Bonhams took a cool two million quid at their Easter sale at Stafford on Sunday 24th April 2011.
The highest selling lot was the above 1934 Brough Superior which was restored in 2004 by marque specialist Dave Clark. It sold for £131,000.
Other high sellers included a 1965 DMW Typhoon 500cc twin-cylinder prototype which exceeded its £8,000–12,000 estimate and fetched £19,550.
Meanwhile, a restored 1961 500cc Manx Norton also exceeded its estimate and was sold to a Californian bidder for £29,900.
Lastly, a 1977 Norton Commando MkIII—the last of its kind made—sold for £18,975, while an unregistered 1975 Triumph T160 Trident with only seven ‘push’ miles recorded, reached £13,800. Both bikes were owned by long established Triumph dealer, Carl Rosner.
Bonhams are said to be chuffed to bits by the continuing strength of the classic bike market which shows no sign of abating. But a collapse, or at least a fall, has to come sooner later. Let's hope it's much later.
— Del Monte
The No To The Bike Parking Tax (NTBPT) campaign has suffered a serious blow with three senior judges formally giving the case the elbow on 19th April 2011 and refusing leave to appeal to the Supreme Court.
Why? Because, in a nutshell, their lordships felt that Westminster Council, facing increasing "pressure" on kerbside space, has a valid case for charging both bikes and cars in a "non-discriminatory" fashion as a mechanism for dampening demand whilst addressing contemporary parking needs.
Additionally, they say, Westminster has significantly increased motorcycle parking provision in response to said demand and has sufficient legal instruments in place to levy a fair tax. Current street space in Westminster is for 6100 bikes, with free off-street "secure" bike parking for another 400 machines.
There are various other legal arguments raging here (we tried to read the entire judgement but fell asleep), but the upshot is that if you want to park on the street in Westminster, it will continue to cost you £1 per day. Game, set and match.
Except that the NTBPT are now planning to take the case to the European Court to see what they can do to overturn the decision which has so far cost over £50,000. And counting. So good luck to 'em. We all love a free ride.
However, we're not totally out of sympathy with Westminster Council (who are certainly no friends of ours). Fact is, if there's a logical case for charging cars, there's an equally logical case for charging bikes—albeit at a much lower level.
The NTBPT disagree and feel that bikes, unlike cars, don't pollute and don't add to congestion and don't cause wear and tear, and should therefore be exempt from parking charges. Except that bikes Do pollute (many of them significantly more than modern cars), and bikes Do add to congestion (albeit with far less impact), and they Do cause wear and tear (albeit minimal).
But all these points are already reflected in the fact that bikers pay significantly less for their road fund licenses, are exempt from the congestion zone charge, have free access to many bus lanes, have free passage across and through dozens of toll bridges and tunnels throughout the UK, and generally enjoy many other pecuniary advantages over car drivers who pay through the nose for every mile travelled.
Moreover, if you want to try and play the environmental and congestion trump cards, it's worth remembering that that argument ultimately leads to a public transport purgatory with little or no provision for motorcycle usage, least of all big bikes and classic bikes, both of which have a significantly deeper environmental footprint than, say, the average modern scooter.
What we object to, however, is the bike parking payment mechanism that demands ownership and use of a mobile phone and credit card, both of which are liabilities in themselves and create an unreliable payment portal which frequently fails leaving with the biker with fines and a time-consuming and unjust appeals process.
As bikers, we commonly think of ourselves as a special group deserving of various forms of positive discrimination. But the reality is that we're still—in some way, shape or form—part of the wider transport "problem". We still burn fossil fuels. We still take up space. We still have a social impact. Which means that we still have to pay. The only valid question is how much?
Car parking in Westminster costs from £1.10 to £4.40 per hour. Bikes, remember, cost £1 per day—with many bays offering "security" rails. If other councils decide to levy bike parking taxes, that will be a shame, but quite possibly justified in congested metropolitan areas. However, if those charges are too high, that will warrant a justifiable protest. But a quid a day doesn't exactly strike us as highway robbery.
The world's first three-spoke cast magnesium racing wheels for motorcycles? That's what the claim is, which sounds about right to us. We're talking about Dymags which were launched in the early 1970s and folded in 2009.
Now they're back on the starting grid under the control of CSA International Ltd. Eddie Lawson rolled to victory on a pair of these and won the AMA Superbike Championship in 1981 and 1982, then won the World Motorcycle GP Championship in 1984.
If you want a pair, you'll need to shell out around £1750 plus VAT, but take note that they're available in 17-inch and 18-inch diameters only - which is probably fine for that racing classic project, but might not satisfy the custom-classic boys. And girls.
If you want a three-spoke Dymag look but haven't got the change, look out for a pair of CMAs. They're ordinary aluminium alloy as opposed to magnesium, so they carry a few extra pounds. But most riders won't care too much. However, if you simply want the best, Dymags are up there at the top of the tree. Class product with pedigree. At a price.
Dymag, incidentally, are also offering a design and refurbishment package for any Dymags or, for that matter, any motorcycle cast alloy wheel. Details below ...
— Del Monte
Andrea Leadsom, Conservative MP for South Northamptonshire, has recently initiated a Private Member's Bill in the House of Commons hoping to put a new offence on the statute books; Dangerous and Reckless Cycling.
The intention is to cut the number of UK pedestrians killed by cyclists which, on average, is currently between zero and three per annum. Ms Leadsom evidently feels that existing legislation (manslaughter, criminal negligence, etc) is insufficient and that sterner measures are called for, hence the bill.
Not that she's expecting the proposition to actually make it onto the statute books. Private Member's Bills (this one launched under the Ten Minute Rule) are rarely given sufficient parliamentary reading time to carry them all the way into British law. Often, the underlying intention is merely to give everyone in the Commons a ride on an MP's personal hobby horse and highlight a social, commercial, legal or other grievance. In this case, maniac cyclists.
Being both part-time pedal pusher and pedestrians ourselves, we see the arguments from all sides of the divide and have had our fair share of near misses—and more than once have wanted to take a baseball bat to some of the morons out there.
Nevertheless, if there's one thing we really don't need in this country (for the foreseeable future at least) it's new legislation. Over the past decade, Blair and Brown have bestowed upon us enough additional rules and regs to keep the Courts jammed up for the rest of this century. Ignorance of the law has, we'd argue, at last become a perfectly valid defence.
But some say that the day of licence plates, compulsory insurance, compulsory helmets and some form of licensing for cyclists is nigh. Plus, of course, a tax disc to pay for the bureaucracy.
Sounds unlikely, but it wasn't so long ago that you could have a lawful fag on the top deck of a bus or in a pub, whereas today you get treated like a social pariah for having a quiet puff in the street. My late Uncle Johnny would roll over in his grave.
Still, urban cycling is each year becoming more and more hazardous—if only due to rising numbers. And our so-called cycle lanes, frequently overrun by black cabs and buses, have led to a highly aggressive breed of Lycra lunatic and spandex sociopath evidently incapable of putting on the brakes anywhere between points A and B.
That said, it'll be a shame if you can't nip down to the corner shop on the old Raleigh in your pyjamas without having to check that the paperwork's in order, much of which starts with a humble Private Member's Bill. Be warned.
Silverstone Auctions has set an estimate of £4200-£4600 for this, but we think it will go much higher. It certainly ought to.
This, we hear, is the lid that "Mike the Bike" Hailwood wore during those amazing years of the 1950s and 1960s, and comes from the collection of Ted McCauley, Mike's long-time mate and riding buddy.
Handpainted by Mike, the Cromwell has a couple of (annotated) gouges on the top where Hailwood slid down the track at Brands Hatch in 1963, but is otherwise as it was; the real McCoy, now looking for a new home.
It goes on the block on 11th June 2011 at the MotoGP Sale at Silverstone, Northamptonshire, NN12 8TN.
The provenance looks impeccable and Mike's reputation and celebrity status is as strong as ever (and growing, even). This helmet is as much a piece of British sporting history as George Best's football boots or Henry Cooper's boxing shorts. As an investment, this has to be blue chip, and could go a long way towards propping up that dodgy pension.
— The Third Man
More than 56,000 entries poured in to win this bike, or so we hear. But only one was going to walk away with the keys, and that turned out to be Paul Maullin from somewhere (undisclosed) in the midlands.
The competition for this unique 500cc Royal Enfield was launched back in June 2010 and was sponsored by Wychwood Brewery, makers of Hobgoblin beer—hence the corporate blue livery and a large Hobgoblin graphic on the tank.
We've drunk a few trial gallons of this stuff, by the way, and it tastes a lot better than Enfield sump oil. Actually, it's pretty good general lubrication for the inner gears, and doesn't seem to do much harm elsewhere (if you know what we mean).
We like to support small breweries, especially English breweries, and so should you if want to give all that imported foreign rubbish a night off.
That's Paul on the left, incidentally, with Wychwood's senior brand manager, Chris Keating. You have to be in it, to win it. Better luck next time.
— Girl Happy
Taurus motorcycles? Never heard of them? Well you're not alone. We had only a hazy recollection of the brand until Fabrizio "McDeeb" Di Bella reminded us.
Taurus was an Italian firm. They built motorcycles between 1933 and 1947 using a range of two-stroke and four-stroke engines of capacities from 175cc to 500cc.
Sixty-odd years on, Italian custom bike supremo McDeeb Di Bella of Classic Farm Motorcycles is gearing up for a relaunch of this all but forgotten marque, hence the special above based on a Kawasaki W400TT.
Next on the list is a W800 powered model, with the ultimate aim being the volume production of an Enfield powered bike.
We've featured this guy before, and it seems to us that McDeeb has sound instincts, a sharp eye, and a real passion for simple, classy, up-to-the-minute motorcycles.
We don't have any further details or prices. But watch this space. Mr McDeeb is coming to get ya.
No, they're not sweeties. But if you run a T140 Bonneville or T150/T160 Trident—or even a non-Hinckley Rocket 3—they're proper little treats.
They're polyurethane clutch cush drive "rubbers" and are a straight replacement for the standard rubber items that eventually degenerate and turn to tar, leading to a harsh transmission and unwanted muck in your primary case (that can potentially cause oilway blockages).
These poly-rubbers are claimed to be a superior compound that will go the distance and well beyond. And when they're dead, they'll pop out cleanly for replacements.
Tony Hayward (the UK BSA-Triumph belt drive pioneer) has recently acquired a new batch of these and is looking for customers to take them off his hands. There are six "rubbers" in the T120/T140 Bonneville set which will cost you £10 plus £1.50 postage and packing. The Trident set, meanwhile, has twelve "rubbers" and will cost you £18, also plus £1.50 (UK postage prices). So if you're interested in these poly-wotsits, we suggest you acquire a set while the going's good.
While you've got your cheque book out, you might want to remember that Tony also sells T120/T140 and Triumph T150/T160 spares, plus belt drives for dozens of British bikes. And he tends to flog stuff cheap and can be trusted with your dosh.
He doesn't have a website or email. In fact, we're not even sure he knows what either is. But he's a master on the telephone. Call him.
Tony Hayward: 01244 830776.
— Del Monte
Ten million inspection covers. Manholes, if you prefer. That, according to the Motorcycle Action Group, is how many of these bloody things litter UK roads.
And we think they're right because we've hit most of them at one time or another, and have suffered the consequences.
We're talking about spills, unwanted thrills, and wrecked suspension. And you've been there too. Often these covers are poorly sited. Often they're made of completely inappropriate materials. Often they're nicked for scrap. Often they force you to abruptly change speed and/or direction. And all too often they bring a rider down.
And kill him. Or her.
But we don't have to put up with this crap. And the Motorcycle Action Group isn't going to. They're determined to do something about it, hence their Get a Grip campaign launched at last year's NEC. We should have reported this earlier, but were probably drunk again at the time, or busy in the garage.
But we're putting it right now.
Get a Grip has been created to highlight these serious motorcycling hazards and uncover the cover-up. The campaign is taking the fight right to the heart of English local authorities and forcing them to wake up to the manhole problem and deal with it effectively—and very often cost-effectively. Meaning that there are real-world solutions to this perennial issue. There are new manhole cover designs and materials out there that can be relatively cheaply installed. And could save your life.
So don't ignore this one. Go and visit the Get a Grip website, read about the issues, sign up to their petition, and get on board.
While you're at it, single membership of the Motorcycle Action Group is just £25. Expensive? No, cheap. Dirt cheap. There are dozens of membership benefits including product discounts, product warnings, ferry deals, a big social scene, moral support, legal advice—plus the satisfaction of knowing that you've stopped being part of the problem and are now part of the solution, etc.
It's always been a question of strength of numbers. So back this campaign all the way. Join MAG. Today. Now.
Ignore this issue at your peril.
There was a time when men bought sidecars because they had no choice; not if they wanted personal motorised transport. Cars were too expensive, while sidecars were relatively cheap—and you could stick the missus and the sprogs inside and haul 'em around the country. Or, at least, down to the seaside, or up to Birmingham to visit the in-laws. We know this to be true because here at Sump, we're descended from a long line of sidecar men. BSA M21s. 650cc Triumphs. The odd AJS and Matchless too. A10s. Panthers. Whatever.
Nowadays, however, cars are dirt cheap and rain is still wet and most people aren't crazy about sitting in a little open-topped tub in a ten mile tailback, which is why sidecars are generally out of favour, and why they make less and less sense in these green and congested isles. But there's still a hardcore group of chairmen, and even the odd (if not very odd) Harley rider still uses 'em.
Hence Watsonian-Squire's latest offering, which is a classic GP Manx sidecar re-engineered to attach to a Harley-Davidson 883 Sportster SuperLow. We wouldn't have believed it if we hadn't seen the pics for ourselves, But there you have it (above). One Harley-Davidson Sportster. One GP Manx sidecar. Joined at the hip.
Prices start at £3695, which is probably pretty reasonable for a brand new UK-built chair, and Watsonian-Squire can handle all the technical stuff and give you some tuition in the finer points of sidecarmanship. Of course, you'll need to buy the Sportster too, which has a SuperLow price of around £6300 (April 2011).
We loved Watsonian's Royal Enfield Harry Potter outfit (see Sump November 2010) But this Sportster combo strikes us as a little perverse. The bike and chair simply don't match. Maybe if the Sportster's cast wheels were replaced with wire wheels, we'd feel a little differently. But as it stands, it just doesn't ring the right bells.
— The Third Man
If you've been paying attention, you'll know that Bonhams are holding their third annual auction at Quail Lodge in Carmel, California on May 14th, 2011. A 400cc Husqvarna belonging to the late Steve McQueen will be going on under the hammer (as reported in Sump January 2011) and is likely to draw some fresh money looking for a shrewd investment.
Well Bonhams have just added two more likely lads to the catalogue, the first being a 1959 Manx Norton ridden to victory in the 1960s by AFM/ACA National championship supremo Buddy Parriot (main image above). The second is the (immediately) above 1956 Norton Daytona built by Norton to race at Daytona Beach and said to have been kept in the same family for half a century.
At the time of writing, we don't have any information regarding the reserves or estimates. But the word is that these rare birds are going to hit some very high numbers. If you're still sitting on cash in the bank, this could be exactly the right time to remove it. More details as and when.
The online catalogue, meanwhile, is a currently unavailable (as of 5th April 2011). But when Bonhams are ready for you, you'll find it here:
— Del Monte