If you're in the Honiton area of Devon. the VMCC would like you to lend them your ears. The area, apparently, is something of a dead zone as far as VMCC classic motorcycling is concerned, and the club would like to put some life into it.
To that end, on Monday 25th October at 8.00pm, at the White Hart Inn, Wilmington (four miles from Honiton on the A35), a meeting will be held to see just how much support there is for a new section.
If you're local and interested, you know what you have to do. Find out more from Rodney Hann on: 01963 23203.
— Coffee Stop
Michael Scott Wade, president of the Dot Motorcycle Club and managing director of Dot Motorcycles who died on September 14th was laid to rest today (30th September 2010) at St Peters Church, Prestbury, Cheshire.
Michael began working for Dot in 1954, a period that saw the company riding high with a new range of Villiers powered bikes that were acquitting themselves well in UK and European trials and scrambles competitions. Thirty years later he took over the running of the business from his father, Burnard, who had carried the firm through the difficult years of the 1930s depression. Burnard died in 1984.
A keen amateur photographer and birdwatcher, Michael was famous for his prodigious memory and was a frequent visitor to the major classic bike shows. He learned to drive late in life, but quickly took to the roads in a small Peugeot and travelled the length and breadth of the UK delivering Dot motorcycle spares and Dot-manufactured shock absorbers.
Towards the end of his life, with failing health, he remained as active as possible and kept in good spirits. Business colleague Roy Dickman said, "Michael was a man of the moment with a very dry sense of humour. Some people felt that he was too much in his father's shadow, but I didn't see it that way—and even if true, it was a lot less than it was for the rest of us at Dot."
Eric Adcock, a well known a respected Dot factory rider of the 1950s, said "Michael was one of those men who people either liked or disliked. But he was a real character. He kept a flat at the Dot factory in Manchester and enjoyed listening to Radio Two and Radio Four. He always had a camera with him and had a drawer full of his pictures that had been taken simply to capture the moment."
The Dot factory, which ceased full-scale bike production in the 1960s, continued to manufacture spares to the present day, and has no plans to change that position.
Michael died in hospital aged 74.
— Del Monte
Keith Degroot, a 66-year old pensioner from Leeds, has been jailed for 18-months for smashing 56-year old, 6' 3" Hells Angel Stephen Hall in the face with a walking stick.
Back in April this year, Hall became involved in a heated pub argument with Degroot, allegedly knocked his eyeglasses off and called him "a f***ing Jew". Degroot took great exception to the remark and reacted with (not unprecedented) violence.
Hall was knocked unconscious and suffered a variety of facial injuries that required a 5-day stay in hospital. It's not clear (at the time of writing) if Degroot actually is a Jew. Neither is it clear if Hall is actually a Hells Angel, or just an ordinary biker.
Either way, some people might say that certain other people deserved exactly what they got. But we're keeping well out of it. The last thing we want is a gang of hardened pensioners coming round here to sort us out.
— Sam 7
We knew he'd be back (see Sump August 2010). From 2013, under California law new motorcycles will be required to use only EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) approved silencers in a bid to cut "excessive" exhaust noise. The contentious Motorcycle Anti-Tampering Act ill (SB435) has, after deliberation, now been ratified by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. The maximum fine for flouting the new law is $250, but a rectification notice may be issued for a first offence. The law will not be applied retrospectively. Therefore, bikes manufactured before 2013 will not be subject to the requirements of the bill. But excessively noisy riders could still be prosecuted under existing nuisance laws.
— Coffee Stop
Buy a new hog between 1st October and 30th November 2010, and the big H will chuck in an extra two years warranty on new bikes (bought from authorised dealers). This is in addition to existing guarantees. A spokesman for Harley-Davidson said the warranty was "a reflection of the firm's confidence in its product". But the truth is that Harleys aren't exactly flying out the door anymore, hence the recent savage cuts in production and prices. Coupled with dealer desperation, that makes it a pretty good time to haggle for that Sportster, Fat Boy, Wide Glide or Cross Bones.
Rumours that Harley-Davidson is about to release a model called the Poor Boy have been vehemently denied.
— Del Monte
If you want a good reason why the British police shouldn't be routinely armed, here it is. In March this year, US biker Anthony Graber upset this unidentified plain clothes cop by speeding and popping wheelies in Maryland, USA. The cop reacted by blocking the biker at a set of lights and pulling a gun. The implication being perfectly clear. Stop, or I'll shoot you. And possibly kill you.
The biker, wearing a helmet cam, was subsequently prosecuted for "illegally filming a police officer" and posting it on You Tube (essentially a wiretapping charge), but was cleared by a Maryland Court on the grounds that the police officer could have no real expectation of privacy in his job when in a public place.
Graber's home was raided by the police, and computer equipment confiscated. Now he's a "free" man, and the cop hasn't even got his knuckles rapped (let alone a charge of pulling a pistol on a private citizen and threatening to permanently put his lights out).
It's because of morons like this that we need helmet cameras. Next time you go for a blast on your BSA A10 or James Commodore, don't forget to pack the flak jacket.
— Sam 7
Five new belt buckles and a leather belt to screw 'em to. That's the latest pitch from Chequered Flag, purveyors of T-shirts, gloves, waxed jackets and brain buckets for the more discerning Rocker. Haven't actually seen them ourselves, so you'll have to do your own legwork. £9.99. Ditto for the belt. That's it. Message ends.
At least fifteen campers were ripped off at the recent Triumph Live event at Mallory Park on 18th September. Numerous tents were raided despite a large security presence on the site. Losses are said to include money, a mobile phone, and various other "relatively minor items". Triumph has issued a full apology and has promised a security review.
— Big End
The road safety charity, Brake is dangling a £33 billion carrot under the nose of the UK government in an effort to tackle "preventable" road deaths and injuries. £33 billion is said to be the amount of dosh that road accidents cost the country.
Sounds a worthy enough aim. In principle. Except that Brake has a target of ZERO casualties, which means that motorcycles are likely to remain at the front of their firing squad.
Julie Townsend, Brake's campaign director, said, "In the current economic climate, we should be seizing every opportunity to reduce the huge social and economic burden of road casualties."
However, you need to view this glib statement against a backdrop of rapidly falling deaths on the roads which were (just) 2,222 in 2009—down 7 percent on 2008 figures.
To widen the context, the current UK casualty figures are the lowest since 1926 when records began. The highest casualty rate was in 1966 when the number was around 8000 (with, note, significantly fewer vehicles on the roads, and significantly fewer roads).
Bikes, however, continue to be over-represented—and by an uncomfortable margin. But the motorcycle casualty rate in the UK is falling too, overall. The 2008 figures shows a drop of 16% on the year before with (just) 493 deaths. In 2009, there was another 4% drop.
Nevertheless, Brake is continuing its rush to zero casualties and is therefore an organisation worth keeping an eye on. Keep in mind too that £33 billion is a notional figure based upon some pretty creative data gathering methodology. You couldn't wipe out that figure whatever you did. You could only reduce it and move the numbers around to other transport modes. But at what cost in terms of quality of life, fun-and-games, industry jobs, etc? You pays your money and you take your chances. That's how it works. But Brake would like to put the anchors on pretty much everything that doesn't run on autopilot.
— Coffee Stop
Councillors in Norfolk are poised to elbow all speed cameras, including mobile units, in a bid to save £1 million. At the heart of the problem is a 40% cut in government grants to the region's Safety Camera Partnership.
However, the "final decision" hasn't been made leaving the council looking at other options including funding the Gatsos themselves. Alternately, they might indeed scrap the entire lousy camera enforcement system and (steady on) focus on "road safety work".
Our bet is that the cameras are for the chop, if only to avoid slashing the wages of the usual overpaid monkeys at the top of the tree.
In the meantime, make sure the batteries in your TomTom or Snooper are fully charged. Call us paranoid, but we trust no one these days, least of all county councils.
Yeah. We know. It's not much of a headline, but it wasn't much of a press release that we received from Mortons Media who run one of the most popular autojumbles in the country. We quote...
"Once more the sun shone down on thousands of bike enthusiasts who had travelled to take part in the largest outdoor motorcycle autojumble in the UK held over 10-11 September!
"Traders from all over Europe arrived at the 17th Carole Nash Classic Eurojumble with a wealth of fantastic jumble items ready to be snapped up by enthusiastic visitors. The vast array of garage clear-out goodies quickly disappeared over the two days as eager punters rummaged through plots stuffed with many hidden gems!"
Still, we've got big hearts here at Sump and don't mind given 'em a plug for a thinly disguised ad (if it doesn't actually cost us anything). No word on attendance this year, incidentally, but one of our shrewd-eyed friends was at the show and gave us the following statement (under caution):
"Netley was pretty packed with punters on the Friday, less so on the Saturday. I noticed particularly a lot of Triumph parts, but there was a fairly broad spread. Parts from 39-53-ish have definitely thinned a lot in the last few years but I should think this is common throughout the scene. Japanese parts seem to have reached a fairly stable percentage of the total, and what I have always found surprising is the lack of BMW and Guzzi spares. After all, many of these are just as 'old' as the 'old' British bikes.
Another witness said:
"Yes, I'd say that Netley was buzzing fairly well on the Friday, and there was a fast moving queue to get in when it opened. It's always difficult to know if they've moved the fence a row from one year to another, but my impression was that it was fuller than the last few years.
"Friday regulars know of course that a substantial number of traders move to Beaulieu on the Saturday, but it's still a bit annoying to see them 'upping sticks' at 3.00pm when there's still two hours of paying punter time to go.
"In terms of Japanese, there seemed to be more 'classic' stuff this year and less plastic and instruments from recent crashed bikes.
"I heard a trader at Beaulieu saying to a friend that it was 'slow', but he had unsorted rubbish. My feeling is that there are plenty of buyers for well-presented good parts, but a minority of traders are exploiting that fact and asking silly money. The price of 'pile of proverbial' project bikes was staggering. A WD16H 'Taxed and tested' at £3850 (I think) was absolutely 'hanging' and had a completely broken gearbox top lug as well as other faults.
"The camaraderie amongst the regulars here makes it a good day out."
So there you have it; all that and the "shining sun". Anyway, bookings are being taken for next year's Netley Marsh show, and if you're a serious jumbler, it's pretty much a must.
Meanwhile, Mr Morton will be receiving our leaflet entitled: How To Write A Digital Press Release Worth The Paper It's Printed On.
— Sam 7
If your gentlemanly tastes run to looking at semi-naked women draped over classic bikes, you're in luck because the AJS-Matchless Owners Club have once again indulged your little adult kinks with this fresh-off-the-press 2011 club calendar.
Last year's effort, it seems, brought a clutch of unexpected voyeurs out from behind the bushes, and sales of the calendar became very erect. So the club have deepened the groove and pegged the price at six quid. Click the link below and do what you have to do. You know it's naughty. But some blokes just can't help themselves.
— Del Monte
Speculation is rife that Morgan Cars are set to re-enter the world of cycle cars sixty-odd years after they put that one soundly to bed.
The rumour has been ignited by the news that Liberty Motors, US builders of the short-run three-wheeled Ace Cycle Car, are claiming to be manufacturing their current model "under licence" from Morgan in Malvern, Worcestershire.
Harley-Davidson are already supplying 88-inch and 103-inch Twin Cam B engines for the Ace vehicles which are built in Seattle, Washington.
Speculation is said to be compounded by the fact that the name “The Morgan 3 Wheeler Ltd” has been registered to the address of Morgan Cars.
A spokesperson for Morgan advised us that they would be launching a "fun weekend vehicle" in November this year, and had little to say beyond that. Certainly the company sounded surprised that the news was out, suggesting that Liberty Motors might have jumped the gun on this one.
Brigadier Richard Dennis OBE ADC is on a fundraising drive (or ride) intended to swell the coffers of the Army Benevolent Fund (ABF) which has been supporting UK troops for over 65 years. Starting on September 30th 2010 and finishing two weeks later, Dennis will be visiting various regimental headquarters and the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire rattling the tin in an effort to raise £100,000. The money so far collected is just £1250.
It's a national shame and disgrace that British troops aren't better supported by successive backsliding governments after the fighting stops (and for that matter when the bullets are still flying). But you can take some comfort from the fact that the ABF is on the case and doing what it can to make up the shortfall.
If you want to dip into your pocket, follow the link below. The Brigadier, pictured above on a Hinckley Bonneville, will actually be riding a Sprint GT loaned by Triumph for the trip.
— Big End
No, we didn't spell Blueye wrong. You'll have to blame the Australian's for that, because that's where these things come from. And if there's one thing the Aussies know something about, it's sunshine and what to wear when you're out in it.
Which is where these Chill sunglasses enter the frame. We were given a pair a few days ago, and now we cant' stop wearing them. On the road. In the bath. In bed. Put simply, they're the best we've ever worn, optically speaking, and knock the windscreens clean out of approaching cars letting you see the whites of their eyes.
According to the technical blurb, the lenses aren't the same thickness all over. Like us, they're thick in the middle and thin at the ends. Or something like that. But whatever it is, it works. Crisp. Clear. Even.
Some of you guys and girls have already shelled out for a decent pair of shades and have discovered just how ugly most car drivers are. But if you haven't, go and get sorted today. It could save your life.
Our days of cheapskate budget sunglasses are behind us. We're fully converted. So try 'em, and buy 'em. Best thing we haven't bought in years.
Kent Motorcycles will sort you out if you're in their neck of the woods. Prices are around £80 plus change. Plenty of other designs and colours in the catalogue, etc.
BSA M20 single spring clutches were never anything to set your transmission alight (although our own 1945 model is still keeping a pretty good grip on things). But if your experience is different, this kevlar reinforced set might be exactly what you need.
Gerrit Bruggink from Holland has designed and built a kit comprising 5 steel plates, 4 friction plates, a revised 15-spring arrangement (to replace the single spring unit), and a spacer ring to take up the slack. It all sounds pretty complicated, but we're prepared to give Gerrit the benefit of the doubt.
He'll sell you individual friction plates for 25 euros each, or individual steel plates for 6 euros each. Whether the friction plates are any good to you without the full kit isn't clear. But that's the information we have.
Gerrit's English is far from perfect. But if you persevere by email, you'll sort it out. Note that he also makes friction plates for pretty much any classic bike, so don't be shy. Ask. Contact Gerrit via: www.thb-support.nl, or email him at: firstname.lastname@example.org
There's some other interesting things on his site that should get you reaching for your wallet. Postage to the UK for the complete kit is, incidentally, around 18 euros.
— Sam 7
It's an 18 month trial period, but it's another move in the right direction. As of now, you can ride your motorcycle in any of the bus lanes in Bedford, Bedfordshire (pop: 155,000). Taxis, private hire vehicles and pushbikes will be included in the experiment which is said to be at least partly due to many years of BMF lobbying. And who would argue with that?
The BMF's Government Relations Executive, Chris Hodder, is apparently well chuffed with the decision and hopes and expects to see casualties drop (no pun intended).
Bristol has let motorcycles use bus lanes since 1996. Reading followed suit three years later. Bikes also have legal bus lane access in Birmingham, Colchester, Derby, Bath, Hull, Swindon, Richmond on Thames, Newcastle on Tyne, Sunderland, Plymouth, Northern Ireland, and the M4 bus lane.
Most of London’s red routes are now currently being trialled for motorcycle use. But watch it in any bus lanes that have single or double yellow lines. Some allow bikes. Some don't. So read the signs carefully. Enforcement cameras are very active.
— Big End
If you spot the above motorcycle outfit, owner Ralf Gorres from Germany would like to hear from you—and maybe get his hands around the throats of the bastards who stole it. The bike was purloined in Holland on the 5th September 2010. The frame number is B9163. If you've got any information, tip us the wink or contact: HeinzKindler@aol.com.
There's a reward of 1000 euros, but naturally you'll want to share any information, gratis.
— Girl Happy
These kind of thingsdon't come up often, so if you're interested in owning the rights to a grand old British motorcycle marque, and have dreams of giving Hinckley Triumph a run for its money, you'd better tickle that carburettor and get moving.
Francis Barnett was founded in 1919 by Gordon Inglesby Francis and Arthur Barnett. The industrial steamroller that became Associated Motorcycles (AMC) bought the firm in 1947 and went belly up in 1966.
Powered by JAP, Blackburn, Villiers and AMC engines, the bikes were always a little quirky/idiosyncratic and carved a distinct niche in a market that was for many years flooded with competitors battling each other for a larger share of a diminishing customer pool.
The firm, however, is perhaps best remembered for their "straight tube" frame concept which allowed for the triangulated chassis to be dismantled and carried in a golf bag, if required. Why anyone would actually want to do that isn't clear, but the company certainly made the most of this unique selling point and advertised their product as "built like a bridge"—and in doing so guaranteed their frames for life.
The price of the trademark is £10,000, which includes all transfer fees and VAT. Advertised as "a once in a lifetime opportunity" we should point out that the current owners are Sambell Engineering in Leicestershire who bought the rights a few years back and have since changed their plans—which makes the above sales claim a little less convincing. Regardless, you can call Carl on 01455 283251 or
07957 813630 and negotiate.
Francis Barnett Owners Club on: www.francis-barnett.co.uk
— Big End
Bonham's 14th auction at the Beaulieu Autojumble appears to have given the money tree a good shake last Saturday (11th September 2010) to the tune of £1.9 million. Collectors from mainland Europe and the UK were largely responsible for pushing the auction envelope of classic cars and bikes which saw a 1953 plunger/tele Ariel Square Four (above) reach a healthy £11,900. Whilst by no means the highest price we've seen for a Square Four, it is however a significant boost for post-war models which haven't seen the sort of growth enjoyed by pre-war bikes. Typically, we'd expect to see a fifties Square Four fetch between £6000-£9000. But this example has moved the goalposts a long way. Whether they'll stay there in the short term remains to be seen.
Meanwhile, a 1951 Vincent Comet (left) estimated at £7000-£9000 returned £12,880 on the day—not bad for a Vinnie with non-matching numbers. At Sump, we feel that Comets are undervalued and ought to have plenty of investment headroom. But buyers haven't been convinced, thereby keeping these one-lungers off the boil.
But given the increasing shortage and relentlessly rising prices of Rapides and Shadows, are we at last going to see Comets start climbing to what is arguably more realistic levels? Maybe.
The top selling lot was this 1927 Ex-Forrest Lycett
3-litre Bentley Speed Model Tourer (right) which sold for £305,100 (estimated at 180,000-220,000). If more proof was needed that the classic bubble is continuing to expand, here it is.
— Del Monte
If you've squirrelled any old speedway footage in the loft/shed/under the bed, the Friends of Speedway want you to ring their bells so they can copy it and preserve it in digital amber. They're getting together on the 17th October 2010 for the fifth California-in-England reunion to be held at California Country Park, Nine Mile Ride, Finchampstead, Wokingham, RG40 4HT.
Expect to find a display of speedway bikes, photos, bibs, sundry memorabilia, members of the 1950s California Poppies—plus plenty of other old codgers from the glory days happy to relive a few memories. And if you're an old speedway codger yourself, expect to have to do a little walking on an organised park tour, so stout boots and/or zimmer frames at the ready, please.
There's food and (ahem) other facilities on site. The display will be open between 11am and 4pm.
Stuart Towner on 0208-397 6599
We're a little retarded on the ignition sometimes (it's all the wine we drink around here, don't ya know), but we've only just found out that Triumph Motorcycles isn't simply the largest British motorcycle manufacturer, but the largest British automotive manufacturer, full stop. Crazy, huh?
Knocking out 50,000 bikes a year, Triumph easily pips notable firms such as Bristol Cars (around 120-150 vehicles per annum), McLaren (almost 300 cars per annum), the Morgan Motor Company (around 500 cars per annum), TVR (around 900 cars per annum), and Manganese Bronze Holdings (around 2500 black cabs per annum).
Next time you're out on the road wet and shivering and miserable, and lamenting the decline of British industry (etc), you can hole up in front of a fire in a nice little pub and raise a glass to ex-plasterer, Mr John Bloor, OBE. We used to hate the bloke for knocking down Meriden. But there was obviously method in his madness, and now that a decent passage of time has elapsed, we're prepared to let bygones be bygones.
— Girl Happy
That's the trouble with multi-cylinder bikes; you've got to rack up the costs for everything between the petrol tank and the sump. Two of this, three of that, four of the other. And so on. Still, you get advantages, which is why you should stop whingeing about the price of these Ariel Square Four 'rods from Draganfly and just bite the bullet.
They cost £520 plus VAT—which goes up to 20 percent in the new year, remember—and are machined from some kind of high fallutin' billet alloy (as strong as the last Squariel rods, and only a smidgen heavier than the first, according to Draganfly). They fit all models from 1937-1958 and come with serrated end-caps for positive location. ARP bolts hang it all together. You can't buy them individually, incidentally. Like steak knives, you gotta get the set.
If you don't buy 'em, you can spend a weekend in Paris or something with the money you saved—and risk having your old rods explode around a hairline fracture and wreck your very expensive twin-crank engine. That's the pitch. Buy or don't buy. It's your call.
Telephone: 01986 894 798
— Sam 7
Here's the latest road safety controversy. Wonderbra have installed a 3D advert near London's Waterloo Station, and now millions will die. The 20-foot wide/48-sheet poster, which requires the wearing of 3D specs to appreciate the full effect, has been criticised by everyone from the Institute of Advanced Motorists to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Anything (RoSPA). But Wonderbra is unrepentant and are confident that the oxygen of publicity will fuel a big bonfire of dosh.
At Sump, we're not sure what the fuss is about. There probably will be the odd couple of plonkers suffering a momentary lapse of concentration. But if the millions of walking, talking, stooping, stretching, lipsmacking, sex-on-a-stick 3D women walking the pavements over the summer months haven't done for you, chances are you're gonna make it through to the autumn.
Still, better treat it like a road accident and keep your eyes on the other drivers as you pass. You can console yourself that you can see a lot more exciting stuff than that on about 5 billion porno sites on the www— and lately they're showing 3D videos to anyone for whom two-dimensional sex just doesn't get their cannon firing anymore (don't ask us how we know that, by the way).
Still got that old full-face Bell, speedway boots and paintball body armour in the shed? Good. You just might need 'em the next time you're out of your domestic comfort zone and poodling down the street on your pride and joy. Because a Cromwell, Belstaff and Goldtops simply ain't going to cut it anymore when it comes to personal protection.
Not according to the Old Bill and the big cheeses at the International Monetary Fund (IMF), that is. They've put their craniums together and have agreed that the financial hole we're in is set to rapidly deepen leading to massive social unrest, riots and various other nihilistic expressions of doom, gloom and mayhem.
World unemployment, say the IMF pundits, is currently around 210 million (which sounds like a huge underestimate to us), and is "likely to rise substantially in the coming months". To stave off the end of the world as we know it, the IMF want governments to provide fresh fiscal boosts (meaning: let's make the bankers even richer), while the coppers simply want job security (meaning: better not cut our numbers, or else).
Can't blame plod for that. It's hard enough as it is putting beer and bread on the table and petrol in the tank. Except that there's nothing like predicting a riot to set one off—and no one knows better than the police about how to light the touch paper of social disorder.
Our advice? Stay in the shed and polish some ally for a while; stock up on Solvol Autosol and anything alcoholic; cut down on red meat, tape-up the windows, and try not to buy anything foreign until we've got full employment again.
We used to be the workshop of the world. But more lately it sounds like we're heading towards third world meltdown. Of course, it could all be grotesque overstatement from the moneymen and the head bashers. But why take chances when you don't have to, huh?
— Sam 7
No, he ain't dead. At least, he wasn't when we spoke to him on Sunday at the Knebworth Classic Bike Show. Instead, he was alive and kicking and flogging copies of his latest book, Just For Kicks: the story of your life—a follow up to: Just for Kicks: the story of my life.
For those unacquainted with the man, Chester is/was a biking record collector of the old school who spent the better part of his life buying and flogging platters by Elvis, Gene Vincent, Jerry Lee, Buddy Holly, Little Richard, Carl Perkins, the Beatles, the Stones—and pretty much anyone else who knew how to twang their thang and work a generation of baby boomers into a frenzy.
Trading from his Harrow-on-the-Hill Bop Shop, BSA Gold Star riding Chester was da man back in the 50s and 60s and 70s, and is da man to speak to now if you want to find out exactly what really went on when the world was full of rockers and Teds and birds and skiffle bands and teenage coffee bars and sex and drugs and rock'n'roll.
At 380 pages (colour and b&w) this self-published book looks and feels like a pretty amateur production. But—whoah!—don't knock it. It's all heart, and there's grit in them thar pages, and a CD to boot. There's also an affectionate foreword by actor/singer/film director Mike Sarne.
If you want to roll back the years to the golden age of Sun, Parlophone, Decca, Mercury, Columbia, Chess, Capitol and RCA, this is as good a place as anywhere to start.
Chester would love to trade his words for your money, and you can reach him at: email@example.com
Or call: 01604 761005. The book is twenty-five quid, or you can wangle some kind of discount if you buy one of the few remaining copies of volume one.
It's either a classic biking movie, or a classic hippy movie. We haven't made up our minds. But either way, it's pretty awful (pretentious, corny, badly acted, and over-directed).
Yes, we know; it's not very PC to say that, but we've tried to watch it two or three times and haven't managed it. Still, others disagree, and if you want to watch it or re-watch it (or enjoy a good snooze), there's a special screening on Sunday 26th September at the Light House Media Centre, The Chubb Buildings, Fryer Street, Wolverhampton, WV1 1HT. The event is in aid of the very worthy Midlands Air Ambulance, and tickets cost a fiver. It kicks off at "12pm" (which we think means 12 noon), and starts with local band Victory banging out some tunes (no prizes for guessing what at least one of their numbers will be).
You can gawp at Captain America's bike (or a replica) in the lobby. There's also a memorial of some kind to the late Dennis Hopper, and organiser Graham Gamble will be around to press some flesh and ensure that everything goes down well. If nothing else, the movie might prompt you to rush out to a car boot sale or something and pick up a copy of the original soundtrack, which is terrific.
Contact Light House on: 01902 716055 or email:
firstname.lastname@example.org. And don't forget to bring something to expand your mind, or a pillow.
Spotted any cannabis factories on your biking travels up north? If you have, the Central Scottish constabulary would love to hear from you. Not having enough murders, rapes, assaults, arson attacks, muggings, hit and runs (and suchlike) to deal with, they're on a hot new crusade to shut down anyone growing a few illegal herbs in their loft.
Personally, we're not partial to the stuff. But we're even less partial to appeals from the rozzers to help persecute citizens cultivating a relatively innocuous drug while just down the road licensed breweries and whiskey distilleries are pumping out thousands of gallons of alcohol and thereby sending tens of thousands to early graves, often by way of the law courts, the hospital emergency rooms and via general High Street mayhem most nights of the week.
Not that we object to a nice stiff drink (or object to anyone else having a quiet smoke). It's the raw hypocrisy we can't stand; the notion of the British exchequer cashing in to the tune of £14 billion from one bunch of drug dealers, and jailing the other lot (who make substantially less).
Meanwhile, if you've got a nosey neighbour (and who hasn't?) and are up to no good in that great employment black hole between Edinburgh and Glasgow, close the bloody curtains, will you?
— Sam 7
They've been out of production for around 70 years, but if Jake Robbins gets sufficient interest they're gonna be available again. But just how much are they likely to cost, Jake?
"That's difficult to say for certain. But I'd estimate around £1500-£1800, complete and ready to fit. Yes, that sounds a lot, but these will be made in exactly the same way they were made by Triumph with all new castings and the correct tapered tubing. I'm looking for around half a dozen orders to get it started and make the project viable."
If anyone out there is interested, we can vouch for the quality of Jake's work (see feature on Jake elsewhere on this site). You can reach him on: 07986 254 144, or by email at email@example.com.
— Big End
Many, if not most, classic bikers have never heard of this marque, but the Stevens Brothers (Wolverhampton) Limited were the guys behind AJS motorcycles.
The Stevens company came into being in 1932, the year after AJS went into voluntary liquidation following a steady decline in sales. Matchless Motorcycles (Colliers) Ltd stepped in and snapped up the bike side of AJS's business for £20,000. Other arms of the firm (sidecar and light cars) went elsewhere.
Undeterred by the financial meltdown, the Stevens Brothers soon recapitalised and set up shop at the Retreat Street Works and began development of a light car powered by a 588cc sidevalve engine of their own design. In 1934, the first Stevens motorcycle appeared; a four-speed, 250cc, dry sump, OHV bike available in two specifications. Forks were Druid. The gearbox was Burman.
The DS1, with its low-level exhaust, was the standard road model. The US2 was the off-road variant with an upswept pipe. A 350cc bike soon appeared. This machine was, it's said, well-received and marketed as "The Most Refined Sports Machine in the World" It was a bold claim, but a credible one.
In 1935, Stevens produced a 495cc bike; the LP5 for road use, and the HP6 for off-road/competition. Within two years, production was up to 200 units. One of Stevens' earliest biking celebs was Tommy Deadman (1904-1989), a general all-rounder famed for his prowess in speedway, grasstrack racing, hillclimbs, and even motorcycle football.
The above bike was bought in 1937 by Mr Jack Parker who rode it in competition at Brooklands, Silverstone and Dagenham. It was supplied with a full lighting set, road and race mudguards, a spare gearbox, and various racing accessories.
Rediscovered by a Mr L Jackson (in a London garden, together with a Rudge), the bike was restored (possibly under the care of two owners) and is now thought to be the only Stevens of its kind in Europe, and one of only two in the world.
At the H & H Auction in Buxton, Derbyshire on 21st July 2010, this bike (chassis number 49837) was sold for £12,980.
The Stevens Brothers scaled down motorcycle production in the late 1930s in favour of defence work. After WW2, bike production was abandoned.
Upcoming H and H auctions:
1st October 2010 at the Pavillion Gardens, Buxton, Derbyshire
22nd October 2010 at the Haynes Motor Museum, Yeovil, Somerset
— Girl Happy
A Formby police officer has received a suspended 15-week jail sentence for his part in a road accident that led to the death of the son of Mike Pender, founder member of the sixties Merseybeat pop group, The Searchers.
PC Stephen Hulse was convicted of dangerous driving after joining the A570 Rainford bypass (St Helens, Merseyside) without due care and attention. His actions caused 39-year old Nathan Prendergast to slam his motorcycle into the rear of Hulse's Ford Mondeo.
The presiding judge said, “This is an error of judgement and I find it hard to believe that even if that error is committed by a police officer, they can no longer be fit to be a police officer."
The incident happened on June 2nd 2009. Hulse now faces a police disciplinary hearing.
— Coffee Stop
It's supposed to look like a little girl crossing the street, and you're supposed to brake gently and not swerve or fall off your old heap or otherwise do anything stupid when you see it. How effective it is remains to be seen. But a Canadian safety foundation in Vancouver, British Columbia seem to think it's a big deal.
What exactly is it? It's a 2D graphic painted on the asphalt and designed to slowly resolve itself into 3D at your approach. As such, it doesn't make sense from all angles. The concept is similar to the adverts currently plastered on football and cricket pitches all over the world.
The pilot for this project was started back in April this year by The Community Against Preventable Injuries, and the study into driver behaviour and public attitudes is ongoing.
The experiment, located in a local school district, is supported by various checks and controls (signage and public awareness programs mostly).
On paper, it's hard to fault initiatives such as this. But in a world full of advertising hoardings, potholes, road signs, traffic humps, chicanes, chevrons, speed cameras, zebra crossings, and drivers coming at you from all directions, etc, do we really want or need yet another assault on our senses?
And if drivers won't slow down in school zones when there's real flesh and blood galloping around everywhere, it's hard to see why a little pigment on the tarmac is going to make a difference. Then again, the world is full of counter-intuitive phenomena.
If you've got an opinion, tell it to http://www.preventable.ca. Meanwhile we're off out to look for some virgin asphalt that hasn't been ... well, ravaged by the town planners, motoring scientists, and/or safety fascists. If you know where there's any left, tip us the wink, huh?
— Sam 7
Triumph Motorcycles are said to be about to launch a new three cylinder shaft drive bike into the adventure market and is gunning for BMW's übersuccessful GS series. The bike, similar in concept to the existing Tiger model, features a brand new water-cooled engine and will be available in a range of on- and off-road variants. No word on pricing, but a Triumph insider confided to us that the bike is definitely coming, and that there are one or two more surprises in the offing.
As much as we applaud Triumph's success and daring, are we the only people thinking that the firm is in danger of over-expansion and saturating its own market with inconvenient product overlap? Let's hope not, but we all know what all too often comes after the word "boom".
— Del Monte
Better check your electrics and keep your lights and batteries in tip-top shape for the foreseeable future (no pun intended) because you're likely to be riding in the dark a lot longer, and a lot more often, than you bargained for.
Why? Because Britain's cash-strapped local authorities are pulling plugs all over the country in an effort to balance their books. Essex County Council, for example, is one of the first authorities to see the light (or darkness) and has switched off 18,000 lamps (out of 220,000) and expects to save £1.25 million.
Meanwhile, Buckinghamshire, at the other extreme, has so few streetlights (28,000) that the 1,600 it's snuffing out probably won't make an awful lot of difference.
Edmund King, president of the AA, fears a rise in crime and road accidents. Which is probably a sound prediction. But it's either that or a huge hike in your council tax—which is no doubt coming anyway as a matter of general fiscal principle.
The UK has around 7.5 million streetlights powered by around £500 million worth of electricity.
— Big End
Real Classic magazine has, according to sources, been flogged to Mortons Media Group Ltd. Exactly what Mortons plan to do with the small, but significant title isn't clear, but the current editorial staff (Frank Westworth and Rowena Hoseason) are apparently now on the bridge of the new ship, in name if not entirely in spirit.
For some time, Mortons has been looking to get a stronger foothold on the rocky outcrop of online media, not least through digital platforms such as Zinio (which have reputedly not lived up to expectations), and will no doubt be anxious to capitalise on Real Classic's web presence, not to mention get access to Real Classics subscriptions database.
A media pundit we spoke to has predicted that the generally falling magazine market, and hard-fought-over advertising revenues, simply won't stand the development of another title in the classic bike sector, implying that Real Classic, after a decent period of grace, is headed for the chop.
We've got no feelings or opinion either way, except to say it's a shame that another small independent has been gulped down by another large publishing corporation. But what the hell. Ya gotta eat. So bon appétit.
— Girl Happy
Bobby Carl Hodgkins, the 24-year old bike thief who Manchester Police refused to pursue (because he wasn't wearing a lid), has died after ploughing another stolen bike into a van.
The Mancunian rozzers recently got it in the neck from critics angry at their "hairbrained" no-lid, no-pursuit policy after Hodgkins allegedly took part in a £20,000 raid on a bike shop in Altrincham, Cheshire.
Refusing to chase an unlidded thief is perhaps analagous to refusing to shoot at an armed bank robber who isn't wearing a bullet proof vest. But not all forces have the same policy, so all is not lost.
The obvious human tragedy and irony aside, it's hard to feel much sympathy for this git who, in all probability, was likely to seriously injure someone else sooner or later had the grim reaper not stepped in to jerk his lead. But you can moisten your eyes a little for his parents who have been quoted as saying, "Bobby was a loving and loyal son who would do anything for his family. He will continually shine in our hearts."
Hodgkins wasn't wearing a helmet when his stolen Kawasaki hit the passing Toyota. No word yet on the van driver.
— Del Monte
Of the 51 lots under the hammer at the recent Cheffins auction at Sutton, Cambridgeshire, the above 1972 X-75 Triumph Hurricane was the top attraction fetching a healthy, but hardly gavel-graunching, £15,000. Repatriated from the USA, the bike is said to have been totally restored with little, or zero, mileage since the rebuild. Details are: Reg. No. JMA 422K. Frame No.TRX75XH01152 Engine No.TRX75XH01152.
In recent years, we've seen Hurricanes sell for up to £18,000. But more lately, prices appears to have slipped slightly. But is this a blip or a trend? Watch this space...
...meanwhile, a rare 150cc 1932 Triumph XO (rumoured to be a pre-production prototype) failed to find a buyer. Said to be correct in every details, the XO was made for two years only. A V5 is present, but the registration, NAS 308, looks like the bike has lost its original 'plate.
The next Cheffins vintage auction at Sutton will be on Saturday 16th October 2010.
— Sam 7
Rumours abound that Superbike magazine has been sold to Vitality Publishing (for an unspecified amount). When we checked, a prim sounding receptionist at Vitality told us, "I've been told to say 'no comment'". But Superbike editor Kenny Pryde was less reticent and said that he "wasn't sure what was going on", but "expected to be in the new offices by November."
At its height, Superbike boasted a circulation of 72,000 per month. But under current owners, IPC, sales have steadily (or is that dramatically?) declined to the point where it was headed for the scrap bin. The Vitality deal is seen by many as a Last Chance Saloon.
Currently, the propaganda is that 30,000 issues of Superbike are being flogged each month.
— Del Monte
Two riders have been killed in the Junior Manx Grand Prix race. Chris Bradshaw, a 39-year old Traffic Police Officer from Tamworth, Staffordshire, was involved in an "incident" that also claimed the life of 28-year old James Adam, a Royal Naval petty officer from Prestwick in Ayrshire, Scotland. The incident happened during lap two at Alpine Cottage. The race was red flagged and subsequently abandoned. Adam had served in Afghanistan and was based in Hampshire at HMS Sultan. He died at the scene. Bradshaw died later in hospital.
— Coffee Stop
Fed up with your Bonnie spokes snapping? Yes, we know Triumph are said to have fixed this problem. But it's going to be a while before everyone forgets. In the meantime, if you've got any lingering concerns, or just feel like a change, you can chinwag with the Devon Rim Company about these new wheels. They're CNC machined by Talon Engineering and are a "bolt on replacement for anything in (Hinckley) Triumph's classic range". Ally or stainless rims, they come in various colours and with bearings fitted. Prices start at
£165.00 for front hubs, and £245.00 for the rear.
Talk to Doug Richardson on: 01769 574108
Or visit: www.devonrimcompany.com
— Del Monte
If you can just stay shiny side up until 2020 you stand a pretty good chance of never getting creamed on the road—or so claims ex-Swedish car manufacturer, Volvo (bought in 1999 by the US Ford Motor Company, and sold just last month to the Chinese).
Regardless, for the past 40 years, engineers and scientists from the Swedish/American/Chinese firm have been collating data from traffic accidents and now feel in a technical position to ensure that everything from a fender bender to motorway pinball is not just difficult, but impossible.
Sounds good to us. Except that with the proliferation of potholes, speed humps, GATSOs, low speed zones, local council CCTV, bus lanes and third world drivers, pretty much all the fun has been taken out of driving and motorcycling in the UK, and we're not sure we can take any more interference in our rights of unmolested progress.
But what's the connection with classic bikes? That's simple. It's Ricardo Engineering from Shoreham-by-Sea, West Sussex; the same people behind the famous 1921, 499cc, 4-valve head Triumph "Riccy" Ricardo; a firm that went on to help develop novel bus engines, marine engines, hybrid engines, fancy transmissions, new approaches to fuel injection; a firm that has worked with Lotus, BMW, the US government and so on.
In short, the company founded by Sir Harry Ricardo (that's him above) is one of the lesser known, but nonetheless truly great, British companies. And Ricardo Engineering is now working with the Swedes/Yanks/and not-so-little-Yellow-men on some new fangled radar, WiFi and 3G phone project designed to ... well, you can figure out the rest.
Take whatever comfort you can wring out of the fact that there are still a few companies that haven't yet gone the way of Cadbury, Aston Martin. Rolls Royce, Jaguar, P&O, Rowntree, Pilkington, et al.
Let's be doubly grateful that firms like John Bloor's Triumph and Stuart Garner's Norton are fighting back against British industrial erosion.
It's the 17th time this event has come around, and this year it's on 10th/11th/12th September (that's a Friday/Saturday/Sunday for those of you still having a little trouble with your numbers).
The event has three main parts:
The Continental Run—a Friday run to the Ace from a cafe party in Hubraum in Solingen, Germany. Last year there was a tide of black leather and Brylcreem sweeping across Holland, Belgium and France. You can pick it up anywhere you can.
Part two is a Saturday Ride Out with the Rockers from the Ace leaving at 10.30am for Battersea Park—and back.
Part three is the Sunday Brighton Burn Up & Ride with the Rockers leaving the Ace at 10.30am and ending at Madeira Drive, Brighton. It's free to everyone, and should be a hoot.
Everything comes with rock'n'roll music, club stands, trade stands, camping (£5-£15) and cafe racers, etc. Expect a few competitions and a drop-in by ex-road racer Peter Williams signing copies of his new book.
Check the Ace website for more info.
— Girl Happy
Saturday 25th September is the date of the next demo ride against Westminster Council's £1 per day levy on parking your bike at the side of the Queen's Highway in the often controversial Central London Borough. The High Court recently ruled in favour of the council's right to impose the charge, so the call to arms has gone out.
You can express your disgust/support by joining the protest convoy at the start point which is South Mimms Services (junction of the M25 and A1). The balloon goes up at 10.00am. The anti-clockwise run should arrive back at South Mimms at 5.00pm. You can pick it up anywhere along the route. Try extra hard to stay vertical, if you will, or the mainstream press might well spin this protest in a totally different and unwelcome direction.
It's claimed that £55,490 has so far been raised to fight this tax. If you want to further swell the coffers, visit the site below.
— Del Monte
Veloce Publishing call it "Velocette Motorcycles – MSS to Thruxton", the author is Rod Burris, and this is the third edition. So if you bought impressions one and/or two, you'd better have a think about the law of diminishing returns before you squeeze out another few pictures of the HRH The Queen.
That said, Veloce tell us it's updated and in a larger hardback format and is therefore better than ever, etc. And why wouldn't we believe 'em? The price is just shy of forty quid, which is a lot of dosh for a book that you'll be able to steal from a library in a couple of years. But then, Velos are a lot of motorcycle.
— Coffee Stop
Kieran Shortall (that's him in the picture) runs War Department and trades in 1930s and 1940s Harleys and Americana. He's also organising The Old American Motorcycle and Car Show with Vintage Swapmeet and Autojumble.
This event is for lovers of the 1940s, which is why the entertainment will be provided by The Clover Sisters, the USO Dance Team, The Saggie Bottom Boys, and "Bud Flanagan!".
There's going to be a 1940s bar, a mobile canteen, a funfair, and various other nods towards arguably the greatest decade of the twentieth century.
The fun starts at 10.00am on Sunday 26th September 2010 and finishes at around 5.00pm; Hamstreet in Kent is the place.
Talk to Kieran on: 01233 860564, or email him at: firstname.lastname@example.org
And hey! If you turn up, try and look the part, will you? Days like this are days to remember, and you can never get enough of those.
Spotted on eBay about ten minutes ago is this BSA M20 fitted with a disc-braked wideglide front end, a mono-spring saddle, footboards—and a lot of attitude for a 13hp, 500cc, sidevalve lump.
It's going to upset the purists. But we love this cheekie chappie, and would put in a bid, except that the garage is busting out all over the place (including an M20 that we're getting fresh ideas about).
If you want it, you'd better make your move. At the time of writing (1st September 2010), £1600 was on offer with six days to go. The reserve hasn't been met. You'll struggle to see 55mph on this one, but it will probably stop and stick to the road and soak up the bumps, and you can pretend it's a Harley or something if you're desperate.
— Del Monte
Apparently, it's a record. In the 1000cc Production Pushrod Class, that is. Last year a Buell clocked 126.398mph. But on Monday (30th August 2010) a 961SE Commando piloted by Alan Cathcart pipped that at average of 129.191mph. The event was the annual BUB Speed Trials at Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah. Cathcart is said to be delighted. Norton is said to be ecstatic. But as much as we love the 961 Commando and hope the new Norton venture succeeds, we're not sure what there is to get a nosebleed about.
These days, you can set a speed record for just about anything. And people do. Fastest this. Quickest that. The sub categories are endless. And often meaningless. But 130mph on a Commando, especially the new 961SE, doesn't strike us as any big deal. Whether it does Norton more harm than good remains to be seen. But reinforcing the fact that the firm is still flogging pushrod technology (as much as we love it) might not do much to broaden their customer base.
He founded Electric Race Bikes based in Santa Rosa, California, but 29 year old Dieckmann was killed on Monday (30th August 2010) in a collision between one of his electric motorcycles and a Toyota Prius. The accident happened at about 10.40am, local time. Dieckmann died at the scene. The 71-year old driver of the Toyota was unhurt.
— Del Monte