Yamaha based cafe racer from Switzerland
It ain't every day that a new Egli motorcycle comes hurtling around the bend. In fact, it's 25 years since the last variation on the Egli theme took shape. But then, you could also say that this particular Swiss roller has actually taken 51-years to arrive, because that's how long it is since the company was founded by Fritz Walter Egli.
Developed at the Egli Motorradtechnik AG workshop in Bettwil, Switzerland, this new cafe racer is based upon the Yamaha XJR1300 platform. Details are scarce, but we can tell you that (a) the chassis is structured around the now classic Egli central tube concept; (b) the rake angle is 24.5-degrees; (c) the wheelbase is 1,470mm (57.8-inches); and (d) the swinging arm length is 21.6-inches (but in the real world, how many riding folk really need to know any or all of that?).
Actually, there's a little more info. The front fork is a 43mm Öhlins RSU. Rear suspension is via a pair of Öhlins shocks. The front brakes are twin 297mm cast iron Beringer Aeronal discs gripped by twin Beringer 6-piston fixed calipers. And the rear brake is a 267mm steel disc with a Beringer fixed twin-pot caliper.
The engine is, apparently, a stock XJR1300 four-cylinder air-cooled lump. The bore and stroke is, respectively, 79mm x 63.8mm. The capacity is 1,251cc. Maximum power is 97.8PS (96.4bhp) @ 8,000rpm. Maximum torque is 108.4Nm (79.9lbs-ft) @ 6,000rpm. The gears number five. And the all-up weight is a hefty (208kgs) 458lbs, wet. That, we hear, is around 36kg (79lbs) less than a stock XJR1300 (which doesn't really sound all that impressive).
The price is 51,000 Swiss francs. At today's exchange rate (31st March 2017) that converts to £40,590.
Here at Sump we've been discussing this bike, and we've got mixed feelings. The Egli name obviously has a lot of gravitas, but the consensus is that, as much as we like the Yamaha XJR1300, we reckon that the Egli monicker ought to have been affixed to something inherently more sporty rather than the big, blustering muscle bike that's made the big Yam so popular.
Amusingly, Egli's PR people tell us that this bike is "true to the Egli slogan" which is; "Rides as if on rails". We know what they mean, of course, but riding on rails also means that you can't turn any way you want to just because you feel like it. Not a great marketing line for a cafe racer.
Maybe a new slogan is overdue.
"Garage" themed retro lid
£59.99 - £69.99
So okay, we've already got a cupboard full of crash helmets. But we're curious bunnies and like to try on pretty much everything for size (if you know what we mean, sailor). If you're looking for a new lid at the more cost-conscious end of the market, follow the link below and try this one on, virtually-speaking...
Duchinni D501 crash helmet
Murder conviction quashed. Manslaughter verdict handed down
But there's an unspoken angle here...
Back in December 2013 we carried a news story about Royal Marine Alexander Blackman who had just been handed down a minimum 10 year prison sentence for shooting dead a wounded Taliban fighter in September 2011 in Helmland Province.
Then, as now, it seemed unfair that given the conditions he'd been operating under (i.e. the heat of battle coupled with the recent deaths and injuries to comrades), Blackman should have been dealt with so harshly.
Well now Blackman has had his murder conviction quashed and has instead been found guilty of manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility. The new prison sentence is seven years, but because of time spent in jail, he's likely to be released within a week or two.
We weren't there at the trial, so we're not arguing with the sentence or the legal process. However, as much as we broadly support Blackman (with reservations), it's worth remembering that a wounded fighter, contrary to the relevant Geneva Convention, contrary to the rules of "British cricket", and contrary to the ordinary consensus on human morality, was blatantly murdered. But in the glare of triumphalism following the court ruling, you'd hardly know that.
"There you are. Shuffle off this mortal coil, you c***."
— Alexander Blackman speaking after shooting dead an injured
"... obviously this doesn't go anywhere, fellas. I just broke the Geneva Convention."
— Alexander Blackman, thirty seconds later
We've watched dozens of news reports and couldn't find a single compassionate or regretful mention of the dead Afghan. Instead, the media has been awash with commentary on Blackman's "heroic service" and Blackman's "lioness" wife who has shown "courage and dignity" and who has "kept the flame alive".
Well good for her. And yes, Blackman has paid what feels like a more appropriate price for his actions in Helmland Province. Nevertheless, we wouldn't be writing this news story if the Blackmans and associates had quietly accepted the quashing of his conviction and discreetly faded from view without turning a miserable and shameful incident into a flag-waving, air-punching, jingoistic victory parade.
Personally, we don't much care for the Taliban. If they all die in battle, then so be it. That's their choice. And yes, the dead Taliban fighter probably wouldn't have shown Blackman much mercy had the circumstances been reversed. But that ain't the point.
The point is that British soldiers still need to behave like professionals rather than self-appointed executioners, albeit with some considerable mitigation. And if they don't, there has to be a price to pay. However, it's hard to see why the champagne corks ought to be popping when the guilty man walks free.
Sump Alexander Blackman story, December 2013
Leaner riders and returning riders get a dedicated newspaper
The Empire colonises another piece of the galaxy
It's aimed exclusively at learner riders or those thinking about taking up motorcycling, and it's available right now from various motorcycle dealerships and sundry organisations and outfits with an interest in biking (museums, cafes, etc).
This is Morton Media Group's latest contribution to the world of journalism (stop sniggering), and initially it's a bi-monthly publication with a view to becoming a monthly later in the year.
Formatted in the style of Mortons' other motorcycling freebee paper, Motor Cycle Monthly, the new rag will cover all the usual stuff that might interest newcomers, or even oldcomers returning to the fold after an absence.
So what does Mortons get out of it? Well, it helps The Empire consolidate its grip on the motorcycle world by providing a new platform for marketing its magazines, shows and products, and the cunning freebee aspect allows the firm to maintain or even increase advertising exposure at a time when magazine sales are, to put it mildly, struggling.
Most of Mortons' output is hardly high-quality prose, stimulating rhetoric and evocative photography. But good, bad, or merely average, the Horncastle Yellowbellys keep it all coming regardless, and it would be churlish of us here at Sump to deny this huge Lincolnshire-based publisher a few miserable lines on our own modest media organ.
The editor is a guy named Mau Spencer who's been quoted as saying, "Wherever you are on the journey, O2W is the inspiration you’ve been waiting for."
Put like that, this new paper is practically a religious pilgrimage. We'll be grabbing a copy on our next trip to Lourdes or Jerusalem. Meanwhile, you guys and gals can pick up your own copies and make up your own minds.
It's never too late to get a little religion, huh?
The noted cafe racer parts creator and Senior TT winner has died
Eddie Dow, master of the BSA Gold Star, was 92
Senior TT winner, cafe racer parts maestro, race commentator, motorcycle dealer, car dealer and Oxfordshire businessman William Edward "Eddie" Dow has died aged 92.
He was born in Sunderland (also quoted as born in Derbyshire) and worked as a Rolls Royce (RR) apprentice at Derby before being called up for WW2 army service. It's said that at RR he helped develop the first jet engines. After the war, he stayed on in the army attaining the rank of captain. It was during this period of his life that he became involved in training newcomers for motorcycle duties in the RASC (Royal Army Service Corps).
In 1955 Eddie Dow won the Isle of Man Clubmans Senior TT. That same year, sharing the honours with Eddie Crooks, he won the first Thruxton 9-hour race. He was also a familiar face at ISDT, Clubman, and Thruxton long distance events. And if there wasn't a Gold Star beneath him, it probably wasn't Eddie.
In 1956 he left the army with a £1,000 gratuity and became a business partner with a certain Arthur Taylor of Shipston-on-Stour. Trading as Taylor-Dow, he sold and repaired pretty much whatever motorcycles came his way. Within a few years Eddie Dow founded Britain's Gold Star Service (BGSS) in Banbury, Oxfordshire and specialised in BSAs.
Mostly "Ed", or "E.D" sold BSAs, but various other marques passed through his hands giving him an intimate knowledge of all the popular and (particularly) fast machines.
Working closely with the BSA factory, Eddie Dow helped develop the Gold Star and Rocket Gold Star range and soon manufactured numerous bolt-on goodies that helped transform the average garage bitsa into a primo cafe racer as worshipped by hundreds, if not thousands, of sixties rockers. At one point, his firm was able to boast the largest stock of BSA parts in the world.
He exported to all corners of the planet including Australia, New Zealand, Sweden and the USA. The components he sold included silencers, clip-ons, rear-seats, Superleggera fork conversions, Duetto hopped-up braking systems, Brealey-Smith GRP components, Dolphin fairings, and competition magnetos.
In the late 1960s, with the British motorcycle industry in sharp decline, he switched to selling cars and traded in MG, Renault and Volkswagen. In 1991 he sold the business and retired aged 67, but he kept himself busy with his various motorsports involvements. He spent the last years of his life in Sulgrave, Northamptonshire.
Among his personal interests (aside from racing) was an interest in skiing and a passion for fine wines. And for many years he was the vice president of the BSA Owners Club.
Eddie Dow is survived by his wife, daughter, and three grandchildren.
Sump Magazine August 2010: Eddie Crooks has died
Sump's "Political Graffiti" draws an interesting postbag
Some clarification is needed...
We thought we'd get some reaction from our recent "Political Graffiti" item (see further down this page) commenting on the attack on Westminster Bridge and at Parliament on 22nd March 2017. And the reaction we received was entirely predictable.
Some correspondents wondered if we were defending Islam. Some wondered if we were confusing Islam with a mental illness. Some felt that we were inadvertently "tainting" people who suffer from such a mental condition. And some were simply puzzled. A little clarification has been asked for, and here it is.
The point we were making was simply that we shouldn't be giving these murderous bastards the oxygen of publicity. Clearly, what they want is press coverage, and the world's news networks have duly obliged—which is probably exactly what prompted, just one day after the Westminster incident, an attempted copycat attack in Belgium.
In a society with a free and open press, it's a tricky balance between reporting the news that needs to be reported, and suppressing information that could be damaging to the "common good" (whatever that is at any particular moment). But such suppression, by necessity, happens all the time. That's what government "D-Notices" are for; to shut down dangerous intelligence. To paraphrase Bob Dylan, "Some things are too hot to touch..."
And already it seems that the UK government is edging towards a new (and overdue) posture of depriving "Islamists" of the satisfaction of enjoying the disruption caused by these attacks. Hence Theresa May's latest "business as usual" mantra. It's the right message. Maybe it's the only message.
▲ The late (but not late enough) Osama Bin Laden and a piece of fruitcake. But can you tell which is which? We couldn't.
What we really need now is a prime minister who makes it clear to all-comers that okay, they'll kill some of us. Maybe even a lot of us. But we'll kill some or all of them. But whatever else happens, UK and world business will continue. Life will continue. Death will continue. Nothing they do will achieve anything except put some blood on the streets, and we'll mop that up poste haste and will move on.
Meanwhile, the oxygen of publicity is now being turned off. That will mean changing the language of the press, reducing the column inches, curtailing the agony, minimising the gossip, looking the other way as far as reasonably possible, moving on to the football results, and getting back to normal in the shortest possible time.
In the aftermath of the US Twin Towers atrocity, we were hoping that the US government would commission an exact duplicate of the towers and put them back on the New York skyline in the shortest possible time. That would have been a wonderful example of national resilience. You kill us, and we're still here.
Put another way, the attack at Westminster on 22nd March 2017 should not be dignified by referring to it as a political act. We think the "politics" is, as ever, an excuse for those who simply want to kill and maim. Therefore, these attacks should be referred to as murders, either criminal or prompted by a mental health issue (and we figure that you have to be a little doo-lally to mow down a few dozen pedestrians, then attack someone with a knife in the sure and certain knowledge that someone else is going to pump a few bullets into you and put your lights out forever).
And for the record, we're not confusing Islam with mental health issues. But we do believe that kowtowing to a deity and structuring your entire life around a self-inflicted conviction (be it Christian, Jewish, Catholic, Islamic or whatever) isn't exactly rational behaviour. We loathe and despise all forms of mental imprisonment, and the most prominent danger in the UK at the moment hails from religious fundamentalists, and the long grass they hide in. And to press the question a little further, we certainly don't believe that Islam is compatible with western democracy.
Lastly, our "Political Graffiti" item doesn't at all imply that sufferers of a mental illness are "mass murderers in waiting" (as one correspondent suggested). We don't have any statistics to prove what we're about to say, but we strongly suspect that people suffering from mental illnesses are actually hugely under-represented when it comes to "mindless acts of violence". Mostly, folks with psychiatric problems are only a danger to themselves and should be given maximum support and treated sympathetically.
What happened at Westminster was M.U.R.D.E.R. And whatever excuses the perpetrator might have had in his disturbed mind, Islam, general politics, the state of the weather or the price of fish almost certainly had nothing to do with it.
He might not have been mad in the technical sense. But he had to be a bloody fruitcake. And either way, the oxygen of publicity needs to be heavily restricted if not switched off.
New air-cooled Duke aims to rekindle the old flame
£8,200 plus change
They all go back to basics sooner or later. Musicians. Sculptors. Politicians. Preachers. Motorcycle factories. You could argue that they do this because they've lost forward momentum or something. Or maybe they're afraid to stray too far from the watering hole. Either way, Ducati is about to officially launch a new Ducati Monster. More specifically, an air-cooled Ducati Monster based upon the successful Scrambler L-twin engine and offering an entry level riding experience for those who like their steak served bloody.
So why is this motorcycle called a 797 when it's running an 803cc engine? Best we can figure is that it's simply intended to fill the gap between the now discontinued 796 and the Monster 1100. Or maybe we're more stupid than we think.
The most obvious feature of this new baby-bouncer is the stock-in-trade trellis frame which is naturally painted red. The output is reckoned (by Ducati) to be 75hp (55kW) @ 8,250rpm. The torque is reckoned to be 50.89lb-ft (68.9Nm) @ 5,750rpm.
The engine bore & stroke is 88mm x 66mm, respectively. Valves are Desmodromic. The gears number six. The wheels/tyres are a 3.50 x 17-inch front, and a 5.50 x 17-inch rear.
Other treats include a 43mm Kayaba front fork, a Sachs rear shock, a twin-side swinging arm, and a pair of Brembo M4.32 monobloc radial calipers operating on 320mm front discs. The rear brake, incidentally, is a far more modest single-piston caliper (that Ducati hasn't dignified with a name) acting on a 245mm rotor.
To keep the price down, there's no traction control, and therefore no rider modes. But ABS is mandatory on all bikes of any size in the UK or EU markets. However, to add a little modern sparkle, the factory has included LED indicators and a USB port under the seat (and when you get back to basics, how the hell can you manage without a USB port?).
Overall, it's a nice looking bike and is likely to play all the right notes for the initiati. But why wouldn't it be nice when it's pretty much the old (and highly successful) blueprint dusted off and run through the mill?
The price is likely to be a little over £8,200.
The grandfather of rock and roll is dead
In private, you won't hear many celebrity musos speaking well of Chuck Berry. At least, not as a personality. Yes, most agree that he was one of the greatest rock'n'rollers of 'em all, if not the greatest. A brilliant showman. A rhythm player par excellence. A gifted songwriter. A sharp lyricist. And a huge presence on stage. But beyond that, the criticisms often outweigh the tributes. But here at Sump we're not hearing any of it because Chuck Berry had died aged 90, and death puts a new perspective on just about everything. And everyone.
A pioneer of the classic guitar-driven 1950s rock'n'roll sound, Chuck Berry gave the world hits such as Johnny B Goode; Roll Over Beethoven; Maybellene; No Particular Place to Go; You Never Can Tell: Nadine; Sweet Little Sixteen; Rock and Roll Music; School Days; Too Much Monkey Business; and Promised Land (this last ditty largely based upon the folk song Wabash Cannonball).
His hits have been played straight by just about everyone from the Beatles to Elvis Presley to Jerry Lee Lewis to Johnny Winter to Tom Jones to Elton John to the Rolling Stones to the Electric Light Orchestra to The Animals to David Bowie to Eric Clapton to Rod Stewart to Gene Simmons to Rory Gallagher to Roy Orbison to just about anyone else you can think of.
And then there are the hundreds, if not thousands, of Chuck Berry homages/rips-offs such as Surfin' USA by The Beach Boys; Fun, Fun, Fun also by The Beach Boys; Down on the Bay by Jeff Lynne; and Come Together by The Beatles which saw John Lennon get his knuckles (and wallet) rapped for blatantly borrowing the rhythm and even some of the lyrics from Berry's You Can't Catch Me.
Born Charles Edward Anderson Berry in St Louis, Missouri, Chuck Berry was the fourth of six children. His parents were respectable folk living in a working-class/middle class neighbourhood known as The Ville. But Chuck Berry, aged 18, didn't let that stop him robbing three local stores and carjacking a replacement vehicle after his own "broke down".
He was sent to a reformatory (approved school) where he learned to box a little and where he formed a singing combo. At age 22, he married and fathered a daughter. Soon enough he was an average father and husband working on automobile assembly lines or scrubbing floors as a janitor.
By the early 1950s, Berry, heavily influenced by the likes of T-Bone Walker, Nat King Cole and a long line of bluesmen, was honing his guitar skills playing R&B in clubs and bars, and steadily he developed his ideas about what the white folk might like.
In 1955 he moved to Chicago and met Muddy Waters, and that was his break. Waters introduced Berry to Leonard Chess, founder of Chess records and noted champion of R&B. However, Leonard Chess was trying to move away from the more traditional blues sound and was looking for a new contender. Chuck Berry fitted the brief, and Maybellene (an adaptation of a traditional American song called Ira Red) was recorded and hit the airwaves.
Soon after, Roll Over Beethoven followed, and then came a string of hits, each one helping consolidate his position as a rock'n'roller at the top of his game. He became friends with Carl Perkins, and he toured with The Everly Brothers and Buddy Holly.
Then, in 1960, he was convicted of having unlawful sex with a 14-year old Apache girl who he'd transported across state lines to work in his club. For his sins, he was fined $5,000 and was handed a five year prison sentence. On appeal, that was reduced to three years, and a second appeal knocked that down to 18-months.
By now, his public was beginning to desert him, but he twanged on in his inimitable style (which was largely borrowed from earlier blues performers), and continued to record and tour. However, he was also developing a reputation as an irascible artiste who was difficult to please and hard to work with. But he was still a big name, and the "British invasion" bands which had newly discovered Berry's material quickly recorded and performed his songs, and that helped keep his satellite in a high orbit, and slowly the tales of his human weaknesses began to fade from memory.
In 1972, his novelty song My Ding-a-Ling hit number one in the UK and US pop charts. It was his only number one single, and it was not written by Berry. Rather, it was a song penned by US composer, musician, producer and band leader Dave Bartholomew and first recorded in 1952. Nevertheless, it re-lit Chuck Berry's fading torch, and he quickly followed up its success with a new/live recording of Reeling and Rockin' which was the last time he reached the top 40 on either side of the Atlantic.
Throughout the 1980s and 1990s Chuck Berry continued being ... well, Chuck Berry. He was famous for travelling alone with his Gibson ES-335 or Gibson ES-355 semi-acoustics and leaving his producer or record company to have a band ready and willing play on demand upon his arrival. The word is that Berry wouldn't even hand out a set list for a given performance. Expecting everyone to simply know his repertoire, he would just start playing and leave the musicians to pick up the beat. And for the next 60 or 90 minutes he would rattle of the songs, and would then abruptly unplug, take his leave, and catch a plane or train to wherever he next needed to be.
There were clashes and flashpoints, but he was, for all his faults, becoming something of a national treasure; the kind of performer who did what he did without fear or apology, and often not expecting much praise.
He collected Cadillacs. He was arrested for lewd behaviour involving a hidden video camera (it was never proved in court, but 59 women received a pay-off). He was sued for failing to acknowledge another musician's contribution to his songs (Johnnie Johnson - not to be confused with Johnny Johnson and the Bandwagon). The case was dismissed. He received another (suspended) prison sentence; misdemeanor possession of marijuana. And he was frequently in the news over one minor drama or another.
Chuck Berry was still playing into his 90s and had recently been working on a new album (Chuck) which is due to be released this year. He'll be remembered as a brilliant songwriter and musician, a world class performer, and a flawed and complicated man who travelled alone and inspired millions of fans to pick up their guitars and play, or turn up the music and dance. The music, of course, doesn't expiate all his sins, but for many it certainly goes a long way in mitigation.
He is survived by a son and a daughter, and by his wife (Themetta Berry) of 68 years.
It's said that rock and roll will never die. But a little of it did just that when Chuck Berry made his exit from this world.
The Cafe Racer Kits man adds another string to his bow
Check him out at Stafford in April
CRK, the Cafe Racer Kits people, has sent us a few snapshots of the firm's new Triumph Roadster package which the firm first showcased earlier this year at the February Bath & West Show, and will be displaying at the Stafford Show on 22nd - 23rd April 2017.
Based upon the very worthy and "affordable" 1991 - 1996 750cc/900cc triples and 1000cc/1200cc Hinckley fours, creator Ian Saxcoburg has drawn upon his wide and varied engineering background and has developed a range of impressive kits capable of transforming these platforms from competent and durable off-the-peg Triumphs into handsome and individual customs ready for the show or street, or both.
That said, we don't have much specific details on the new Roadster kit (main image this feature). But we can talk you through the current cafe racer package (image immediately above) which variously includes a new (and far more attractive) subframe, an aluminium fuel tank (with a GRP cover), a seat base (c/w upholstery) new side panels, an instrument module, a mudguard module, a chainguard, a hugger, and various brackets. The price is a creditable £1,995.
We imagine that the new Roadster kit is an extension of his general outlook and capabilities, and from what we can see from our desk, this is a man who knows what he's doing and will go far.
Ian, who's based on the Isle of Wight and runs the business with wife Tracey, also has mucho experience writing technical manuals, and we're persuaded that these kits will provide all the instructions needed by the home (or professional) bike builder. Additionally, he's created numerous videos supporting his designs and manufacturing ethos, and we encourage you to take a look for yourself. He's a modest, competent, clear speaking guy, and you're going to like him.
Check Cafe Racer Kits Hondas for more on this firm.
New "tradesman's" sidecar unveiled
£2,995 and built to order
Here at Sump, this is our kind of sidecar—not that we're sidecar people at all. But if we did decide to hitch a wagon to one of our horses, it would probably be the new Mule from Watsonian.
Essentially, this is a British designed and manufactured tradesman's sidecar in the old tradition. Watsonian tells us that the box has a massive 300 litres capacity, which will haul an awful lot of beer (albeit never enough). But the firm is keeping in mind motorcyclists who like to fish and/or camp it up (and don't we all, ducky?). And at your leisure you can figure out all the other possibilities.
The body is galvanised steel, and for good measure it's powder-coated. The chassis is box section steel and has been specially developed for this rig. The suspension is Flexor. The sidecar wheel is a 10-incher. The mudguard is GRP. And lights and indicators are fitted with sufficient cable to hook up to your 12-volt motorcycle wiring loom.
You'll want the dimensions too which are 1,370 mm x 480 mm x 480 mm. To keep your stuff secure, there's a dual locking mechanism. And if you need a spare wheel, which you do, there's one hooked on the back.
Watsonian build these to order, so you can opt for a luggage rack, spotlights, jerry cans or whatever. The price, including VAT, is £2,995, and the factory will fit it to your bike if required.
Finally, we think Watsonian is missing a trick by not giving this sidecar some more personality and character. So we took a shot at it and first tried to work out a backronym for MULE, and we got as far as Multipurpose Utilitarian Load ... but couldn't figure out what to do with the letter "E". Envoy? Express? Expediter? So we gave up on that and simply stuck an image of a kicking mule beneath some stencilled lettering. Makes it more memorable, dontcha fink?
Either way, if Watsonian takes up our suggestion, you'll know where ya heard it first.
Might happen. Cash will do.
Telephone: 01386 700907
Barristers are being less than honest
Shock horror warning from the Bar Council
The Bar Council has issued a warning to barristers to keep their online boasts on a very short lead, or else. The statement comes after Michael Wolkind QC was fined £1,000 by the Bar Standards Board for making claims "likely to diminish the trust and confidence which the public placed in him or the profession".
Apparently, Wolkind had claimed on his website that he was:
widely recognised as the UK’s top murder barrister and QC
the UK's top protest case barrister and QC
the UK's top terrorism barrister and QC
the UK's top property householder self-defence rights barrister and QC
the UK's top regulatory, inquest, health and safety and tribunal barrister
Wolkind also bragged he was so good that his professional machinations could get even Stevie Wonder a driving licence.
Consequently, the Bar Council has taken umbrage and has issued revised guidelines instructing its members that professional claims of experience and skills should be backed up by peer-approved fact rather than wishful thinking and self-satisfied braggadocio (our words, not theirs). Furthermore, the council takes a dim view of barristers who (like Wolkind) are happy to boast that they managed to get Gangster X or Vicious Vic acquitted of whatever high crime or misdemeanour for which they'd been accused.
Given that the internet has been operational in some form for around three decades and has been a household facility since the turn of this century, it's taken a long time for the Bar Council to get around to slapping anyone's wrist over this issue. Furthermore, at the time of writing, we can't actually see what clear sanction is being wielded to punish errant barristers who put their best foot a little too far forward.
That aside, what's really worrying us is simply that there's a lot of vicarious pleasure to be derived from sitting back with a beer and reading or listening to the outrageous and overblown claims of the nation's professionals, be those professionals legal eagles, quacks, tax advisers, politicos, or otherwise. Our general experience is that most such non-manual salaried operators are, at best, little more than money-grabbing nitwits usually spinning way out of their competency orbits, and at worst, complete and shameless rogues and reprobates.
But perhaps you've got completely different experiences. Either way, it'll be a much sadder world if we let a little truth, such as it is, get in the way of a cartload of enjoyable professional bu!!$#!t.
Check Wolkind's website while you can. At the time of writing, it's amusing reading, and it can only be a matter of time before the Bar Council actually does something about it. A couple of decades should do it.
Limited edition Jack Daniel's themed cruiser unveiled
Only 100 to be built
Sump Classic Bike News January 2016 carried a story about a special edition Indian Chief Vintage commissioned to support the Operation Ride Home charity aimed at US servicemen and women. The bike also celebrated 150 years of Jack Daniel's Whiskey, hence the bespoke livery designed to evoke the ethos and coolness, etc, of the world famous Tennessee distillery. Other touches on that bike included the scripted names of the firm's seven master distillers, and note that Indian was at pains to point out that "Bottle and Throttles don't mix".
Well, Indian had at the time mooted the idea of a limited edition run based on that bike, and here it is. Brian Klock at Klock Werk Custom Cycles is once again heavily involved in the project which will see 100 examples of this fine looking Yankee mo'sickle hitting the bricks.
Additionally, every bike will be offered with wooden facsimile of Old Glory, more common known on the British side of the pond as the Stars and Stripes flag or the Star Spangled Banner. The flags, we understand, are made from strips of Jack Daniel's whiskey barrels which probably gives the banners a fairly heady fragrance.
Features of this limited edition Jack Daniel's themed Indian include:
A 19-inch, 10-spoke front wheel.
A pure silver and hand-crafted Jack Daniel’s horn cover badge.
A one-of-a-kind white and black crystal paint job with Jack Daniel's-inspired charcoal-coloured accents.
Jack Daniel’s “Old No. 7” billet driver and passenger floor-boards.
Debossed leather tank pouch with Jack Daniel’s "Old No. 7" logo.
Custom embossed tank console with unique build number.
Unique cam, primary and air intake covers.
Inscription of Jack Daniel’s "Bottles and Throttles Don’t Mix" mantra.
200 watt audio system.
Electronically adjustable screen.
Underpinning all this is the already classic Thunderstroke 111-cubic inch (1,811cc) 49-degree V-twin engine featuring a 101mm bore, a 113mm stroke. And keyless ignition, ABS, cruise control, and all the other upmarket features you'd expect on a bike such as this are present and correct.
We're told that just 10 bikes are coming to Europe, and only one is aimed at the UK. And the price? That will be $34,999, which currently converts to £28,789.
Legendary motorsport racer has died aged 83
World champion on both two and four wheels
In December 2015 we carried a news item about John Surtees who had just been made CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) in the Queen's 2016 New Years Honours list. Well he's now the subject of another Sump story, and for a regrettable reason. John Surtees has died aged 83 thereby bringing to a close one of the most exciting and most evocative eras in British, or indeed world, motor racing history.
The stories of Surtees' racing integrity, prowess and dedication to both motor and motorcycle sport are legendary. And there's not much we can add to our original story except to say that tens of thousands of his fans will be greatly saddened at the news of his demise.
John Surtees is survived by his wife and two daughters.
Follow this link to read more of John Surtees' life and racing career.
Uprated Street 750 hotrod is on the way
No delivery information yet
£6,745. That's the asking price for the newly unveiled 2017 Harley-Davidson Street Rod™. Based upon the firm's current "High Output Revolution X™ 750cc V-twin" platform, this competitively priced mid-range fuel-injected street cruiser features a liquid-cooled, SOHC 8-valve 60-degree V-twin engine, a 43mm USD front fork, dual 300mm front discs, and 17-inch cast wheels front and rear (120/70 R17V & 160/60 R17V). And ABS, for the UK and European market at least, is mandatory. [More...]
Very useful cleaning device for clean-living bikers
£49 for the complete kit
Back in Sump, December 2016 we ran a small news item on the SonicScrubbers Professional cleaning kit. Nippy Normans, the BMW specialist, has since sent us a box of appropriate bits for direct testing. Check our SonicScrubbers Professional review and see if this suits your bike cleaning needs.
Toulouse is now on the map
£595 return. £400 one way.
Last month we reported on group discount rates with Bikeshuttle, the weekly scheduled Geneva bound motorcycle transportation service. Well now the firm has added Toulouse to its network. What it means is that for UK riders planning to tour southern France, Spain or Portugal, they can now fly into Toulouse Airport courtesy of easyJet and have their motorcycle and riding gear awaiting their arrival.
If you're a travelling hardcase and want to ride all the way from your front door to Madrid or Nice or Lisbon, Bikeshuttle isn't much use to you. However, there are times when you just don't have the time to muck around with cross channel ferries, or the channel tunnel, or spend half a day of your life motoring down the M6, M4 or M1, and then spend another half a day or more on the return leg. And you certainly don't always have the time to sit on a 24-hour Portsmouth-Bilbao Ferry.
Bikeshuttle will charge you a very reasonable £595 for a return trip, or £400 one-way. And remember that that includes your riding gear. The offer assumes you can get to Luton Airport (or make other flight arrangements). And it also expects you to arrange your own airline tickets. The bikes, meanwhile, will be delivered to the hotel Inter in Toulouse. Note that there will be just five runs this year, but we don't know how they're spaced.
We haven't tried this service, but we're fairly confident that these guys have got it worked out properly. Any feedback you care to give us, however, will be welcomed.
Persuaded? Or merely curious?
Online ticket 20% discount
Free limited edition posters
The next Kickback motorcycle show happens on Saturday 1st to Sunday 2nd April 2017 and takes place at Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire. The organisers are offering a free limited edition A3 poster for everyone who attends, and if you book online you'll have 20% knocked off the ticket price.
Adults will pay £9.50 online compared to a gate price of £12. Tickets are valid for the whole weekend.
There are discounts for children, etc. Opening hours are 12 noon to 6pm on Saturday, and 10am to 5pm on Sunday.
Expect around 100 or more custom bikes, trade stalls, food and drink outlets, exhibitions, a stunt show, vintage biker movies, etc. And if you want to put your own wheels in the spotlight, there's still time. Email Lorne at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Wanted: tales of real world motorcycle sale prices
A few lines on an email will do nicely
We're collecting anecdotes, and we need your help. Specifically, we're trying to find out what's really happening to motorcycle prices in the internet age. To do this, we can't simply check the adverts in the usual rags or on eBay. These ads merely tell us what people are asking, and not always the sale price (and these days we're seeing plenty of very unlikely asking prices). Meanwhile, eBay items are frequently re-listed due to "time wasters" and failed sales.
That's the internet for you, of course. The www has given us all access to a huge worldwide market, and because of that, there will always be someone somewhere willing to pay way over the everyday market price (whatever that is anymore) for a motorcycle, car, house or whatever. And there will always be "chancers" willing to wait the longest time to score big.
Naturally we check the auctions constantly, and auctions are a reasonably good indicator of what's happening in the real world. But even auctions are subject to the whims of tactical, or ill-informed, or confused, or overly-competitive or simply desperate local or international bidding. And auction houses frequently see lots sail under the hammer at way below "sensible" estimates for no obvious reasons, except perhaps the perversity of chance. What we want to know is what's really being sold at what price.
In other words, we'd like some insight into motorcycles that were asking "crazy money", but which you know actually sold for way less. Or maybe you've been trying for months to sell a bike at what you feel is a fair market price, but can't get so much as a peep from the phone or a line of semi-literate scribble on an email.
We won't publish details of whatever you tell us, and we're not collecting email addresses. In fact, we'll probably trash the email as soon as we unload it. And we won't hand out prizes, but we will acknowledge everyone who writes to us.
Put simply, we'd like to hear personal accounts of what you tried to sell and couldn't sell, or how much you had to drop the price, or whether you feel you could have asked more.
Recent history tales only, please (such as the past few years). And we're interested in sales of all bikes, but more specifically classics.
If we get enough interesting and insightful tales, we'll run a generalised piece on Sump giving everyone else the news, such as it is. What we don't want to do is add speculative fuel to an already distorted market. But beyond this, we'll simply use the information as a reference point for future news stories about the motorcycle market.
So if you feel so disposed, spare us a few lines on an email. We're ready to hear the awful truth if you're ready to tell it.
Decent enough general restoration guide from author Ricky Burns
Suitable for dirt bike beginners
It's an "Enthusiast's Restoration Manual". That's what it reads on the cover, and that sounds about right. We're talking about Classic Off-Road Motorcycles from Veloce Publishing, and what comes across most strongly is the fact that it's a book written by your average (or possibly above average) off-road fiend for people of a similar bent.
It's just been launched as the next instalment in the publisher's on-going "How to Restore" series, and we've got a few observations to make that might influence your decision to buy, or not buy.
In terms of printing and photography, the quality is about on par with the rest of the series (that we've seen, anyway) which is fair to good. Actually, most of the close-up shots are well framed and tight, and they get right into the meat of the metal and show you what you need to see. But there are no pictures anywhere that you'd want to cut out and stick in a frame beside the TV. And that's a pity because every book deserves at least one truly great, achingly evocative image.
Then again, that ain't what this book is about. It's a grass roots tome focussing on classic off-road motorcycles built between 1950 and 1980. But most of the coverage actually reflects the latter of those years when Bultaco and Montessa dominated. However, if you're looking for an in-depth guide to restoring a particular marque or model, look elsewhere (such as a workshop manual, which is in fact what the author advises).
Instead, this book takes a more generalised view of the off-road restoration orthodoxy and guides the newcomer into the broader issues surrounding buying, inspection, maintenance and rehabilitation of a suitable bike.
More specifically, this publication will suit budget off-road riders. It happily extols the virtues of wet-and-dry paper, wire brushing and Hammerite paint rattle cans, and you should expect a few bloodied workshop knuckles if you follow the author's path all the way to the end.
In short, it's very much a hands-on look at everything you might need to do, or at least consider, if you want to get mobile on the dirt and flick some serious mud in someone's eye.
If you're not much of a reader, you'll be relieved to know there's no heavy prose within, and certainly no poetry. This book is more a collection of helpful and reassuring captions liberally splashed around the 140 or so pages that are carrying 480-plus pictures. You'll probably read it once for the broader picture, and then once more for the detail, and then again when you actually get started in the workshop.
Looked at another way, if this book doesn't actually answer all your technical questions, which it won't, it will quite probably be exactly what you need to inspire you to get started and overcome the inertia of indecision.
There's a very pretty Dot on the back cover, and there are occasional snaps of other British off-road classics from BSA to Triumph to Royal Enfield. But as mentioned earlier, the core of the book is 1970s and 1980s Spanish bikes with a few appropriate Japs thrown in as and where needed/available.
Older and more seasoned off-road trials and scramble riders will notice that there are more than a few eggs being sucked between these pages. But these guys are generally a good natured bunch and will no doubt take a generous stance and tell you that you have to start somewhere. But it is true that one or two author comments and observations stray dangerously close to "the bleedin' obvious". However, that same author is assuming that you have little or no knowledge of the scene, and is therefore wisely taking little or nothing for granted.
The book is asking £35, and that's a fair amount of money for the hopeful beginner. But we haven't got any real issues with the price. Serial author Ricky Burns has evidently worked hard on this and carried his baby to term, so we think you should just pay up. And if you see the book discounted anywhere, it's a bargain.
The bottom line? The off-road scene is a fun place to be, and having studied this book from cover to cover, it's made even hardened tarmac trippers like us casually peruse the dirt bike ads, and we're the last people you're likely to see nose down in the dirt on a Sunday afternoon.
H&H press release claims a new world record sale price
The underlying story is perhaps a very different tale...
£24,295. That was the price paid for the (immediately) above 1968 Velocette Thruxton (Lot 22) at H&H Auction's Donington Sale on 22nd February 2017. But note the qualifier "unrestored".
We were actually in two minds about running this piece as an addendum to our story immediately below. Why? Because we can't confirm or refute the Velocette Thruxton world record price claim; not that £24,295 is much to shout about, anyway. But in recent times we have had reason to question H&H's credibility regarding auction listings (see: H&H Auctions fake Indians sold, August 2016).
However, we finally decided to move on from past transgressions and give H&H the benefit of the doubt. But if you know differently, drop us a line and we'll look into it.
Of course, if we were MI6 or the CIA, we'd ask a more fundamental question. Instead of looking at what was said by H&H, we'd wonder why they said it. And in this instance it seems clear. The Velocette was simply the thin silver lining in a darker and more ponderous cloud in which the top lot at the Donington sale, a 1939 Brough Superior (Lot 47), failed to find a buyer.
But you can't blame a firm for trying to put a little top spin on a very public commercial disappointment. And beyond that, the Donington sale looks very good for the company.
Check the story below for details...
Successful sale for H&H Auctions
Top lot fails to shift, but late Triumph twins are looking strong
It looks like H&H Auctions did pretty good at its recent Donington Sale on Wednesday 22nd to Thursday 24th February 2017. Initially we counted 77 bikes. But there were only 76 on the day, so it appears that one was withdrawn. On the other hand, we might have miscounted. It happens.
Either way, of the 76 or 77 lots, 68 found buyers which represents a very creditable conversion rate. The top billed item, however, failed to sell. This was Lot 47, a 1939 Brough Superior SS80 (image immediately above). The estimate was a reasonably plausible £75,000 - £80,000, but for whatever reason, nobody came forward with a big enough cheque.
It's unwise to form any conclusions from any one auction regarding which bikes are on the way up, and which are on the way down. However, we draw your attention to Lot 55, a 1951 Sunbeam S7 Deluxe which was estimated at £6,000 - £7,000, but sold for £8,362 (main image this story).
That's not a huge hike over average Sunbeam S7 prices over the past year, but these 500cc classic cruisers have been steadily rising in appeal and value, and this one certainly didn't undersell. That said, we're a little surprised that they don't fetch considerably more. But fad and fashion will have its way, and the S7s have a (largely undeserved) reputation for unreliability. And they're not exactly the fastest classic on the block, not that that necessarily means a great deal.
Beyond that, we see further evidence that 1970s Meriden twins have finally established themselves as worthy classics. We're talking about oil-in-frame T120s and T140s which, for a long time, were treated with some disdain by the Triumph cognoscenti.
Why? Who knows. But we can well remember plenty of snide comments, largely from the old guard, suggesting that these 650s and 750s weren't "real Triumphs", whatever the hell that means. Ten years ago, you could pick up a reasonably clean oil-in-frame 650cc T120 for maybe £1,800 - £2,500. Typical prices now appear to be anything from £3,500 - £4,500 with better examples asking £6,000 - £7,000. And we think that we recently saw a freshly restored one asking £8,000, but we can't remember where that was. At a dealer's shop probably.
Regardless, H&H sold Lot 51, a 1972 650cc TR6C for £5,650 (see the two images immediately above). The estimate was £4,500 - £5,000, but clearly the market had other ideas. These TR6's, note, were manufactured with slightly higher seat rails and conical hub brakes, neither of which drew much applause. But time is at last being kind to these motorcycles, and the current asking prices reflect this. Note too the right-side gear change lever.
The 650cc T120s, we think, have a particularly nice feel. Naturally, they're not as torquey as the 750cc T140s. But once you get them on cam (and assuming you've got "a good 'un"), they buzz along with a little more verve than the seven-fifties. And the single carb is all you need on an all-round Meriden Triumph twin.
As if to underscore the growing appeal of oil-in-frame Meriden 650s and 750s, H&H also found a buyer for this 1979 Triumph TR7 Tiger (Lot 25, image immediately above and below). The estimate was £4,000 - £5,000, and the hammer came down at £4,181.
Described as an un-restored machine, the high US-spec handlebars aren't standard on these "slab-sided" European petrol tanks. And that blue saddle with red piping looks to be from a T140J Jubilee Bonneville. But beyond that, not withstanding a missing chromed front brake caliper cover, this Tiger looks about right.
For more on the February 2017 H&H Donington Sale, follow the link you've just passed.
Dual purpose bike jacket retails for £250, give or take a penny
We haven't tried it for size
First a confession: we don't know anything about wax cotton jackets, not technically speaking anyway. So for the purposes of this product news story, pretty much everything you read for the next sixty seconds or so comes straight from the manufacturer.
Knox calls this jacket the Leonard Wax Jacket Mk2. Cool name. Not. It's an updated version of (we presume) the Mk1, and it's described as hard-wearing, abrasion resistant, breathable and waterproof. So far, so good. The seams are fully taped. YKK Aquaguard® zips have been fitted. There's a removable throat guard and a ribbed collar. And the firm has apparently included some kind of clever zipper mechanism that allows the jacket to be expanded so you can wear a Knox armoured shirt beneath.
The overall idea, we gather, is that this is an item of upper body clothing that you can wear on the bike to keep the bugs, breeze and sundry elements off your delicate skin, and can also wear with a shirt and tie when next chatting up your bank manager or when going to dinner with your girlfriend's highly-strung and deeply conservative folks.
You get the idea.
Knox is asking £249.99 which includes VAT. The colour is russet brown, which we think is pretty awful. But then, this week we're going through a turquoise phase, so make up your own mind. The sizes are S–3XL.
And that's it. Check if out if you're a russet brown man or woman.
It takes all sorts to make a world, huh?
Call: 01900 825825
Okay, here are some details of a new event to add to your busy 2017 calendar. The balloon doesn't go up until May 2017. But it will be May soon enough, so you might as prepare for it.
It's called the Despatch Rally, and its aim is to "bring together the motorcycling community to celebrate and honour the despatch riders from whom motorcycle culture descended."
Expect themed destinations and challenges including motorcycle control and navigation skills and shooting. Shooting? Sounds interesting, especially if there's live ammunition on the range. But we've no further details. Just bring your own artillery or something.
Also expect live music, a BBQ and drinks. The fun and game will encompass a large swathe of Dorset with the Sammy Miller Motorcycle Museum at the epicentre.
Event times are 8.30am - 5.30pm. Tickets are £25 per vehicle (solo rider or with pillion).
Updated support offered for the softer regions
Maybe we're just wimps. But after 11 hours more-or-less-non-stop in the saddle, we start to feel a little uncomfortable. It was different when we were young. Back then we could spend nine gruelling days perched on our bikes, living on teeth-bugs and rainwater, and often stopping only to rebuild the engines at the roadside or water a passing bush.
Does that sound like you too? Well, probably not if we're honest. Fact is, everything gets uncomfortable after a while, not least motorcycle perches. That's what this updated Airhawk seat cushion is all about. Strap it on your saddle, park your derriere, weigh the anchor and ride.
But wait! Is it really any better than the saddle the manufacturer provided? Truth is, we don't know. We haven't yet availed ourselves of this kind of supportive technology. But we understand the non-rocket science concept behind it. [More...]
Writer of 70s pop hit You're a Lady has died aged 69
Peter Skellern's You're a Lady was an oddball song when we first heard it on Top of the Pops way back in October 1972. The vocals were "breathy". The delivery was ... well, "square". The lyrics felt like they belonged in the 1940s or 1950s. And the accompanying brass ensemble (the Grimethorpe Colliery Band) made us wonder if they'd simply been guided into the wrong studio.
But Peter Skellern, who has died aged 69, held his nerve at the piano and made no apologies for his stylishly romantic middle-of-the-road ballad that subsequently travelled the world compliments of dozens of singers (including Brigitte Bardot) who were happy to carry this particular tune.
If you recall that October, Alice Cooper was hammering out "Elected". Elvis was singing about his Burning Love. 10cc was campaigning Donna. And Lieutenant Pigeon was at number one with Mouldy Old Dough.
Skellern's record label (Decca) was very pleased with You're a Lady. The song spent a creditable two weeks in the top ten and moved as high as number three. Not bad for an average bloke from Lancashire, and brought up in Bury, who was working as a hotel porter in Shaftesbury, Dorset when his song hit the airwaves.
▲ In the 1980s, Peter Skellern collaborated with noted lyricist, composer & humourist Richard Stilgoe. Three albums were recorded and the duo appeared together many times in cabaret.
Soon after this success, Peter Skellern sang the theme tune to the 1973 British TV series Billy Liar, and more limited success came his way with the songs Hold on to Love; Love is the Sweetest Thing; and Put out the Flame.
When the movie Blade Runner was in production, Skellern's skills as an economical lyricist (with an ongoing flair for the romantic) were put to work on the song One More Kiss, Dear.
Skellern wrote the theme tunes for many other TV productions, and in 1984, together with Julian Lloyd Webber and Mary Hopkin, he formed a short-lived group called Oasis. Although he had largely disappeared from mainstream public view, he was always busy behind the scenes providing words, music, voice-overs and a lot of old-fashioned charm. As an antidote to the likes of Alice Cooper (and we love Alice Cooper), Peter Skellern will do nicely.
He also managed to record over twenty albums whilst developing his interest in the Christian church, and he wrote a number of choral pieces. In October 2016, Skellern fulfilled a lifelong ambition and was ordained as a priest and a deacon.
By then, his health was seriously in trouble and he knew that the end was in sight. He leaves behind a wife and two children and a large volume of intelligent, stylish and sophisticated music.
Business is "booming" for Andy Tiernan
New stock urgently needed
Suffolk-based classic bike dealer Andy Tiernan is looking for more Panther and pre-war BSA motorcycles to add to his stock. Andy, who's been established since 1972, has long been a big fan of Panthers and usually keeps a handful in stock. He's also noted for a decent line of old Beezers of all types.
But what with the biking season waking up, the drop in Sterling and the usual alignment of unspecific market forces in the economy, it seems that he can't get enough bikes to satisfy demand. Which is where you come in.
So if you've got a BSA or Panther and are thinking of a sale or a trade, now is probably a pretty good moment. But wait! We have to declare an interest here because we know Andy and count him among our friends. However, that doesn't change the fact that he's a straight-shooter and likes to make a fair deal every time.
"Business," said Andy when we spoke to him today, "is doing very well at the moment. Some of my stock is going overseas, but there's growing interest here in the UK."
That's good to hear, and it runs counter to other trends that we've been looking at that suggest classic bike prices are cooling. Trouble is, it always looks different when you stand someplace else, and if Andy says that business is good, it's good for him. Give him a call. Make a deal.
Is your motorcycle delivery company insured?
Some advice before handing over your machines...
Here's a little tale for any of you Sumpsters out there planning to have one or more motorcycles shifted by a delivery service. Recently, we contacted one such firm. It followed a casual recommendation from a friend in the motorcycle trade. We needed to transport two bikes two hundred or so miles, door to door. Simple enough.
The delivery guy we spoke to (by mobile phone) quoted a price of £100 for the first bike, and just £50 for the second. Very competitive rates. So we checked again with three friendly bike dealers, two of whom said they'd used this guy before without problem and were still using him. One dealer, however, said that he was currently using a different firm. No reason given.
So we fixed a tentative date for a collection of the bikes and explained that a goods-in-transit insurance certificate would need to be produced. At that point, we were told by our would-be delivery guy that he didn't carry such a certificate. [More...]
"Matchless" SS80 Brough Superior is looking at the top money
One or two keenly priced lots in this sale
Wednesday 22nd & Thursday 23rd February 2017 is the date for H&H Auction's next sale. It will take place at Donington Park, Derbyshire and will feature a small-to-medium sized range of classic cars and classic motorcycles. So far, there are 77 lots.
We've been perusing the catalogue, and we can't see anything to get too excited about. But one or two items are perhaps worthy of a line or two.
The bike with the highest estimate is the (immediately) above 1939 Brough Superior SS80 (Lot 47). Apparently, this 982cc sidevalve (nominally 1,000cc) is well known to the Brough Superior Club and has always been on the road in and around the Oxfordshire area. That's a Matchless engine, incidentally (in contrast to the earlier and more common JAP-powered SS80), and if you're interested, the estimate is £75,000 - £80,000.
We're watching this Brough closely. Why? Because classic bike prices are lately starting to struggle a little. At least, there seems to be some significant "adjustment" as marques and models come and go out of fashion, and various blue-chip examples appear to be coming off the boil.
H&H has also posted some interesting estimates on other motorcycles such as Lot 14 which is the (immediately) above 1961 500cc Triumph 5TA. This "bathtub" example needs some re-commissioning. But even so, the £1,500 - £2,000 estimate looks like a small chunk of change for a great looking and eminently usable 500cc Trumpet that will take you anywhere you want to go, and still at a reasonable/viable velocity. We're even considering a bid on this bike if the piggy bank will stand it.
Meanwhile, the (immediately) above 1998 BMW R1200C is estimated at just £3,500 - £4,000, and that sounds like a bargain for what is very likely to be a future classic that will command some big money.
Between 1997 and 2004 BMW manufactured around 40,000 of these flat twins (including the smaller 850cc R850C version). The designer was noted BMW man David Robb who had earlier worked for Chrysler and then Audi.
The R1200C was, and is, a divisive bike that usually polarises opinion. The model was intended as a radical re-interpretation of the modern motorcycle cruiser and might have loosely had an eye on Harley-Davidson's market. But it's doubtful that BMW, or at least David Robb, seriously thought this was going to get Milwaukee worried. It's a bold Germanic statement that looks more at home on the European mainland as opposed to the American continent. But, as with Saab cars, the fans are scattered thinly, but widely.
Today, people often see this custom as a commercial failure, and we've no idea how the numbers stack up on the profits and losses sheets. But still, 40,000 sales sounds pretty good for a radical design such as this, and we like this model just fine (well, subject to lopping a few inches of the handlebars).
BMW is reported to have cited the increasing unsuitability of the 1,170cc engine for the market that this bike entered and, after seven years, pulled the plug. Or plugs. Today, there is some speculation about the company taking another trip past this particular custom corner. But we haven't heard anything definite.
Beyond that, Lot 15 is the (immediately) above 500cc 1952 Vincent Comet Series C. Extensively restored in 2005, and little used since, H&H is estimating £15,000 - £18,000, which once again isn't exactly overly optimistic. Then again, we have seen a few Comets lately struggling to find buyers even at this price. Only, those were all Stateside. Here in the UK, the situation as of February 2017 might be very different. Stay tuned.
UPDATE: The Brough Superior (Lot 47) didn't sell. The Triumph 5TA sold for £4,181. The BMW R1200C (Lot 30) sold for £3,390. And the Vincent Comet (Lot 15) sold for £22,400.
Test ride a Hog and enter a prize draw
Win and bike and collect two grand cash
Go into any UK Harley-Davidson dealer between now and 30th April 2017 and test ride a bike. This small and enjoyable manoeuvre will, apparently, make you eligible for a prize draw which could jet you and a passenger off to the USA, meet Bill Davidson (great-grandson of HD co-founder William A Davidson), hop on a 2017 Touring Hog, take the Great Lakes Tour, visit the HD Museum, then visit the HD production line in York, Pennsylvania, receive a £2,000 cheque to help you enjoy a weekend in New York City, and jet back home where a brand new Harley-Davidson Touring motorcycle of your choice (which you saw being manufactured on the aforementioned production line) will join you.
The firm calls it the trip of a lifetime, and we ain't arguing. And that's the whole deal right there. Just ride the Hog and enter the competition. It's not clear from the press release what happens if you take the test ride and actually buy a bike. Presumably you get your money back or something. Either way, it's a pretty compelling come-on from a company that's actually doing okay on this side of the pond, but is struggling in its domestic market.
We'd take a test ride ourselves, only we never win anything in competitions. But someone's gotta win it. So talk to your local Harley-Davidson dealer and check that we've got the facts right, then book that test ride.
We've no idea how many people in the UK take a new H-D for a speculative spin each month, but we figure that the odds are pretty good.
"New DNA" spray to catch bike and scooter thieves
UV dyes and SmartWater-type tech rolled out
Apparently, there's an ongoing epidemic of motorcycle and scooter thefts in the Merseyside area which has led directly to the development of a "new" kind of high-tech spray designed to catch, or at least mark, offenders.
Actually, the spray appears to be using two existing technologies; specifically ultra-violet dye marking tech and a new kind of SmartWater. The combined product is called SelectaDNA Defence Spray.
The idea is simple enough. You're a Scouse copper. You spot a pair of mobile hooligans causing mayhem and otherwise having fun in the local streets and/or council housing estate. You chase said hooligans for a couple of hours in cars and on foot. You send for the dogs and a chopper and you get thoroughly irritated because you can't quite grab 'em. They're too slippery.
Then your partner hands you the SelectaDNA Defence Spray and you know your problems are over. Almost.
At the most opportune moment, you rush forward and spray the high-tech solution all over the ne'er-do-wells and thoroughly mark them, their knocked-off trainers and their hoodies. And then, when you later run them to ground (usually hiding under their beds or something) you flash a UV light in their faces and they're indelibly marked with a unique code that links them to the spray bottle or device you were wielding at the scene. And that's enough for the courts, which promptly gives the hooligans X-number of hours of community work, and they're more or less instantly back on the street.
It sounds as if the DNA component doesn't actually have much to do with deoxyribonucleic acid. We're figuring that that's just ad-speak for whatever coded thingies are in the spray. What we're really hoping for is a true DNA spray that enters the bloodstreams of the hooligans and corrects whatever crooked genes are present at the nuclear level.
Alternately, we could try and do something meaningful about UK unemployment and associated social conditions in deprived area of the country. But that's not seriously on the agenda at the moment, so it's back to the spray.
Got to be coming to a force near you sooner or later.
14 motorcycles on offer. 6 sold
1935 Aston Martin draws the big money
The top selling motorcycle lot at Bonhams' recent Les Grandes Marques du Monde au Grand Palais Sale (9th February 2017) was the (immediately) above 2009 990cc Ducati Desmosedici RR which sold for €70,150 (£59,830) including buyers premium. The estimate was €50,000 - €60,000 which the bike (Lot 207) comfortably cleared.
Of the 14 motorcycle lots on offer, eight didn't find buyers which represents less than a 50% conversion. However, this wasn't really a motorcycle sale at all. Rather, this was a gathering of Ferraris, Porsches, Bentleys and similar exotica. The bikes were more of a side treat.
The top selling lot overall was the (immediately) above 1935 Aston Martin Ulster which, we hear, saw four bidders slugging it out until the hammer came down on €2,012,500 (£1,714,730).
Regarding the motorcycles, it's hard to draw any performance conclusions, except perhaps to say that of the lots that failed to sell, the market appears to have been against the higher priced bikes. The non-sellers include:
1974 Ducati Formula SS €60,000 - €70,000
1972 Ducati 750 Sport €30,000 - €40,000
1985 Bimota 745 €40,000 - €50,000
1950 Series C Vincent Comet €23,000 - €26,000
That aside, Bonhams is said to be pleased with the overall results. But puzzlingly, the firm hasn't released details of the overall turnover at the sale. We checked around for the information we wanted, but at the time of writing this news item, that information wasn't forthcoming.
However, we can tell you that in 2013 Bonhams turned over £13million at this venue. In 2014, that rose to £17 million. For 2015, the only figure we can find is €21.5million. However, the Euro-Sterling exchange rate has since shifted, so we can't easily make the conversion. In the meantime, we're looking into this and will talk to Bonhams.
Check here for more on Bonhams' recent sales
Update: Bonhams has since sent us information regarding the overall turnover (bikes, cars & automobilia) at the Grandes Marques du Monde Sale in Paris.
February 2015: £16,396, 866 (€21,915,085)
February 2016: £8,318,465 (€10,860,324)
February 2017: £12, 966,546 (€15,238,625)
Hard & soft luggage kits for the Triumph Bonneville T120
Choose from the Dolomiti or Metro-T range
Owners of 2016 Triumph T120s looking for quality touring equipment can talk to Givi dealers and ask about the firm's new luggage racks and fixing systems for hard cases and side bags.
The Italian manufacturer, founded by ex-GP racer Giuseppe Visenzi and which currently employs around 500 staff, is also offering a new Race Café screen mounting kit and engine guards.
T120 Bonnie owners can select luggage components from the established aluminium Dolomiti or thermoformed Metro-T ranges (featuring a new Multilock system). We haven't seen any prices yet, so talk to your local motorcycle spares and accessories shop and point them at Givi.
Parking app for automotive bounty hunters
Smaller firms to benefit from new self-policing initiative
Did you hear the one about the private car parking enforcement firm that's paying a £10 bounty for snapshots of illegally parked vehicles? Well the punchline is that it's no joke.
The firm is UK Car Park Management (UK CPM). This outfit looks after parking acreage for firms such as Tesco and other nationally established companies. The idea is that you, as a smaller business person with land to defend, first sign a deal with UK CPM. Then you download a new parking app on your smartphone. Then you get out there on the ground and do your own policing. When you catch a miscreant misappropriating your turf, you take a snapshot of the offending vehicle complete with vehicle registration number, and fire it off to UK CPM.
A quick check on the DVLA database will (probably) reveal the name and address of the offender. The offender gets a £100 parking ticket in the mail (with a reduced rate of £60 if paid within two weeks), and you get a tenner.
▲ iTicket is one of many rivals to i-ticket. And it can only be a matter of time before we see i-Fraud, i-Ripoff, i-Scam, and similar. But beyond the immediate parking issue, there's the matter of the DVLA selling driver details to private parking firms. Do we really trust any of these guys?
However, it's not clear if you get the tenner regardless of whether or not UK CPM wheedles the money from the offender. But most vehicle owners are indeed on the national database, so the chances are that the system works reasonably effectively.
UK CPM calls the app "i-ticket". But we think they missed an opportunity by not calling it "i-snitch" or "i-gotcha". That's got a better ring to it. But is it fair on the poor driver or rider who really had nowhere else to park and needed to block or borrow a piece of your driveway, access road, slipway or whatever?
Hankies out, everyone.
Naturally, there will be a few schools of thought on this. But generally, we figure that most people will feel that if you can't do the time, don't do the crime. We also figure that human nature, being what it is, will sooner or later land a fist in your gob for your perseverance. And that remedial dental work could work out a lot more costly than ten quid.
Beyond that, we can also see a few opportunities here for some serious abuse of the system. Fortunately, it's not our problem. We're currently living way off the grid. But if you're faced with repeated territorial invasions, CPM just might have the solution. And if you don't fancy these guys, there are a few other players out there hoping to milk this cash cow.
Traditional market set to open in New Road
Tip: parking enforcement in the area can be fierce
This is one of those fringe stories that barely made it onto Sump's classic bike news page. Why? Because the interest here is tenuous. Nevertheless, this snippet will no doubt appeal to some of you Sumpsters, so here goes...
There's a new vintage market waiting to open on 11th March 2017 in New Road, Brighton. If you're familiar with "The Lanes", the Brighton area famous for the numerous antique, alternative and simply weird shops, you'll have some idea what to expect. Think Covent Garden or Camden Town. Think scented candles, T-shirts, vinyl records, and plenty of dodgy repro tat from the Far East.
New Road is a little further south and east and just a minute or so walking distance away from The Lanes. We're advised that the new market is "bringing you a brand new vintage throughout the year ... with the traditional market vibe of Brighton .... with beautiful vintage & antique stalls and much more."
We've cut and pasted the above marketing hype, but it might be worth checking out if you're in the area or fancy a trip to Brighton. Expect bric-a-brac stalls, artworks, old furniture, repro stuff. You get the idea.
We get down there as often as possible. Plenty of other bikers make the same trip, and every now and again something interesting turns up that might look good in the garage or hanging on your living room wall.
Draganfly adds 4,500 Triumph spares lines to its shelves
Leicestershire-based Supreme has closed after 50 years
Half a century. That's how long Supreme Motorcycles has been in bike business. Run by Heather Hallam, Dave Hallam & Dave Colley the Leicestershire-based firm built a name and reputation selling Triumph and BSA spares. But that's all over now that Draganfly Motorcycles of Bungay, Suffolk has bought the name, lock, stock and barrel. Or barrels.
Draganfly has made its name and reputation selling Ariel, BSA, Burman and Amal spares. The company is now clearing shelf space for Supreme's stock of post-war pre-unit and unit Triumph twin parts.
The Supreme website has gone. The phones have been switched. Erstwhile Supreme customers are therefore cordially invited to talk to the men at Draganfly. Just don't call on a Saturday, however, because on the traditionally busiest day of the motorcycling week, Draganfly is closed.
So why did Supreme close? We don't know for sure. These things are usually the result of various reasons. But we are advised that retirement has something to do with it.
Early February, which is about now, is the start date for the new diversion.
Telephone Draganfly on: +44 (0) 1986 894798
New lightweight goggles for low-profile Davida lids
£32.20 plus VAT
Davida has sent us details of a new, lightweight pair of goggles aimed specifically at owners of the low profile Davida Speedster V3 and Ninety 2 lids, but will also suit other Jet style helmets. The goggles are manufactured from 0.8mm-thick LEXAN® polycarbonate. They've got an anti-fog & scratch resistant coating, and they offer 380 UV protection.
The general idea is that you get a very snug, windproof fit with vents to keep the goggles mist-free, plus plenty of peripheral vision to help keep you alive. And to ensure the goggles stay put, there's a trio of silicon grippy thingies around the strap that, we hear, is kind to the helmet's paintwork.
The goggles are supplied with a protective bag, and replacement lenses are available. Choose from: Clear, Yellow, Smoke, Smoke Silver Mirror and Smoke Red Revo Mirror.
The price for the goggles is £32.20 excluding VAT. The price for the replacement lenses ranges from around seven quid to around twelve quid, also ex VAT.
Cool bobber T-shirt is back in stock
Black only, £19.99 plus postage & packing
Late last year we printed a limited run of T-shirts with this design and totally underestimated the demand. So we ordered another batch. But in between, we received a number of emails asking if the tee was available on a black shirt (as opposed to the original grey). It seemed a reasonable enough request, and we decided it looked a whole lot better on black anyway.
So here we are. We're expecting them to sell fast. So if you want one, be quick. The price is £19.99 plus P&P. Sizes are S, M, L, XL, and 2XL. We can, for a while, order larger or smaller sizes. They'll take a few days extra. And if we run out or something, we'll let you know pronto.
EAT SLEEP RIDE REPEAT