500-mile race and remembers it with fondness. “Some of the works BSA Spitfires were quicker than the Triumph but the Bonneville was a much better package. It really was a nice motorcycle and it was easy to ride hard.” The engine is just as good as the handling. Despite its twin Amals, the big twin pulls like a tractor and makes good racing power from 3000rpm to 6500rpm. If the rider does make a mistake, the merest dab of the clutch gets the motor spinning again. The Quaife five-speed gearbox is wonderfully sweet. The down-for-up pattern, still favoured by racers, is, was, and always will be the most natural shift pattern and the gears float in effortlessly. Out of respect for the age and condition of the bike, I always used the clutch, but Triumph riders used to pop in ratios with just a dab of the gear lever and a momentary easing of the throttle. The clutch itself is feather light and must have reduced workload tremendously in endurance races. The only disappointment was the eight-inch 2ls front brake. It was chronically oval and had a thin, road cable to operate it. This brake can be made into a respectable tool for racing. However, it has to be in perfect condition. Even then, Triumph’s preference for fitting the double-sided, 2ls Fontana front brake to its first string works bikes becomes understandable. Without doubt, this is the one bike Triumph should have produced as a limited edition flagship model, just like the current Thruxton R. Hand-built in small numbers, this Bonnie would have soon acquired cult status. Unlike BSA’s DBD Gold Star and much-hyped Velocette Thruxton, the Bonneville Thruxton would make a superb road bike.




Above: When Motor Cycling magazine tested an S7 it covered more than 900 miles, giving ‘day-in and day-out service without necessary recourse to the toolbox or apprehension on the part of the rider about Sunbeam reliability’ 1: BSA’s Sunbeam used an entirely original engine with a high tensile cast-iron crankshaft, light-alloy conrods, lead-bronze big ends and wet sump lubrication. The overhead camshaft was driven from the rear of the engine and operated the valves using rocker arms 2: The S7’s 16in wheels were intended to be interchangeable but the profile of the front tyre was changed to improve the steering. Either can be removed in a matter of minutes, using just one tool 3: When the S7 became the Deluxe, it lost the initial model’s beautifully clean (and expensive) handlebars with their internal cable routes. The modern trend towards decluttering means many owners choose to recreate the original look of the standard S7 4: The Sunbeam’s car-type single plate clutch took power to a four-speed gearbox (built inline with the engine), then transmitted the drive via a shaft to an underslung worm rear wheel drive. BSA used this type of rear-axle drive in their Daimler and Lanchester cars

Smooth operator The sophisticated S7 was all wrong for cash-strapped riders in the 1950s. It’s much more suitable as a 21st century classic PHOTOS BY CHRIS DICKINSON

BACK IN THE DAY, the postwar Sunbeam S7 was initially acclaimed for introducing a raft of innovative technical features. ‘With its in-line parallel twin cylinder engine and gearbox in unit, shaft drive, coil ignition, unique appearance and many ingenious features it represented a complete breakaway from current motorcycle design,’ said The Motor Cycle, talking about the 1947 launch of the 487cc ohc tourer. In theory, this was the machine which blitzed Britons had been dreaming about. In practice, the substantially more conventional model which followed it – the S8 – significantly outsold its pioneering predecessor. In the six years before production ended in 1956, the public bought 50% more S8s than S7s. In that time BSA (which had bought the Sunbeam name during the war) built less than 15,000 of both, just 2500 a year. And the S8 was definitely the more popular of the two. These days, S7s command a 25% price premium over an S8. In part that’s due to the S7’s rarity, but it


also reflects the changing tastes of the classic rider… riders like CBG’s regular columnist Paul Miles. Paul has hands-on experience of owning an S7. “Sunnies are much maligned as ‘too slow’, usually by people who have never ridden one. They also have an unfair rep as being unreliable, which is utter nonsense – bumbling along at 50mph, I doubt there’s a less stressed bike on the road. Because the performance is modest, the rider is under no pressure to press on, and therefore bike and rider enjoy a better motorcycling experience. It’s very easy to start, has great spares availability, and is super comfortable with the cantilever seat. It makes the ideal classic for the gentler rider or an older rider who might struggle with starting the ubiquitous Triumph or Norton twins. They are handsome and very unusual, and hide their considerable weight (hence the comfort) very well. “The S7’s only bad points are the slightly vague handling, which goes with the territory that massive tyres and huge weight bring, that horrid drippy carb





£6000 to £9000




The shaft drive is less troublesome than its reputation suggests but requires the right grade of oil. Clutch can be heavy: Stewart Engineering offers a mod to increase leverage. Their aftermarket ‘deep sump’ also comes recommended as it adds oil capacity which improves cooling and engine longevity. Check the frame is straight as many hauled sidecars. Distributors are scarce/expensive. Tinware and unique trim items extremely rare (fibreglass items may be available)

ALSO CONSIDER The S8 stablemate: cheaper, less odd, faster, better brakes. Douglas 350 Mk3: equally odd and unusual, with torsion bar-controlled swinging arm rear suspension and Radiadraulic leading-link front fork. BMW R50: another high-quality shaft-driver, similar prices to S7

SPECIALIST Stewart Engineering:

OWNERS’ CLUB Sunbeam Owners Fellowship:




which should be replaced by an excellent and cheap aftermarket conversion from Stewart Engineering, and the appalling front brake which can be upgraded on the S8 but not the 7.” Indeed, the S7’s performance was best described as ‘relaxed’. Its 25bhp at 5800rpm would take the 400lb bike to just over 70mph. But once BSA had addressed the model’s initial reliability issues, and created the S7 Deluxe as seen here, it could maintain that pace indefinitely. From 1949 the Deluxe benefited from a revised engine mounting system to reduce the disconcerting effects of its rubber fixings. The initially undamped front forks were upgraded. The oil capacity was increased and the lube’s convoluted routing simplified. The cam profile was changed to increase the life of the rocker arms, and the result was a much-improved engine which could clock up tens of thousands of low maintenance miles. Then for 1952 the oil pressure switch and camchain tensioner were modified, making the later models the most desirable. If you’re considering buying a Sunbeam, then recent owners advise that you’ll need to take some time to adjust yourself to the bike and adapt your riding style to suit it. The lack of outright power has been said to impede progress in hilly country or on twisting roads. The S7’s huge mudguards can also be affected by high winds, so you may have to tack into the breeze to maintain a straight course… Prospective purchasers need to be sure that the gentle nature of the machine matches their own riding style. Its speeds and gear ratios do not make riding in company with different bikes all that easy – instead the Sunbeam tends to determine the speed at which you


Our feature S7 Deluxe dates from 1952 and is up for grabs at Mike Ives Motorcycles who say: “This machine has had a complete restoration not so long ago and is gorgeous.” Asking price £8500. / 01924 406135

go. If you’re happy with the concept of touring B-roads in plush comfort, then go for an S7 Deluxe and avoid the very early pre-Deluxe models, not that you’ll see many of them for sale. The cheaper S8 is slightly more sporty and its narrower forks and different wheels give a very different feel to the ride. The S8 is far more conventional than the S7 and so it is easier to live with. But it’s the S7 which gets all the attention. The BSA-built Sunbeams are superbly served by Stewart Engineering, which can offer solutions to most mechanical mishaps. The one area which really costs to overhaul is the final drive; you shouldn’t



Above: You can see why the S7 suits the style of retro riders today. The cantilever saddle, which can be adjusted to suit the rider’s weight, hides its spring away inside the top frame tube, while all the electrical gubbins are tucked away in the box beneath, safe from the elements

ENGINE: Air-cooled ohc vertical twin BORE / STROKE: 70mm x 63.5mm CAPACITY: 487cc COMPRESSION: 6.5:1 POWER: 25bhp @ 5800rpm TRANSMISSION: 4-speed, single plate dry clutch FRAME: Lugged, duplex cradle FINAL DRIVE: shaft ELECTRICS: 6-volt, Lucas 60W dynamo FRONT SUSPENSION: Tele forks, one way damped REAR SUSPENSION: Plunger BRAKES: 8in sls drum FRONT TYRE: 4.50 x 16 REAR TYRE: 4.75 x 16 WHEELBASE: 57in GROUND CLEARANCE: 4.5in WEIGHT: 430lb dry SADDLE HEIGHT: 30.5in FUEL ECONOMY: 70mpg PRICE NEW: £220 TOP SPEED: 80mph


be able to wiggle the drive shaft too far when the rear wheel is held stationary, nor should there be more than a half an inch of lateral play where the shaft fits into its housing. Replacing the rear drive is an expensive occupation, so if you’re in doubt about this it would pay to get a second opinion. If you’re concerned about oil weeping from the engine, then that’s less of a crisis. Oil leaks from around the filler cap are common; it lifts under the pressure of high engine revs so it is a sign that the rider has been indulging his right wrist. You’ll find some Sunbeams fitted with a modified breather system to cure this kind of problem. The cylinder head nuts are hard to get at and tricky to tighten, so can be another source of leaks if hastily assembled. Finally, the rubber-mounting system of snubbers and washers and such, which keep the frame and engine operating in oscillating accord, are horribly complicated to put together. The reward for getting it wrong is a bike which will rattle your eyeballs out. Don’t be confused by the engine numbers; all of the S7 Deluxe engines have an S8 engine code but an S7 frame number. And no, they weren’t all Mist Green. Black is fine; and because the Sunbeam was a luxury machine but one built in the original era of austerity, it doesn’t suffer from a surfeit of chrome. Plenty of paint, not a lot of polish! When BSA built it, the Sunbeam was intended to suit the gentleman tourist, a rider of refined taste with time on his hands. But in 1946 there simply weren’t enough distinguished gentlefolk of that persuasion to make the S7 an economically viable proposition. Now, 70 years later, its popularity appears assured.




Above: “I liked the easy nature of the bike,” said Italian connoisseur Mick Walker. “Especially its safe handling (I could put both feet firmly on the ground while stationary), relatively smooth power delivery and the torquey nature of the engine.” 1: Mick Walker also commented on the delights of linked brakes: “It was possible to remove both hands from the bars and, just by applying the foot pedal, slow down comfortably from high speed to virtually zero in a straight line!” 2: Clear clocks, simple to read and as accurate as any from Italy. Typically obscure – and largely invisible in sunlight – idiot lights all added to the charm 3: The bikes have a great club for their riders, too. Recommended 4: The engine’s pushrods run up to the heads from the camshaft mounted in the vee of the cylinders. The carbs are neatly angled inward to avoid the rider’s knees. Mostly…

Long-legged and still easy to live with… WORDS & PHOTOS BY RICHARD JONES

“AN 850 T3 has got a classic look but it is a very robust and reliable bike that, if you keep on top of it, you could still treat as an everyday bike.” So said John Fallon, and he should know – after more than 20 years running Made In Italy Motorcycles he has seen and sold most of the bikes that the Italians have manufactured. We were looking at a 1977 Guzzi 850 T3, equipped with the earlier and more desirable spoked wheels. It had just been purchased by an enthusiast who was looking for a mechanically sound example upon which he could lavish some cosmetic attention. The Hagon shocks and stainless pipes are later upgrades – so what else is the buyer getting for his money? In 1971 Lino Tonti revealed his new creation, the V7 Sport, which was intended not only for the roadster market but also proddie racing. Mike Hailwood tested it at Monza and described it as the ‘best handling’ street bike he had ridden. Soon after a prototype 844cc model was revealed and entered


at the Le Mans Bol d’Or where it finished third and sixth: not just fast but reliable too. Moto Guzzi then developed a touring motorcycle from the V7. This made sound economic sense and produced a sports tourer that could give anything else on the market a good run for its money. Sold as the T3, or the Interceptor in the USA, the machine combined the best elements of Italy’s sporting heritage with the shaft drive and low maintenance features that could be expected from a BMW. The ‘T’ in the model designation signified Tonti, and his design genius was encapsulated in this handsome machine whose transverse V-twin engine was the basis for the marque’s large touring machines for many years to come. The engine’s V-twin configuration provided plenty of cooling to the cylinders yet avoided the ground clearance issues of the boxer twins from Germany. The 844cc capacity was achieved with a bore and stroke of 83mm by 78mm and this, combined with





£3800 to £6000






a compression ratio of 9.5 to 1, was good for 53bhp at the back wheel. Speeds in excess of 100mph were readily achievable and Cycle World managed a standing quarter at 98.03mph with a top speed of 123mph. Fuel was supplied by twin Dell’Orto VHB 30C carburettors, unhampered by any real effort towards air filtration, and starting was courtesy of a Bosch motor. The five-speed gearbox drove through a large, strong rear drive casting to the rear wheel, which featured a 220mm twin leading shoe drum brake while the front stopper was a single 300mm disc. Wheels were Borrani alloys and the mudguards were stainless steel, while the pièce de résistance was Tonti’s frame from the V7, whose lower height dropped the centre of gravity down and resulted in a superbly balanced and well-handling machine. 1975 saw the launch of the T3, which was intended to address the T’s few shortcomings. All engines now had the oil filter in the sump and a 280 watt alternator, while the exhaust headers were bolted to the cylinder heads rather than screwed. The carbs received a paper air filter, and a Marelli distributor with a modified advance curve was fitted to reduce emissions. However, the most dramatic change was a new braking system that set the T3 apart from all other contemporary bikes. The single Brembo at the front of the 850 T was not really up to the job and so Tonti designed a new linked braking system that was intended to avoid locking up the front wheel under hard braking. The innovative approach was to have


Gearchange and transmission take a little (maybe a lot of) getting used to. Finish needs regular attention to prevent corrosion especially to the chromework, exposed alloy and cast iron discs. Switchgear and rubbery bits notoriously flimsy. Modern electronics (rectifier, etc) recommended

ALSO CONSIDER BMW R80/7: similar performance, less stylish, more choice and cheaper. Norton Commando Mk3: similar grunt, more choice, more ££. Moto Guzzi V7 II: brand new retro in case you like the idea but not the reality

SPECIALISTS Motori Di Marino

OWNERS’ CLUB Moto Guzzi Club GB:

The featured machine has sold already, but John has an original and unrestored T3 California up for grabs at £5950. It comes with a full service and MoT and new tyres and silencers. / 01449 612900

three discs, two at the front and one at the rear and hence the ‘3’ designation added to the ‘T’. The front left-hand side 300mm disc was linked to the rear 242mm fitting via a master cylinder under the right-hand side cover and operated by a foot pedal that resulted in a distribution of 70:30, front to rear. Meanwhile, the right-hand front disc was operated by a handlebar-mounted master cylinder and lever. Overall the risk of wheel lock-up was significantly reduced, which put Moto Guzzi ahead of the braking game.



Above: Thanks to John Fallon and the staff at Made in Italy Motorcycles for their time and assistance in compiling this article

Production of the T3 ended in 1982 (the T4 and T5 followed on) and during the seven years of the run there were some further changes, most notably higher handlebars and the replacement of Borrani spoked wheels with cast alloy FPS items which, as John Fallon noted, are less favourably received than their predecessors. The California variant of the T3 was also introduced with footboards, screen, a thick seat and panniers; all this added at least 20kg to the T3’s 215kg dry weight with a consequent impact on top

MANUFACTURED: 1975 to 1982 ENGINE: Air-cooled ohv 90-degree V-twin BORE / STROKE: 83mm x 78mm CAPACITY: 844cc COMPRESSION: 9.5:1 POWER: 53bhp @ 6000rpm TRANSMISSION: Gear primary, shaft final drive CLUTCH: Dry, double disc GEARBOX: 5-speed foot-change FRAME: Duplex cradle, detachable lower rails REAR SUSPENSION: Twin shock, pre-load adjustable FRONT BRAKE: 2x 300mm discs REAR BRAKE: 242mm disc FRONT TYRE: 3.50 x 18 REAR TYRE: 4.10 x 18 WEIGHT: 215kg dry TOP SPEED: 123mph PRICE NEW: £1599


speed. Even so, a 1975 rider on a fully-loaded 260kg California still exceeded 97mph – fairly respectable! So what’s a T3 like to own? “Parts availability is brilliant – you can buy everything you need to keep it on the road. Parts prices compared to some other manufacturers are not crazy; compared to Ducati spares they’re cheap,” says John. Maintenance involves regular oil changes, as with anything else, and “the tappets are dead easy to check and it’s easy to service so for your home mechanic it’s a very appealing bike. It’s very easy to live with and very easy to work on.” Any downsides to look out for when buying one? “It’s the clutch. When it goes, and admittedly they don’t go often, it’s a big job – at least a day’s work to change a clutch,” so make sure you check this out before you hand over the cash. If you hanker after an Italian V-twin but your budget just won’t stretch to a Ducati and the Moto Morini is too small, then the T3 may well be the bike for you. It has the style, elegance and heritage that are associated with Italian machines, not least because it came from the pen of Lino Tonti. Consider what you intend to use it for – this is a big, lazy tourer with loads of torque but, as John says, “You could buy that T3, leave it parked outside your house, go outside, press the button and go to work on it every day,” so it’s versatile. If your budget is tight then look for the later model with cast wheels. The last word goes to Roger Slater, he of Laverda Jota fame. “I find the tourer Guzzis to be very pleasant and ultra-reliable. Much smoother than the BMs at lower revs, and superior handling.” ’Nuff said.




Above: What might have been. Ariel’s handsome four-pot engine sits well in a swinging arm frame. The front section, including the single downtube, comes from the production Fours, while the rear is taken from a swinging arm single or twin, stretched a little to accommodate the engine’s length 1: The back end of the hybrid is as on the singles and twins of the time. The swinging arm itself is a little unusual, being of a welded box section rather than a simple tube, and the rear chaincase is excellent… and hard to find 2: Ariel’s neat nacelle design presents the rider with a simple view of the few instruments 3: This late four-pipe engine shows off the unusual layout. Effectively, there are two parallel twins sitting on a common crankcase. Two crankshafts, coupled together by gears. The front crank spins ‘backwards’

The thrilling thoroughbred Lauded at its launch as the most exclusive motorcycle in the world, Ariel’s Square is still a seldom-acquired taste… WORDS BY FRANK MELLING PHOTOS BY CAROL MELLING

NO OTHER CLASSIC bike, British or from anywhere else in the world, gets within a light year of the sophistication and elegant grace of riding the big Ariel. The sales strapline for the Square Four was ‘Ten miles to a hundred miles an hour, in top gear.’ And it is absolutely true. The softly-tuned 1000cc motor produces only 42bhp – probably less than the comparable 650 Triumph of the day – but while the Meriden bike is all snarls, vibration and coarse power, the Ariel is the epitome of gentility. Even today, there are few more satisfying motorcycling experiences than the magic carpet ride of the burbling, softly spoken Square Four. Ariel had been an advocate of four-cylinder motorcycles since 1930, when the first Four was


shown at Olympia. This had been drawn by Edward Turner, later of Triumph fame, and it was a neat, 500cc ohc design. In typical Turner fashion, there was nothing radically innovative about the motor, but rather good, practical engineering. The engine was effectively two parallel twins linked together on a common crankcase. The engine was small and light, enough to fit straight into an existing single cylinder chassis. Turner said: “I wanted to provide a four-cylinder engine small enough for use in a solo motorcycle, yet producing ample power for really high performance without undue compression, racing cams or a big-choke carburettor. I was aiming at the ultimate reliability with the minimum of attention.” In 1937, Turner’s engine was given a complete





redesign by Ariel. It became a 1000cc motor, with the valves operated by pushrod rather than overhead cam. The new engine still combined the key advantages of the square four design: all the smoothness of a four cylinder motor but with the width and mass centralisation of a twin. With the firing order at 90º, no classic engine got near to the smoothness the Square achieved. Eventually, this motor became the iconic Ariel 4G with four exhaust pipes, all alloy from top to bottom. Not only did this engine function very well, but it was one of the most beautiful motors ever to reach production. Although Ariel always made good bikes, like many of the smaller British motorcycle manufacturers they were permanently under-capitalised and lacked economies of scale, as typified by the Square Four story. During the whole of the 26-year production run Ariel made only 15,641 examples of the bike – about the same as Honda could build during the British factory’s morning tea break. Ariel’s one big chance was to be taken under the mighty BSA banner, which it was in 1944. At first, Ariel was left alone to do its own thing, but even BSA’s ultra-conservative management must have seen that, the Square 4 apart, almost everything that Ariel produced was replicated in the BSA model line-up. This left the Square Four as the star of the Ariel range, but it was a star isolated in its own galaxy. The problems were numerous. In 1956, when every other manufacturer used conventional swinging-arm suspension, the Square clung to the complex and

PRICE GUIDE £8000 to £25,000 (prewar models)

FAULTS & FOIBLES Overheating can be controlled by keeping the timing spot-on and ensuring the fuel/air mixture isn’t too weak. 12-volt electrics, electronic ignition and a car-type oil filter all help, while Morgo can also supply an uprated oil pump. Even so, regular oil changes and sludge-trap cleaning are essential. Top end oil leaks and blowing gaskets may indicate distorted heads. Original tinware is very hard to replace. New conrods must be replaced in sets of four; must not be mixed with original items

ALSO CONSIDER Hesketh V1000 (similar ethos and prices, also require dedicated enthusiast owners). Norton Classic (likewise smoothly unusual; budget for an engine rebuild)

SPECIALIST INFO Draganfly Motorcycles

OWNERS’ CLUB Ariel Owners’ MCC

MoT and road tax exempt, this 1956 Mk2 Square is up at £12,750 at Andy Tiernan’s, who last sold it back in 2007. It ‘starts readily and pulls like a train’, although it was smoking slightly on the left after a 14 mile run. 01728 724321 or see

expensive Anstey link, which had been designed in house by Ariel’s Frank Anstey. Theoretically, this relatively complex system provided constant chain tension, but this benefit was crushed by the lack of damping and its tendency to steer badly when worn. Ariel recommended greasing the numerous pins and bushes every 250 miles. Go out for a long day’s ride… and stop on the way back for roadside maintenance. How attractive was that? Although the Square engine was sublime when it ran well, but very often it didn’t! The two rear cylinders have very little exposed cooling area. This causes them to overheat, warp the cylinder head and leak. Almost worse, the front two cylinders, despite being cooled by turbulent air caused by the Squariel’s generous front mudguard, also run quite hot. Things are not made any better by the induction system. The tract from single carb to four cylinders threads its



Above left: The definitive British gentleman’s tourer, according to some. Vincent riders might disagree of course… Above right: Ignition on the later engines is provided by a car-type distributor. Check out the spin-on oil filter. These are a great idea on all Fours

way through the centre of the engine and causes the charge to run hot before it gets near combustion: hence the low power output for a 1000cc engine. Finally, the gearbox was separate to the engine and was a special unit supplied by Burman. With miniscule sales, Burman was never keen to keep making this box just for the Square, and BSA made its own gearboxes – as did Triumph in the same group – so you can understand Burman’s reluctance to invest. This brings us to the model you see here. In 1957, Ariel produced two Square Four Mark IVs. These were modernised developments of the existing machines

BUILT: 1936 to 1959 ENGINE: Air-cooled ohv four BORE / STROKE: 65mm x 75mm CAPACITY: 997cc COMPRESSION: 6:1 POWER: 34bhp @ 5400rpm TRANSMISSION: 4-speed Burman, positive stop PRIMARY DRIVE: Chain, in oil bath CARBURETTOR: Solex FRAME: Tubular brazed FRONT SUSPENSION: Hydraulically damped tele forks REAR SUSPENSION: Anstey link plunger IGNITION: Lucas coil ignition, car-type distributor and contact breaker ELECTRICS: Lucas 70W dynamo; coil/distributor ignition BRAKES: 7in sls drums FRONT TYRE: 3.25 x 19 REAR TYRE: 4.00 x 18 WHEELBASE: 56in GROUND CLEARANCE: 5in SADDLE HEIGHT: 28in WEIGHT: 475lb fuelled PRICE NEW: £195 in 1949 BRAKING: 32ft from 30mph ACCELERATION: 16s quarter mile TOP SPEED: 92mph All data for 4G two-pipe model


and were intended to keep the Square Four alive a little longer. The bike pictured is a careful replica of the Mark IV model prototypes which never made production. With the handsome engine housed in a swinging arm frame, the Mark IV model is undoubtedly the best looking of all the Square Fours – but was it too little too late? The big Ariel’s needs were numerous. Yes, the concept is perfect but the 1000cc four demanded water-cooling, and it badly needed to be unit construction, if only to reduce its length. This would have given a huge leap in performance, at which point the woefully inadequate brakes would have needed to be replaced by much more powerful, twin leading shoe units. The front forks, which had only compression damping, would have needed upgrading. Was the mighty BSA empire ever going to give its adopted child this sort of tender loving care? Not a chance! So why should you sell your first born child to own a Square now? Primarily, because no other motorcycle gives such an imperial riding experience. Professional restorer Robin James worked on a lot of Squariels during his career and had very mixed feelings about them. “I did a number of successful restorations of the Four but we always insisted on fitting a high capacity oil pump. The Square Four’s cooling is simply ineffective and the only way to keep the engine at a safe working temperature is to use a high oil flow as a coolant. “If the owner wanted to ride the bike regularly then we always said that there had to be a modern oil-cooler fitted. With a high capacity oil pump and an oil-cooler, the engine will be reliable – but only if the bike is ridden sensitively. “Care needs to be taken with the handling, too. The Anstey link rear suspension and the basic front forks, combined with the Ariel’s weight, mean that the Four is no Manx Norton. It needs be ridden thoughtfully and with respect for its handling limitations.” So the Square promises a sublime riding experience, but it comes with a container load of challenges, not the least of which are the current asking prices.





bike books Our eclectic selection of recent publications reveals well-written reads about rides, dazzlingly detailed marque histories, and books which aren’t even about bikes in the slightest…

VINCENT MOTORCYCLES: The Untold Story since 1946 GIVEN THE VINCENT’S reputation as one of the most remarkable motorcycles ever manufactured, any book which attempts to cover the subject needs to be similarly accomplished. This massive hardback, which runs to 400 factpacked, full-colour pages, is the most comprehensive volume currently available. It discusses why and how the brand declined into bankruptcy, and why the big Vin inspired – and continues to inspire – generations of mechanics and engineers. The dense and detailed text reveals why the design is still capable and competitive today, on track and on the road, and presents a comprehensive view of Vincent derivatives up to the present day, including café racers, chops, and bobs. It also covers

YOU BELONG TO THE UNIVERSE: Buckminster uller and the uture u

racing and competition, Fritz Egli’s achievements and the potential future of the Vincent. A mammoth book which should satisfy even the most well-informed enthusiast. Author Philippe Guyony. Publisher Veloce. ISBN 978-1-845849-02-3. £100

THE FLYING PENGUIN: More stories of a freelance motorcycling journalist IN THIS SECOND part of his autobiography, Frank Melling continues telling the ripping yarns which he started in A Penguin In A Sparrow’s Nest. The Flying Penguin takes the reader on a personal journey through a remarkable and highly eventful life. There are plenty of near death stories, from almost drowning when trapped under a Honda enduro bike to looking down the business end of a Colt 45 in the backwoods of Missouri. Melling’s well-known humour permeates every page, including how to imitate a world champion –


TH HIS ISN’T SO MU UCH a biography of the radical thinker Buckminster Fuller, moore a philosophical disscussion of how thee concepts which inteerested him have become themes and attributes of the modern world. If you’re a materials scientist, or if you are already well acquainted with the life, work and theories of Fuller, then it provides a fascinating launch-point for further debate and contemplation. The greater part of the book takes examples of mechanical and social engineering which Fuller espoused and shows how they have become commonplace, integrated into modern society. These include topics as diverse as cardboard shelters for civic emergencies to the role that war-gaming plays in many aspects of defence and development. The text is considered and erudite yet perfectly easy to read and naturally breaks into easily digested sections. However, it doesn’t offer an overview of Fuller’s life and works as a more conventional biography might. Author Jonathon Keats. Publisher Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0199338238. £16.99

when there are free hotel rooms on offer! Along the way there are broken bones, broken bikes, broken relationships and the international success of the Thundersprint. Frank also reveals the close friendship he enjoys with motorcycling legend Jim Redman. But

The Flying Penguin is far more than a book of motorcycling memories: it provides a fascinating insight into the last 30 turbulent years of British social history. Author Frank Melling. Publisher ISBN 978-0952798736. £12.99

HOW TO RESTORE: Triumph Trident T150/T160 & BSA Rocket III THIS ENTHUSIAST’S RESTORATION MANUAL is subtitled as a ‘step by step colour illustrated guide to complete restoration’, but it is absolutely not an old-fashioned, blandly basic workshop manual which leaves yyou in the lurch at

the worst possible moment. Author Chris Rooke owns several Beezumph triples. In 200-plus pages he talks the reader through his personal experience of DIY home restoration with detailed, first person explanations given in laym man’s terms, using tools you’ll find in m most sheds. He covers the complete rebuild of a T150V and an electric-start T16 60 with stacks of clearly-captioned full--colour photos for each stage, including the engine, frame, gearbox, wheeels, and electrics. The text is extremely user-friendly, T em minently readable and delivered in an informal style – and Chris isn’t shyy about sharing some of his less successful episodes, providing both en ntertainment and practical advice ab bout the pitfalls to avoid. A definite asset for any Trident or Roocket 3 owner. Author Chris Rooke. P Publisher Veloce. IS SBN: 978-1-845848-82-8. £45

AJS AND MATCHLESS POSTWAR SINGLES AND TWINS: The Complete Story THIS LONG-ESTABLISHED SERIES of marque histories sticks to a well-proven format and Matt Vale is a practised hand at delivering the background and development history of a motorcycle model in easily digestible and informative style. While his other books typically focus on one model or class of machine (Norton Commando, Triumph pre-unit twins, BSA unit singles), this hardback covers a far greater scope to encompass the majority of Associated Motorcycles’ post-war twins and singles. Necessarily, then, it’s a little less indepth than, say, the author’s overview of Triumph 350 and 500 twins. However, there are so few publications currently available about AJS and

Matchless machines – particularly with reference to running and riding the bikes today – that this is a welcome addition to the specialist shelf. It provides technical details of the major models and info about racing machines including two-stroke moto-crossers and the firm’s fabulous

ACTUALLY I’M ENGLISH: Rediscovering my homeland on foot and by motorbike FORTY YEARS AGO, Moto Guzzi enthusiast Nick Adams left the UK and relocated to Canada. Four decades is a long time to be away. C Trravelling on foot and by Royal Enfield single, Nick returns to discover that, while many things N have changed, the things he loved – the hills, th he pubs, the back roads and yes, even the weather – are undiminished. w In an engaging style, Nick relates how he hiked the length of Wales, hitting all the high spots, and up the spine of England on the Pennine Way, through brutal February weather. P Then the reader travels pillion on Nick’s 500 Classic Enfield from Scotland to Devon via C Norfolk, dodging hypothermia, through the N Lakes, the Pennines and Wales. Nick’s idea of a good time seems to involve bad weather, difficult terrain, stealth camping and innumerable pubs. This is one man’s view oof a country he loves, told in a straightforward and entertaining manner. Author Nick Adams. Publisher Amazon. ISBN 978-1523332854. £2.28/£8.35

GP contenders, with more than 200 photographs. Author Matthew Vale. Publisher Crowood. ISBN 978-1785001956. £25






WRITE NOW! We always want to hear your views about the bikes you ride and the bike tales you read. Mail us at:


Readers’ rides

FIND US ON FACEBOOK and you’ll see plenty of Classic of the Day photos – including snaps of readers’ bikes which we’re delighted to share for all to admire. This month, RichardS shared this snap of his Beesa after “its first proper, 50 miles shakedown ride in probably 25 years!” Post pics of your classic at ClassicBikeGuide and we’ll share the best online and in these pages

Bob’s your harley THANKS FOR THE excellent magazine. I like the broad mix of different bikes and enjoyed the column by Paul Miles, sticking up for the Harley Sportster. I own two pre-unit 650 Triumphs and two Harleys as well. One is a shovelhead in a hardtail frame, the other is a 2009 FXDB Street Bob, named because of its bobbed fenders (cut down mudguards). The Street Bob is basically a stripped down big twin. I’ve done 20,000 miles from new without any problems and have been abroad on it eight times, loaded with camping gear. I’ve fitted Progressive shocks on the back which, with the Japanese Showa front forks fitted as standard, makes the handling very good. The brakes are good too. I would always recommend having the

Stage One done on these bikes which includes aftermarket pipes, air cleaner and re-mapped fuel injection to let the engine breathe. Different pipes give you more ground clearance as well. The 1585cc twin cam engine has loads of grunt, and the bike is great fun to blast around back roads and country lanes, I’ve fitted low handlebars too, which helps handling. The six-speed gearbox is good – it makes 80mph on the motorway seem effortless. Max speed with the Stage One tuning is 125mph. As Paul said, you don’t need to have an overloaded chromeladen tank to ride a H-D, and to enjoy their old fashioned character! Pete Barton Well said. Paul actually rides a Velocette, but do not be put off. CBG


Good vibrations STROLLING THROUGH THE magazine section at ASDA, I was stopped in my tracks. I must have stepped through a black hole because I was suddenly 17 years old again. That’s some feat for a magazine. Some motorbikes thoroughly deserve to be reborn and the Métisse is certainly one of them. I doubt I’m representative of the target market this machine is pitched at

but I’m really enjoying the retro vibe that is going on just now. Long may it continue. Please, don’t stop featuring these new bikes in the magazine. True classics must, simply must, be in your hallowed pages even if they were constructed within the last decade. Perfect design and beautiful aesthetics simply don’t date. The only realistic design for a motorcycle (although

Trident spares sought I HAVE A 1969 T150 Triumph Trident which came without its sidepanels, the ones unique to the early models. I managed to get a right-hand side one but no one has the lefthand side. I have tried most spare parts and secondhand dealers with no luck. Some of the dealer said that they have the patterns but couldn’t get anyone to make them. Any ideas? John Jeffries First, join the TR3OC if you’ve not already a member. We’d be surprised if they can’t help. Then try the traders who import old bikes from the US, who often have a pile of parts as well as complete bikes. Down south, Totnes Classic Motorcycles brings in a lot, and if you scour eBay you’ll find others. If all else fails and you can stand the cost, you can have an original copied, either in alloy or plastic. CBG

many have tried other arrangements) remains a wheel at the front, a wheel at the back and an engine roughly placed in the middle with the rider atop. Sometimes everything just fits together in artistic perfection and that Métisse is, just that, perfect! Victor Garman Our view entirely. Eyes of beholders, things like that. CBG

Choked up? WOULD THE ADDITION of a choke to the carb on a unit single BSA such as B44 or B50 be of benefit in starting and idling? Mark McKeon BSA didn’t fit them to the late oily-frame singles, although we’ve seen examples with chokes fitted. The smaller singles with lower compression don’t seem to need them. One Small Heath factory man used a paper cup to ‘choke’ the intake on the B50, which is probably the hardest of the unit singles to start. Go to and join in their debate. CBG


A big drip FRANK, YOU’RE A GEM, an absolute gem. I’d probably buy this mag if the middle pages were blank, purely for your editorials and opinions, but your tirade about waterproof jackets raised one of my pet issues regarding our so-called high-tech protective clothing in this enlightened age. I’ve been a climber for even longer than I’ve been riding PTWs (I use that term as for four years I sadly rode scooters) and consider myself to be fairly knowledgeable regarding waterproof fabrics, and it really annoys me that in this day and age manufacturers are STILL using drop liners instead of a proper waterproof treatment. There really is no excuse. I know there are such garments on the market, but at inflated prices. It’s time we got some decent deals! Rant over, thanks for the mag. Martin Trafford Ha! Define ‘decent deals’. It’s not as easy as you might think. We can reveal that Frank’s Bering jacket is completely waterproof, however. CBG

The right price BACK IN THE 1960s I put a conrod through my Thunderbird engine, then heard of a bike for sale. When I went to buy it the seller said “There it is!” – all over the garden in bits! I paid 30 bob for it and promised him a ride if I ever got it going. From the photo, do you know what model it is? Jim Chapman

Trophy trio I FOUND THE article on the BSA ‘Trophy’ in t August issue very interesting. Imagine my the surprise when I went out to find the actual bike parked on Douglas promenade, a few hundred yards from my front door! I have to h ssay, it looks as good in the metal as it does in yyour photographs. Thank you, Frank, for a lot of very interesting magazines over many years now, both CBG (when you edited it before) and b

It’s plainly an AMC twin. Hard to say exactly which. The frame is 1959 or earlier, the engine has pre1960 heads and an alternator. The silencers are Matchless, so either a G9 or a G12, most likely, from 1959. Thirty bob sounds like a great price. CBG

Back to basics READING THE EDITORIAL in the August issue, it did at first strike me as odd that people would moan about the lack of articles covering the basics; cleaning points, adjusting cables, etc. Then I thought ‘basic to whom?’ Think about the 65-year-old chap with his lovely Goldie, Thruxton, International, etc, which is now worth £20,000 plus and rising. His wife tolerates the long hours he spends out in the shed, knowing that one day this thing will be sold and it will go a long way towards a comfortable retirement. How does she know this? Because hubby keeps saying so. A few years later that fateful day arrives and the classic goes up for sale. Problem is – the guy who was going to buy it can’t be found. He is from the younger generation who grew up with disc brakes operated by fluid in

hoses, and electronic ignition so he never learned to clean points, or adjust cables. No one wanted to show him either, so he lost interest and walked away or just bought a brand new motorcycle. Perhaps the last guy to leave the shed/workshop and hang up his leathers could remember to switch out the light! Just saying. I was lucky enough to learn how to do these basic things before I was old enough to be on the road, by learning on field bikes. I’m 52: the generation behind me had mod cons on their field bikes so never learned. I accept that, taken at face value, the request for basics appears odd. But basic to who? You, me, or those coming up behind us? Time does not stand still. Robert Cant All true, of course. But is it down to a magazine to provide all that

info… in what? A single issue? A series? Or would it be better to simply suggest buying the handbook for the bike this alleged new owner has bought? This is the information age. Whereas when I was a youth finding information could be a challenge, no one under the age of, say, 55 is unfamiliar with Google, and that fine engine can find you pretty much any technical data you want, usually for free. All the basic stuff is out there. Owners’ clubs produce it by the ream, as do specialist online fora. As a magazine editor, my #1 job is to provide what The Reader wants to read. I am unconvinced that CBG readers would want to read how they can adjust the chain on a pile of bikes they don’t actually own. That said, if a reader mails me to ask a tech question, I answer it. Personal service – very old fashioned! Frank / CBG




greyhair brigade with the selvedge denim gang. I for one would love to see the Dreadnought brand motorcycle club, and the overarching paraded at the next BikeShed ride, next to a groups like the VMCC who look after our beloved Honda CB custom with an obnoxious gutted pastime. Just like me, they’re getting grey, and muffler and silly plank seat. Because they’re kin. I’m considered a young ’un. A few VMCC stalwarts show up at hip events Attending a meeting of any vintage bike like Wheels&Waves, and I’ve thrown my weight club is like opening a box of Q-tips – almost behind this new scene. The organisers are everyone is old, male and white. It doesn’t take stalwart vintagents who recognise the alt.custom a Cassandra to predict the imminent demise scene as the primary recruiting ground for nextof such clubs, and more importantly the gen enthusiasts. I recently joined forces with the accumulated knowledge they represent, unless Southsiders MC to kickstart a Wheels&Waves in a much younger crowd starts buying/fixing/riding the USA, on the Central California coast. The old motorcycles. microscopic town of Cayucos fronts the Pacific Even the bar for what defines an ‘old’ bike Ocean, and is surrounded by winding rural roads is shifting, as DOHC Kawasakis slide towards in spectacular scenery. That’s my master plan in inclusion at the American AMCA and British a nutshell; de-grey the vintage motorcycle scene VMCC. Bikes I bought barely used in the 1980s, by creating cool events for the alt.custom crowd, like bevel-drive Ducati twins (design icons even the retro-chopper kids, and even the vintage hotThe future is here, and it is then), have passed out of Classic status and are rod fans, all of whom are not-so-secretly admirers a future from the past headed towards Antique, as Pantah-based twins of vintage bikes. become ‘old’. The bikes I ride regularly today – It seems a viable plan. There are few one1930s Velocettes and the odd Brough Superior make or one-style purists left these days; with – stretch further every year into some distant, half-forgotten past. rising prices, it’s catch as you can into your garage. The retro-chopper boys A few old farts at the helm of such clubs have adopted a ‘don’t need ’em’ often keep stock Triumphs, and café racers have nicely patinated vintage attitude towards the young, having giving up their prime duty – towards the singles. In my case, I recently bumped into a ‘survivor’ BSA A65 chopper, future – at their peril. Thankfully, many such officers have found themselves built in the 1970s, and painted in a lurid shade of pink... the whole reason kicked to the kerb. Because we sorely do need ’em, and if them is you, I bought it. Fabulously obnoxious. I wouldn’t trust it around the block in its please read on. current configuration, as the builder thought ‘rake’ meant leaves and ‘trail’ It’s no secret youngsters swim in the waters of what’s cool; they invent meant horses. it perpetually, and while it seems cyclical, with café racers and choppers But, I’ve ridden vintage choppers built by folks who understand twoflavour of the month today, what’s cool is always new and different from the wheeled physics; with a minimum 5in trail up front and a decently rigid fork, past, even if it bears similarities. But the young weren’t there the first time, they ride like regular motorcycles, without feeling like sandbags are hung so you won’t recognise yourself in today’s café racer kids; they’re taking odd on the bars. moments out of a ride to update Instagram feeds and sexting tonight’s date. In Cayucos, I rode my 1961 Velocette Venom Clubman beside a delicious While I love paper magazines and books, the Web is now the learning/ pre-Easy Rider H-D Shovelhead chopper with a lot of miles under its belt. We yearning spot for a younger generation. Some disparage ‘alternative custom’ followed a café racerised Honda Ascot single. Revival Cycles brought a full websites such as BikeExif as a passing fad, but it’s worthwhile to note quiver, including a straight-piped Vincent Black Shadow, which sounded like bikers have been customising their motorcycles from just about Day 1, an invasion, and was passed between riders so anyone could experience the and the rootstock of British customisation sits in the VMCC’s garage – the goodness of a well-sorted Stevenage twin on a twisty road. No doubt every Dreadnought, built up from 1903-11 by Harold ‘Oily’ Karslake. It is, in my one of those guest riders will end up with a Vin in the future – probably not opinion, an Edwardian chopper, and is the conceptual bridge linking the a Shadow, but a half-price Rapide would satisfy them. It would me too!

IT’S HAPPENING TO every one-make dead-


Wheels and whatsits

‘It’s no secret that youngsters swim in the waters of what’s cool; they invent it perpetually, and while it seems cyclical... what’s cool is always new and different from the past, even if it bears similarities…’ WHO IS PAUL D’ORLÉANS? Paul d’Orleans is a writer, artist, sartorialist and photographer. He’s best known as The Vintagent for his long-running blog and judges concours such as the Quail and Villa d’Este, consults for Bonhams auctions, shoots digital and tintype photographs, and is curating an exhibit on café racers at the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum.




and I will probably never inhabit, is also fine and dandy as far as it goes. Except that it does go escalating prices of the machines we love – a a lot further, and ultimately right into our rather stiff 10 grand to buy a Velocette Viper, an eyebigger world. It could, for example, encourage watering 20k for a Kawasaki Z1 – and of course owners of old Broughs and Ariels and Heskeths this inflationary process shows no signs of tailing to believe that their machines are worth even off. Which is something that we must live with… more than they already are, which could further or not as the case may be. But idly leafing through inflate the classic market. recent copies of modern motorbicycle magazines, And then we have brand new, (semi) massas one occasionally does, I got to thinking that it’s produced Nortons available for upwards of not just oldsters that are rocketing in perceived £15,000, but if that’s a bit rich for you, you can value, but brand new bikes, too. cop a Triumph for as little as £7500, albeit one You will of course know that several venerable made in Thailand, and flat-twin BMWs – which brands have been or are in the process of being are actually built in Germany – start at a modest resurrected: Ariel with its V4-engined Ace, £11,900. Although it’s arguably irrelevant, such Bimota with its Ducati-engined super-sportsters, amounts of money would buy you a decent car, Hesketh with its massive two-litre Model 24, also one made in a land far, far away, and indeed Brough Superior with its liquid-cooled V-twin ’twas ever thus. Looking back to, say, 1988, the SS100, all of which costs upwards of £20,000 most expensive and best performing bikes such and in the Brough’s case, a whopping £45k. as Yamaha’s FZR1000, Honda’s CBR1000 and There are other, less august brands that have Kawasaki’s ZX-10 were all around the £4500 Will reviving venerable old recently come to market including the Avinton mark, but that was significantly lower than marques add real value to (£26,000+), Ronin (£35,000) and Paton (a the asking price for an Austin Metro (£5200 – classic motorcycling… or meagre £17,000), most of which use other £7300), a Nissan Micra (£5200 – £6700) or a further distort the market? people’s motors that in the case of the Paton, Peugeot 205 (£5600 – £7700). The point being is taken from the humble Kawasaki ER-6 and that a great, state-of-the-art bike could then still which accounts for its relatively modest ticket price… a mere 10 grand be bought for less than a boring car, which really isn’t the case nowadays. more than its donor bike! But there are those who’ll argue that an original FZR1000 or ZX-10 of Now with all of these machines what’s on offer is exclusivity and/or a late 1980s vintage is now a classic and indeed prices are starting to reflect sort of fake heritage allied in some but not all instances to engineering that, but will the same be said of the new Ariels, Patons and Heskeths in innovation. Which is all fine and dandy if you can afford ’em, but for all two decades’ time, or will those who speculated on what they assumed was practical purposes – i.e. riding – almost without exception these are their inevitable and steady rise in value have caught a huge cold? Well call flawed, in some cases very flawed. At least if I’m to believe magazine me mean-spirited – as indeed well you might – but I rather hope so. And roadtests which as a journo myself, I of course would never doubt. So the for why? Because in the main, these are machines built not to push the automatically geared Ace features overly harsh suspension and a woefully motorcycling performance envelope, and certainly not to encourage people tiny tank, the Paton suffers from patchy finish, dubious electrics and cheap to join our great society – which in both cases the British did in the pre- and instrumentation, the hugely expensive Brough looks like a bitza and the postwar years, and the Japanese were doing during the 1960s, 70s, 80s extraordinary-looking Ronin – which is the only one I will admit to coveting and arguably beyond. myself – was described by one notable hack as ‘unremarkable’… that’d be So these crazily costly oddities are and will hopefully remain, just that. 35 grand’s worth of ‘unremarkable’, then. Whereas the slightly more affordable Nortons, Triumphs and BMWs… well That same writer opined that “most of the (Ronins) will go to collectors, they just might become tomorrow’s classics, but will they have the same to sit with other clichéd trophies as visible symbols of a successful life”, and allure, or command the same prices relative to their original cost as the there’s the rub. I reckon the same can be said of all of these mega-expensive mechanically far simpler and aesthetically more elegant Nortons, Triumphs bikes and already there’s evidence of such ironware changing hands, and BMWs of yesteryear? Only time will tell, but happily I won’t be around to un-ridden, from one greedy speculator to another. Which in a world that you find out if I’m right or wrong… and I just hate being wrong.

EARLIER THIS YEAR I bemoaned the


Expensive mistakes

‘Now with all of these machines what’s on offer is exclusivity and/or a sort of fake heritage allied in some but not all instances to engineering innovation…’ WHO IS MARK WILLIAMS? Williams is a serial motorbicycle magazine junkie, having published, launched and edited Bike, Which Bike? and Motorcycle International among others. This means he’s tested, ridden and even owned more bikes than is probably good for him





Pokemon trainers wondering if we’d found a THE NORTON DOMINATOR suddenly forgot rich vein of imaginary animals, somebody its masterful brief and began the slow, gave us a chicken sandwich and all proffered inexorable glide to the kerb. “Arghh, not now sympathies but no real solution until C15 please,” I thought. “This is the first day out Man arrived. “Problem?” he asked, raising in months and it’s the hottest day of the an eyebrow at the 3D exploded diagram that year, to boot.” Old bikes seem to know this used to be a Norton. I explained our dilemma. when they decide to go wrong and plan to “I can fix that.” comprehensively ruin your day. I rode on And he did. Turns out that most British for about a mile to the next junction, turned bikes have the odd extra hole in them, not around and went back to assist my stricken just where the oil leaks out from. His solution mate. You didn’t think it was my bike that had was to fix a potentially useful fastener into broken, did you? Me, on a completely reliable every available orifice, just in case. In this Ducati single? No, the Dommie belongs to my When even the master case he chanced upon an idiot and his friend neighbour, Bill, a fighting fit 78-year-old who bodger needs help (you decide who’s who) completely stranded gets out when he can. for want of a nail, so to speak. Thirty minutes I quite like a gentle ride out with Bill, we motor at a gentlemanly pace and regularly stop to smell the coffee, later, we’re on our way to the Battenberg rendezvous. I spoke with friends about this and asked for other clever tips. I just before we drink it. Cake is often involved, too. That day, as we was the only one with the universal cable kit (ha!), but others carried trundled down a section of dual carriageway, I looked over my shoulder cheap clip-on bicycle lights, should your electrics fail after dark. Small to see where he was and just spotted the Norton, gliding to a halt a few molegrips to use as substitute gear/brake/clutch controls as well as for hundred yards back. “It just lost all power, Paul,” he said. grasping tunnelling rodents were popular. One weirdo even carried a No worries, am I not the master of getting-you-home bodges? Years condom. He read in a magazine that it would hold half a gallon of fuel of mistrust in my own abilities have resulted in me never leaving home in an emergency. At least, that was his story to his significant other. He without a heap of spanners, spare spark plugs, fuses, wire, bulbs, cable ties, emergency cable-making kit and even a tin of that’s-never-going- couldn’t quite recall which magazine, of course, but it was bound to be in the pre-ethanol days. to-work tyre foam; there’s always a first time, right? If we ever meet, it’s Really alarming was that the vast majority chose to bring nothing out the weight of my backpack that causes the stoop, not pressure from with them except for a charged mobile phone. Did they not even attempt the editors. to diagnose the fault? I wondered. His Dommie had been converted to 12V with electronic ignition, “If we’re out with you we know you’ve always got a ton of spanners and the mounting for the clever diode had vibrated loose, causing an and stuff, so we don’t need to,” one archly replied. The others thought electrical short. It required a lot of spannering on a hot day to reach the a breakdown was little more than a great opportunity to amble to the problem. Just tighten the bolt… ahh, where is it? A fruitless half hour nearest café or pub and chew the fat while waiting for the breakdown walking down the dual carriageway in full leathers failed to yield up the services. offending item, although my Pokemon Go tally increased enormously. Me? I’m off to the bicycle shop first thing tomorrow to get some We tried using removed bolts from the mudguard (too short), the cheap lights. I might just pop in to the gents loo after I’ve seen the chassis (too thick), my bike (too metric), even a bit of wire (master of chiropractor, too… bodges, remember?), all to no avail. Several people stopped, mostly


The carry tool kit

‘A fruitless half hour walking down the dual carriageway in full leathers failed to yield up the lost bolt, although my Pokemon Go tally increased enormously…’ WHO IS PAUL MILES? Paul Miles is a lifelong Londoner who rides every day and regards a prewar classic as perfectly suited to urban commuting. A contact lens specialist by profession, he nowadays appears to be a full-time rider, breaker and fixer of old bikes. Entirely fails to understand the concept of patina or winter lay-ups.







Seiz matters The first six-cylinder Italian superbike was a 750. But Benelli’s big beast only unleashed its true potential in its final 900 form WORDS & PHOTOS BY NOLAN WOODBURY

T The art of it. Music in motion. The truly outstanding engine inspires a little lyricism

he year was probably 1979, but the location is certain. Connecting snow-capped peaks to the valley’s northern edge, near the bottom of a four-lane highway, two motorcycles sit; a fast but thirsty Mach IV Kawasaki triple and a slightly less exciting BMW R75. The Kwacker’s dismal fuel economy meant a discarded wine bottle was being pressed into service, transferring donated fuel to the Kawasaki’s cause. Then we heard it. Mixing low whistle with whine, the sound arrived just seconds before Benelli’s Sei punched through the dusty haze. “You boys okay?” the owner asked, sharp in his brown leather and white Bell Magnum helmet. A distracted nod was given as we focused again on the six-cylinder machine, ablaze in metallic splendour. We had heard the tales, but until then no visible proof had been offered. Satisfied, his wave dropped to the throttle and the tachometer jumped, sending the Sei and rider left, right, then out of sight. Mission accomplished, Mr De Tomaso. And well done.



1: In what was presumably an attempt at sanity, the big Ben used just three carbs to breathe life into its six cylinders 2: Although many components are shared with contemporary machinery from Moto Guzzi, it’s not entirely obvious 3: It is possible that the Italians invented the stylish rear light…


With fists full of mechanical bravado, the Sei superbike was conceived to pull attention away from Japan and throw down a bold challenge; Take that, Honda. Do you have the stuff to respond? What followed was predictable and, once you realise that logic isn’t always a given when it comes to charismatic motorcycles, then the easier it’ll be to 2 understand how the poor-selling Benelli six continues to generate such interest. “It’s rather harsh, I would say,” says TJ Jackson, the restorer who took this mid-series 900 from rolling earlier, success as a carmaker gave Alejandro de reject to showroom stunner. “I had the opportunity to Tomaso clout. Depicted as convincingly charismatic, the GP racer turned industrialist after marrying a ride another one and it was the same. The Sei’s taut wealthy US heiress and opened De Tomaso Motors in suspension is more road racer than Gold Wing, and 1959. Knife-sharp lines descending into rectangular so is the riding position. The Benelli seat is a hard, patterns became known as the Modena shape, and narrow wedge and the switches are goofy. The engine it certainly shaped the industry. With the help of is extremely smooth, however, and for a six, it’s tiny.” When previously seen at auction three years earlier, performance-tuned engines from Ford, De Tomaso’s line of sedans and mid-engine sports cars galloped Jackson’s motorcycle was a clean, original example, uncomfortably close to Italy’s elite, building his so some shock was felt on learning that the bike had legend. Buy-outs arranged through Italian banks been completely taken apart since then. “Stripped to followed, adding to a growing list of subsidiary the last bolt,” said Jackson. “Sadly, the fellow doing companies, as pundits speculated on what De it passed unexpectedly, leaving this and a GT750 Tomaso might do next. in boxes.” The Benelli arrived at TJ’s facility with its Those whens and wheres are important marks for engine loosely hung, suspension and wheels in place, the Sei’s development and production. No review of but little else. “The first 20 hours I sorted through the Sei would be complete without recounting De bins,” recalls TJ, who used a borrowed 900 Sei in Tomaso’s dramatic world launch at Modena’s Hotel black and a local friend’s red 900 for assembly and Canale Grande on Thursday, October 26, 1972, even detail tips. “Somehow, there’s always a if the 750’s numerous issues were hidden in the mystery box included, this one had rushed-to-completion promo bike. Period insiders bicycle and lawnmower report that family members Marko and Luigi Benelli, parts tossed in.” along with engineer Piero Prampolini (who designed Half a century the Tornado 650 engine) had already begun working on multi-cylinder projects and a new chassis when De Tomaso was appointed director in 1971. Flip a coin to decide whether De Tomaso was sold the idea of a tweaked CB500 with extra cylinders, or if he hatched it himself. Either way, very few Seis were distributed over the next two years due mainly to cylinder head casting issues. Just after the ownership ink had dried, De Tomaso sent Moto Guzzi lead engineer Lino Tonti to Modena with directions to salvage the Sei. This he did, sending production of the inline six to his workforce at the Guzzi factory in Mandello. Some say De Left: It’s Tomaso wanted a Guzzi badge on the Sei, but none of possibly a simple thing to the staff interviewed suggested they were assembled some eyes, but anywhere but Pesaro... even if the use of Guzzi to us this is just underpinnings grew progressively. a little terrifying


4: The forks come from the Moto Guzzi catalogue, while the brakes are predictably from Brembo. There’s a lot of mass to suspend and a lot of energy to dissipate from high speed onv

5: The rear end ti lf


Most accounts date the 750’s final production models to 1978 and that’s accurate, but saying the 900 stopped being built a year later isn’t. Sei insiders list two a den l



period-mod Z1. Don’t doubt it: Jackson’s a Kawasaki guy, but his skill and experience have attracted owners of all brands .“ ’ , sa s



The stripped shots show the machine as it was delivered. The final pic is of the e restored machine. machine Well worth the considerable effort, effort no?

The 35mm fork was standard issue on Moto Guzzis for a decade, but the 900 Sei did gain a Marzocchi shock upgrade. Full marks were given for the Benelli’s easy handling by roadtesters of the time, and a glossy list of OEM vendors, which included FPS and Brembo, could share the credit for this achievement. If the Sei’s engine was nowhere near as smooth as its Japanese equivalent, the suspension veered away from the standard, soft Oriental set-up of the era to deliver a typically Italian taut ride. On European roads, sports riders would have made the most of this advantage over Honda’s six-cylinder superbike, especially as the two sixes were evenly matched on power output while the Benelli enjoyed a 20kg weight advantage. It’s a safe bet that Tonti was behind the switch to 905cc, which was accomplished by opening the bore to 60mm while a new crankshaft added 3.5mm of stroke. Using accepted automotive practice, Benelli pinned the unit in seven places (five plain and two roller bearing) and fit a centre Hi-Vo chain to drive the transmission. A trio of 24mm Dell’Orto carbs mount behind the canted cylinder/head and point inward on a special manifold for legroom. The digital ignition was introduced on the last-series 750. Compared to the dohc 24v six-carb CBX Honda, the Benelli was yesterday’s pizza, but the tappets were adjustable via a lock screw. Tonti beefed the crankshaft, drained the oil from the multi-plate clutch, ditched the piggyback alternator and threw the kickstarter away. Reworking the gearchange mechanism solved the Sei’s biggest flaw and, while the dual chain was novel, it probably wasn’t needed. Plenty think the 750’s six-exhaust set was, but the step back revealed a sleeker, slightly more traditional roadster with flashing style and 120mph potential. If the Sei 900 you have or want needs work, you’ll face some challenges. The situation isn’t impossible but is better with contacts, and TJ had few. “When looking for parts, I turned initially to eBay but found little there. There are two parts sources in Germany but many were generic replacements, not genuine

1 1: Despite its bulk, the Sei handles and steers well 2: Big Bens don’t appear for sale very often, but when they do they command decent money. This example was sold at a Las Vegas auction Opposite: A unique sight. No mistaking this for anything else

1981 BENELLI SEI 900 OWNER: Lee Mitzel ENGINE: Air-cooled, 2v sohc straight-six BORE X STROKE: 60mm x 53.3mm CAPACITY: 906cc COMPRESSION: 9.5:1 POWER: 80bhp @ 8400rpm CARBS: 3x 24mm Dell’Orto VHB EXHAUST: 6-into-2 TRANSMISSION/DRIVE: Five-speed, dry clutch, two-chain final CHASSIS: Double downtube cradle in mild steel FORKS: 35mm Moto Guzzi teles SHOCKS: 2x Marzocchi, five-way adjustable FRONT BRAKE: 2x Brembo 294mm discs, dualpiston calipers REAR BRAKE: 255mm Brembo disc WHEELS: FPS or Bezzi cast aluminium ACCELERATION: 13.3 second quarter-mile TOP SPEED: 120mph plus WEIGHT: 500lb fuelled



Benelli. Things got easier after a Guzzi-owning friend explained that many of the fittings and fasteners were shared. The electronic ignition had apparently failed, having many burned wires, and I suspect that’s why the owner stopped riding it. I was able to source an aftermarket unit, implement the Guzzi carry-overs, and did the rest by machining functional replacements. “When it was mostly together and prepped to start, the engine leaked like the Exxon Valdez. I suspect the rebuilder left out or re-used seals and O-rings. Looking for these proved another challenge, but I was able to eventually find what was needed to make it oil tight.” Some laughs are shared as we move both sixes around the shop for photographs. TJ’s mastery of the Sei has the tank cover off in seconds, exposing the plastic fuel cell.



BENELLI IN THE USA Sometime late in 2002 I found myself in sunny Southern California, zooming a Benelli 750 around northern Los Angeles. Some friends had worked the plan, inviting Sei owner Kaning Ko and this writer to meet at Glendale’s famous Pro Italia Motors. The exchange was quick as Kaning explained one or two important rituals, tossed the key and insisted I enjoy it. My first time: some surprising realisations were gained after my afternoon of sixing, and the epiphany came somewhere near the hard pull up the westbound 101 near

Like everyone in the Benelli biz, Cosmo suffered from the after-launch wait, but the real suffering came later. “I don’t believe the Sei transmission (also used on the 500cc Quattro four) was faulty, but it was flawed in terms of shifting effort. Owners would bang the lever and that eventually broke something. The real storm began when the replacement transmissions failed. People were returning bikes, dealers were cancelling orders and some filed lawsuits. Mr De Tomaso wanted us to absorb it all.” Being introduced to a few of Larry’s oldest

Ventura; the Sei was a six-cylinder Moto Guzzi T3. It felt like one and steered like one. It even smelled like a Guzzi. Researching the Sei was made easier after contacting Cosmopolitan Motors owner Larry Wise, who began bringing Benelli into the US in 1964. A third-generation importer, Wise’s knowledge of the subject among a shrinking group of Benelli insiders was indeed fortunate. “In the late Sixties we asked for something bigger. The Tornado was a good motorcycle, but the Honda 750 happened and a 650 twin wasn’t enough.”

Sei customers was more good fortune, with the general consensus being that the six will be as good as its owner makes it. Bought from new, one collector reported his 750 had ‘nothing but’ problems’, yet he didn’t care. It wasn’t bought for transportation. Another 750 enthusiast was on his third Sei, racking up 100k miles on each! All liked

the sound, the Sei’s surefooted handling but most of all, the engine’s unmatched smoothness. “The cigarette trick is real,” laughed Wise. “We did it all the time. The Sei had lots of potential, and is still a fun bike to ride. The lesson here is: make up for being late by being great. Benelli didn’t do that and it cost everyone.” 1: Switchgear and clockery were familiar around the Italian industry at that time, and were as idiosyncratic as you would expect. The Veglia clocks are easy to read, but the switchgear can be challenging Below: And in case a single six is not enough…


That outlawed part alone demonstrates perfectly the frustration the British importers endured with Benelli, as willing buyers had to wait. Many didn’t. Some testers favoured the 900’s linked brakes and handling, others surmised there should be more, but doubted even that wouldn’t be enough against the top road burners. Those needing serious thrust were probably better off on a Suzi GS four or the Ducati desmo, but the Sei 900 was in the hunt, being faster, more reliable and even lighter than the under-performing 750. That’s what happens when passion overwhelms reason, and De Tomaso’s Sei wasn’t and never would be the industry’s best motorcycle. It didn’t matter, for as the original was unforgettable in its role as the ultimate statement bike, the 900 proved there was a real motorcycle hiding underneath.


See us at Stafford 15th OCTOBER



DECADES Cliff Rees, born into a motorcycle family in 1938, Norton Dominator 88 purchased in 1959. He’s riding the same bike in 2016… you do the numbers! WORDS AND IMAGES BY GRANT FORD

chance meeting at the Waterlooville otorcycle Club run in Hampshire nravelled a motorcycle legacy nearly a century in the making. It would be my rivilege documenting the full story; two biking characters that have been together for 57 years. A tale of the era when if something was broken you fixed it, you didn’t throw it away, a motto Cliff Rees has lived by – it was a case of having to make do in wartime New Malden, Surrey. “My earliest memories were of my parents with the Indian Scout my father bought in 1918. Both he and my mother rode it. Unfortunately, I didn’t aid its longevity when I put sand into the crankcase as a toddler and it was sold for half a crown.” Cliff’s first job post-school meant passing the Villiers Showroom in Regent Street, where display models from both Francis Barnet and James cemented his decision to head for two wheels, the rest was just a question of savings. Borrowing his father’s Southport-built Super Corgi, the bike test was dealt with at 16. A BSA C11G soon followed, a 250cc single purchased new from Meeton’s Motorcycle Mecca at Shannon’s Corner in 1955. Four years on Cliff was considering something more potent and one Norton advert had already caught his eye. He still has that copy to this day announcing ‘The World’s Best Road Holder’. The bike was the model 88 Dominator.



NORTON’S TWIN Postwar, Norton looked to Triumph’s Speed Twin and its success with a certain envy, and no doubt obtaining the services of Bert Hopwood ensured a power plant that would at the least compete with it. With his inside knowledge of Triumph’s Twin during its development, Hopwood gave Norton what it needed by 1948. Designed to run on ‘ration fuel’ and to offer 50mpg, a mere 29bhp was on tap and the 1949 Model 7 Dominator enjoyed a heavy, basically prewar frame until the Featherbed arrived on the ‘88’ version in 1952. By the time Cliff Rees’s Model 88 left the showroom on September 1, 1955 things had moved on a little, the engine providing slightly more power, although the top speed remained at 92mph. Acceleration had improved, with additional revs from 6000 to 7000 available thanks to a new alloy head. The Dominator was sharpened up while retaining its smooth delivery. Weighing a hefty 30lbs less than the previous 7 its 497cc twin engine could retain motorway speed limits all day. Even so, the Featherbed frame and Roadholder forks combination could certainly handle more power, and by 1956 the next engine upgrade arrived. The 596cc Dominator 99 closed the gap further on the competition, and the 650SS of 1961 was considered to be a race winner straight out of the crate. Hopwood’s engine would remain largely unaltered through to 1976 and the last to be mated to the ‘Featherbed frame’ was in 1968 with the short-lived but popular Norton Mercury.

We stopped for a breather and to admire the view while locals admired the Norton


TO RETIREMENT AND BEYOND Showing the date September 1, 1955, the original buff logbook records Cliff’s Dominator registered in the dealer’s name of Banks, followed by a Fred Carey of Tottenham just five days later. The next change was in March 1957 when a William Morrow took the Norton over to Northern Ireland, only to return to Surbiton in Surrey a year later. On May 28, 1959, Cliff wrote his details into the document and this has remained untouched since; Elvis was number one in the charts, four-star fuel was 4s/9d per gallon, quite expensive considering that a pint of bitter was 11d. The Dominator came complete with Craven panniers and fairing. “I bought the Dominator primarily because it looked great and the panniers gave the storage space needed for trips further afield. We were courting then and wife-to-be Sylvia got used to journeys in all weathers – it was the only transport we had. Grandma Elizabeth rode pillion at one time around 1960, and she would have been 90 years of age,” my host explained. 4


1: The dream. The world was a simpler place in the mid-Fifties 2: Norton’s twin engine was as good as any, especially with Featherbed tubery wrapped around it. The laydown gearbox is a little less precise than the AMC-type which replaced it 3: Although pressed steel primary chaincases were out of date when the twin was introduced, Norton stuck with them on its heavy twins until the Commando arrived in the late 1960s 4: When the original finish began cracking and falling off the Norton’s fairing, Cliff went for an interesting paint job 5: How we were. Cliff Rees and his Norton, back when both were young(er)


“One of the first rideouts we had was to Southend with my dad on the back, but on the journey home there was a terrible noise from the primary chaincase. On inspection, it was completely dry inside and all the chain rollers had broken free and were sitting in the bottom, so we came home running on the rivets. We knew then that the maintenance hadn’t been kept up at all.” Another issue was a top end noise that worsened the more miles Cliff covered, and with the head removed it was obvious that at some point the valves had seized in the guides. Correspondence with the factory concerning the lack of lubrication that had caused this issue and consequent rocker and pushrod wear resulted in a combination of new parts and some clever engineering. A design flaw meant that oil enjoyed an easier route returning to the tank rather than continuing up to the cylinder head. This was one of many improvements Cliff worked on over the decades with some success. The lack of top end lubrication may also have caused some head-scratching at the Norton works in Birmingham. While apart, the twin enjoyed a rebore, four new pushrods, a secondary chain, magneto service and gearbox shim – it had covered 7348 miles by

5 6: A slightly amazing image of Cliff’s mother aboard the Indian Scout both she and Cliff’s father rode regularly from the end of the First World War to the cessation of the Second World War 7: Proud owner and his bike outside their home in New Malden in 1960


1955 Norton Dominator 88 specification


ENGINE: OHV parallel twin, 497cc. BORE & STROKE: 66x72.6mm COMPRESSION: 7.10:1 POWER: 29.5bhp @ 7000rpm TOP SPEED: 90mph CARB: Amal 376 GEARBOX: 4-speed foot change DRY WEIGHT: 380lbs WHEELS & TYRES: 19in front & rear, Avon tyres preferred CAPACITIES: Fuel tank 3.5 gallons / oil tank 5 pints




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View from the pilot Cliff offers a few thoughts on his Dominator 88…

Above: A set of indicators is a sensible – and easily reversed – modification. Classic Norton poses by classic house Left: The 376 Amal likes a tickle but hates the choke, and while the cylinders breathe a little oil, Cliff thinks the Dominator is just marking its territory

This sensible mod enables one’s coffee to retain its temperature and Cliff’s oil pressure gauge is encased in a coffee jar lid, painted to colour, obviously

How many of us can remember the Britax twistgrip high-low headlight adjuster? Cliff attached a horn switch to his

Neat telltale lights on the mirrors mean our Cliff does not ride around Hampshire endlessly turning right, or not.

members on new bikes “Having begun my feel some concern. motorcycling career “I have adopted on a BSA C11G with plunger rear suspension, an unusual starting technique. Turn on the riding on the slippery, fuel 10 minutes before tarred wood block roads the ride. Tickle carb. with the additional If starting does not hazard of tramlines happen within three found in many parts kicks, then full of London in throttle for the 1950s, I a further found the kick. This ‘Roadholder’ generally Dominator works. In front summer or and rear winter the suspension The home-built dash choke seems and superior panel reminds the to have no frame pilot which lights are effect. much more still on. There’s also a clock to remind him “I would stable and when it’s time for tea never sell the comfortable Norton. Instead it will to ride, particularly be passed on to one of in wet weather, even my daughters and I hope when recovering from it serves her as well as a front wheel skid it has done me. I feel when approaching a lucky in all these years roundabout at possibly of motorcycling to have excessive speed. Even fallen off only three today, with probably times with the only a good deal of wear injury being a broken and tear on the front collarbone. Saying that, and rear suspension, I do intend to pass the when taking part in 60-year milestone in our regular club runs 2019 with a rideout; on the gravelly, one just as long as the track rural country Reynolds tubing hasn’t lanes in Hampshire and expanded any further West Sussex, I find the causing the bike to grow bike to be very stable, even taller!” whereas one or two club



Top: A letter from John Hudson in Norton’s Technical Service Dept. in 1960 explaining that the part he was sending should solve the lack of cylinder head lubrication. It didn’t but Cliff Rees did send three shillings payment by return Above: Cliff designed and produced his own idea to solve the lubrication issues of the Dominator’s engine, finally solving the problem permanently in 1981 Left: The perfect ride, complete with a pit stop for half a lager and some time to talk bikes

THE FUTURE Over the years this Dominator has had three replacement speedos, but what can be calculated from them all adds up to a conservative mileage estimate of just under 100k, so how many more miles does Cliff plan to do? “Age is the problem now,” he confessed at just 78 years young. “The problem I’m having is getting on and off. With the bike getting taller every year; it’s either biker boots with Cuban heels or find something lower to ride. Also, kicking the thing over is hard work; if it doesn’t fire up by the third attempt the old leg says enough! But I still love riding, especially on club runs, so I will keep going as long as possible.” While the Norton may not require replacement dome-headed footrest bolts (Cliff confirmed wearing the last ones away in the Nineties), during the course of our day together we certainly left plenty of traffic in our wake. The stop-start nature of photographing this story also required him to reignite the 500cc twin at least 20 times. Impressive certainly, just like Cliff’s motorcycling career, which no doubt has given him tremendous enjoyment and mobility. To own, maintain and ride the same bike for 57 years must surely be some sort of dominating record?


Dominating gossip Famous English actor Ralph Richardson was riding his beloved Norton Dominator to rehearsals in Central London daily up until he was 70, after which he switched to a BMW, for the electric start no doubt. London-based late Fifties rock ’n’ roll band ‘The Dominators’ were named after the band leader’s transport, but the line-up included teenage guitarist Richie Blackmore, who would go on to make music for Rainbow and for Deep Purple. Dunstall Motorcycles began life in 1957 when

18-year-old Paul Dunstall went against the convention of the time and modified a Dominator, which he raced with great success. His results encouraged other Norton racers to visit the family’s scooter shop and order one of Paul’s ‘Domiracers’ so establishing the Dunstall name with Norton well into the 1970s. While the new Norton £20k Dominator will bring many well-heeled buyers to Donington Hall, stories are circulating of a silver screen appearance in the new Bond movie.

The latest Dominator SS comes complete with machine guns and a ‘shaken not stirred’ café racer attitude. Rumours are spreading of a Hampshire resident who has owned the same Norton Dominator for an amazing 57 years, as yet CBG is unable to confirm this is a UK record for individual long-term ownership, but we hope to hear from readers who know of similar stories.





BMW’s new retro street scrambler is as functional as they come. And fast as fun, also…


imple is best. That’s an axiom motorcycle manufacturers around the world are increasingly turning towards, as a counterpoint to the mainly electronically driven technology race where because we can, rather than because we should, sometimes appears to be the modus operandi. “There are lots of people who want to get away from all that technology,” says BMW Motorrad’s Head of Design, Edgar Heinrich. “They want a cool style above all else, in a lower-performance package. We must try to provide that.” Which is why a bike like BMW’s new R nineT Scrambler has been created. On its debut at the EICMA Milan Show last November it seemed to tick all the boxes in providing heaps of style and retro allure, but in a modern context that’s techno-lite. As such, it’s the production version of the acclaimed R nineT-based custom Boxer that BMW unveiled a year ago at the Wheels & Waves festival in Biarritz, named the Concept Path 22 after the dirt track leading to France’s best surf beach just outside the own – which explained the hefty surfboard strapped o it. Now the more prosaically-named Scrambler has reached production – minus the surfboard – the first of the 10 or so different variants of the R nineT model which Heinrich says his design team created at he same time as penning the original baseline bike.


BMW R nineT SC AMBLER Originally introduced as BMW’s 90th anniversary show model in 2013, then swiftly developed into a full production package, the R nineT Roadster has proved spectacularly successful, with 23,000 examples sold up to the end of June this year since production began in December 2013. It might have been more, had BMW not been taken by surprise by the bike’s popularity, so that at one stage last year a four-month waiting list had built up before the company could increase production in its Berlin factory to meet demand for the back-ordered Boxer. This is apparently now the fourth most popular model in BMW’s range and an ongoing success, selling nearly 10,000 examples in its second full year of production. As such, it played a key role in ramping up the German manufacturer’s total sales volume to a record 136,963 units in 2015, a 10.9% increase over the 123,495 powered two-wheelers BMW sold in 2014. That momentum has been carried over to 2016’s ultra-successful first halfyear for BMW Motorrad when, for the first time, it delivered more than 80,000 motorcycles and maxi-scooters to its customers in just six months, with 80,754 two-wheelers sold globally – 3% up on the same period last year. A 250-mile/400km two-day trip through the mountains and valleys of BeeEm’s beautiful Bavarian backyard and neighbouring Austria amply demonstrated the new Scrambler’s appeal as a practical but pleasurable real world ride with heaps of personality. Whereas the more performance focused original R nineT Roadster is mainly a bike for Sunday morning blasts along racer road, its Scrambler sister is something you’ll look forward to riding any time you can, whether for an hour, a day, a week or a month, on all kinds of roads, and even in cities. You can ride it to work, to go to the shops, to take the scenic route in visiting your local café, or to go on holiday.

“...its Scrambler sister is something you’ll look forward to riding any time you can, whether for an hour, a day, a week or a month, on all kinds of roads, and even in cities...”

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You can also transform it into a reasonably serious off-road bike – and certainly an ideal mount for gravel roads or hard-packed highways – with the aid of the extensive list of aftermarket options, which include wire-spoked rims and swapping the stock Metzeler Tourance Next street rubber for the German tyre company’s Karoo 3 knobblies. BMW actually offers a ready-built accessorised version called the R nineT Scrambler X, with wire-spoked wheels, heated grips, LED indicators and the Karoo rubber at a €200 saving on buying the optional extras separately. Best of all is the fact that the basic Scrambler comes in quite a bit cheaper than the original R nineT, at €13,000 on the road in Germany, including 19% local tax, against €14,900 for the Roadster. That’s still quite a bit of money for the bike, which is only available in a single Monolith metallic matt paint scheme – gunmetal to you and me. But less can indeed be more – especially when riding the result is so engaging, with minimal vibration from the flat-twin engine that delivers authentic personality as a traditional style motorcycle with modern manners.







s ut s made te of that, ully fuelled and t e original R nineT. by the same neo-retro r twin engine found in ile till boasting a modern



in e d hc f rmat, has now been owe ful Wasserboxer m el families. In spite o pli t, thanks to revised he l - ew Bosch BMS-MP l yst a d fuel system that bo ster, it nevertheless t 11 p/81kW at 7750rpm as de e r hat’s still only good for s ju less torque with 116Nm rp ha s some achievement by a ce here are no mechanical h two bikes’ motors, apart s nd ng high-level Akrapovič ri as stock. This retains the nineT, but with twin stacked ncers whose engagingly meaty droning exhaust note sounds d flat track than scrambler, and e d to the definite thrill you get from i otorcycle any place, any time. deliver this on the new Scrambler is c ic servomotor operating an acoustic valve opening and closing cables, which Akrapovič dreamed up to meet what BMW correctly identified as its customers’ desire for the sonorous Boxer sound to be retained and even amplified, while still meeting Euro 4 noise regulations. That tells you a lot about the ethos governing the development of this bike and the others coming next in the R nineT family – BMW didn’t need to get the Slovenian sultans of sound to make the Scrambler sound so good, because it could still have passed the Eurocrat sound tests without that. But the whole idea about bikes like these is



that they should be sensually stirring, fun to ride and evocative of tradition, and that’s exactly what the new Scrambler – and indeed the original R nineT, for which Akrapovič also produces the exhaust system – are all about. However, the Scrambler badly needs the optional tacho fitting as standard, which apparently includes the gear selected indicator that’s a must-have feature for a bike this torquey. I often found myself searching for a non-existent seventh gear, because with no way of knowing how many revs the engine was turning, and the fact that the droning exhaust note is unchanged irrespective of the revs, I couldn’t tell what gear the BMW was in, having lost track while shifting up. Inevitably, there’s a wide range of other accessories, from a titanium Akrapovič silencer to a windscreen, or heated grips, a headlamp

4: It’s big fl

Above: The options catalogue can add details which may (or may not) reveal to the world that you wish to be considered to be off-road man … or indeed woman

grille, sump guard and a choice of luggage that includes a 17-litre tank bag and a 40-litre tail pack. Unlike the cheaper, less potent and frankly less substantial Ducati Scrambler, with which it shares the moniker of the moment but not much else, the new BMW’s fuelling is beautifully mapped all through the rev range in each ratio of its six-speed gearbox, without any of the Italian bike’s snatchy pickup from a closed throttle in the bottom two gears. That many ratios is pretty superfluous for something this torquey, and I often found myself sitting in fourth gear for mile after mile as I hustled the Scrambler through the switchback scenery of the Bavarian Alps, surfing the mile-wide torque curve and revelling in the flexibility of the oilhead Boxer motor. It pulls cleanly away from a hairpin turn from very low revs, accepting wide open throttle in top gear le l round from as low as 3000rpm with zero s ing on strong above e power I

e n easy in






for the Showa fork (against 25.5º), coupled with new yokes offering reduced offset for greater trail (110.6mm v 102.5mm), and a 1527mm wheelbase (1470mm). Those rangier numbers make the Scrambler super-stable and very predictable without being heavy-steering or slow to change direction, in spite of the 19in front wheel which carries the same 120/70 rubber as a normal 17in item, and which you soon learn gives excellent grip on the angle. The 170/60-17 rear tyre is well chosen, providing good grip without requiring undue extra steering effort, and coupled with the good handlebar leverage this results in a very relaxed but surprisingly responsive handling package, with well-chosen settings for the non-adjustable Showa fork. There’s satisfactory if not exceptional stopping power from the trio of discs gripped via steel lines, but you do need a good strong squeeze on the front brake lever – there isn’t a lot of modulation from the Brembo calipers. Wet-weather grip from the Metzeler Tourance Next tyres was okay, even in the occasional thundery deluge of Bavaria in summertime, though I was glad our test bikes had BMW’s optional ASC traction control fitted, which I could feel cutting in on slippery smooth soaked surfaces – it’s quite a basic system, but sufficiently functional to be worth having. The R nineT Scrambler is a bike that’s frankly very reassuring to ride, to the extent that in dry conditions you risk finding yourself not concentrating properly on where you’re going, precisely because the BMW does everything you ask it to do practically as second nature. Riding a bike on autopilot that’s so perfectly in harmony with your mood and expectations while you sit super-relaxed in that accommodating riding stance, admiring the scenery and smelling the wild garlic, not to mention wondering what year the little rear-engined BMW 700 car was made that you just saw peeping out of an open garage door, or suchlike, is all very well. But you can have too much of a good thing, as in – whoops, I missed that apex, or – steady up, I’m going too fast into this bend! So wake up and stay focused – in which case, you’ll relish that flat-track exhaust note, and the super-torquey nature of the motor as you swing the Scrambler from side to



s on the i -back Scrambler ional off-road pote . in l





Fifty-one years and still going strong. The story of one man and his A65… WORDS BY ROB DAVIES PHOTOS BY BARRY TAYLOR (HIS OLD PRINTS), MODERN PICS FROM BARRY, ROB, AND ROBIN HORTON 1: A closer look at the rear to see the extent of the rust was a little dispiriting 2: Down to the bare frame and forks. Check out those ace bars: you don’t see those so often these days, but during the 1960s they vied for popularity with the ubiquitous clip-ons 3: A view of the right-hand side, displaying truly shocking shocks and well-exhausted exhausts

BSA HAD THE CANNY – you might even say crafty – knack of making many bikes out of one product. Oh, they changed the size of the bores to make the 500 and the 650; the gear ratios were tweaked by producing differently sized cogs; there were high or low compression pistons, and high or low rise cams, and they played with the cosmetic elements of tank, seat and side panels, but in essence they were all pretty much the same bike. For instance, there were the A50 and A65 Star; the A50 Cyclone Road and Cyclone Comp; The A65 Rocket, Thunderbolt Rocket, Lightning Rocket, Spitfire Hornet and Clubman models, not forgetting the more exotically decorated models such as the Firebird Scrambler that mostly


went to the US, designated a ‘desert sled’ with its high rise glittering exhausts, exhaust guard, and latterly an oil in the frame novelty. However, this is Barry Taylor’s own account of his fifty-one year relationship with his very own well-cherished A65. He’s got to know it well. “I was a mere 18-year-old rocker when I purchased my three-year-old 1962 BSA A65 Star Twin. It came from Grays Motorcycle Showroom in Perry Barr, Birmingham. The bike was going second-hand, having had one owner from 1962, and it came with a full Avon fairing and Candy Apple Red paintwork as an optional extra to the standard Nutley Blue or Black, and was one of the earliest off the production line. It

It’s 1995. After 15 years in a damp shed and then 10 stuck out in the garden under an old coat, the Beezer’s in a bad way

was also fitted with the deep valance mudguards, and a headlamp nacelle unit. “Soon after buying the bike in April 1965, I set about altering it to make it more like the café racers that were the in-thing back then. First to go was the nacelle, to be replaced by twin clocks and a separate headlight. Add on a set of ace bars to get down mean and low, and ‘the look’ was almost complete. The next step – as with all teenagers – was to hot the bike up a bit, and this was achieved by fitting a sports camshaft and 9:1 pistons, ordered from Bob Joyner’s on the Birmingham New Road (long gone). Those items were used in the latest A65 Rocket engines, and most of the models after that. “After four years of using the bike for daily work commuting, weekends with other Rocker riding pals, and bike meetings, the bike got laid up when I discovered women, beer and nightclubs – maybe not in that order.





“I bought an A35 van, and as the bike had been standing for a few months I decided to sell it. Unfortunately, when a prospective purchaser came to call, the clutch had seized. Then I had a brainwave: free the clutch by running the engine and forcing it into gear. With a heart wrenching ‘bang!’ several teeth were stripped from the gears, and as you can guess, although I apologised to my prospective customer, there was no sale. But without this small mishap, I wouldn’t still have the bike I love today. The BSA then lay for dead in the back of a shed, and was later dumped unceremoniously in the garden for a total of 25 years, in all weathers and with only an old carpet for protection. “Then, while waiting in Birmingham airport in 1993 and looking for something to read, I came

across a magazine featuring classic bikes, and lo and behold, there was a picture of an A65 on the front cover. Reading that magazine rekindled my love for biking, and I knew that I just had to restore that bike – those magazines do have their uses. “After dragging the bike from its slumber in 1995, it was obvious that it would need a complete nut and bolt strip-down. My first problem was how to free the engine, as the pistons were seized in the barrels. So I filled the cylinders with diesel oil via the plug holes, put the engine into gear and kept trying to force the rear wheel back and forth day after day, until eventually, after a week or so, the pistons finally freed. I then r unbolting everything until just the frame and ging arm were left. This sounds easy, but it was nightmare.

Above: As they were. BSA shot of their new Star twin before it even left the Birmingham factory

“The frame, swinging arm and other smaller parts went off to be powder-coated. The petrol tank was chrome-plated and painted along with the side panels and mudguards by Ron Hossall from Darlaston, who was, at the time, well known for his paint jobs (he later became Warlord Restorations). The closest colour I could get to the original Candy Apple Red, was Night Fire Red, a Rover colour – nice. The wheel hubs went to Central Wheel Co in Birmingham to be powder-coated silver/grey, and then they were fitted with stainless rims and spokes, while I rebuilt the front forks. “Considering the pistons had seized inside the bores, the bottom end had survived well, though the sludge trap was full of muck. The big end journals were

1: The paint on the frame has had its day and there is rust in places, but essentially it’s as strong as ever





7: With the primary chaincase cover removed it’s a simple job to replace the clutch springs and plates

2: No amount of effort will restore the chrome on those rims, and polishing out the rust would make them too weak for sensible use


3: The fuel tank has also had its day. That said, it survived to shine – and hold fuel – another day after careful attention 4: Powder-coating the frame makes all the difference. You can just about make out the shine in this elderly photo! 5: Front and rear hub covers have been stripped and polished, and have come up remarkably well 6: The timing side cover has been removed to check the oil pump and gear selector mechanism





t e fective so long as the oil was changed regularly, and the t be filter inside the oil tank was kept clean, along with t e gauze sump trap at the bottom of the engine. Today, ost riders realise the deficiencies of the old system and fi a regular canister-style filter into the oil return pipe Above: The original arrangement of two contact breakers and capacitors. Setting the contact gaps, after giving them a polish rub with a bit of emery cloth was just one of those e sential monthly checks we can still enjoy today (or not)

okay, so I just fitted new standard big end shells. The timing side journal was reground and a new timing side bush fitted along with new main bearings and oil seals. The barrels were rebored at Kidderminster Motorcycles (still going after all those years, which must be some kind of record), which also supplied the new 9:1 pistons and rings as well as new valves, valve guides and springs for the cylinder head, and also the first gear cog that I had damaged all those years before. “I kept the style of twin clocks and separate headlamp, the speedometer being the original chronometric unit from the nacelle. It was then a careful job of putting everything back together again. So, after lying forgotten for 26 years, it finally took to the road again in September 1996, and I am still enjoying riding it – that’s what they’re for, isn’t it?

It is still 1995. The Beezer is coming back together again after all those years




Above: The aroma of your first stripped Amal Monobloc carburettor was just one of the rites of passage for the 1960s teenager. But was it a work of beauty, or a pain in the neck?


1: BSA’s unit construction power plant in its earliest form. It stayed in production for a decade and was steadily developed down the years 2: It almost makes you want to sing Land of Hope and Glory… 3: A great bike from any angle. And what a colour! 4: All paintwork is complete 5: Classic lines – and no oil leaks. It’s ready for Sunday… any Sunday.

riginal wor s op manuals are a tremen ous source o help, especially the originals, which include hints and tips on common problems and their solutions. Try to find one

“Since the restoration, I have upgraded the A65 to 12 volt, with electronic ignition, and fitted an inline oil filter, which is a vast improvement on the standard filter inside the oil tank. Recently, I treated her to an SRM high delivery oil pump, which cost £300, and which incidentally cured any wet sumping completely. It was interesting at this point to discover that the timing side bush was still in excellent condition after 25,000 miles, which just shows that if you change the oil regularly, they will go on and on. The seat was recovered by RK Leighton in Birmingham.






“I do sometimes ride in the evenings when the nights are drawing in, and for safety reasons I have fitted indicators, which is a sensible thing to do these days. The engine number is A65-169, which shows that this bike was the 69th off the production line (the numbers started at 101), so my bike may be the earliest A65 still on the road (until anyone says differently). And I can honestly say that the BSA handles well, its acceleration from 40-75 still surprises me considering it is a mid-20th century design, and once each year I still take it up to 90, just to prove that it can still be done. Out of sympathy for the old girl I wouldn’t go any higher: you can’t say fairer than that!” 2 1: Flickering ammeters were the pinnacle of electrics in the 1960s. Now at a hint to modernity and safety, we have four of those flickering orange things on stalks… 2: Like its first day out of the showroom. From the rusty ruin arose a fully restored BSA A65, complete with its single carb and shiny ‘power egg’ unit construction engine Right: Proud owner on the road again








Above: From this to – well, something else. The raw material, a rather dreary Honda CB 450K ready for stripping

WHEN ROCK CHIC Avril Lavigne wrote in one of her punchier and angst-ridden songs the line ���I’d rather be anything but ordinary please’ she may well have been writing for all those guys beavering away in their sheds to produce their own unique motorcycle. And that is exactly what Martyn Wilkins has produced in his first real attempt to manufacture his own take on the café racer scene. There has always been an underground movement to individualise one’s machine, but in recent years this movement has increased, and not just from the traditional areas such as the UK, America and Europe, but also, ironically, from the heartland of the mass modern production bike – Japan. Martyn’s introduction to bike restoration started many years ago when he and his dad worked on an old BSA Sunbeam scooter dating from 1963. Some time later this would be the impetus for the CB450 project he completed in 2015. When I asked him what motivates a biker to take on such a daunting project, he answered that it’s a combination of many complex feelings. Watching Café Racer TV for inspiration helped to focus on what was already being produced on the custom scene by such worthies as Australians Deus Ex Machina and the like, but it’s really the desire to create and ride a bike that no one else has. That BSA scoot had been a project to restore what was original, but in the end Martyn found that process very restrictive. However, a purely custom project would allow him to use his creative and engineering skills to the limit. Deep in many a biker’s psyche lies the feeling that the 1960s and 70s were the glory days of motorcycling. This was no doubt influenced by a new era where young men, and maybe some young women too, had that brave new thing – disposable income, and they were going to use it in the pursuit of style and freedom.



And so, the Honda CB450 was chosen because the concept was to produce something in the general style of the old Sixties British café racers, with a twin cylinder engine and typical tubular frame, and indeed the CB450 was initially introduced in 1965, becoming later labelled as ‘The Black Bomber’. It was an advanced bike for its day, but not totally appreciated at the time, and it never realised the sales that Honda hoped for. In the UK in 1965, it sold for £360, about the same price as a British 650, but it was far more sophisticated than they were.


Above: After initial assessment, these are all the parts that had to go, to be replaced by either stock or custom parts. But when sold on they can fund new items, so not all bad news Below: Frame has been stripped and de-lugged, rear footrests have been removed and a tubular frame hoop at the rear has been fabricated to take the seat. New longer swinging arm has come from a CB360

For an engine designed in 1963, and having double overhead cams and utilising torsion bars for valve control, it was indeed cutting edge. Add to that the progressive and more practical use of a 12-volt system powering an electric start, and it certainly outclassed the mid-Sixties competition – on paper at any rate. Unfortunately, as a complete package, the whole style of the bike was unattractive. On the other side of the coin, the CB450 does possess a rather good-looking engine, and with the benefit of the designer’s ‘eye’ Martyn could see it being the focal point of his own project. So the engine, the frame and the hubs were the essentials to hang on to. As for pretty much everything else… well that had to go – onto eBay, where else? The first thing was to strip the bike entirely. This then enabled him to work on the frame and the engine, while researching parts online and designing other features that would be purely personal and innovative. The frame was de-lugged, cleaned up, while he needed to design a tubular semi-circular frame section to act as the seat support. Once the dimensions for this were finalised, the drawings went to One Off Engineering, which made an excellent job of the part. Modifications to the frame included adding an extended swinging arm from a Honda CB360, which would provide a stretched café racer look. This meant that Martyn would later have to source and purchase totally different shock absorbers, but the present ones would do for preliminary mock-ups. Later on, Hagon was most helpful with advice, and supplied the longer shocks required.


1: Work was required to fit new discs to old hubs



The frame needed strengthening in a couple of areas, and the photos show where Martyn had to design a couple of steel gussets to go between the seat tubes. Usually he makes a template out of cardboard (his tip of the month), converts that to a DXF file before using CAD (computer-aided design) to draw and cut the piece before welding it into place. Alloy tank (£500) and seat (£200) both came from Legendary Motorcycles US, as did the headlight and bracket. The original hubs were taken to Central Wheels, which constructed both front and rear wheels, but there was some additional work required to make the Suzuki SV650 front end and discs fit to the new wheel arrangement. The aluminium rims were powder-coated black by the same company. Meanwhile, the engine was stripped. Having an engineering background at a prestigious university was obviously helpful, as one of the first jobs was to press apart the crank, place it onto a lathe to lighten and then dynamically balance it. This fundamental improvement simply makes for a smoother and better engine, and Martyn did that job himself. The top yoke came from a Suzuki SV650 and required a little work to fill in unwanted holes, and then a classy red Honda badge was inserted for artistic effect. The downpipes are standard CB450, but the silencers are reverse cone megas – very noisy, but very period.



2 & 3: Front and rear wheels have been added after the old hubs were fitted to the freshly powder coated alloy rims. Forks are from a Suzuki SV650. Disc brakes needed to be modified to fit. Old shocks are in place to check things out, but will be replaced in due time. Alloy tank and seat have been placed in position to check the fit 4: Total engine strip to see what’s going on under the surface and to determine how much work needs to be done to turn the old 450 engine into something much improved. The con rods were shot and new pistons were required 5: The top yoke was taken from a Suzuki SP650 and needed to be modified to fit 6: The crank had to be pulled apart so that it could be lightened and then balanced 7: The cylinder head has been vapour blasted back to as new






2 1: The crank has been pressed back together and the gearbox checked over before engine reassembly 2: One finished engine; polished top end and chrome horn all fitted with style


3: Before the bike could be assembled several parts required treatment. Here at the top of the rear subframe were a pair of weak spots that have been elegantly filled with custom designed gussets with an ace of clubs motif. This is Martyn’s signature 4: An aluminium base for the seat has been cut, and made ready for all the electrical parts to be fitted


5: Frame and forks are now coming nicely together, plus a headlamp from the US. Handlebar grips and switchgear have been fitted


6: Here we see the under-seat electrical layout, including the lithium ion battery, which is small and can be fitted in any position; here it will go neatly under the rear seat hump. The Pazon electronic ignition component and the M-Unit are all in place 7: Electronics done, and the reconditioned engine is in place. Isn’t it great to see a bike coming together?




8: Pazon electronic ignition fitted into the case where the original points and condenser would have lived, operated by the exhaust cam. The rotor is still to go on. Timing is an easy task using the timing light provided





The wiring and ignition were going to be entirely new, and this was an area where you need to be your own research and development department. However, help was at hand in the shape of Motogadget. This internet accessed company supplied a whole host of parts to bring the bike bang up to date and also to make it much more reliable. We need to add that these parts don’t come cheap, but they are good quality, and they included a whole host of coloured wiring, plus a rev counter with an inbuilt speedo, designed together into one attractive unit. Then there were the indicators and their grips, and all the classy black and alloy switchgear. These products are not only stylish but they work very well, and the decision was made to solder all the joints because snap connectors can prove to be troublesome as time goes on. Just a point about Motogadget. It is a high-class instrument and electronic accessory company that is based in Germany, which uses cutting edge

9: One complete and running engine view. Good enough? 10: The finished steering head. Holes have been plugged and a neat Honda badge has been inserted to give that little bit of colour and exclusivity. Switchgear and single black conical unit containing the rev counter and speedo are particularly tidy 11: All polished and ready to go 12: Attention to detail has been duly paid, as we can see by carefully observing the custom-made parts that Martyn has lovingly crafted by his own fair hands – plus a little help from a few machines. Note the gearchange linkage… 13: From the front, the desire to achieve a lean, back to the 1960s look can clearly be seen




T ADINGPOST || HONDA CB 450K CAFÉ RACER 1: One really cool rear light assembly from the US 2: Black, chrome and polished aluminium all give a well thought through design 3: Decent anchorage dept. The floating discs came from a much more modern machine than the original Honda 4: Handlebar-end indicators – another nice touch from Motogadget 5: Out with the rest of the boys



technology, quality and style for anyone making their own custom builds. The aluminium seat base was the perfect place to lay out all of the electrical components – as can be seen from the photos. The seat itself was upholstered by a local guy; Mark at Dragon Seating, a real craftsman. The old carbs weren’t going to cut it so CR carburettors were sourced and purchased from Power Barn in the US. These are Keihin CR36 racing carbs, and they certainly do look the part. Once the crank was finished it was time to turn to the engine rebuild. The gearbox was fine, but the old pistons and con rods had had it, so Todd Henning high compression pistons from the US were fitted once the barrels had been rebored to 500cc, and casings, head and barrels were vapour blasted to get them cleaned up. Martyn also spent some time polishing the inlet and exhaust ports for improved gas flow. The new




cams came from Phil Joy cams. Phil uses his own cam geometry, working along with resurfaced cam followers. CBG: So Martyn, did you enjoy the process and are you pleased with the result? Martyn Wilkins: Very. The bike has already won several prizes for looks and engineering. For me, the prizes aren’t what it’s about, but it is satisfying to have your work appreciated, also it’s a fabulous ride, and surprisingly comfortable. And I enjoyed the build so much I am now on my next project. CBG: And the cost? Martyn Wilkins: Parts were obviously expensive, and I guess that over the whole build I spent around £7000, so please don’t tell the wife.






CBG Clubs listing AJS & MATCHLESS (AMC)








01494 762166





11 Bootham Close, Billericay, CM12 9NQ






01443 435125 /



























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0798 4099 473





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CBG info archive ARE YOU SEEKING ENLIGHTENMENT? On a quest for essential information? In a mechanical muddle? The answers you seek may well have appeared in a previous issue of CBG. So to lighten your darkness, untangle your spanners and generally set things straight, we have helpfully listed an entire stack of buyer’s guides, model profiles and tech-tips below, together with the issue they appeared in. You can enjoy the entire magazine and our experts will immediately BUYER’S GUIDES / MODEL PROFILES AJS & Matchless singles.....................299/Mar16 AJS & Matchless twins .......................296/Dec15 Aprilia 650 ......................................305/Sept16 Ariel-Indian Special ...........................287/Mar15 Ariel Huntmaster ...............................299/Mar16 Ariel postwar singles .........................305/Sept16 Ariel Square Four............................... 297/Jan16 Benelli 304 ...................................... 297/Jan16 BMW airhead twins............................303/July16 BMW R45.........................................299/Mar16 BMW R50S.......................................304/Aug16 BMW R69S....................................... 286/Feb15 BMW R80......................................... 285/Jan15 BMW R90S.......................................293/Sep15 BMW K Special ................................. 297/Jan16 British 250s pt1................................. 279/Jul14 British 250s pt2................................280/Aug14 British 250s pt3...............................281/Sept14 British 350s pt1............................... 277/May14 British 350s pt2................................ 278/Jun14 British 650 twins ..............................272/Dec13 British Superbikes pt1 .......................275/Mar14 British Superbikes pt2 ....................... 276/Apr14 Bridgestone 2-strokes ........................280/Aug14 BSA A65LR ......................................301/May16 BSA A65 Spitfire...............................303/July16 BSA Bantam ..................................... 282/Oct14 BSA B33 .........................................302/June16 BSA Starfire......................................287/Mar15 BSA 500s......................................... 285/Jan15 BSA Victor ........................................292/Aug15 BSA M20 ......................................... 294/Oct15 BSA A7SS ........................................ 288/Apr15 BSA A50/A65 ................................... 297/Jan16 BSA A10 .........................................305/Sept16 BSA A10 ..........................................293/Sep15 BSA A10 plunger ..............................296/Dec15 BSA Rocket Gold Star ........................299/Mar16 BSA Rocket 3 ................................... 290/Jun15 BSA Rocket 3 ...................................293/Sep15 BSA Unit Singles..............................302/June16 Douglas Trials 350.............................287/Mar15 Ducati Silverstone ............................. 297/Jan16 Ducati Scrambler...............................292/Aug15 Ducati 750 Sport ............................... 291/Jul15 Greeves Hawkstone............................ 285/Jan15 Hercules W2000 ...............................303/July16 Hesketh V1000 .................................. 291/Jul15 Honda 250 4-strokes .........................275/Mar14 Honda 250 4-strokes ......................... 276/Apr14 Honda CB450 Drixton........................287/Mar15 Honda CB450 DCC............................ 288/Apr15 Honda CL Desert Sled........................ 294/Oct15

rush round to your house and fix the problem for you. Sorry; that’s a fib. We’ll send you the magazine which contains the useful article (which is almost as good) and you won’t have to listen to a magazine jabber on endlessly about its old uncle Eric who knew how to fix these things, and nor will it make off with your best torque wrench… TO ORDER: VISIT CLASSICMAGAZINES.CO.UK/ISSUE/CBG OR call 01507 529529

Honda CB500/550 ...........................281/Sept14 Honda Nighthawk ..............................299/Mar16 Honda CB750/900 ............................ 288/Apr15 Honda CB900F ................................. 285/Jan15 Kawasaki 2-strokes ............................271/Nov13 Kawasaki triples ................................. 291/Jul15 Kawasaki W1-W3...............................293/Sep15 Kawasaki Z900 ................................. 294/Oct15 Laverda RGS .....................................296/Dec15 Mash Von Dutch ................................292/Aug15 Matchless G3....................................303/July16 Matchless G3.................................... 297/Jan16 Matchless G9.................................... 286/Feb15 Matchless G12.................................. 290/Jun15 Morini Strada ....................................292/Aug15 Moto Guzzi V7...................................299/Mar16 Moto Guzzi 1000 SP ......................... 286/Feb15 Moto Guzzi Le Mans .......................... 290/Jun15 MV Agusta 350 ................................302/June16 MV Agusta 750 .................................301/May16 Norton 500s .................................... 286/Feb 15 Norton Atlas......................................293/Sep15 Norton Model 18 ............................... 290/Jun15 Norton 650SS................................... 297/Jan16 Norton 750 Fastback .........................287/Mar15 Norton Commando café...................... 294/Oct15 Norton Commando.............................301/May16 Norton CR750RR .............................. 288/Apr15 Norton Navigator ..............................302/June16 Panther 100 ....................................305/Sept16 Panther 120 .....................................296/Dec15 Royal Enfield GT................................. 291/Jul15 Royal Enfield 500s ............................287/Mar15 Royal Enfield café racer .....................293/Sep15 Royal Enfield Constellation ................. 297/Jan16 Sunbeam S7/S8 ................................287/Mar15 Suzuki T350 ..................................... 278/Jun14 Suzuki GS450................................... 297/Jan16 Suzuki T500 ..................................... 285/Jan15 Suzuki T/GT500 ................................ 282/Oct14 Suzuki RE5....................................... 290/Jun15 Suzuki GS750...................................287/Mar15 Suzuki GT750................................... 294/Oct15 Suzuki X7 .........................................301/May16 Triumph Terrier..................................283/Nov14 Triumph Tiger Cub .............................283/Nov14 Triumph T20C Cub ............................ 288/Apr15 Triumph 3T .......................................299/Mar16 Triumph 3TA ..................................... 285/Jan15 Triumph TT replica............................. 285/Jan15 Triumph T100 ................................... 286/Feb15 Triumph T100SS ............................... 288/Apr15 Triumph 500s ................................... 288/Apr15 Triumph café kit ................................303/July16

Triumph GP.......................................292/Aug15 Triumph 6T Tbird.................................04/Aug16 Triumph TR6.....................................301/May16 Triumph TR6SS.................................296/Dec15 Triumph TR6..................................... 298/Feb16 Triumph T140 ................................... 290/Jun15 Triumph Trident .................................293/Sep15 Triumph Speed Twin .........................302/June16 Triumph Scrambler ............................301/May16 Triumph Scrambler ............................. 291/Jul15 Triumph T100 865cc.........................293/Sep15 Triton................................................296/Dec15 Velocette MAC...................................293/Sep15 Velocette Venom ...............................305/Sept16 Velocette Venom ................................ 294/Oct15 Velocette KSS .................................... 291/Jul15 Velocette MSS...................................301/May16 Velocette Scrambler ........................... 290/Jun15 Villiers two-strokes pt1....................... 273/Jan14 Villiers two-strokes pt2....................... 274/Feb14 Vincent Comet...................................294/Dec15 Vincent Rapide.................................. 286/Feb15 Vincent Black Knight ......................... 297/Jan16 Yamaha AR125 ................................ 277/May14 Yamaha 350 twins .............................. 279/Jul14 Yamaha RD/YR5 ................................292/Aug15 Yamaha SR500 ................................. 297/Jan16 Yamaha SR500 .................................304/Aug16 Yamaha XS750..................................283/Nov14

HOW TO Brake hydraulics................................301/May16 Brake shoe fitting ..............................272/Dec13 Clean carbs.......................................280/Aug14 Premier carb upgrade......................... 288/Apr15 Decoke 2-stroke motor .......................275/Mar14 Decoke 2-stroke exhaust .................... 274/Feb14 Electronic ignition .............................292/Aug15 Ethanol proofing ................................287/Mar15 Fork seal replacement .......................305/Sept16 Fix fork seals..................................... 276/Apr14 Gearbox rebuild .................................293/Sep15 Horn repair .......................................283/Nov14 Ignition boosters................................ 282/Oct14 Monobloc makeover ...........................296/Dec15 Petrol tank sealing............................ 277/May14 Polish alloy .......................................279/July14 Rebuild rear shocks ........................... 273/Jan14 Roadholder forks ............................... 286/Jan15 Switchgear renovation ........................ 278/Jun14 Fit swinging arm bearings..................281/Sept14 Wheelbuilding .................................. 286/Feb 15 Wheel rebuild pt1.............................. 270/Oct13 Wheel rebuild pt2..............................271/Nov13




G’ S



BOOK YOUR AD ONLINE NOW || online || post/fax Fill in the coupon on page 110

ROYAL ENFIELD 250cc, 1968. The last of the Crusader Sports and the best. Runs well, no oil leaks. £3000ono. 01494 488906, Bucks

AJS G3L original bike, needs restoring, buff log book, £1750 ono Tel. 01538 753086 Stoke-on-Trent

ARIEL SQUARE 4 1953, full mechanical rebuild, 2011, 12,000 miles, since 12 volt alternate, Avon fairing matching numbers, £12,500 Tel. 01993 772887 Witney

BENELLI Tornado 650, twin, 1972, MoT & UK reg, ride or restore, starts & runs lovely Tel. 07887 441739 Hampshire

BMW R100GS Paris Dakar, 1994, 40,000 miles, MoT, BMW panniers, twin plugged, £6500 Tel. 01694 723439 Shropshire

BMW R1200C 20,000 mainly dry miles, good condition, leather panniers, £4200 Tel. Chris 07732 979748 Kent

BMW R45 1980, MoT, good reliable tourer, new battery, good tyres, goes well, £1350 Tel. 01695 557277; 07758 354370 Lancs

BMW R50 1955, everything works as it should, price is $7450 Tel. 80339 39927 USA. Email. stevintageclassicesaulter@netzero. net

BMW R60/2 1968, in great original condition, except for the exhaust, it appears to be stock & original, starts on one kick Tel. (770) 993-2626 USA. Email. vintagetriumph65@

BMW R80ST 1984, restoration history to original spec, on Sorn, a rare classic, £4250 Tel. 01489 893863 Hants

BSA B40 ex military, 1966, 350cc, MoT Sept 2016, service history, excellent runner, superb condition, £2000 ono Tel. 01606 552145 Cheshire

BSA Super Rocket, 1960, total rebuild, alloy rims, stainless spokes, end feed conversion, 12V electrics, superb runner, £7000 ono Tel. 01229 473075; 07770 842347 Cumbria

BSA Shooting Star, 1960, vgc, long MoT, primary belt drive, after market oil ilter, twin leading shoe front brake, £6500 Tel. 07890 386865 West Mids

BSA 350 Gold Star Trials, 1952, barn ind condition, engine No ZB32-A-5114, last run 15 years ago, sounded great before being stored, £12,500 Tel. 07833 318722 Gloucs

BSA 650 Thunderbolt, 1967, good condition, rebored new valve guides Boyer, good starter possible p/x £4250 ono Tel. 01626 776076 Devon

BSA 650 Golden Flash, very good condition, starts and runs very good, £4500 ono Tel. 01229 473075; 07770 842347 Cumbria

BSA A10 TRIBSA, rolling stock complete, plated for 650cc, unit engine with paper, £2500 Tel. 01424 882018 Essex


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BSA A10 Golden Flash, 1956, V5, non transferable number, recent new tyres & ally sump plate, starts & rides well, in nice useable condition, £5500 may p/x Tel. 01328 700711 Norfolk

BSA A65 Lightning, 1966, complete resto including powder-coating, engine rebuild & professional electrics, £6700 Tel. Dave 01313 191950 Lothian

BSA A65 Thunderbolt, 1972, OIF model, earlier restoration, still in fabulous condition, electronic ignition, s/s spokes, £5495 ono Tel. 07817 257889 Leics

BSA A65 Rocket, 1962, restored 2004, 12V electrics, new paint 2012, vgc, £4100 Tel. 01424 220772 East Sussex

BSA B21 1940, Deluxe, overall in very good running order, £6250 Tel. Ron 07950 259218 Essex

BSA B31 1950, 350cc, great runner, service history, cool patina, ready to go, £3500 ono Tel. Zoe 07789 798240 East Sussex

BSA B40 1961, 350cc, MoT July 2017, fully restored, chrome & paint good, gearbox overhauled, ready to ride & show, £2600 Tel. 01209 314141 Cornwall

BSA C15 1964, excellent original condition, 27,000 miles, six previous owners, owned over 19 years only been out in ine weather, £1800 ono Tel. Dave 07816 104896 Greater Manchester

BSA C25 1968, in trials trim, good condition, running nicely, new tyres, chain sprocket, no oil leaks, Boyer ignition, V5, no MoT, Sorn, £2500 Tel. Paul 01573 430249 Scottish Borders

BSA ROCKET 3 rebuilt engine, forks, carbs, Boyer ignition, rechromed Jones rims, new brake shoes, many new parts, £10,750 Tel. 07796 254057 Avon

BSA SS80 1962, 12 volt electronic ignition, dating cert, new rims, spokes rechromed repainted, MoT, lovely bike, £2150 ono Tel. 01162 414943 Leics

BSA STARFIRE 1971, J, 14,000 miles, matching numbers, MoT, excellent chrome and paint, mechanically sound Tel. 01376 345932 Essex

BSA THUNDERBOLT 1968, A65 owned since 1977, new wiring, frame powder coated, runs well everyday bike, long MoT, £3100 Tel. 07940 496069 Middx

CAFE RACER based on HD 1200 Sportster, as new, £8500 Tel. 07074 230852 Herts

CONDOR A580 1953, Quality Swiss military bike, high & low ratio gearbox, very correct & unrestored condition, £5500 Tel. 07798 866071 Middx

DUCATI 750SS 15,000 miles, 1997, expertly maintained, air cooled, Japanese electrics, new tyres, battery, MoT, £2250 Tel. 07976 788976 North Yorks

HARLEY DAVIDSON Electraglide FLHS, 1340 EVO, excellent original condition, unrestored, new clutch, drivebelt, recon starter, £4750 Tel. 07758 768914 West Midlands

HONDA CB250N Super Dream, 1981, on Sorn, good condition, lots of new parts, £600 ono Tel. 01292 531246

HONDA CB600 Hornet, 2001 reg, 14,000 miles, Smartwater protected, showroom condition, good tyres, chain etc, £1900 Tel. 01900 814767; 07927 166305 Cumbria

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ARIEL NG 350, 1950. Very rare model, very good condition. Needs small amount of work to finish. £3950ono. 01494 488906, Bucks

HONDA CB77 350 race pistons, Joy Somerton cam, Amal 30, MK IIs, Swarbrick pipes, alloy rims 18”, oil cooler, K4 forks, Boyer ignition, V5, £3000 Tel. 01614 432492 Cheshire

HONDA CD185 1979, MoT till May 2017, good all round condition, £550 Tel. 01227 740909 Kent

HONDA CX500 1981, ‘W’ plate, MoT until beginning September, very nice condition, £4000 ovno after 6pm Tel. 01420 474032 Hampshire

HONDA GL1100 Goldwing, 1984, 53,000 miles, MoT April 2017, great running bike but could do with some tlc, detachable Vetter fairing, top box & Krauser panniers, £2395 ono Tel. 07738 618473

HONDA GL1100 Goldwing Y plate, with Watsonian Oxford sidecar & small trailer, good runner, MoT, trailer converts to sleigh for Xmas activities Tel. 01420 474032, call after 6pm Hampshire

HONDA TL125 1975 road trim, low mileage, years MoT, new tyres & rebuilt wheels, little use, dry stored unused approx 30 years, £1400 Tel. 07713 183096 Essex

HONDA VFR750F 1988, 25,000 miles can prove, one year MoT, beautiful condition, irst to see will buy, £1195 no offers Tel. 07971 778121 Lincs

JONGHI 250cc, 1955, rare bike, consider swap for British bike, £1850 Tel. 07743 370641 Stoke on Trent

KAWASAKI under 17,000 miles, few scratches hardly noticeable, MoT, extended mirrors, heated grips, side frame sliders Tel. 07828 773046 Middlesex

KAWASAKI 500 H1E Triple, 5276 miles from new, great working classic in good condition not a museum piece, sensitively restored Tel. 07918 148238 Somerset

KAWASAKI AV50 great condition, ready to go, sweet engine, any information please ask, £1950 ovno Tel. 07933 915382 Gwent

KAWASAKI KZ750 LTD 1982, all original, vgc, excellent chrome, 14,000 miles only, carbs stripped & cleaned, new oil & ilter, good tyres, garaged, MoT, £2000 ono Tel. 07771 353852 Kent

KERRY CAPITANO moped, 1965, sound original condition, needs tlc renovation, very rare, £600 ono Tel. 01248 490478 Anglesey

LEXMOTO HT125 Vixen, 2014, 2500 miles, vgc, only two years old, ideal learner rider, commuting etc, electric start, £785 ono Tel. 01494 437689 Bucks

MORINI 350 SPORT genuine 1979 UK bike, elec start, clip-ons rearsets, Hagons, NLM ignition, rewired for modern switchgear, £4150 Tel. 07788 442155 Avon

MOTO GUZZI T5, 1987, 35,000 miles, round chrome headlamp higher bars braided hoses, Hagon shocks, good condition Tel. 01482 881638




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MOTO GUZZI Le Mans 2, W reg, 23,500 miles, not standard spec but running with new suspension & brakes, £3750 ono Tel. 01539 727675 Cumbria

MOTO GUZZI 750T, vgc, MoT Dec 2016, 38,000 miles, owned eight years, lovely bike to ride, £1995 Tel. 02085 991198 Essex

MOTO GUZZI LADOLA 1960, UK V5, MoT dating certiicate reg no, excellent paintwork & aluminium,low miles, mechanically sound, £3495 Tel. 01376 345932; 07399 817387 Essex

MOTO RUMI Sports Turismo, 1955, UK V5, reg no, dating certiicate, very low miles, excellent paint & aluminium, mechanically sound Tel. 01376 345932 Essex

MZ ETZ250 early bike, 1982, everything works but requires new tyres for MoT, still original, £599 Tel. 01332 842536 Derbys

NORTON 16H, + sidecar, 1947, restored history from 80s-2016, £9500 ono Tel. 07912 112804 Roxburghshire

NORTON 750 Commando Fastback, 1969, fully restored used regularly, call for full spec, £8500 Tel. 07971 971103 Fife

ROYAL ENFIELD 350 Bullet, reg 2002 with early-type cast iron engine, approx 5400 miles, new front tyre, MoT April 2017, £1600 ono Tel. 01354 680439 Cambs

ROYAL ENFIELD Continental GT, 2014, 975 miles, absolutely stunning sports exhaust, mirrors, garaged, immaculate condition, £3799 Tel. 01376 345932; 07399 817387

ROYAL ENFIELD Bullet, 2002, 8000 miles, Hitchcock alternator and wet sump valve, starts well, MoT, £2200 Tel. 07940 496069 Middlesex

ROYAL ENFIELD Crusader Sports, 1963, vgc, new wheels & tyres, good paint, starts & runs well, 13,700 miles believed genuine, £2500 Tel. 01932 565526 Surrey

ROYAL ENFIELD 350 Bullet, 3720klm, reducing collection, recommissioned, new MoT, have history, original seat & bits, £1995 Tel. 07538 626229 Norfolk

ROYAL ENFIELD GT Continental, 1966, 250cc, Avon Speed flow fairing, good overall condition, totally original, dry stored last 15 years, £4250 Tel. 01763 284126 Herts

SUZUKI GS550 1978, 36,000 miles, excellent condition, MoT, spare engine, £995 Tel. 01270 662186 Cheshire

SUZUKI GT380 my superb engineer maintained bike in fantastic condition, £5200 ovno Tel. 01298 812391 Derbyshire

SUZUKI GT550 1974, two stroke triple, carefully run in after total rebuild last year including crank, MoT Sept 2017, historic tax, excellent runner, £4550 Tel. 07982 100977 Cheshire

SUZUKI GW250 2015, 900 miles, irst service done, as new full accessory pack, bigger bike needed, £2700 Tel. Brian 01162 880266 Leics

SUZUKI RM250 frame, forks, wheels etc with Triumph 5TA engine, engine totally rebuilt, MoT, presently on Sorn, £3750 ovno Tel. 07851 725864 Essex

SUZUKI T500 1975, restored loads spent inc engine rebuild, frame blast and paint, chrome, new seat, panels repaint Tel. Phil 07765 883209 Essex

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SUNBEAM S8, 1952. Concentric carb, Pazon ignition, Rodark period panniers. £5950. 01767 650049

TRIUMPH 1936, 500cc, top of the range sports model 5/5, restored by current owner to original spec of plum & black paintwork, perfect condition, extremely rare Tel. 07432 866333 Tyne & Wear

TRIUMPH matching numbers, irst of the swingarm models, totally professionally restored, only 191 miles on the clock, good rideable bike Tel. 07836 636901 Berkshire

TRIUMPH sought after classic bike is available for £5500 but would welcome exchange/px for a lighter British classic Tel. 07774 476830 Norfolk

TRIUMPH Twenty One, irst reg, 1964, superb condition, ride or show, matching numbers, steel bathtub with original dealers plate attached, MoT, £4200 ono Tel. 07890 386865

TRIUMPH 21 1965, good condition, easy starter, runs well, 17” wheels, low seat height, ex VMCC raffle prize, £3850 Tel. 01482 821236 East Yorks

TRIUMPH 3TA 1961, vgc, new wheels, tyres, paint, chrome etc, matching numbers, starts & runs well, £3500 Tel. 01932 565526 Surrey

TRIUMPH 3TA 1959, Twenty One bathtub, older restoration in good condition just added a new battery, old MoTs & receipts for work done, new parts itted, £2400 Tel. 01578 760261 Borders

TRIUMPH 6T Thunderbird, 1957, very nice classic bike, 12 volt, new rims, spokes, paint job etc, £6950 p/x welcome Tel. 07443 642408 West Yorks

TRIUMPH 750 T140 TR7, 1975, ive speed, MoT, 17,500 miles, classic style sidepanels, powdercoated frame, T120 silencers, ex army bike, £4750 p/x Tel. 01328 700711 Norfolk

TRIUMPH 750 T140 Silver Jubilee, 1977, new tyres & silencers, needs oil hoses & tidying for MoT, 16,654 miles, £5000 Tel. 07889 838092 Notts

TRIUMPH BONNEVILLE 2005, professionally built with leading links, uprated rear suspension, documentation for work done available, Sorn Tel. 02085 501598; 07747 020725 Essex

TRIUMPH BONNEVILLE T140, Silver Jubilee, not 100% original, 5000 odd miles paperwork seems to back it up, sell or trade for a late Commando or Hinckley, Special Bonnie Tel. 01628 668799 Bucks

TRIUMPH BONNEVILLE T100, 2014, 1800 miles only, also with King and Queen seat, full screen, £5495 Tel. 01543 684074 Staffs

TRIUMPH T100 Bonneville, 790cc, CBG prize bike, May 2004, only 11,000 miles, MoT May 2017, carrier, screen etc, £3200 Tel. 07912 185478; 01912 819904 Tyne & Wear

TRIUMPH T100C Trophy, 1967, F reg, export model, good condition, matching nos, MoT’d, TLS electronic ignition, £5200 Tel. 01392 464842 Devon

TRIUMPH T120 Bonneville, 1961, total rebuild, original reg, parts too much to list, MoT, £10,500 ono Tel. 01424 423929 Sussex




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TRIUMPH T120 Bonneville, 1961, matching nos just restored, paint by FD Autos new rims, tyres, stainless spokes,engine rebuilt, £12,500 ono Tel. 07768 934604 Essex

TRIUMPH T140D 1979, just 6000 miles, MoT Nov, easy starting & no oil leaks, new steering head bearings, new rear tyre, clutch, throttle cable, vgc, £6000 Tel. 01905 923568 Worcs

TRIUMPH THUNDERBIRD 6T, 1962, 650cc, pre unit, iron head, 12 volt, matching numbers, crash bars, workshop manual a good riding classic machine, £7500 ono Tel. 01271 343790 North Devon

TRIUMPH TIGER 90 baby Bonnie, 1964, 350cc 12v, electronic ignition, ethanol proofed, easy starter lovely ride, £4000 ono Tel. 07889 992117 Lancs

TRIUMPH TIGER CUB T20SH, fully restored, matching numbers, original tinware available, MoT May 2017, £3400 Tel. 01303 864243 Kent

TRIUMPH TIGER CUB 1962, full restoration completed, matching numbers & original reg, extensive new parts & fully commissioned, £3750 Tel. 07941 418093 Berkshire

TRIUMPH TR6R 1970, totally rebuilt all new parts & tyres, ive speed gearbox, new 17” wheels, lowered to suit shorter person, sold with full MoT, vgc, £10,000 Tel. 01432 820291 Herefordshire

TRIUMPH TR6R MoT March 2017, non match, new valves, springs, guides, rings, Boyer carb, chain sprockets, runs well, alloy rims, £5750 Tel. 07967 246914 Dorset

TRIUMPH TR6SS 1966, rare bike, engine built by George Hopwood, £1530 spent on engine, new front tyre, new battery, £6900 Tel. 01634 370440 Kent

VELOREX SIDECAR single seat, good condition, new screen itted, good seat, tyre, some ittings, £375 Tel. 07946 485404 Notts

VINCENT 1953, Black Shadow, Series C, unrestored all matching numbers as factory built, approx 15,000 original miles, second owner since 1963 Tel. 60482 00736. Email. Canada

WATSONIAN FLIGHT sidecar for restoration, 1965 Tel. 07891 202023 Gloucs

YAMAHA DIVERSION XJ600S, V reg, with colour coded Velorex Sport Sidecar with lockable storage behind seat, MoT, three new tyres this year, Tourneau cover, £2499 Tel. Kevin 07974 838005 East Sussex

YAMAHA DRAGSTAR XVS 650cc, 1999, will MoT if required, nice condition, irst time on the button, rides well, good runner, Sorn, £1750 ono Tel. 01392 875956 Devon

YAMAHA DRAGSTAR 650 2006, classic, almost as new condition, only 3700 miles, MoT Oct 2016, new battery, two careful owners, £3650 Tel. 07957 223665 Hampshire

YAMAHA FZR1000 1988, good original condition, new tyres, clutch & stainless exhaust genuine 42,000 miles £1750 Tel. Tony 07702 083988 Somerset

YAMAHA RADIAN 600cc, 4 cyl, 7400 miles only, MoT Sept 2017, new Dunlop tyres, great bike, £1500 ono Tel. 07967 953272 Herefordshire

YAMAHA TMAX 500cc, super scooter in fantastic original condition, 2001, 10 months MoT, 26,500 miles, £1875 Tel. 07817 257889 Leics

YAMAHA XT 1993, speedo shows 3700 miles, has been dry stored, runs well, Tel. Geoff 01604 644089; 07808 839317 Northampton

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For Sale BMW K1200S 2006, 16,000 miles, good clean condition, top box, panniers, hugger, Rizoma bars, £4250 ono Tel. 07957 686671; 01442 391570. Herts. BMW R1100S Mandarin, 1998, 51,000 miles, MoT July 2017, panniers, tank bag, good runner, original condition, £2000 Tel. 01332 675162 after 6pm. Derbyshire. BSA BANTAM SPORT 1970, rebuilt, fitted crash bars, fly screen and Rex Caunt electronic ignition (£300), 12 volt, £2300 ono Tel. 07814 091378. West Midlands. BSA C15 trials, genuine 1960 trials model with matching numbers & original reg/ buff logbook/MV5C, bike dismantled, engine rebuilt, £2200 Tel. 01865 762859. OXfordshire. DUCATI 888 1993, fully serviced beginning of this year, inc belts, tyres, brake fluid change & new gold chain, close to immaculate condition, carbon cans runs & rides 100% rare bike now, £6500 ono Tel. Phil 07765 883209. Essex. FRANCIS-BARNETT 1960, Light Cruiser, 172cc, four speed, green & white, good starter & runner, not mint but clean & sound, one years MoT, new tyres & tubes, plus many other new parts itted, £1450 Tel. 01508 499794. Norfolk. HESKETH V1000 one of the last classic ive to be built by Hesketh Motorcycles Paul Sleeman, mint with all up to date mods, special reg plate Tel. 07801 475352. South Glamorgan. MATCHLESS 1964, 600cc, 89/96 bore/stroke, Ali tank and guards, lightweight valves, beautiful bike, £6990 Tel. 02077 021318; 07969 879304. London. MZ ETZ301 Saxon Tour, 1994, for renovation or spares, new tyres & battery, no spark, £300 ono Tel. Mike 01892 836154. Kent. NORTON 50 1958, 12V, Borrani rims, owned by me from new, £4950 Tel. 07919 672390. Lancs. NORTON 650SS 1969, one family owned since new, last taxed 1976, been stored in a garden shed since, mainly original, needs renovation, comes with vintage Norton manuals and V5C, £5000 Tel. 01748 811676. North Yorkshire. ROYAL ENFIELD Electra X, r/h gear change, highway kit, rear rack, £1200 Tel. 01789 266671. Warwickshire. ROYAL ENFIELD 1961, Meteor Minor 500 twin Airflow, a rare good condition reliable classic, this model has 17” wheels, would suit a female rider or a shortish person, ideal for the longer runs or touring having the fairing £3750 Tel. 01642 896743. Teesside. SUZUKI GSX750 ET/EX, good condition, needs some tlc, complete bike including all bodywork, some new, engine sounds fine, £900 ono Tel. 07971 976007. West Midlands.

ROYAL ENFIELD Indian Bullet 350cc, 1995, good condition, one years MoT, 9000 miles, new clutch in May 2016, electronic ignition, new speedo plus many other small parts, £1200 Tel. 01508 499794. Norfolk. ROYAL ENFIELD Bullet, or swop 46 speed twin basket case, why? Tel. 01664 565597. Leics. TRIBSA SCRAMBLER pre 1960, 500cc, T100, Norton forks, Norton clutch & gearbox, £2800 ono Tel. 01453 542589. Glos. TRIUMPH L2/1 250cc, 1935, complete & unmolested, needs full restoration, OLB, V5, various original manuals & brochures, a good example of a pre war sporty lightweight Val Page Triumph, £2300 Tel. 01284 753974. Suffolk. TRIUMPH T120 Bonneville, 1961, in great condition, good runner, Sorn at the moment, matching numbers, viewings can be arranged £12,000 Tel. 07725 848416. Shropshire. TRIUMPH T150 Conical front forks, yokes, complete, £250. Pair grey faced clocks brand new, £145. Triumph T150 Conical rear wheel, with K81 complete, £250. Lucas chrome headlamp switch, 3 no lights, need new chrome, £20. Pair alloy bell mouths with gauze 32m, £20. Pair large alloy inned exhaust clamps, T120, £18. Set of alloy inned rocker caps, T120, £20. Alloy rocker finned feed T120, £20. Tel. 01424 882018. East Sussex. TRIUMPH TIGER 885 red, 1996, 38,000 miles, excellent condition, centre stand itted, one year MoT, looks & rides superbly, Haynes manual inc, all paperwork & MoTs, £1475 ono Tel. Steve 07889 445335. Middlesex. TRIUMPH TIGER CUB 1959 with 1963 engine, running project a little work needed to put on road or restore, some tinware, £1300 ono Tel. 01455 828366. Leics. TRIUMPH TRIPLE STREET R 2012, beautiful condition, 1600 miles, loads extras, red, £5000 ono Tel. 01928 713715. Cheshire. VELOSOLEX S3800 1973, all original & MoT, also 1975, orange, engine dismantled and Honda Stream, banking three wheel scooter for spares or repairs (1982) £750 Tel. 07778 565047. East Lothian. YAMAHA MT03 2016, no miles, black as new, £4000 ovno Tel. 01928 713715. Cheshire. YAMAHA XS650D 1977, s/s rims and spokes, peashooter silencers, Shorai battery, £2500 ovno Tel. 07919 672390. Lancs. YAMAHA XT250 1982, 12V, very smart, £1850 Tel. 07919 672390. Lancs. YAMAHA YB100 1974, on Sorn, needs new battery, £480. Email. alun883@aol for further information Surrey.

Parts For Sale SCOTT SHIPLEY petrol tank, £160. Scott flywheel generator, £85 Tel. 07415 804804. Herefordshire.

AN ASSORTMENT of odds & ends: two Villiers lever control ‘tops’; two petrol taps, one with good armoured cable, unused rubber battery strap, Villiers spanner, single flasher unit, all very cheap to clear, can post. Tel. Richard 01842 819969. Norfolk. BMW K100LT 1991, both wheels, brakes & suspension, all lights, most of the fairing, fuel tank, 22lt top box with ittings, sensible offer for the lot or may split Tel. Ralph 07963 857422. Lincs. KAWASAKI Z900 petrol tank, £150; carbs, £150; headlamp, £80; front/rear wheels, £400; front mudguard, £150; electronic ignition, £100; oil pump, £50; oil ilter cover & bolt, £20; front brake master cylinder, £50; flywheel rotor, £40; starter pinion, £30; two indicators, £40; tail piece, £40; gear selector rod & selector pawl, £40; cam chain, £40 + postage on all items Tel. 07729 297516. Derbyshire. LE VELOCETTE Mark 3, spares for sale: advance and retard units, several, £10 each. Miller generator cover, part no V/5, £15. Four new rear mudguard cover plates, part no LE514, £4 each. New crankcase iller plug LE 520, £8. Induction pipe assembly part LE 894/3, £10. Two new fulcrum plates, part LE 495/2, £5 each. Rear number plate part LE 319/2, £5. Miller rectiier, £10. Miller headlamp glass, part 62/3, £15. Miller headlamp, reflecting dish part 62/6 (chrome peeling), £5. Miller headlamp rim, part 62/2 (needs chrome), £5. Three handlebar levers, Part LE 406, £3 each. New kickstart crank Part LE 680/2, £20. Gear change linkage part no LE145/2 & part LAS 189/2, £15. Headlamp cowl part no LE 721, £10, all plus postage or collect from Devon Tel. Mick 01803 770354. ROYAL ENFIELD Continental GT 535cc, (EFI) spares, (new) throttle cables (pair), clutch cable, (mirrors pair), aerosol paint (red), Yamaha YFZ450 barrel & piston, 95m/m Tel. 01772 783774. Lancs. SUNBEAM S7 petrol tank, scruffy, sound, £200. Gearbox, Tel. 01702 349733. Essex. TRIUMPH 3T CRANKCASES good condition, 463T77397 Tel. 01225 834372. Bath. TRIUMPH 57-T100 barrels with tappex blocks, E2257, perfect, £175. 3T head E2645 valve gear no valves, £75 Tel. 01225 834372. Bath. TRIUMPH 955 SPRINT breaking engine, £140; frame, £80 etc ring for details Tel. 07503 399093. Merseyside. TRIUMPH/NORMAN/SCOTT SEATS ridged/sprung hub original dualseat with brackets in vgc, £50; also Norman B1/ B3 original multi spring dual seat in vgc, £50 (will also it Scott models) Tel. 01865 762859. Oxfordshire. VINCENT BA POINTS spanner, it measures 7mm x 5mm AF and is 65mm long, £10 Tel. 07510 277780. Nottinghamshire.

TRIUMPH PARTS: three main shafts, one T3893, two T914, £7 all three. Main shaft high gear T3891, two third gear T3890, T3889, two 2nd gear T3861, two T917, £30 all ive Tel. 01933 355796. Northants.

Wanted ANY MAKE OR SIZE classic motorcycle wanted in any condition from a basket case to one in nice condition, cash waiting Tel. 07548 801403. Notts. ARMSTRONG LEADING LINK forks as itted to Cotton, Norman, Sun and Tandon Tel. 01892 836154. Kent. ARMY MOTORCYCLE WANTED TRW Triumph, BSA M20, B4 paratroop bicycle, Royal Enield Flying Flea, etc open to offers, any condition, runner or project, have cash and will travel, Midlands based Tel. 07538 696157. AUTOCYCLE OR CYCLEMOTOR wanted in any condition, runner or restoration project, most things considered, older the better (prewar?) Tel. 07983 832076. Staffs. BMW R100GS prefer very good unrestored original condition, any considered Tel. 07920 095019. South Yorkshire. BRITISH BIKE restoration project wanted (or older Japanese) most things considered regardless size or condition, have cash and will travel, Midland based Tel. 07538 696157. BRITISH TWIN any age or condition, long time storage, etc Tel. 01512 591596. Lancashire. BSA RESTORATION PROJECT bike wanted, singe or twin, anything from a Bantam to A10/A65, will travel and pay cash Tel. 07932 948153. Notts. BSA VICTOR GP wanted, must be essentially original, ie engine and frame, but any condition considered Tel. 01529 413579. Lincs. DOES ANYONE have a 197580 BMW Boxer, 60/75/80 for sale, at a reasonable price for restoration project must be complete with a UK V5? Tel. Marc 07511 688088. West Midlands. HONDA XL600 wanted, from bikes to bits, anything considered will travel Tel. Dan 07977 984089. Gwynedd. MOTO GUZZI V35 or V50, have for exchange Triumph TR25W or Ducati 600 Monster, must be good runner, cash adjustment either way Tel. 01162 718208; 07880 734787. Leics. OUTER PRIMARY COVER wanted to it 1960 T120 TR6 T1601 also Lucas 3ET coils 45149 Tel. 01933 355796. Northants. STEIB SIDECAR S500 or S501 wanted also ittings for Triumph T110, good price paid Tel. 01654 712193. Gwynedd. Email. mikechadwick@ TRIUMPH BONNEVILLE 04 model, 2004, 790cc wanted standard silencers Tel. 01613 309814. Manchester.

SUZUKI RM 50cc, 1978 to 1980, twin shock for restoration, schoolboy scrambler Tel. 01653 648367. York. TRIUMPH RESTORATION PROJECT bike wanted, anything considered from Tiger Cub to big twin, (early or late model, will travel and pay cash Tel. 07932 948153. Notts. WANTED EARLY JAPANESE 1950s, 60s motorcycle ads and literature Email. Derbyshire. WANTED GOLDSTAR RACING MAGNETO and straps, DB32 engine have RGS tacho for sale, Bantam rearlight, Bridgestone 400x18 trials tyre, 1940 headlight with mask Lucas Tel. 07711 956049. South Yorks. YAMAHA VIRAGO 535 front wheel and front down pipe Tel. 07597 174839. Cheshire.

Miscellaneous BELSTAFF black waxed jacket, XXL, unworn with liner, £175 Tel. 01225 834372. Bath. CLASSIC MOTORCYCLE MAGAZINES: Classic Bike, Classic Motorcycle, Classic Bike Guide, British Bike, Silver Machine, Classic Motorcycle Legends, mostly complete collections, buyer collects, van load, £100 ono Tel. 07988 160500. Derbyshire. C Y C L E M A S T E R WORKSHOP MANUAL £20. Bond minicar MKF handbook, £20. Pitmans Bond minicar book, £15. Brand new Clark Scamp handbook warranty in wallet, £18 Tel. 02392 730735. Hants. DAINESE LEATHERS black, jacket 40 chest, trousers 34 & 36 waist, zip together, good condition, no grazes, will split, pictures available, £50 each Tel. 01707 333614. Herts. MINT MAGAZINES 1984 to 1999, 168 Classic Bike; 128 Classic Motorcycle, weight 280lbs, £77 buyer collects. Tel. 07539 204262. Essex. MYFORD ML7 LATHE bench pillar drill, air compressor Tel. Gareth 07811 271702. Mid Glamorgan. SIDI LEATHERS one piece lined race leathers, black, gold, red & white with Fieldsheer knee sliders, suit someone 5ft 7” tall, 42” chest, 30” waist, 30” I/L, in excellent condition, recently cleaned & treated, receipt to show, £150 Tel. 01613 711960 after 6pm; 07733 288008 anytime. Greater Manchester. THE BOOK ‘Hailwood’ signed in my presence, twenty 1960/70 signed one off photos, Agostini, Phil Read, Barry Sheene, John Cooper etc, 34 race meeting & TT programmes, offers please Tel. Tony 01282 438947. Lancashire. THE UNAPPROACHABLE NORTON Bob Holliday, 105 page, 1902 to 1975, £12; My Velocette Days, 40 years by L Moseley, £12; Norton spare parts 1956 with plate ES2 195 and 50, £8; Velocette spare parts with plate list KSS KTS Mark 2, £8 Tel. 01489 784550. Hants.



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Deadline for advertising in the November issue Friday 7 October





JUST LIKE YOU, I waste far, far too much

attempt at building a whatever it was they thought time staring wistfully at the for-sale ads. A minor they could build but couldn’t. Whenever I’m mystery of life is that as my personal finances asked – and it does happen, insanely – I advise improve, so the prices attained by the bikes I’ve against buying a project. ‘Just needs finishing…’ always wanted rise. It’s a miracle, etc. I have is a terrible thing to see in an advert. What does every karmic confidence that the moment I retire it mean? Optimism expired? Costs ahead too from this particular vale of tears and my finances brutal even for a billionaire? In fact, what it usually decline accordingly, so those prices will plummet means is that proud builder has hit a snag. There along with my income and along with the prices are many snags. Without seeing the bike, you can attained by all the priceless classics (laughs, a only guess at which snag it is. little) I’ve accumulated over the years and stored The other line in the adverts which puts me off carelessly in the shed I like to call The Shed. is ‘Much money spent’. What does that mean? Is Never buy a project. That Anyway, having tried and failed to acquire yet ‘much money’ an absolute term, as in £1,000,000, is the best advice … and another tribute to the disguising charm of rust … or a relative term, like £1000 wasted on a bike the worst advice sorry, patina, I decided that as what I really really worth £100? Buying someone else’s project is want is a late oily-frame BSA twin, the best, least such a profoundly scary idea I have no idea why disastrous course of action would be to buy a anyone sensible would do it. project. Stop the laughing, okay? I don’t want to do a rebuild. No. I want to I considered a particular unit Beezer for my build, offered by a friend. It do a build. I want to build a… it doesn’t matter what I want to build. Before I was pre-oily frame, but needs must when your driver’s the devil, as someone can build it, however, I need what we can kindly refer to as a donor bike. Easy might have said once. Maybe not. It was a decent enough A65FS, a Firebird to acquire, yes? Scrambler to you. The price was okay. The frame had been ‘de-lugged’. No. I’ve been trying, in an increasingly limp way, to buy one all year. I’ve Why? The perfectly useful BSA forks had been replaced by a set from Italy. seen a whole pile of almost exactly the right beast, a BSA twin, but not a Why? The perfectly adequate 2ls BSA front brake had been replaced by a single oily-frame 1971-on model. I want the frame, the engine, the fork yokes BSA brakeplate fitted into a Norton hub. Why? I collapsed with despair and and the hubs. Maybe not even the hubs, because there are loads of wheels considered the attractions of a Honda Chaly. about. But ideally I’d like a re-imported scrapster of the kind our US cousins And then I saw it. Exactly what I want. Nice single-carb A65T engine in an so generously threw away by the thousand in the 1970s. When I started this oily frame. All the bits were there. It was in pieces and in a hideous condition, sluggish quest I knew, simply knew, that there were loads out there. There no one with more than a single brain cell would want it. Ripe for my build. It were. And now… there aren’t. went through an auction and sold for almost £3000. It would cost £3000 to BSA built a huge number of these bikes, and sold them to mostly American make it worth £3000. customers – hence their return in great numbers… previously. I’ve bought a If you’re brave enough to visit the October Stafford Show, you might be few of them myself down the years, and they were always cheap and I was able to spot me tottering wearily around the outdoor jumblers, gazing limply always cheerful, because they’re good, basic bikes. And they are not Triumphs. at hideous monstrosities worth tens of pounds yet selling for thousands. Be The marketplace is still rammed with Triumphs, twins and triples, in exactly gentle. You’ll be observing a wheezing fool on the brink of buying someone the state I want to find a BSA. Everyone wants Triumphs, plainly. Just not me. else’s failed project, so he can convert it – at vast expense – into a failed So. I should purchase a discontinued project. Someone else’s failed project of his own. Buy him a beer and protect him from himself…


Famous last words

‘Just needs finishing… is a terrible thing to see in an advert. What does it mean? Optimism expired? Costs ahead too brutal even for a billionaire?’ WHO IS FRANK WESTWORTH? Frank Westworth is the editor of RealClassic magazine, the latest in a long series of publications that began in 1982 when he was bullied into producing The Jampot, the previously excellent magazine of the AJS & Matchless OC. He was also founding editor of Classic Bike Guide and has returned as a penance. Or something. He has a mysterious obsession with riding obscure and elderly motorcycles, which he does very slowly…