1973 X-75 Hurricane. This 44 year old 740cc BSA Rocket-Three in a Triumph topcoat looks as ridiculously cool and impractical today as it did when it first rolled off designer Craig Vetter's drawing board way back in 1969. BSA was about to go bust. The Triumph Trident simply wasn't sufficiently impressing the Yanks. The Honda 750-4 was offering a more modern package at a more compelling price. Something radical was required. It took a few years before Triumph pulled the right production strings, and around 1,200 bikes were built. Today there are probably more than that kicking around the world. But only the originals draw the big money—which is currently anywhere between £25,000 - £30,000. Mecum Auctions will be flogging this prime example at its Las Vegas Sale on 23rd - 27th January 2018. It's Lot S159. The mileage is quoted as 6,900. www.mecum.com

UPDATE: The bidding reached $24,000 but failed to meet the reserve. So unsold. Another X-75 in the sale made $28,050.


January 2018  Classic bike news


January 2018 Classic Bike News

Laser Power Bar Extension Wrench

One liners

Harley-Davidson quits Kansas City

Online traffic accident reporting plan

Silverstone Auctions February 2018

12th Annual Dania Beach Show

Black Lightning sells for $929,000

Online motorcycle scammer alert

One liners

AJS Tempest Scrambler for 2018

Charterhouse's February 2018 sale

Can anyone add info on this rider?

HJC FG-70s Aries Yellow helmet

One liners

Peter Wyngarde: 1927 (ish) - 2018

Death Machines of London - Airforce

Lancaster Insurance; reality check

One liners

"Fast" Eddie Clarke: 1950 - 2018

Bonhams' Las Vegas Sale reminder

Ban on credit/bank card charges

December 2017 Classic Bike News

Information on this picture wanted

Levis Motorcycles set for comeback?

One Liners

Oops, we screwed up [again - Ed]

H&H December 2017 sale at the NMM

Immortal Austin Seven from Veloce

Triumph T140V for sale: 237km

Irresponsible journalism from MCN?
Hagon Triumph Bobber mono-shock
Bruce Alan Brown: 1937 - 2017

MCN closes its biker forum

Arm rural UK coppers suggestion

Bought a Sump T-shirt? Check your email...

Falling bike sales, 11 straight months

Triumph Birmingham is set to close

New electric black taxi breaks cover

Semi naked girl straddles an Indian!!

November 2017 Classic Bike News

Riding Japan; new touring website

British motor racing anniversary day

Triumph T140 restoration guide

Ratchet handle taps & dies - Chronos

White Helmet Triumphs reach £12K

H&H's first timed automobilia auction

Goldtop £50 off gloves—limited offer

London pillion rider ban idea

Ford Design in the UK - Veloce

Thruxton Track Racer Kit offer

Want to post a comment on Sump?

New Davida "Koura" full face helmet

One liners

NMM BSA Gold Star winner details

Norton 650 twin scrambler planned

RE travel book: Hit the Road, Jac!

Stoneleigh Kickback Show April 2017

Brough Superior Pendine racer

One liners

H-D Battle of the Kings 2017 winner

New Royal Enfield 650 twins launched

NMM's 2018 Speedmaster prize

Meriden Off Road Tiger Cubs

One liners

Andy Tiernan's 2018 calendar

Scrappage scheme classic car poser

Norton launches the California

Scooter gangs face new response

One liners

September 2017 Classic Bike News

Bobby Vee: 1943 - 2016
EX-WD 500cc BSA WM20: £6,325
Essential autojumble sweatshirts
Mahindra has bought the BSA brand
Dave Cash: 1942 - 2016
BSA M20 "Blueprints" back in stock

New BSA M20 "Blueprint" T-shirt

VMCC Pip Squeak Run April 2016
Ed "Stewpot" Stewart: 1941 - 2016
Calling British spares manufacturers
Stupid biker gives away his KTM 690
Festival of Motorcycling autojumble

December 2015 Classic Bike News

Ian "Lemmy" Kilmister: 1945 - 2015

"Motorsport" CBE for John Surtees

Rare Vincent 2-stroke Uniflow Engine

Mick Grant replica 961 Norton racer

Old Biker's Mantra T-shirt from Sump

Evel Knievel's XL1000 movie bike

H&H Chateau Impney Sale results

Broughs of Bodmin Moor to sell

Flying Tiger Moto Man poofy soap

Petrol drops to £1 per litre

Porsche Sunbeam S8 special to sell

Ural gets on the scrambler trail

Anthony Valentine: 1939 - 2015

Huge UK government tax disc loss

Optimate 5 Voltmatic charger on test

Watsonian Squire T100 sidecar

November 2015 Classic Bike News

Redesigned Sump Triumph T-shirt

Great service at Welders Warehouse

Ural's 2016 Dark Force combination

Wheelrider project seeks backers

Andy Tiernan's 2016 calendar is here

A blue plaque for Triumph founder

Victory Ignition Concept custom bike

Matlock Bath Mining Museum appeal

Swedish Italians head for France
Side view assist tech from Bosch

David Beckham's Outlaw movie

New Triumph Speed Triple for 2016

Steve McQueen's Chevy camper van

Kickback Show London Dec 2015

George Barris: 1925 - 2015

NMM to raffle a 1959 T120 Bonnie

Royal Enfield splined clutch drums

"Led Zeppelin" chop sold at auction

Have you seen this Ford Mustang?

Bonhams Hendon Sale Dec 2015

Movies we love: The Family Way

Bonhams 2016 Las Vegas line-up

Triumph's new Bonneville line-up

October 2015 Classic Bike News

Mark Howe Murphy: 1932 - 2015

Comet Classics' Pride at the NEC

Stand up for Owen

Old Empire Motorcycles Gladiator

Record money at Bonhams' Stafford

Richard Davies: 1926 - 2015

Gear Gremlin bandana fleece thingy
Yamaha 125cc Resonator concept
Odd things are happening on Sump...
Weise "affordable" Lima gloves

Triumph's 2016 Bonneville teaser

Another Hayward T140 belt failure

Second generation HUD for bikes

Marzocchi closes. It's official

Gordon Honeycombe: 1936 - 2015

Indian Scout IKON shocks

Harley-Davidson XA to Wheatcroft

The Complete book of BMW Motorcycles

So who's answering the Sump phone?

September 2015 Classic Bike News

Fat bastards. And skinny dudes

Fonzie's Triumph to auction. Again

Urban rider's workshop initiative

The NMM opens its doors for free

Great speedo cable fix from Venhill

BAD-ASS BIKER T-shirts are in stock
Buying a crash helmet; a Sump guide
Romney Marsh Classic Bike Jumble
New Goldtop silk scarf

Worst Netley Marsh autojumble ever?

New Kawasaki W800 buyers guide
Bonhams Beaulieu 2015 results
Lord Edward Montagu: 1926 - 2015
Triumph's $2.9 million US recall fine
New Fab Four coffee table book
Dean Carroll Jones: 1931 - 2015
Harley-Davidson test ride competition
Still awaiting your Skully AR-1 lid?
Two rare Italians headed for Stafford
Sump BAD-ASS T-shirt coming soon
Who the hell can you trust anymore?
Austel Pullman 1300 combo to sell
Oldtimer Motoren Museum
£4m government grant for Norton
BSH sells out to Mortons Media
Sammy Miller Run August 2015

August 2015 Classic Bike News

Jake Robbins Royal Enfield custom

Music we love: Everyday Robots

Ebay: Rare 1956 250cc Indian Brave

For sale: Ex-display team TRW?
91 English & Welsh courts to close?

"Tougher and darker" HDs for 2016

Yvonne "Bat Girl" Craig: 1937 – 2015

Confederate P51 Combat Fighter
Subscribe to Sump - it's free

Cheffins Harrogate Sale August 2015
Lambeth Council bans nitrous oxide
TRF's £10,000 green lane appeal
Harley Street 750 set for Sept launch
Trouble: Triumph bobber on Ebay
Great new T-shirt designs from Sump
George Edward Cole: 1925 - 2015
Sammy Miller at Donington Classic
185,272 Harley Baggers recalled
Fifth Classic Car Boot Sale, London
Mecum Harrisburg results Aug 2015
Mecum Monterey Sale August 2015
Ace Cafe Beijing has opened
Free disc locks courtesy of the Met Police

July 2015 Classic Bike News

Where BSAs Dare

Rare 1912 Pierce at Netley
7 pence per minute to talk Triumph
Cheffins Cambridge Sale: 25th July
Matchless sunglasses: "Only £299"

Cool BSA Bantam diesel special
Brighton Speed Trials 2015 reminder
New Royal Enfield despatch bikes
M.A.D X-ray Art Exhibition Matchless
1964 Speed Twin bobber on eBay
Chris Squire: 1948 - 2015
Movies we love: Smokescreen (1964)
Road race & exhibition for the gents

June 2015 Classic Bike News

Christopher Lee: 1922 - 2015

Triumph Motorcycles: 1937 - Today

News about Roy Bacon

France bans earphones on the road

Road deaths up: first rise for 14 years

Daniel Patrick Macnee: 1922 - 2015

Tri-Cor is now Andy Gregory

Matchless-Vickers to stay in Britain

Samsung truck video safety tech

First middle lane "road hogger" fined

Brando's Electra Glide to auction

Pulford® wax cotton jacket, in "sand"

James "Hansi" Last: 1929 - 2015

Suzuki's UK café culture campaign

Disappointing Historics June Sale

DVLA "paperless counterpart" fiasco

Classic face masks, Boken style

Vibrating steering wheel idea for dozy drivers


May 2015 Classic Bike News

Council streetlight switch-off warning

Twinkle: 1948 - 2015

Historics' Brooklands sale draws near

Classic bikes for sale reminder
Hope Classic Rally: all for charity
Riley "BB" King: 1925 - 2015
Grace Lee Whitney: 1930 - 2015
Stondon Museum April sale results
RE buys Harris Performance Products
Geoff Duke: 1923 - 2015
Classic Motorcycle Restoration and Maintenance
NMM's winter raffle winner details
Stafford Sale: "£2,262,109: 86% sold"

April 2015 Classic Bike News
Norman Hyde polished T100 headers

Cheffins Cambridge Sale results

Harley's "Job of a lifetime" winner details

John Stuart Bloor is now a billionaire

BSMC Show, Tobacco Dock, London

"Rusty Blue" Route 66 motorcycle kit

Erik Buell Racing closes its doors

One of the Love Bugs is up for sale
Ronnie Carroll: 1934 - 2015
Sixty museum bikes to be auctioned
Goldtop classic fleece-lined gauntlets
Harley-Davidson Kansas lay-offs
Mecum's Walker Sign Collection results

March 2015 Classic Bike News

Ted Simon's website is "hacked by Isis"
Frank Perris: 1931 - 2015
ULEZ Zone charges for motorcycles
We're all down with a nasty disease
Eric "Shaw" Taylor: 1924 - 2015
E J Cole Collection at Mecum's

Rare 500cc Linto for Duxford Sale
Classic Car Boot Sale final reminder
DfT road safety website is to be axed
Autocom GPS bike tracker is "coming soon"
Jem Marsh: 1930 - 2015
New Triumph Thruxton book from Panther Publishing

New drug-driving regulations are here

HMS Sump is torpedoed!
New £350,000 Jensen GT for 2016

RE Continental GT, soon in black

February 2015 Classic Bike News

Lincoln bans legal highs in public places

Leonard Simon Nimoy: 1931 - 2015

Cheffins Cambridge Sale: Apr 2015

Race Retro Feb 2015 auction results
£4.7 million grant for Brooklands

Full size "Airfix" motorcycle kits
Two Francis-Barnett bikes "launched"
Gerry Lloyd Wells: 1929 - 2014

Harley-Davidson's "dream job" offer
Road accidents & preventable events
The velocity of money? What's that?
ACA auction Saturday 7th March 2015
Sump's new road safety stickers
Kickback Stoneleigh to be televised



January 2015 Classic Bike News

1948 Land Rover manufacture exhibit
UK Triumph Scrambler sales jump
Mecum Kissimmee Sale results
Ikon Basix shock absorbers
Sump BSA M20 metal sign—£14.99
Another great Marlboro Man has snuffed it

Mixed Bonham results at Las Vegas
Stolen Norton appeal for information
The Reunion by Jack Elgos
VMCC December 2014 raffle winner
Brian Horace Clemens: 1931 - 2015
Metal classic bike signs from Sump
Rod Taylor: 1930 - 2015
Derek Minter: 1932 - 2015
Tiernan's looking for a Flea crate
Jerry Lee Lewis Duo Glide to sell
"Killer drivers" sentencing review
Harley-Davidson recalls 19,000 bikes
Cutaway engine bonanza at Bonhams

Sump news archive



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Laser Power Bar


Laser Power Bar Extension Wrench


Story snapshot:

Add some muscle to your spanners

Tip: don't forget the freeing oil


Here's one of those tools that over the last 100 years or so pretty much anyone with a mechanical bent could have invented, but somehow didn't get around to until recent times. Or then again, maybe someone did invent it, but the invention got lost somewhere along the way.


It happens.


Or perhaps we just missed it on our travels. Either way, the idea behind this simple device is pretty straightforward. Instead of linking two spanners in the traditional-but-not-always-very-wise-method to free a stubborn nut or bolt, this Power Bar Extension Wrench provides the extra leverage required to get the job done without risking your hands and knuckles or whatever.


You simply slot in the spanner, square-up to the nut or bolt, and apply some pressure. And hey presto! The stubborn fastener is freed. Or—on the other hand—you've just wrecked a cylinder head or gearbox or some other valuable component. Why? Because as any even half-smart mechanic or bodger knows, it's not all about brute force. It's also about freeing oil, finesse, patience and sensitivity.



Nevertheless, there are times when a mechanic's gotta do what a mechanic's gotta do; hence this device. We haven't tried the wrench, and we've got no information regarding what size spanners it will handle, or whether it will accommodate a double ring (which, from this angle, seems unlikely). So you'll have to decide for yourself if it's suitable for your needs.


We're simply making the introduction.


But we can tell you that the lever is 385mm long, it's manufactured from chrome vanadium, and it's polished and chromed plated. We might mention that we're not big fans of chrome plated spanners and suchlike. When the chrome flakes, it's a nuisance/danger. That said, we've still got plenty of chrome plated tools that are perfectly fit for purpose, if not necessarily suitable for professional use.


Naturally, you get what you pay for, and Machine Mart (which is usually fairly competitive) is currently asking for around £45 (including VAT) for the wrench. Our verdict is that this is no doubt a handy device when used appropriately. Just don't treat it as a bigger hammer. Okay?




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Harley-Davidson promises a production electric bike within 18 months

Triumph wins 2017 Motorcycle Live Best Manufacturer Experience Award

BP to add first rapid electric charging points at service stations by March

VW accused of lab-testing monkeys and humans with diesel exhausts

Admiral Insurance admits hiking premiums for Hotmail customers

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Harley-Davidson quits Kansas City


Story snapshot:

Falling market share and reduced profits force a restructuring

800 jobs to go at Kansas, Missouri


It's a huge blow to the firm's prestige, and it won't do the company shares any good. But it's happening, and it looks like there's no going back. Following a sustained period of trading woes, Harley-Davidson is planning to close its Kansas City, Missouri assembly plant and shift local production back to York, Pennsylvania.

We've got the hard numbers around here somewhere. But they give us a headache, and there are too many troughs and even deeper troughs on the Milwaukee balance sheet to climb in and out of. Suffice to say that the firm's trading profits are in steady decline, and it needs to cut costs—not least with regard to its huge labour bill. Specifically, around 800 workers will go at Kansas, but 450 new positions will be created at York.


It will cost around $200million to close the plant. That should happen by 2019. After that, the company expects to save around $65million annually. One market analyst summed up the situation by explaining that Harley-Davidson can't woo enough new young Americans onto motorcycles, and can't find sufficient replacement buyers in the far eastern markets which tend to favour smaller capacity/lightweight/cheaper machines. There is, of course, the European and Australasian markets to tap into. And Harley-Davidson is doing what it can in these zones. But stiff competition from the likes of Triumph, Ducati, BMW and the big Japanese Four has seen Harley-Davidson fall further and further out of favour.



Hopes had been pinned on the newer range of Street 500 and Street 750 twins. But whilst the firm has enjoyed some success with these entry-level models (assembled in India with regard to the 500, and Kansas for the 750), the bikes simply haven't brought enough fresh blood to the showrooms.


It was less than a year ago that President Donald Trump fêted Harley-Davidson as a model American company that produced a great product and enjoyed a good relationship with its employees. Well the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Union might have something to say about that. Its representative reacted to the Kansas closure news by explaining that the company hadn't even told them directly before the story appeared in the press.


Whether true or false, that sounds like fairly normal operating procedure for many firms, both large and small. But it changes nothing. By the summer of 2019, Kansas will be history and Harley-Davidson would have retrenched to Pennsylvania where Touring, Softail and custom vehicles are built. That's the plan, anyway.


"Make America great again!" says Donald Trump. Well we think America is already great (albeit not as great as it was). But we understand where he's coming from. He's a big Harley-Davidson fan, and he hasn't got much time for fake news. But the factory closure news isn't fake. H-D has had a bad run, and it'll probably get worse before it gets better...



On the US mainland, Harley-Davidson also operates plants at Tomahawk, Wisconsin (where it manufactures sidecars, saddlebags, and windshields).
And Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin (which handles Powertrain Operations and builds some touring bikes). Kansas City, Missouri handles Sportsters, the defunct VRSC V-Rod, plus other vehicles.


This restructuring in itself by no means indicates some kind of terminal decline for Harley-Davidson. But clearly, the changing world market has left the firm in an awkward place, commercially speaking, with products that fail to meet the needs and requirements of modern buyers.


The company has a track record for bouncing back. But it's worth mentioning that it's just one year ago since Victory Motorcycles (produced by Polaris Industries) got the axe in order to concentrate on its Indian brand.


In 2017, Harley-Davidson sold 242,788 motorcycles worldwide.


UPDATE: Harley-Davidson is also closing its New Castalloy plant at North Plympton, Adelaide, Australia. The factory, which makes wheel rims, will see the loss of 120 jobs. Harley-Davidson bought the plant in 2006.

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Online traffic accident reporting plan


Story snapshot:

Government 12 week consultation launched

Another scheme to separate the police from the public?


The days of reporting road accidents at a UK police station could be numbered under a new proposal from H.M. Government. As ever, police resources are stretched to breaking point (and beyond), and Joe Public has apparently got better things to do than queue up at a cop shop (if you can even find one that's open anymore) and report their latest motoring ding-dong. So the idea of shifting accident reporting online has an obvious appeal—to everyone, that is, except those who haven't made the leap to digital technology.


Jesse Norman, Transport Minister, reckons that the current law—which requires a rider or driver to report an accident within 24 hours*—is outdated and needs modernising. To that end, a 12 week consultation has just been opened. "Quicker and easier" is the new mantra, but being cheaper is no doubt what this is really all about. And okay, saving money is important, but not at any cost.


As with all these things, if the move comes to pass there are likely to be many unintended consequences, and there seems little doubt that online reporting won't do much to prevent UK police station closures—and note that the latest figures reveal that over the past handful of years, four in every ten cop shops have shut their doors on Joe Public.


In the short term, direct reporting at a police station counter will still be an option. But as we've suggested, this looks like another slippery slope to reduced contact twixt the rozzers and the public (which is arguably both good and bad, depending on how you view the police).



Edmund King of the Automobile Association (AA) reckons that most drivers will be happy to take a ride down the super-highway (as opposed to the Queen's highway) to report a shunt. But we have to wonder if self-reporting on the web will simply shift all the stats and underlying truths out of sight rather than keep a few human eyes on where the issues and problems really lie.


In other words, a smart desk copper (if there is such a thing) might well spot things that a piece of high tech digital software might overlook. Naturally, we don't know that that will be the case, take note. We're just wondering aloud, etc.


Around 130,000 traffic-related personal injuries are recorded each year by UK police. There are no reliable stats on the number of vehicle shunts that take place, many of which are simply not reported.


It's difficult, and perhaps unwise, to refuse to move with the times. However, the underlying concern here is that the times might be moving a little faster than some of us can travel.


* In the UK, it's not necessary to report a traffic accident in which both parties have exchanged details, and where no personal injury is involved. Two potential offences arise from a refusal to comply with this requirement: Failure to stop, and Failure to report an accident. The penalties range from up to five points on a driving licence, a fine, or up to five years imprisonment.


Department of Transport Consultation Document


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Hi Sump. Typically we get the policing that we're prepared to pay for. And typically instead of dealing with the real issues, our succession of lame governments simply want to digitize everything with all the risks that that involves. No doubt much or all of that private information will find its way into the hands of lawyers, accident management "specialists", salesmen and all the other usual rogues. We should all respond to this consultation and tell the government that we want our police stations, incompetent though many of their officers are. Better the devil you know. —John Akin, Derbyshire

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Velocette Venom


Silverstone Auctions February 2018


Story snapshot:

Race Retro Classic Car [and bike] Sale 2018 details

Catalogue now closed, but more entries are welcomed


So far, there are only four bikes listed, but there's still the best part of a month to go, and the numbers might increase. The 500cc Velocette Venom pictured immediately above is the headline bike (if you can call it that). Silverstone hasn't so far given us as much detail as we'd like, so we can't tell you what year this motorcycle hails from.


But we can tell you that the bike, which has been given a mild cafe racer look, has been in a collection for many years and might need a little fettling to get it back in fighting shape. Beyond that, it's in reasonable condition and carries an estimate of £6,800 - £7,800.


The other three bikes in the sale are a Gas Gas TXT "Boy 50" (no reserve), a 1965 Triumph Tiger Cub (£2,500 - £3,000), and a 1952 rigid framed Velocette MAC (£4,500 - £5,500). All hammer prices will incur a 15% buyers commission, plus VAT @ 20% on that commission (where applicable).


The venue is the Race Retro International Historic Motorsport Show 2018 at Stoneleigh Park, Coventry, CV8 2LG. The dates are 24th & 25th February 2018. But it's not clear at the time of writing which date applies to the bikes sale (note that there are also cars, automobilia and wristwatches going under the hammer). So check with Silverstone if any of these bikes interest you, etc.




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12th Annual Dania Beach Vintage Motorcycle Show


12th Annual Dania Beach Show


Story snapshot:

The show happens on Saturday 27th January 2018

And that's ... well, tomorrow...


Yes, this is a bit late in the day to post this story. It's now Friday 26th January 2018, and the balloon goes up tomorrow. Saturday 27th. However, the electronic flyer has just landed on our desks via a third party, so we're doing what little we can to help give this show a boost.


Normally, of course, we'd post events such as this on our events page. But not everyone's in the loop, and plenty of show organisers still either haven't heard of Sump, or forget to clue up in, or simply pressed the wrong button on their rapid fire email launcher. Either way, it's too late to give this event much notice, so you'd better get your skates on if you live in Florida (and we know that quite a few Sumpsters do live in that southernmost state of the USA).


The location is Frost Park, 300 NE 2nd Street, Dania Beach, Florida USA. It looks like a family event, the organisers appear to have things well in hand, and if you can't get there this year, you might want to be aware of it for 2019 (if you can look that far ahead).


The underlying story here is clear enough (but we'll highlight it anyway). Send us your news and events sooner rather than later. And if you can format your event similar to the way we format our listings, that will save us some Sump hours, and that means more boozing time for us, etc.


Meanwhile, because we've now posted this story, there's a fair chance we'll show up on the organiser's web stats page and alert them to the fact that even if they haven't yet spotted us, we've spotted them. That's how it works.




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Vincent Black Lightning - 1951


Black Lightning sells for $929,000


Story snapshot:

World's most expensive motorcycle sold at auction

Ex-Tony McAlpine/Jack Ehret record breaking Vincent

$840,000 on the hammer plus 10% commission


We headlined this bike in Sump Classic Bike News December 2017, and we thought it would fetch a few bob. But we didn't see anything like this much money going under the hammer, and we doubt that anyone else did.


At today's dollar/sterling exchange rate, that $929,000 converts to £652,404, and that's a crazy price—not that most of the money being fetched by top-line Vincents and Broughs and Crockers and suchlike isn't crazy.



But you can't argue with market forces. Someone wanted this bike badly enough to shell out just shy of $1million, and that's that. Bonhams, which auctioned the famed Black Lightning at its Rio Hotel & Casino Sale at Las Vegas on 25th January 2018, has naturally picked up a nice slice of commission, and there are some other interesting auction numbers that we're looking at right now.


More to follow.


Bonhams Las Vegas Sale January 2018 reminder

Vincent World Record set at Bonhams, January 2016



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Hi Sump, I don't know whether to laugh or cry at the price of this Vincent Black Lightning. I could talk about the starving masses of the world and third world poverty and people desperate for expensive cancer drugs, but it isn't going to change anything. Some people simply have too much money and love to rub it in everyone else's nose. I can't even see what really makes this Vincent so special. Can anyone out there enlighten me, please? —Blotto

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Online motorcycle scammer alert


Story snapshot:

Reduce your risk when buying "long distance"

Take some advice from Sump


We'd like to identify this guy right here, right now. But we can't. Not yet anyway. We're still making enquiries in that regard, and have decided to hang fast for the time being. In any case, he'd only pop up somewhere else under a new ID—and if not him, then it will be someone else. And someone else. And so on.


This news story therefore isn't really about anyone in particular. It's about scammers as a whole. As a breed. And it's topical because one of our Sumpsters has just been ripped off bigtime by the aforementioned unnamed crook. The advert was spotted right here on Sump, on our Classic Bikes For Sale page. But it looks like the ad was also posted in other places on the web. And naturally we've removed it from our pages along with another suspect advert.


The victim's mistake was simply sending the money before he'd seen the bike or had positively identified the seller. That's double stupid, and he knows it. But most of us understand that when you've got another motorcycle target in your sights, or another car or whatever, rationality often becomes diluted. And the scammers know that too—and that's why you should always involve a friend in your new transaction.


Ideally, this friend should be someone who has no interest whatsoever in the object you're after. That will probably lead to him or her making more rational observations and jerking your lead when and where appropriate. But if you go hunting alone, you risk getting bitten by your prey.


Anyway, just treat this is yet another warning. If you're buying a motorcycle, no matter how good the offer, always pay cash on the nail. And if you can't do that, at the very least open a Skype account and talk to the seller "face to face". Very few scammers, if any, will be prepared to sit in front of a web cam and make the dirty deal. And if it's a legitimate buyer who's camera shy, that's just too bad. See the bike, or see the face, or risk losing your money.


This is your latest warning, but probably not your last.


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Dear Sump, if just one biker in a thousand is stupid enough to fall for these scams, there would still be hundreds or thousands of rip-offs every year. I don't know how much this particular victim lost, but I wouldn't trust someone I hadn't met with any more than a hundred quid. From the tone of your news story, this victim has probably lost a lot more than that. —PeeWee

Hi Sump, this guy is total twit. But he's got my sympathy. We're all potential victims when the right bait comes along. People who rip-off other people ought to have their [XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX] and their [XXXXXXXXX] eyes gouged out. Sorry for the language, but a good mate of mine lost nearly £5,000 and I'm still seeing a red mist. —[XXXXXXXXX]


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BMW posts new sales record. 164,153 bikes in 2017. 7th consecutive rise

London Mayor Sadiq Khan chastises bike firms for poor vehicle security

Excelsior-Henderson brand now being auctioned by Mecum at Las Vegas

Gumtree merges with (owner) eBay motors to create ebaymotorspro.co.uk

US Oscar-winning actress Dorothy Malone dies at 93. Peyton Place star

Increase in new cars collecting/selling driver data (age, habits, location, etc)

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AJS Tempest Scrambler for 2018


Story snapshot:

125cc learner legal four-stroke

The AJS Cadwell gets into some cool looking rubber


The use of the AJS brand will still grate a little with older Ajay diehards. We know that. But the world moves on, and the current owners of the marque are doing what they reasonably can to be faithful to the AJS heritage. So we'd better get over it.


Yes, this new AJS Tempest Scrambler was manufactured in China. But Chinese motorcycle build quality has in recent years leapt ahead, and stylewise they get better and better every season. We've posted a few words elsewhere on Sump detailing the good stuff about this bike. But we haven't detailed anything bad because we haven't seen it up close let alone ridden it. All the same, you might want to check it out. It was aimed largely at the learner market. But if in your declining years you're looking to downside a little, this 125cc pipsqueak might be just what you need to keep rolling till you can't roll no more.


Check this AJS Tempest Scrambler link for a blow-up image.

And/or check this AJS Tempest Scrambler link for some info.


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Good morning Sump People. It's taken me a long, long, long, long time to get over my anti-Chinese bigotry, and I still haven't completely made the transition. But a few more good looking bikes like this just might do the trick. What I really need to be convinced about is the quality. Chinese factories have, as you say in your piece, come a long in recent years. But they started from a low base; a lot further down the scale than the Japanese back in the 1950s and 1960s. —Adrian Cole

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1940 Indian Chief


Charterhouse's February 2018 sale

Story snapshot:

Indian Chief tops the bill

"Biggest motorcycle auction we've ever had"


"Bikers Paradise at Charterhouse Auction." That's how Charterhouse is headlining its next sale which, if the universe doesn't implode beforehand, will take place on Sunday 4th Feb 2018—with viewing on Saturday the 3rd.


Eighty(ish) bikes, we're told, have been rounded up in the Charterhouse corral, the star of which is a 1940 1,200cc restored Indian Chief (image immediately above) which is estimated at £28,000 to £32,000. The firm hasn't condescended to forward further details of the bike, nor supply a lot number (despite being asked twice), but apparently it's the only Indian on the reservation, so it shouldn't be hard to track down.


Most of the other lots are nothing to get overly excited about. But there's a decent enough range of workaday classics from Triumph, Norton, BSA, plus a fair number of sundry Brit and Jap classics looking to be re-homed (or re-garaged). It's also worth reminding ourselves that auctions have a curious habit of throwing up surprises and/or bargains from time to time. So if you're looking for an affordable and/or interesting new/old toy, it pays to keep an eye open for what's going on. Charterhouse told us that this is their biggest motorcycle sale to date.


1976 Honda 750-4

▲ 1976 Honda 750-4. The estimate is £6,500 - £7,500. Once again, no further details or lot number has as yet been offered by Charterhouse.


1983 Ducati Darmah

Lot 68. 1983 Ducati Darmah 900. 24,000 kilometres. Pillion saddle supplied. Recent clutch, plus new discs (inc pads). V5C. Old MOTs, history file and receipts. £10,000 - £12,000 estimate.


1960 AJS Model 20

Lot 47. 1960 AJS Model 20. This bike is estimated at £3,000 - £3,500. "Good condition". MOTs. V5C. History, etc.


Said Matthew Whitney of Charterhouse, "We have been working hard scouring the country advising clients with their motorcycles hidden away or stored in their barns, garages and even in their living rooms! Entries have come from Wales, Lincolnshire, all the counties across the West Country and even four motorcycles from a client in France who had them delivered to our store!"


So it's business as usual.


The earliest bike currently listed is a 1930 Triumph CSD. The most recent is a 2014 Harley-Davidson Dyna Switchback sidecar combination. The address for both the auction and viewing is: The Royal Bath & West Showground, Shepton Mallet, Somerset BA4 6QN. The gates/doors open at 9.30am (9am according to another source). The show ends at around 5.30pm.


If you're looking for a catalogue, contact: Charterhouse, The Long Street Salerooms, Sherborne DT9 3B. Note that all sale prices are subject to a 13.2% buyers premium.



Finally, here's something of which to be wary/mindful. Charterhouse is also offering some of these bikes on eBay. Actually, it's more accurate to say that the bikes are being simply advertised on eBay as "classified sales", but are not actually "buyable". Not yet, anyway.


The AJS Model 20, for instance, is listed at £3,000 on eBay. The Ducati Darmah is listed at £10,000. But you can't actually seal the deal on eBay. You'll notice that the BUY NOW button is missing (see image immediately above). Instead, you need to scroll to the bottom of the respective listings where you'll see a note advising you: TO BE SOLD AT THE AUCTION – NO BUY IT NOW PRICE.


We checked with Matthew Whitney at Charterhouse (image immediately below). What it means is that that £3,000 classified ad price isn't worth the digital paper it's written on. He explained that the problem lies with eBay data fields. What it means is that you have to write something in that particular field in order to list the item, and you can't write "AUCTION ESTIMATE" or "TO BE SOLD ON THE DAY". Or similar. Instead, you have to make a note at the bottom of the listing which might go unnoticed. And Charterhouse isn't running an online auction, remember. It's simply using eBay as an advertising medium or portal.


Regardless, it's very confusing for potential buyers—and it means that that £3,000 classified ad price, or the £10,000 classified ad price could rise to whatever's being bid on the day (4th February 2018). We don't feel that it's Charterhouse being dishonest, and it's not sharp practice either. Nevertheless, it looks wrong, and it feels wrong, and we're hoping that the firm does something about it.


The clearest thing to do, perhaps, is to use eBay only in the way it was intended to be used, which is as an online auction, or as a cash-on-the-nail classified advert portal. And even if you scratch your head for a bit and carefully study the eBay listing and read both the small and the big print, it all simply helps undermine confidence.


So to conclude, if you see any of these auction bikes also listed on eBay, don't waste your time trying to buy. Directly or indirectly, you'll need to be looking at the Charterhouse auction hammer before you can make a deal.





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Ron Johnson speedway rider


Can anyone add info on this rider?


Story snapshot:

Speedway fans look this way, please

We think it's Ron Johnson


'Speedway Riders Association Benevolent Fund'. That's what's written on the back of the right hand photograph above, and that's all the information we've been given by a Sump visitor regarding the ID of this speedway rider. There was no information about where the picture was taken, or when, or what bike he's riding.


But we did a reverse picture search via Google, and it looks like it might be Ron Johnson. In fact, one website suggests that it was taken at the pits at New Cross, London sometime between 1947 and 1949; New Cross being the speedway track where Johnson made his name.



Further information suggests that Johnson was a Brit who, as a child, emigrated to Australia with his family. Back in the UK as an adult, he lost a toe in a speedway crash in 1929, and lost the tips of two fingers whilst adjusting a primary chain at Crystal Palace. Later, we hear, he suffered a fractured skull at Wimbledon and "was never the same after".


He "enjoyed" a chequered career riding for the Crystal Palace Glaziers, the New Cross Lambs/Rangers, the Ashfield Giants, the West Ham Hammers, the Edinburgh Monarchs and possibly the Glasgow Giants. Various comebacks saw him competing with ever younger riders, and apparently he was still trying his luck when he was in his fifties.


Ron Johnson was born (possibly as Ronald Johnston) on 24th February 1907 at Duntocher, Scotland. He died on 4th February 1983 aged 75 in Australia. That's about all we have on this guy. But there is more career info online. However, our Sump visitor is interested in discovering more personal information about Johnson, or Johnston. His friends and associates, etc.


So polish your peepers, if you will. We'll pass on your email, or will put you in contact with our enquirer if it's more appropriate.


That's it. Message ends.


Defunct Speedway website

National Speedway Museum

Ron Johnson Speedway Rider - Wikipedia


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HJC FG-70s Aries Yellow helmet

Story snapshot:

New flaming open-face lid, XS to XL

£139.99, or thereabouts


The trouble with some products is that as hard as the manufacturer, importer or retailer tries to sell it, the worse it sounds. For instance, if we were simply told that this lid is made from Kevlar and fibre glass, has a cool looking flame job, and carries a recommended retail price of £139.99, we might like the cut of its jib and nip out and buy it.


No questions.


But once we hear that it's got "anti-bacterial properties", the imagery and connotations change a little, and not for the good. And then, when we learn about its "Silvercool moisture wicking interior" and its "removable and washable crown and cheek pads", we start to get turned off of the whole idea of buying a new lid and look for something that doesn't refer to hygiene stuff and hairy fungus and wotnot.


But you can't blame the lid manufacturers for addressing these more personal matters. Ya gotta wear a helmet in most parts of the world, and you need to keep 'em as clean as reasonably possible—and if you've got some latent mushroom growing neurosis festering beneath your brain bucket, well that's something you're gonna have to deal with, buddy-boy.


Or girl.


Meanwhile, we ought to mention some of the other features such a drop-down sun visor system and the lightweight superior fit & comfort using advanced CAD technology. But—whoah!—as soon as they mention "interchangeable liners" we start to think about baby nappies and stuff and begin signing off.


Our advice? Try not to read so much propaganda and sales hype. HJC has been around for long enough to know how to manufacture a reasonable product at a reasonable price. And sometimes you just have to trust people to deliver the right goods. So visit your local dealer, take a peek at the merchandise, try it, buy it (or don't buy it), and either way try not to fall off. Beyond that, just chuck the helmet away at the end of the season and pick up something ... well, fresher.




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Wow, modern helmets though: wicking, washable, changeable-but its all too late. Where were they forty years ago? I could have had bonce protection and been acne- and dandruff-free. I feel cheated. Its all so easy nowadays.—Roj, Sheffield.

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UK Government pegs first MOT at 3 years not 4 as mooted in consultation

Triumph Speedmaster (Jet black) price revealed. £11,650. Extra for colour

Harley-Davidson's Battle of the Kings competition is back for 2018

Ducati's 214bhp V4 Panigale is now in the showrooms. £19,250 upward

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Peter Wyngarde: 1927 (ish) - 2018


Story snapshot:

Star of Department S and Jason King has died aged around 90

Or maybe not quite 90...


It ain't easy writing a few words in memory of British actor Peter Wyngarde who has died possibly aged 90. That's because the frequently mysterious and always interesting characters he played on screen are matched by the frequently mysterious and always interesting character he was in reality.


His real name might have been Cyril Goldbert. He might have been born in 1927, or maybe '26 or '28 or '29. He might have been born in London. Then again it might have been Marseille or Singapore. His father might have been a diplomat named Wyngarde, or a merchant navy engineer named Goldbert.


Wyngarde was married at least once, and might have been heterosexual by inclination—or he might have had inclinations in other directions (and he was certainly once prosecuted for gross indecency with another fella—but that's all private stuff, and we ain't going any further in that direction).


What is known about Peter Wyngarde (to use the name he preferred) is that he was one of the most flamboyant characters on British TV, notably in the 1970s crime series Department S (Interpol agency pot boiler), and Jason King (crime writer and amateur sleuth). But his screen career dates much further back to 1949 when he appeared in a Hammer production entitled Dick Barton Strikes Back.



Joel Fabiani, Peter Wyngarde and Rosemary Nicols in Department S, the hit ITC Entertainment crime series. Wyngarde played Jason King, and a spin-off series was later created for him. Career-wise, this was his high point. Fabiani and Nicols, we're pleased to say, are still around somewhere.


Wyngarde's part was that of a soldier. He was uncredited and you could easily miss him if you blink too often, but you have to start somewhere. He played Pausanius in the 1956 production of Alexander the Great, also starring Richard Burton and Claire Bloom. He appeared in the Siege of Sydney Street (1960) with Donald Sinden and Nicole Berger. And he enjoyed a more satisfying role as Peter Quint in The Innocents (1961), a psychological gothic horror based on Henry James' The Turn of Screw. That film also starred Deborah Kerr and Michael Redgrave.


Then came Night of the Eagle (1962) which saw Wyngarde playing the role of Norman Taylor, a psychology professor mixed up in a celluloid romp involving witchcraft, superstition and other forms of mind control.



The late Patrick McGoohan and the late Peter Wyngarde in The Prisoner. The sardonic look was not typical of Wyngarde's on-screen personas, but he appears to have got it cracked.



He later appeared in various British TV series including The Saint; The Baron; The Avengers; The Prisoner; The Champions; and Dr Who. But he'll be best remembered as Jason King, the man with the unlikely bouffant hair-do, the Fu Manchu moustache, the slick tailored suits and a different cravat for every episode.


He also made a record or two, narrated a few TV productions, did numerous tours on the celebrity circuit, wrestled with an alcohol problem (and evidently won) and outlived practically everyone he ever worked with.


Pretty much everything else about Peter Wyngarde—his personal life, his career, his predilections and suchlike—can be treated as gospel, or taken with a pinch of salt.


However, it's simpler to accept that he came and went, and in between enjoyed one hell of a long and colourful ride. And that's just about all you can ever do on this earth, are we right?




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Since you mention it, I remember Peter Wyngarde as Jason King in Department S. Fifty years ago much of telly was staid and homely but this was great, and influential. Plots aside, as a fourteen year old, the exotic scenes of 'abroad', French cars and jazzy music added a degree of sophistication to my school visit to Paris. My sister was a fan and even named her Labrador after him!—Roj, Sheffield

Hi Sump, The 1970s was certainly "my era" TV-wise. Yes, many of the scripts were pretty unbelievable. But the characters were usually "right". Best of all, the 1970s theme music to TV shows is yet to be beaten. Listen again to Department S or The Prisoner or the Avengers. Glad to see Peter Wyngarde get a mention here.—Herman, Consett, County Durham

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Death Machines of London - Airforce

Story snapshot:

DMOL's latest creation takes flight

Giovanni Ravelli would be proud, we're told


Around here, we're already big fans of Moto Guzzi—not that any of us has ever owned one. But we've ridden and road-tested a fair number, and we've been "watching" Guzzis in the usual sidelong way waiting for the right moment to make our move.


Well that moment has arrived. This machine arrived in the email a few days back, and we've been looking at it and wondering if we should keep it as a more personal pleasure machine (if you know what we mean, fnarr, fnarr, etc), or whether we should turn it loose on the world.


But then, seeing as the Death Machines of London publicity machine has been in top gear firing off images and emails in all directions, we figured we'd do the right thing (if not the only thing) and let you have it. So check the link below for full details, or click on the image.


And get ready to weep. It's a cracker.


Death Machines of London - Airforce



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Good day, gents. Nice bit of eye-candy. But looks painful. When are the custom bike builders going to make machines that go the distance?—Sev

The exercise of engineering for its own sake without function as a primary aim...When applied to motorcycles is that art?....It frequently fails to produce practical motorcycles in many cases and this is one of those.... Personally I’m not too keen on taking a motorcycle and removing its functionality, which is really the reason for its existence. From a motorcyclists perspective, not an art critics point of view, that just looks like bad design....—The Village Squire

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Lancaster Insurance; reality check


Story snapshot:

Looking for a good motor insurance company recommendation

We'll be sure to quote ya


They say there's no smoke without fire, and there's a hell of a lot of smoke blowing this way from Lancaster Insurance reviewers. We mention this only in passing, you understand. As a heads-up.


We've just bought a new 4X4 (yes, we admit to driving one when we're not biking around the neighbourhood), and we decided to check the reviews before we handed over any cash rather than after. Lancaster claim to be specialists, and it has to be said they gave us the best quote by far. But a good quote isn't much use if everything else goes south.


Anyway, if you're thinking of using this outfit, check the links first—and that goes for all the insurance companies out there. We're trying hard to think of a firm that we would recommend, either for bikes or cars, but we can't.


Meanwhile, we'd be interested to hear if anyone out there can recommend a good firm (good prices, fast service, reliable support, etc).


We're all holding our breath here...


Lancaster insurance review



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Hi Sump, been with my insurance company for years (Adrian Flux). Bikes, house and car. I was recently quoted a whopping £841 for an old Land Rover Discovery that other insurers quoted at £333 and £351. Now is this just a blatant rip-off, or do they make the numbers up as they go along? My advice is to keep them all on the boil and shift around year by year. If you get lazy, they sniff you out and hike the premiums —PeeWee

Hello Mr Del Monte, IMHO they're all as bad as they're good. But for the last few years I've had my bikes with Peter James. Live telephone answering. Good service. Fair rates. So far. —The BSA Kid

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Harley-Davidson is coming back to Manchester. Store opening "soon"

eCall crash alert system is mandatory on EU cars built after April 2018


McQueen's "other" Bullitt Mustang "rediscovered" after almost 40 years

2017 UK new car sales fell 5.7% to 2.54 million units. 2.69 million in 2016


Harley-Davidson SnowQuake. Ice Rosa Rink, Italy 17th January 2018

Oil at $70 a barrel. Highest since 2014. Petrol prices already up slightly

Steve Jones (Steve's Stainless) died in November 2017 on holiday in India

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Fast Eddie Clarke


"Fast" Eddie Clarke: 1950 - 2018


Story snapshot:

Motörhead's last "classic" line-up member has died

He was 67


Okay, tricky one this. But we'll give it a go. "Fast" Eddie Clarke, one of the original and "classic" members of the original Motörhead line-up has died aged 67. We haven't run a full obituary here on Sump, and we're not going to. We've got nothing against the bloke, you understand. We just didn't really "know" him, either as fans or whatever.


But we've had a few people contact us today (13th January 2018) asking why we haven't run an appropriate piece marking his demise, and we gave the same reason.


We don't run obits on every celebrity or noted biking personality who's died. Instead, we have to be a little selective, and we based that selectivity around people we're familiar with, or who we feel have some significant connection with biking, or just when it "feels right".


Some do. Some don't.


None of us here at Sump are Motörhead fans (but we did carry an obit for Lemmy, mostly because we knew him from Hawkwind, and we knew him for his biking "credentials"). And yes, we do know the more familiar Motörhead music. But beyond that there's no familiarity.


We could try and bluff it and pretend we're paid up members of the Motörhead mosh pit. But we're all bluffed-out for this month, so we're leaving it well alone.


But clearly "Fast" Eddie Clarke meant a lot to others who peruse these web pages, so we figured that a passing mention was appropriate—and we're happy to do so. We've got no doubt that he was quite a character who gave a lot to music and to his fans. We just don't count ourselves among them.


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Bonhams' Las Vegas Sale reminder


Story snapshot:

The auction date is 25th January 2018

86 bikes are currently listed


At the time of writing, we counted 8 Vincents, 2 Brough Superiors, 13 Harley-Davidsons, and 13 Indians. These classic motorcycles are all going under the hammer at the Bonhams Sale at Las Vegas, USA on 25th January 2018.


But if none of them prime your carburettors, the auction is also offering an Excelsiors or two (US Excelsior, not the British Excelsior), a small tribe of Ducatis, a couple of MV Agustas and one or two Guzzis, plus the usual brace of Triumphs, Nortons and so on.


The headline lot is the (immediately) above and (immediately) below 1951 998cc Vincent Black Lightning (Lot 131Ω). It's a rare machine that was imported to Australia 67 years ago by Tony McAlpine. Vincent aficionado and racer Jack Ehret campaigned this bike and notched up 141.5 mph at Gunnedah, NSW. That feat set a new Australian speed record. There's also talk that this motorcycle threw down the gauntlet at George Brown's legendary Gunga Din and won. But we all know how boys will talk, and we've haven't yet heard any reliable accounts of this event from elsewhere, so we're keeping an open mind. [Update: The Vincent sold for a record $929,000/£652,404]




Vincent specialist Patrick Godet has re-commissioned this racer, and interest is likely to be high. Bonhams, however, is playing it cool and hasn't posted an estimate. Just "refer to the department", we're advised, and naturally you can read what you like into that.




Next, the (immediately) above 1950 Vincent Rapide Series-C Touring model (Lot 133) carries an estimate of $95,000 - $120,000 (£70,000 - £89,000). Bonhams tells us it's one of 107 models delivered to the USA in that year. First sold by Mickey Martin (the Burbank, California dealer), the bike is said to be original and unrestored—except for the petrol tank which has been repainted. The first owner was Ray Schumacher, a friend of legendary Vincent racer Marty Dickerson. Here's how Bonhams tells it:


"Throughout his interactions over the years with the seller, Marty would talk about how this Rapide went along on his first trip to Bonneville. Marty tells the story of how he went out to Bonneville in 1950 to watch, and to assist his friend Rollie Free. Three riders undertook the 28-hour journey to the Salt Flats. Marty rode his blue bike, still set up at that time for the street. His friend Ray Schumacher rode this Red Rapide, and their acquaintance Don Bishop went along on his 500cc Triumph. Marty said, 'Don was such a very nice guy, but we had to stop all the time because the tiny tank on his Triumph kept running out of gas, so we would pull over and get the hose out to top him off from the tanks of our Vincents.' As if that wasn't bad enough, the trip out to Utah became an even greater adventure. 'Don's bike got a flat rear tire, too. We gave him a bunch of grief because it was so very cold out there'".



In 1950, 2,800 Vincents were manufactured at Stevenage, Hertfordshire. Just 78 of them were finished in Chinese Red. This motorcycle is offered with the works order form (which we assume will be original), and the bike is recognised by the Vincent Owners Club (VOC). [Update: The Vincent sold for $92,000/£64,609]


Other lots that have caught our eye include:

▲ Lot 109: 1962 Norton Petty-Molnar 519cc Manx Road Racing Motorcycle. Frame number: PETTY PR93006. Engine number: MOLNAR 066. The estimate is $30,000 - $35,000 (£22,000 - £26,000).  [Update: The Norton sold for $40,250/£28,266]


▲ Lot 138Ω: 1926 Brough Superior 980cc SS80. Frame number: 437. Engine number: KTR/A 35485/Y. $125,000 - $150,000 (£92,000 - £110,000). Note that this engine was rebuilt with new cases. The original damaged cases (KTC/Y 56785) are included in the sale. [Update: The Brough sold for $126,875/£89,101]



▲ Lot 162: 1951 Triumph 6T. This 650cc Trumpet was raced at Bonneville by the near-legendary Bobby Sirkegian. In the early 1950s, aged just 13, this US racer hit 120mph+ on this machine. Restored a handful of years hence, Bonhams is estimating $20,000 - $22,000 (£15,000 - £16,000). [Update: The Triumph sold for $35,650/£25,036]



▲ Lot 126: 1914 Pope. Steve McQueen, we hear, bought this bike either in the 1970s or 1980s. Following his death, it was sold privately, and for many years was on display at the Otis Chandler Museum in California, USA.

The estimate is a cool $120,000 - $140,000 (£88,000 - £100,000). [Update: The Pope didn't sell]



So far, there are 86 motorcycles in the sale, plus 19 other motorcycle related lots which are mostly comprised of Kenny Von Dutch drawings.


Lastly, if you're puzzling over the Greek letter "Ω" (or omega) that accompanies some of the lots, it means that an extra customs duty of 2.5 percent is applicable.




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Ban on credit/bank card charges


Story snapshot:

The price you see will soon be the price you pay

... in theory


From Saturday 13th January 2018, UK traders will no longer be able to levy a surcharge for credit card or bank card payments. At present, around 13% of UK businesses ask/demand around 2 - 3% extra on the purchase price to cover their own costs with regards to the credit card companies or banks.


Meanwhile, some businesses or agencies charge a flat fee of perhaps £2.50, such as the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) for road fund licence payments, etc.


But all this will by law come to an end—although it's not clear what penalties will be applied even if the resources to pursue offenders are put in place. In other words, there might not be an available cat to chase the rats.


It's thought that some traders might well raise their prices to cover their real or perceived losses. But that will (a) possibly impact on their sales, and (b) "unfairly" hit customers who pay by cash or by other means.


Regardless, when you next buy an exhaust system or crash helmet or whatever—whether on or offline—the price quoted will be the price you pay. Unless the trader trots out the old "plus VAT" line.


The European Union is the motive force behind the new legislation, and this rule will be drafted into UK statute if and when the UK finally and fully exits the EU.


We've spoken to a lot of traders about this, and many are completely unaware of the forthcoming changes. So if you feel so inclined, you can sally forth and enlighten them. Alternately, there's nothing to stop you volunteering an extra 2 - 3% if you're of a more charitable bent.


But do traders really incur extra charges on card payments? Well some do, but the costs have for years been coming down. However, the bike trade—like other sectors of the UK trading market—is already (largely) screwing prices to the floor and in many cases is seriously struggling.


You might want to remember that should you discover a small rise in prices over the next few weeks or months.


And in case you were wondering, Sump has never levied a credit card, bank card or PayPal surcharge on anything on offer on our shops page (hint hint).


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Already, my local coffee and sandwich shop had already added a "service charge" to all orders. It's a nice cover to raise prices for customers, including those who pay with cash.—TK

Hi Sump, most businesses haven't got anything to complain about. It might cost a few pennies or a even few quid to handle credit card payments, but it also costs businesses money to handle cash. Just remember that all prices are negotiable. If you don't like it, don't buy. Simple.—LemonLady

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British comedy actor Bernard Cribbins made light of inappropriately shaped holes in inappropriate locations. But for UK road users, not least bikers, it's no joke.


Lane rental scheme "to go national"


Story snapshot:

New road repair incentives to be "rolled out nationwide"

£2,500 per day fines for utility firms


If you're tired of the roads being constantly dug-up and butchered by the utility firms, you'll be at least vaguely interested in this news story.


It seems that the government is considering (and note the use of the word "considering") rolling out its "lane rental scheme" across the country. The scheme involves local council levying a charge on utility firms that carry out roadwork at peak hours. That charge is £2,500 per day, which isn't huge in the context of large commercial contracts. But the pennies add up, and when a company is carrying out dozens, or even hundreds, of repairs at any given time (firms such as BT or any of the gas supply firms), it represents a large hit on profits.


Kent County Council and Transport for London (TfL) have for the past couple of years been operating tandem schemes as part of a pilot project. The upshot, we hear, is a 55% decrease in serious congestion in 2015/2016. Additionally, there has supposedly been a 616% increase in "collaborative work"; i.e. two or more suitably incentivised companies getting down and dirty in the same hole and sharing the costs. But we haven't seen any hard stats, so we're viewing these claims appropriately.



It's amazing that it's taken the UK God knows how many years to sort out this perennial road breaking problem, if it is sorted. But it's certainly beginning to look as if the cavalry has finally arrived.


Consequently traffic disruption is said to be down, and the roads are becoming clearer—with regard to these pilot schemes, anyway. As a result, the UK government is now thinking about persuading the rest of the national councils to adopt the same rules, protocols and—above all else—charges.


But will it also result in smoother, neater and safer road repairs? Probably not, we figure, at least not until the usual culprits are suitably incentivised.

The roll out should start some time in 2019.

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Sheffield Motorcycle Centre launched Steel City Classics. 70s & 80s bikes

John Lennon's Honda Z50A monkey bike. £30K+ expected. 4/3/18. H&H

Suffolk classic dike dealer Andy Tiernan reports "buoyant winter market"

New fines from March for ignoring UK M-way lane closures. £100. 3 points

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Harley-Davidson sues Affliction T-shirts

Harley-Davidson sues Affliction


Story snapshot:

Yet another lawsuit from Messrs H-D

We suspect an out-of-court settlement is on the way...


We've never heard of Affliction, the California-based clothing outfit. But apparently a lot of people are familiar with the firm and its products. More pertinently, Harley-Davidson has also heard of the company and has been studying its merchandise, notably the above T-shirt design.


It's one of many, we understand, that have come under the scrutiny of H-D's lawyers, and they've taken instructions (possibly based upon their own encouragement) to sue Affliction for every dollar and cent they can grab. We're talking about potentially millions of greenbacks for loss of trade, damage to reputation, punitive damages, lawyer fees, this fee, that fee, etc, etc.


And as you might gather we're not entirely sympathetic towards Harley-Davidson; not in this instance, anyway. That's because we've been looking at the various products in the Affliction range, and although there is a similarity (and occasionally a striking similarity) to H-D's world famous bar and shield device, it's not clear to us that Affliction has done anything much more than "pay homage" (and we use the term advisedly) to Milwaukee's most famous son.


Certainly there's no direct/exact copy of any of H-D's product, and if you check Affliction catalogue you'll see that the firm has hundreds, if not thousands of designs, any or all of which must bear some similarity to something else in the universe. The acid test here (or at least one of the tests) is whether or not Affliction's designs are likely to cause confusion in the market place, or directly soak up HD product sales.


In other words, would anyone even half-smart buy the above T-shirt (for instance) in the belief that they were buying a genuine branded Harley-Davidson product? It's possible, but it looks doubtful. And if anyone really wants a genuine Harley-Davidson branded T-shirt, would they buy the Affliction tee?


Has anyone else noticed the distinct similarity between the H-D eagle and the Wisconsin Eastern District Court eagle? And how about the colour blue and turquoise? And while we remember, we spotted some clouds yesterday that looked awfully familiar...



Beyond that, the US courts will look to see if the Big H-D has seriously and unfairly lost any sales or goodwill, or if Harley-Davidson is simply overstepping its legitimate corporate reach and flexing muscle that it ought not to be flexing—and there can be severe penalties for doing that. To clarify this point, if a company (either in the US or the UK) vexatiously launches a legal action for copyright infringement, or if such a company deliberately harasses and/or bullies another corporate entity for commercial gain or for business positioning or prestige, it can expect a huge fine if found guilty, possibly with a prison sentence for the owners, directors, managers or litigants.


It doesn't happen often, note. But it happens.


And Harley-Davidson is, of course, a serial suer (or is that sue-ist?). Hardly a month goes by (or goes buy?) without another story popping up in the press telling us that Milwaukee is gunning for someone else or is trying to register a trademark for anything and everything that might have the word "glide" or "hog" in it, or might make a "potato-potato" sound when chugging along down the road.


However, in fairness to Harley-Davidson, the company's brand and logo is one of the most recognisable on the planet, and the firm has ploughed countless millions into its heritage—only to find that everyone with a silk screen rig from Berkhamstead to Beijing is directly ripping off its intellectual property and flogging such items on eBay, at boot sales and (shock) even at bike shows and jumbles.


So we're leaving it to the lawyers who usually end up on the winning side no matter who loses. And in case you're looking at the image at the top of this story and are still trying to work out which design is the Harley-Davidson bar and shield device, you're probably not even as half smart as you think you are.


But then, who is?


See: Harley sues Urban Outfitters. Again.


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Hi Sump. Great magazine. Keep it up. Harley-Davidson should be pleased there are so many imitators out there. Isn't it the sincerest form of flattery? If there weren't so many aftermarket companies developing products and advertising the brand, the Milwaukee eagle would have crashed into the dirt years ago. I ride a Harley-Davidson and I've owned five, and I buy the company T-shirts and stuff. But there's room for competition on the market. Harley is simply showing us how weak it is. Let Affliction do what it does.—Splodge

You may want to consider that in the UK companies are not averse to the same practise—and not purely chasing up companies that are supposedly benefiting financially from using adaptations of company logos. Good old boys in the legal dept at that Hinckley-based company are currently giving various owners clubs around the world grief for using logos and even the company name, that all they did was buy. These are the the same owners clubs who supported the resurgence of the make in the 90s and have continued to support the factory ever since. Kick in the teeth sums it up well I think. —Geoff Walton

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Rockers Reunion 2018 poster


Rocker's Revival extra early plug


Story snapshot:

Only eleven months until the next ageing rocker shindig

Repeat: only eleven months until the next ageing rocker shindig...


The story is simple. We got an email from the organisers asking us to give this event an early mention, and even though there's another eleven months to go before the shindig happens, we decided to oblige. Why? Well, for a couple of reasons actually.


1. News has been a bit thin on the ground what with Christmas and the New Year celebrations, and we had a hole on the page to fill.

2. When you get to a certain age, the days and weeks and months are apt to whizz past at highly improbable speeds.

3. Because when you get to that aforementioned chronological juncture, memory simply ain't what it used to be, and a few extra advance nudges in the right direction are often needed before the message sinks in.


So if you're an ageing rocker (or even a less ageing rocker, whatever "ageing" means) and fancy attending, you can grab the details from the above poster. But we'll repeat those details here for the benefit of the internet search engines.


The date is Saturday 3rd November 2018. The venue is Harrow Leisure Centre, Christchurch Avenue, Harrow HA3 5BD. The contact number is: 07760 727874. Advance tickets are £20. The price on the door is £25. The hours are 4pm until midnight. And the musical entertainment will be provided by Lou Cifer and the Hellions; Crazy Cavan and the Rhythm Rockers; Graham Fenton with Wight Lightning; and Johnny Fox and the Hunters.


Beyond that, expect beer, hot food, plenty of unlikely rocker tales, plenty of worryingly likely rocker tales, and possibly some very dodgy dancing. And in case your ageing brain cells really can't soak up any more information (least of all information relating to gatherings that will take place almost a year into the future), we'll post the details on our events page.


Try and remember that at least.




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