1952 Gilera Saturno. If you grew up in the 1970s or 1980s, you might be forgiven for thinking Italian firm Gilera (founded in 1909) manufactured nothing other than attractive but unsophisticated lightweight two-strokes aimed primarily at entry-level riders. But one glance at this 500cc Saturno, with its radical rear swinging arm torsion bar arrangement and stylish OHV (stressed-member) single-cylinder unit construction engine will quickly bring you up to speed. Introduced in 1939, the Saturno was gunning for the BSA Gold Star and Norton Manx and acquitted itself well in competition. H&H Auctions will be offering this example for sale at the National Motorcycle Museum on 26th July 2018. That's still a few months hence, but it's always later than you think. The estimate is £8,000 - £10,000.


April 2018  Classic bike news


April 2018 Classic Bike News

Bonhams Spring Stafford results

Royal Enfield Interceptor NMM raffle

60th International Motor Scooter Rally

New Honda "Monkey Bike" for 2018

Carole Nash's dangerous roads

An Austin Anthology from Veloce

Bonhams Stafford Sale reminder

One Liners

Bradford Dillman: 1930 - 2018

Stolen Vincent Comet & BSA Bantam
Spirit of '59 Triumph Bonnevilles
We've been adrift, but we're back in port

Autonomous Tesla claims a cyclist

Motor premiums fall

March 2018 Classic Bike News

Watsonian's GP700 & Indian Chief

Bonhams Stafford Sale April 2018

One liners

We Ride London new demo date

Dee Atkinson & Harrison March Sale

Bull-it Men's SR6 Cargo trousers

Franklin's Indians: Veloce Reprint

One Liners

Kenneth Arthur Dodd: 1927 - 2018

Carole Nash Google Petition

New Musical Express is out of print

1954 500cc Triumph-Matchless chop

1,800 bike collection to be auctioned

Art Exhibition at Sammy Miller's

2018 Cardiff Classic Motorcycle Show

John Lennon's monkey bike: £57,500

One liners

This day in history

February 2018 Classic Bike News

Foscam Wireless Camera system

Pioneer Run eBook: now £2.99

Oxford Clamp On brake lever clip

One liners

2018 Curtiss Warhawk unveiled

Here's the latest bike scam attempt

George Beale appointed H&H director

Next Kickback Show 7-8th April 2018

"Alley Rat" - 2018 UK BOTK winner

One liners

Defeat the online scammers with Skype

Triumph Hurricane scammer alert

CCM Spitfire-based Bobber for 2018

Cafe Racer Dreams: 8 bikes stolen

Coys' Feb 2018 London Excel Auction

Thieves ransom Triumph Thunderbird

Harley-Davidson recalls 251,000 bikes

"Police biker" banker convicted

Bringsty Grand Prix Revival 2018

Two new Weise wax cotton jackets

Murderous solicitor is still on the books

£7k - £10k Triumph 'X-75 Hurricane'

Retro wireless GPS speedometer

"Anvil Motociclette...

2018 Triumph Speed Triples launched

Royal Enfield Flying Flea stolen

Brühl Twin Turbine Motorcycle Dryer

January 2018 Classic Bike News

Laser Power Bar Extension Wrench

One liners

Harley-Davidson quits Kansas City

Online traffic accident reporting plan

Silverstone Auctions February 2018

12th Annual Dania Beach Show

Black Lightning sells for $929,000

Online motorcycle scammer alert

One liners

AJS Tempest Scrambler for 2018

Charterhouse's February 2018 sale

Can anyone add info on this rider?

HJC FG-70s Aries Yellow helmet

One liners

Peter Wyngarde: 1927 (ish) - 2018

Death Machines of London - Airforce

Lancaster Insurance; reality check

One liners

"Fast" Eddie Clarke: 1950 - 2018

Bonhams' Las Vegas Sale reminder

Ban on credit/bank card charges

December 2017 Classic Bike News

Information on this picture wanted

Levis Motorcycles set for comeback?

One Liners

Oops, we screwed up [again - Ed]

H&H December 2017 sale at the NMM

Immortal Austin Seven from Veloce

Triumph T140V for sale: 237km

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

MCN closes its biker forum

Arm rural UK coppers suggestion

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

Falling bike sales, 11 straight months

Triumph Birmingham is set to close

New electric black taxi breaks cover

Semi naked girl straddles an Indian!!

November 2017 Classic Bike News

Riding Japan; new touring website

British motor racing anniversary day

Triumph T140 restoration guide

Ratchet handle taps & dies - Chronos

White Helmet Triumphs reach £12K

H&H's first timed automobilia auction

Goldtop £50 off gloves—limited offer

London pillion rider ban idea

Ford Design in the UK - Veloce

Thruxton Track Racer Kit offer

Want to post a comment on Sump?

New Davida "Koura" full face helmet

One liners

NMM BSA Gold Star winner details

Norton 650 twin scrambler planned

RE travel book: Hit the Road, Jac!

Stoneleigh Kickback Show April 2017

Brough Superior Pendine racer

One liners

H-D Battle of the Kings 2017 winner

New Royal Enfield 650 twins launched

NMM's 2018 Speedmaster prize

Meriden Off Road Tiger Cubs

One liners

Andy Tiernan's 2018 calendar

Scrappage scheme classic car poser

Norton launches the California

Scooter gangs face new response

One liners

September 2017 Classic Bike News

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

New BSA M20 "Blueprint" T-shirt

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

December 2015 Classic Bike News

Ian "Lemmy" Kilmister: 1945 - 2015

"Motorsport" CBE for John Surtees

Rare Vincent 2-stroke Uniflow Engine

Mick Grant replica 961 Norton racer

Old Biker's Mantra T-shirt from Sump

Evel Knievel's XL1000 movie bike

H&H Chateau Impney Sale results

Broughs of Bodmin Moor to sell

Flying Tiger Moto Man poofy soap

Petrol drops to £1 per litre

Porsche Sunbeam S8 special to sell

Ural gets on the scrambler trail

Anthony Valentine: 1939 - 2015

Huge UK government tax disc loss

Optimate 5 Voltmatic charger on test

Watsonian Squire T100 sidecar

November 2015 Classic Bike News

Redesigned Sump Triumph T-shirt

Great service at Welders Warehouse

Ural's 2016 Dark Force combination

Wheelrider project seeks backers

Andy Tiernan's 2016 calendar is here

A blue plaque for Triumph founder

Victory Ignition Concept custom bike

Matlock Bath Mining Museum appeal

Swedish Italians head for France
Side view assist tech from Bosch

David Beckham's Outlaw movie

New Triumph Speed Triple for 2016

Steve McQueen's Chevy camper van

Kickback Show London Dec 2015

George Barris: 1925 - 2015

NMM to raffle a 1959 T120 Bonnie

Royal Enfield splined clutch drums

"Led Zeppelin" chop sold at auction

Have you seen this Ford Mustang?

Bonhams Hendon Sale Dec 2015

Movies we love: The Family Way

Bonhams 2016 Las Vegas line-up

Triumph's new Bonneville line-up

October 2015 Classic Bike News

Mark Howe Murphy: 1932 - 2015

Comet Classics' Pride at the NEC

Stand up for Owen

Old Empire Motorcycles Gladiator

Record money at Bonhams' Stafford

Richard Davies: 1926 - 2015

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

Triumph's 2016 Bonneville teaser

Another Hayward T140 belt failure

Second generation HUD for bikes

Marzocchi closes. It's official

Gordon Honeycombe: 1936 - 2015

Indian Scout IKON shocks

Harley-Davidson XA to Wheatcroft

The Complete book of BMW Motorcycles

So who's answering the Sump phone?

September 2015 Classic Bike News

Fat bastards. And skinny dudes

Fonzie's Triumph to auction. Again

Urban rider's workshop initiative

The NMM opens its doors for free

Great speedo cable fix from Venhill

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

Worst Netley Marsh autojumble ever?

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

August 2015 Classic Bike News

Jake Robbins Royal Enfield custom

Music we love: Everyday Robots

Ebay: Rare 1956 250cc Indian Brave

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

"Tougher and darker" HDs for 2016

Yvonne "Bat Girl" Craig: 1937 – 2015

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

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

July 2015 Classic Bike News

Where BSAs Dare

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

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

June 2015 Classic Bike News

Christopher Lee: 1922 - 2015

Triumph Motorcycles: 1937 - Today

News about Roy Bacon

France bans earphones on the road

Road deaths up: first rise for 14 years

Daniel Patrick Macnee: 1922 - 2015

Tri-Cor is now Andy Gregory

Matchless-Vickers to stay in Britain

Samsung truck video safety tech

First middle lane "road hogger" fined

Brando's Electra Glide to auction

Pulford® wax cotton jacket, in "sand"

James "Hansi" Last: 1929 - 2015

Suzuki's UK café culture campaign

Disappointing Historics June Sale

DVLA "paperless counterpart" fiasco

Classic face masks, Boken style

Vibrating steering wheel idea for dozy drivers


May 2015 Classic Bike News

Council streetlight switch-off warning

Twinkle: 1948 - 2015

Historics' Brooklands sale draws near

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

April 2015 Classic Bike News
Norman Hyde polished T100 headers

Cheffins Cambridge Sale results

Harley's "Job of a lifetime" winner details

John Stuart Bloor is now a billionaire

BSMC Show, Tobacco Dock, London

"Rusty Blue" Route 66 motorcycle kit

Erik Buell Racing closes its doors

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

March 2015 Classic Bike News

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

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

New drug-driving regulations are here

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

RE Continental GT, soon in black

February 2015 Classic Bike News

Lincoln bans legal highs in public places

Leonard Simon Nimoy: 1931 - 2015

Cheffins Cambridge Sale: Apr 2015

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

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

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



January 2015 Classic Bike News

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

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

Sump news archive



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Brough Superior SS100


Bonhams Spring Stafford results


Story snapshot:

Quarter of a million quid SS100 tops the sale

Overall, another pretty good outing for Bonhams


This 1931 Brough Superior SS100 (image immediately above) was the top selling lot at Bonhams' Stafford Sale on 22nd April 2018. We're advised that this 998cc OHV V-twin was one of two bikes supplied to Edinburgh police. And did they buy it as a fast roadster intended to catch motorised road agents and sundry ne-er-do-wells? Hardly. A "Large Police Touring Sidecar" was part of the package, thereby suggesting that the Scots cops had other, more prosaic uses for the two new rigs.


Regardless, the Brough was delivered to Lochrins Garage and duly pressed into service. However, for the next few decades, nothing further is known about this bike. But 50 years ago the bike was, we understand, sold into private hands. Two pairs of hands, actually. Two friends had planned to modify the bike for use as a sprinter racer. In the event, that didn't happen. One of the friends died part-way through the restoration/re-engineering. So the bike was pretty much neglected.


Some time later (the chronology is confused here), the surviving friend fully acquired the Brough and decided to put it back into original trim, albeit minus the chair. Between 2001 and 2003 marque specialist Dave Clark sorted all that out, and he kept a record of work undertaken.


And then the bike was neglected again, during which period the Lucas magdyno was lost. Therefore, a new item will have to be sourced. Also of note, the gearbox and fuel tank are not original to the machine.




It's sometimes hard to see why people call these bikes great successes. After all, many of them are used very briefly and then left in a barn or a garage and all but forgotten. But despite the lack of originality, and despite the fact that the bike has no special history or celebrity, it sold for a whopping £264,700, which includes buyers premium. A current V5C registration certificate and a history file are included.


Beyond that, here are the 10 top selling lots at the sale.


1931 Brough Superior SS100: £264,700
1970 Clymer Münch Mammoth: £154,940
1974 Ducati 750SS: £106,780
1973 MV Agusta 750S America: £96,700
1957 F.B Mondial 250cc Grand Prix racer: £92,220
1950 Vincent Touring Rapide: £68,700
1940 Indian 78CI Four: £68,700
1930 Coventry-Eagle Model F150 Flying 8 Police: £68,700
1926 Coventry-Eagle Flying 8: £65,340
1955 Vincent Black Knight & Steib 501 sidecar: £63,100



1957 Sunbeam S8. This 489cc, air-cooled in-line twin caught our eye for obvious reasons. It's Lot 265 and was rebuilt around 2013/2014. Since then it hasn't had much use. The engine number, we're advised, doesn't match the digits on the V5C, but that didn't stop it selling for £6,900.


1978 CX500E. This 500cc, water-cooled, 80-degree V-twin was a great motorcycle in its day, and it's still a very useful piece of kit for commuting, touring or despatching [Is there such a thing as despatching anymore? - Ed]—but was never exactly a sporting ride. Still, it's a modern classic. But it hasn't yet come on cam, so to speak. We think these could be headed for respectable money some day. But this very clean example (Lot 249) sold for just £2,875. The speedo shows 21,285 miles.



1977 GL1000 Gold Wing. Another classic Honda that still doesn't command big money. But it will. We think. Some day. 1,000cc. Flat-four engine. Water cooled. Belt-driven overhead camshafts. Shaft drive. Triple disc brakes. Surprisingly nimble for a big lump of lard. Lot 248. £6,325.



1938 Tiger 100. It's not a great image, but the price might make you gasp. This 498cc Triumph twin (Lot 303) sold for an amazing £34,500. Why? We don't know, except to say that it's been in the same family since 1942, for whatever that's worth to you. This is the highest price we've ever seen on a Tiger or Speed Twin (from which the Tiger 100 was developed), and we're having trouble believing it.



We're still studying the auction and will add to this story over the next day or so with a look at some of the other lots together with a general overview. But a quick peek suggests that Bonhams must be reasonably satisfied with the results, but one or two prices are also lower than we expected. Meanwhile, one or two prices have amazed us, such as the Tiger 100 immediately above.


Certainly the money tap is still flowing, but perhaps not quite at the high pressures seen a few seasons back.


See here for more: Bonhams Spring Stafford Sale 2018




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Royal Enfield Interceptor NMM raffle


Story snapshot:

The National Motorcycle Museum Summer 2018 prize draw opens

Second prize is a James ML


The National Motorcycle Museum is raffling a 1969 Royal Enfield Interceptor Series II. This handsome 750cc parallel twin is said to be a "nut & bolt restoration" undertaken by the museum's workshop.


Second prize is a 1948 125cc James ML which is billed simply as a "nice example of this useable post-war lightweight."


Third prize is a "Luxury Hotel Break & Dinner for 2". This includes a VIP museum tour, plus one night's stay & dinner at the new Marco Pierre White Steakhouse in the Manor Hotel, Meriden www.manorhotelmeriden.co.uk



The draw will take place on Sunday 27th October 2018 at the National Motorcycle Museum Live event. If you want to try your luck, the tickets are £2 each, but are offered only in multiples of five—which makes it ten quid overall.


One more thing: UK gambling rules mean that only UK residents (except those in Northern Ireland) are eligible to enter.




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Why does this bike have a Norton front fork assembly and wheel? —Bill [Royal Enfield was bought by NVT in 1968. We checked with Hitchcocks Motorcycles. Alan Hitchcock confirmed that all the RE MKII Interceptors were built and sold with a Norton Long Roadholder forks]

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60th International Motor Scooter Rally


Story snapshot:

Special collection of hairdryer stamps issued

Isle of Man Post Office marks six decades of fun


Hairdryers? We're being our usual irreverent, misbegotten selves, of course. Because truth to tell, we like scooters plenty for their classic style, their practicality, their brightness, their longevity, their classlessness, and (not least) the fact that there's always been a thriving social scene around these bikes within which people have lived their entire lives. Moreover, scooters are, broadly speaking, dependable and simple mobility and have kept generations on the move—often for thousand mile jaunts, or more.


The Manx International Motor Scooter Rally is one of the cornerstones of the scene. A bi-annual event, it first got its wheels rolling back in 1956. Now, sixty-odd years down the road, the Isle of Man Post Office has issued a set of eight stamps featuring "standout [sic] moments from the history of the gathering."


Those moments include:


The iconic Vespa display team pictured at Noble’s Park in Douglas in 1958


Neville Frost, who smashed the six minute barrier for the Druidale circuit


The 1957 Ramsey Sprint rally supported by TT legend Geoff Duke


Clearly, the event hasn't been run every year. It's missed one or two gatherings. Nevertheless, for plenty of guys and girls this near rite-of-passage is nothing less than oxygen for the soul, and long may it continue.


Steve Jackson, author of Scooter Mania! (recollections of the Isle of Man International Scooter Rally) wrote the stamp issue text which accompanies the collection.

He's been quoted as saying, "The Isle of Man Scooter Rally has a long, proud history which dates back to the 1950s, so it was a real honour to be asked by the Isle of Man Post Office to work on a stamp issue to commemorate this spectacular event. As someone with an avid interest in the sport, it has been fascinating to research and re-create some of the stories from what is a remarkable and multi-faceted festival."



Additionally, the Manx government is expected to mark the 60th anniversary with a ballroom event at the Villa Marina later this year.


If you want to get your hands on a set of these stamps, the issue date for the Isle of Man International Scooter Rally Set and Sheet Set is 10th May 2018. The collection, we hear, includes "mint and CTO set of stamps" whatever that means (and we're not even sure if the grammar is correct).


Whilst we don't share the widespread general fascination for philately, we can nevertheless see the appeal, and we've no doubt that plenty of scooterists will be purchasing a few of these sticky little doo-dahs and squirreling them away for posterity, or framing them on the living room wall, or even finding a suitable spot on the side of their Vespas, Lambrettas or whatever.


And we should mention that there's a lot more to this stamp issue than we're reporting. That's because we're not au fait with the personalities, the politics, or the general machinations and subtleties of the scooter world. However, if you're a small wheeler, you'll no doubt be able to fill in a few blanks and ask the right questions of the right people.


Keep 'em rolling, we say. Scooters are cool.




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Honda Monkey Bike - 2018


New Honda "Monkey Bike" for 2018


Story snapshot:

Killed off last year, soon back in stock

The new Monkey is 125cc and thoroughly modern


Who would argue that the Honda "Monkey Bike" is a true classic? Not us. The original 49cc Z-series machines began life in 1964, a development of the Z100 of 1963. Three years later these Zeds arrived on the shores of Europe. Supposedly, these SOHC four-strokers were designed as rides for kids at a Japanese theme park. But like all the best toys, adults soon wanted a piece of the action.


So okay, it's not the first time we've seen half pint motorcycles. The 1942 98cc Welbike is one of the more famous examples. The 1946 98cc Corgi is another. And both before and after those dates, manufacturers have flirted with powered two wheelers that you can pretty much tuck beneath your arm. But Honda, as with many Honda products, got the raw ingredients pretty much spot on, hence the enduring popularity of these iconic machines. Year by year, refinements were added.



Well the latest incarnation—officially dubbed the "Honda Monkey"—has shifted a long way since the originals. In the early days, for instance, suspension wasn't an option. But a swinging arm and a telescopic front fork presently followed, and now that fork has been fashionably inverted.


Early bikes had so-so drum brakes, but disc brakes and ABS is now standard. Meanwhile, the 49cc air-cooled engines have grown to 125cc, also air-cooled. And other refinements are on offer such as fuel injection and a "proper" clutch (as opposed to a centrifugal clutch on early bikes).


The new Monkey has also been fitted with an IMU (Inertial Measurement Unit) that recognises when you're about to tip backwards, and promptly cuts the power. That's the idea, anyway. And if that isn't enough, the lighting is LED, and an LCD dash is standard.





1974 Z-50A K5 Honda Mini Trail. Basic, but rugged. Candy Blue or Candy Orange. 49cc. SOHC. Hard to see how modern riders with their larger stature and bulk will be comfortable on the new pretender. But comfort was never what these bikes were all about.


The engine is Euro 4 compliant, incidentally. The power is rated at 9.25hp. The mpg is likely to be between 150 and 200. And the wheels are now 12-inch which should offer a much better ride than the old 8-inchers on, say, the Mini Trail above. In short (or very short), it all adds up to a pretty desirable little bundle of fun that's a little larger than its predecessor (which was cancelled in 2017) but should have wider appeal.


Honda hasn't released pricing or delivery information. But the bikes, we understand, are on the way and will be available in Honda dealerships in due course.



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I want one of these new monkey bikes, to carry in the back of my motorhome, handy for going shopping and suchlike. —Tom Quin

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Carole Nash's dangerous roads


Story snapshot:

Insurer's FOI request into dodgy British highways and byways

Dispose of your chewing gum thoughtfully, please


British insurance firm Carole Nash has published a list of the UK's most dangerous roads. It seems that the company was looking for a headline and sent the government a Freedom Of Information (FOI) request demanding that the Whitehall number crunchers spill the beans. The returned info is now being spread around the net in the usual places.


Over 2,000 M-Ways, A-roads and B-roads were analysed. The scope of the investigation covered the years 2007 to 2016. And the number one most dangerous road is—well, what bloody difference does it make? The data is already out of date, and the stats won't help you stay any safer.


It's just chewing gum enlightenment that you can muck around with for half an hour, and then spit out in the appropriate place or stick on a lamp post. The point being that being told that this road or that road is dangerous isn't likely to significantly affect your riding habits, except perhaps to make you more nervous/anxious/cautious than you might otherwise be.


We made this point back in December 2017 when questioning a similar MCN story, and the issue warrants another reality check. So, for the reasons outlined both here and in that December story, we ain't going to bother detailing the road-by-road results of that FOI request which are really only of use to insurers, road engineers and government accountants. But if it bothers/interests you, start Googling.


Meanwhile, for anyone on two wheels (or four or more for that matter), our advice once again is to treat all roads as the most dangerous, and to consider the next sixty seconds of your life to be the most important. All the rest is just crystal balls.


Rebecca Donohue, Head of Marketing at Carole Nash has, however, been quoted as saying: "Safety is naturally paramount to every road user, so we hope this data and the road safety hub on our website will help provide our customers with as much information as possible to keep them safe.

"It is very positive, though, to note that the number of accidents is steadily decreasing year-on-year, which is testament to road users and those who enforce the safety precautions on our highways."


That's the spirit, Becky. Keep smacking those bubbles...




UPDATE: Also check this recent Carole Nash story


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An Austin Anthology


An Austin Anthology from Veloce


Story snapshot:

Great value insight into the early world of Longbridge

Quirky easy reading


Here's an interesting and slightly oddball motoring book from Veloce Publishing. What makes it different from other tomes detailing the birth, development and enjoyment of Herbert Austin's wonderful and stylish range of cars from the golden age of motoring, is the fact that this publication is replete with sidelong and offbeat anecdotes as opposed to more didactic and pedagogic prose.


We've been dipping in and out of it over the past few weeks, and on each occasion our effort has been suitably rewarded with tales from the literary equivalent of the cutting room floor.



For instance, the book opens with a chapter on 'Mr Harry' - the other Mr Austin, then takes us for an aerial spin on the Austin Whippet biplane before regaling us with tales of 'Pobble'—a one-time Brooklands racer that became a WW2 ambulance (the current fate of which is unknown), before introducing us to George Clarke, the 'Silly Ass' theatre entertainer who put an Austin Seven centre stage in his comedy act.



If you're not by then quirked-out enough, there's a tale of murder in the village, details of the Austin Unity Song, a 1926 tour of Australia in an Austin 12/4, and an insight in to a 40hp Austin Motorhome. It's all fascinating stuff that takes us through a new dimension into the world of Longbridge which was to Austin what Meriden was to Triumph.


Written by James "Jim" Stringer, the book isn't perfect. One or two of the anecdotes fail to give exactly the right payoff for our attention and interest, meaning that just a little more meat on the bone would help. Then again, these are—as we said—scraps from the cutting room floor, so Stringer doesn't get to be too choosy. But neither is this thin gruel. If you've got a classic motoring appetite, there's more on the table than you can eat in a single sitting.


It's not a large book, mind. Its dimensions are 148mm x 210mm which makes it A5, And there are no more than 100 or so pages between the hardback covers. But the pages are condensed and the type is smaller than usual. So polish your reading glasses and switch on the table lamp.


Veloce tells us that there are 109 pictures (all B&W), and we also hear that the book was first published in February this year (2018). Best of all, the asking price is just £14.99 which, we think, is extremely good value for this invaluable insight not only into the world of Austin cars, but also into the wider world of the early days of motoring.


If you're an Austin fan, this book is quite possibly an essential addition to your library. But for pretty much anyone with an interest in classic motoring, An Austin Anthology is quite simply a great little read. Recommended.


The book number is ISBN:978-1-787111-91-2. You can buy direct from Veloce, and you should.




See also: Immortal Austin Seven


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Nimbus Model C 750cc inline four - 1955


Bonhams Stafford Sale reminder


Story snapshot:

The next auction takes place on 21st April 2018

This Danish Nimbus inline four is up for sale


The estimate for the above 1955 750cc Model C Nimbus is £7,000 - £10,000, and we have no idea if that's realistic in the current market. That's because it's some time since we looked at these wonderful Danish bikes, and they don't come onto the market all that often. But Bonhams will have put some effort into establishing a realistic price expectation.


This example (Lot 233) will be going under the hammer at the Bonhams Stafford Sale on Sunday 21st April 2018. Using parts supplied by Rombach & Nielsen and Aarhus Nimbus in Denmark, the inline four engine was restored in 2009. The wheels, we hear, were rebuilt by Hagon c/w stainless steel spokes. The paintwork was handled by Cycle Sprays of Cranleigh, and Ooey Custom Paint of Camberley. The colour is Withered Green which is said to be period-correct.




The bike was first registered in the UK in 1987. Back then it was in "oily rag" condition—and as you can see, it's since come up in the world (or down depending on your point of view). But we'd be happy to acquire one of these quirky/left-field motorcycles in almost any condition.


Features include an alloy cylinder head on a cast iron engine block, a single overhead camshaft, shaft drive, telescopic forks, a three-speed foot change gearbox, and of course that trademark pressed steel frame.


Nimbus motorcycles first appeared in 1919. The parent company was Fisker & Nielsen which manufactured vacuum cleaners. Inline fours were the only type of bikes produced by this firm, and they were advanced machines, many of which were acquired by the Danish military (and if you're into WW2 motorcycles, you might also come across images of German troops riding captured examples having pressed them into service).



There's something almost steampunk about these bikes, and we think they're almost begging for a starring role on the silver screen (if they're not already up there someplace). If you're interested, there's a small parcel of literature accompanying this Nimbus, and a V5C is present.


Beyond that, Bonhams is typically fielding a pretty comprehensive selection of classic bikes. The headline machines include a 1970 Clymer Münch 1,177cc TTS 'Mammoth' (estimated at £75,000 - £100,000) and a 1973 MV Agusta 750S (estimated at £70,000 - £90,000).


See Steve McQueen Nimbus Model C, Sump June 2017



UPDATE: The Nimbus sold for £20,700


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20th May 2018. New MOT rules. Modified classic owners take note

"400+" Hull riders in anti crime rally. Police Operation Yellowfin. 15/4/18

Motorcycles Matter ride-out. Tea hut. Loughton IG10 4HR. 21/4/18. 8.30am

Interesting insight into L F Harris classic parts. British Dealer News

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Bradford Dillman (far left) as Major Barnes in the Bridge at Remagen (1969). That's E G Marshall on the far right. We don't recognise the actor in the middle. During filming in Czechoslovakia, it seems that the Soviets invaded (Operation Danube) forcing the cast to skeedaddle poste haste.


Bradford Dillman: 1930 - 2018


Story snapshot:

The long established Hollywood actor has died aged 87

He starred in almost 50 films


His was one of those faces that you see on the screen and recognise, but struggle to put a name to it; a regular kind of face without any noteworthy features coupled with a well modulated voice that sounded like a lot of people. We're talking about time-served Hollywood actor Bradford Dillman who has died aged 87.


A quiet and modest man, Dillman was never a rampaging A-lister. He wasn't a popular Hollywood hob-nobber. He didn't do drugs or alcohol to excess and spend months or years in rehab. He wasn't given to sudden outbursts on the political platform. He was, rather, the kind of actor who generally stayed out of the celebrity spotlight, a man who usually appeared in supporting roles, but was occasionally the first face on the billboard and the top billing on the screen.


At the drop of a timely cue, Dillman could be mean, moody, melancholy, creepy, innocent or just plain happy. His career spanned four decades in which he appeared or starred in close on 50 movies, notably Compulsion (1959), The Bridge at Remagen (1969),  Suppose They Gave A War And Nobody Came? (1970), The Mephisto Waltz (1971), Escape From The Planet Of The Apes (1971), The Enforcer (1976), The Legend of Walks Far Woman (1982), and Sudden Impact (1983).


Co-stars included Orson Welles, Dean Stockwell, Clint Eastwood, George Segal, Robert Vaughan, Ben Gazarra, Raquel Welch, Roddy McDowall, Ricardo Montalbįn, Tony Curtis and scores of other notables.


His real name was ... well, Bradford Dillman. He's been quoted as saying: "Bradford Dillman sounded like a phony theatrical name, so I kept it." He was born in San Francisco, California. As a young man he studied on the US East Coast and became interested in acting. In 1948 he enlisted in the US Navy Reserve. Two years later he narrowly missed being sent to fight in Korea and was instead ordered to join the Marine Corp where he became a communications instructor. He was discharged in 1953 as a first lieutenant.




Dean Stockwell (left) and Bradford Dillman in Compulsion (1959). Not a great image, but a great movie; a tale of two murderers looking to commit the perfect crime.



Bradford Dillman's professional career began in theatre in 1956 on New York's Broadway. He soon caught the eye of 20th Century Fox and presently appeared in a few pot boilers, one or two of which failed to launch into anything other than a low orbit. Nevertheless, he had a certain all-American look and style that could be moulded into pretty much any shape and sound required by the directors and producers, and he became increasingly popular/typecast as the kind of sly and creepy character that, sooner or later, the movie hero was likely to punch in the mouth.


By the 1960s and 70s Dillman was popping up almost everywhere, notably on TV shows that included Ironside, Shane, Columbo, The Wild Wild West, The Eleventh Hour, Wagon Train, The Greatest Show on Earth, Breaking Point, Mission Impossible, Alias Smith & Jones, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and Barnaby Jones. He also appeared in a two-part The Man From U.N.C.L.E. episode which was re-shot as The Helicopter Spies (1968).





The high spot in the career of Bradford Dillman was Compulsion. The low points arguably included Swarm (1978) and Piranha (1978). Overall, he was just a dependable, solid, workaday American actor who looked good on camera, delivered lines that perfectly matched the part he was playing, supported the leading actors with casual aplomb, and slipped effortlessly, and almost anonymously, into the next role he was given.


We all knew him, but we never really knew him. Mostly we all liked him. But what was his name? He was just that bloke who was in ... you know ... that other film. His last role was in Murder, She Wrote (1995) where he appeared in eight episodes.


In later years, with acting behind him, Bradford Dillman spent much of his time raising money for medical charities. He married twice, fathered five children and survived his second wife who died in 2003.

Here at Sump, we liked him plenty.


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Stolen Vincent Comet & BSA Bantam


Story snapshot:

£5,000 reward offered

The motorcycles were stolen from Cheshire


We're gonna keep this story quick and simple because (a) we're still being plagued with very poor internet service from British Telecom and could collapse again at any moment, and (b) we know that you'll want to get out there on your bikes and join the hunt.


And that hunt revolves around a 1950 Vincent Comet and a 1952 BSA Bantam that were stolen from a property at Threapwood, near Malpas, which is in Cheshire.



The owner is Steve Davies who attaches special affection for these machines, both of which were the property of his late dad who restored them and kept them in fine fettle. So naturally, Steve wants them back.


There's a £5,000 reward offered, and you can claim this via Crimestoppers. As ever, if you can also deliver on a plate the heads of the thieves, that would be a reasonably satisfactory conclusion to another sorry tale.





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Spirit of '59 Triumph Bonnevilles


Story snapshot:

New limited edition T120...

... and a new limited edition T100


As part of its ongoing Spirit of '59 campaign, Triumph Motorcycles has launched two new special edition Bonnevilles, both commemorating the near legendary '59 Bonnie.


The first bike is the immediately above T120 liveried in the "original" blue/orange colour scheme (which was actually Tangerine/Pearl Grey). The asking price is £10,500.


The second is the T100 featured immediately below which is billed as a "modern interpretation" (read: flight of fancy) of the "original" colour scheme. And for this motorcycle, Hinckley will relieve you of £9,000. It's hard to see how this livery is going to impress anyone, but maybe it looks better up close (or from a very long way away).


So just how limited will these bikes be? Well Triumph reckon that just 59 of each model will be produced. And why release them now? Because it's 59 years since 1959. So how cool is that?


Very cool

Not very cool

No comment





Meanwhile, three more bikes are being hyped by the factory, all of which feature artwork by D-Face, "... a pioneering artist and Triumph rider who has a style that straddles Street Art, Pop Art and Punk – and his work regularly sells for thousands at the likes of Sotheby’s Christies and Bonhams."


Never 'eard of him, but that could be mutual. Either way, this "newbrow artist" has knocked up a trio of colour schemes which include "The Bobcat", "The Spirit of '59, and "Raceface".



The D*Face "Bobcat" ...



... and the D*Face "Spirit of 59" ...



... and the D*Face "Raceface"


None of these liveries has exactly set our eyeballs ablaze (although the "Raceface" model is perhaps the best of the bunch), but maybe you feel differently. All the D*Face bikes are up from grabs as competition prizes. To get a chance at winning one, just take a test ride on a Triumph Bonneville, take a snapshot of yourself astride said machine, and then post the image to #Spiritof59.


Exactly how it works beyond that isn't clear, but no doubt your dealer has the answer. And remember; whatever the livery, these are pretty cool and sorted motorcycles—meaning that any excuse to ride one is excuse enough.




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I wouldn’t let anyone park one of those outside my house....Tacky, gimmicky and not at all easy on the eye....Triumph have produced yet another ‘limited edition’ that is limited to the paintjob...They really should try harder and perhaps alter the bikes specification a little....The Village Squire

I like it. Looks so much better than most bikes being made today. Sure it is flogging a heritage. That's ok. My T140 gets regular "Oh, a real one" comments. Those that know, know.—Blackie

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We've been adrift,

but we're back in port


Story snapshot:

British Telecom failed us

Do not adjust your sets


Dry your eyes, we haven't gone anywhere. But for the past three days we've been unable to post any news or new features, or deal efficiently with email enquiries—and on planet internet, that's a long time. British Telecom are the culprits. They've had some kind of major crash in our neighbourhood, and it's taken them days to resolve the problem.


Actually, even as we write this message we're not sure it's entirely resolved. So if, over the next 24 - 48 hours you don't see any new news being posted, you'll have a pretty good idea why.


Meanwhile, apologies for everyone who has ordered one of our products. We have been doing what we can to access emails from another location. But it's caused a small backlog that we're dealing with now.


That's it. Should be back to normal, whatever that is, over the next few days. But don't count on it...


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Tesla Model X

Autonomous Tesla claims a cyclist


Story snapshot:

Self-driving Model X ploughs into Arizona woman

First pedestrian fatality by the dozy-driver tech


California firm Tesla, Inc has issued a statement revealing that the Tesla Model X which crashed on 23rd March 2018 on California Highway 101, killing its driver, was travelling on autopilot when the incident occurred.


The crash comes just a few weeks after a self-driving Volvo XC-90 SUV, being evaluated by ride-hailing service Uber, hit a pedestrian in Tempe, Arizona. The victim was Elaine Herzberg who was pushing her bicycle across the road when the Volvo struck. The driver of that vehicle, 44-year old Rafaela Vasquez, was apparently only vaguely paying attention to the oncoming road and travelling on autonomous mode. Elaine Herzberg, who has the dubious distinction of being the first pedestrian (as distinct from first driver) to be killed by an autonomous vehicle, died later in hospital.


As for the later 23rd March Tesla crash, it seems that Wei Huang, a 38-year old software engineer had at some point during that fatal drive received "several" visual warnings, and one audible hands-on warning. But more pertinently, prior to the collision his hands were not detected on the wheel for a full six seconds (but note that it's not clear if that's immediately prior to the crash, or at some point during the drive).


He also had roughly 150 metres of unobstructed view, but nevertheless somehow managed to plough into the concrete lane divider that, at some point prior to the crash, had been damaged. And soon after, the vehicle caught fire (apparently with no one in the car at the time).


In short, Wei Huang, it's claimed, or implied, took no action to avoid the smash—but as the bloke isn't around to defend himself, we'll say no more about it than that.



Welcome to the SleepMobile. Volvo's XC-90 SUV has been under evaluation by global taxi-firm Uber. The tech isn't quite there, and there are ethical, social and legal issues to be resolved. But it can only be a matter of time before road rage is supplanted by computer rage.



Following a grovelling corporate apology and the usual statement of regret, Tesla said that each year there are around 1.25 million automotive deaths. Self-driving vehicles, say the firm, will eventually reduce that number by around 900,000—although evidently not until vehicles are designed with a rapid face-slapping dashboard mounted gizmo to ensure that the driver is actually paying attention throughout the journey.


And that once again makes us wonder if the self-driving orthodoxy is back to front. In other words, currently the technology allows the car to handle the driving until an emergency occurs. At that point, the operator/driver is supposed to instantly take over.


However, people sat behind the steering wheel doing nothing but watch the road will inevitably fall asleep, or read the newspaper, or scoff a sandwich, or do some knitting, or engage in any of a thousand things while the computers and servo motors take care of the mundane motoring business.


As such, you can hardly expect the human operator to return to full consciousness/alertness when a warning light winks on and a buzzer sounds advising them that they have 3 to 5 seconds to deal with whatever emergency is coming right at 'em (i.e. a truck, avalanche, sink hole, or a woman pushing a bicycle across the street).


You only have to look at car passengers or train passengers to recognise how non-engaged travellers behave in a moving vehicle.



In UK law, the question of human responsibility/culpability is central. But where does that begin and end with autonomous vehicles? The driver-operator? The software supplier? The vehicle dealer? The maintenance engineers? Or the legislators? To address these concerns, the government has just launched a three year review of the law—and you can be sure that already there are legal firms exploring potential new profit streams.



Therefore, perhaps it would be better to leave the driver with the full responsibility for driving the car, and arrange for the ultra-high speed emergency-reaction tech to take over when the you-know-what hits the fan. In this instance, the high-tech stuff failed miserably. But it's inevitably going to get better and better. And because the tech is self-learning, it will eventually become as reliable as a desk calculator. Or even better.


Until then, Tesla and Uber and all the other self-driving pioneers are going to have to crash and burn for a while longer before a radical re-think of the operator involvement takes place.


Just remember that it isn't just the oncoming driver who might not see you. It's also about fifty million quid's of rocket science that, at least occasionally, still can't tell the difference between the open road and a woman with a bicycle.


All the same, self-driving systems are likely to be game changers for bikers once the bugs are ironed out and the potential for car/bike collisions is designed-out of the vehicles.


Bring on this new tech, we say. But hurry.


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Motor insurance premiums fall


Story snapshot:

New legislation to combat the fraudsters

Minor windfall for drivers. No details about biker premiums


In the first three months of 2018, car insurance premiums in the UK have fallen by an average of 12 percent, or £70 per person. That brings the price of the average motor insurance policy down to just over £500.


So what's changed?


Well, the British government has recently been developing new legislation aimed at clamping down on fraudulent/spurious compensation claims such as alleged whiplash and similar injuries following minor motoring incidents—and note that we say "incidents" and not "accidents".


In March 2018, the Civil Liability Bill was introduced to Parliament, but the proposed legislation has been in the pipeline for over a year, and the insurance industry (which broadly welcomes the changes) has been anticipating the reforms and reacting to them.


The UK government has said that the aim of the bill is:


‘[to] tackle the rampant compensation culture and reduce the number and cost of whiplash claims by banning offers to settle claims without the support of medical evidence and introducing a new fixed tariff of compensation for whiplash injuries with a duration of up to two years ... ensure there is a fair, transparent and proportionate system of compensation in place for damages paid to genuinely injured personal injury claimants ... [and tackle] the continuing high number and cost of whiplash claims to put money back in the pockets of motorists through reduced insurance costs’.


There's still a lot of ink to be dried and a lot of detail to be thrashed out. But the corrective intent is there, so it appears to be just a question of lining up all the ducks.


What it means in the future is that drivers/passengers/pedestrians hoping to cash-in on minor fender-bender shunts and associated "whiplash injuries" are likely to find a few more hurdles between themselves and a payout. Moreover, the ultimate rewards—if any are forthcoming—will be heavily capped.


Why this overblown compensation culture has been allowed to continue for so long is a mystery. Except perhaps that as with most legislation in the UK, we have to wait for the pot to boil over before anyone even thinks of turning down the gas.


As you might expect, not everyone is supportive of the new legislation, least of all many personal injury lawyers whom, some might say, are looking at leaner times ahead. And of course, various civil liberties groups are watching the proposals with the usual concern and suspicion.


Currently, every motor insurance policy in the UK is hiked by around £35 - £40 in order to fund insurance abuses. That's the claim anyway (no pun intended). Meanwhile, ordinary market forces are already responding to the forthcoming changes, and the insurance premium rates are falling.


The research was carried out by www.moneysupermarket.com which reckons it analysed a whopping 1.7million insurance quotes. Motorcycles, however (and unsurprisingly), didn't get a mention on the press release.


So are motorcycle premiums set to fall too? We don't know. But we're reasoning/guessing/hoping that biker insurance costs are part of the package somewhere.


Meanwhile, if you further crunch the data you'll probably also be unsurprised to hear that the insurance premium costs fell further for women than for men (at around 14 percent and 9 percent, respectively). Naturally, there are regional variances, and young drivers are still seeing their insurance costs rise, albeit by just a couple of percent.


We'll be watching closely to see if this is a blip on the radar or a long term trend. But when it comes to our rising insurance costs, we're happy to take whatever good news we can get, however short-lived it might be.



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Hi Sump People one and all. Great magazine. Keep it coming. I have to say that I haven't seen my insurance premiums go anywhere but up. That includes my bikes, my car and my business van. Come to think of it, my home insurance went up too when I renewed it in January. The thing is, the insurance companies are so slick at clawing in income every way they can that they might give you back with one hand, but take it away with the other. Trying adjusting your policy for the slightest thing. Last time I added another bike, it cost me £60. Before that I phoned to explain that I'd sold a bike and that cost £45. I'd mention the name of my company, but I don't want to give them the publicity. Insurance firms are a necessary evil, and evil they certainly are. —JW

Good to read insurance costs are coming down. I'll be sure to mention that when my inflated renewal quote appears soon. Every year I hear another excuse as to why. "It's a new government tax" or "it's a new MIB premium" or "we've added new services" (that I don't want and can't opt out of) or "you've changed to a newer bike" or "your bikes are getting older" or "you're getting older (Duh!)" or "you haven't had any claims (Whaaat?)"— presumably since I haven't claimed, the logic is that I will do. I thought that was the whole idea of insurance. Perhaps since insurers know where the dangerous roads are (don't start me on potholes), and with all the data available overlaid on ANPR (good luck finding anything from my social media), they will be able to see where and how I ride and adjust my premiums appropriately. Actually perhaps that's not a great suggestion, or they've already considered that. Keep the cynical faith Sump.

—Niall Sommerville

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Evotech Performance parts for Suzuki GSX-R125 and GSX-S125


Evotech Performance for GSX-R125s


Story snapshot:

Looking for a Tail Tidy, Exhaust Hanger, or Radiator Guard?

This Lincolnshire-based firm will take your order now...


Evotech Performance (EP) has sent us details of a new range of accessories for the Suzuki GSX-R125 & GSX-S125. We know the firm slightly, and when we visited the factory we were very impressed with the company's products, expertise, efficiency and pricing. So we're happy to recommend that you take a very close look at these parts if you own one of the above named bikes.


However, we got a little confused with the press release that we received, so we're going to cut this story short. Suffice to say that the new parts include the following:


EP Tail Tidy
EP Radiator Guard
EP Crash Protectors – GSX-S125 & GSX-S125 GP only
EP Exhaust Hanger
EP Paddock Stand Bobbins


We don't have any details of pricing. So check the EP website, etc, and order direct. And keep in mind that Evotech produces batches of parts as opposed to operating continuous production. In other words, the firm will manufacture a limited number of wotsits or whatevers, and unless it's sure of equally healthy sales for a second batch, it will pull the plug. So when these goodies are gone, they're gone.





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Steven Ronald Bochco: 1943 - 2018


Story snapshot:

Co creator of Hill Street Blues and NYPD Blue has died

He was 74


Remember Hill Street Blues? How could you forget? When the internationally famous and seminal primetime US TV cop show series burst onto our screens in 1981, it was one of the cornerstones of the biking week. Most of us watched the majority of the 146 episodes at least once, and some of us are still watching the re-runs never tiring of the antics, frustrations, fears and excesses of Renko, Belker, Hill, Coffey, LaRue, Washington, Bates et al.


The co-creator of Hill Street Blues (along with Michael Kozoll) was the irrepressible Steven Bochco. A writer and a producer, Bochco was also one of the driving forces behind US primetime TV shows such as L.A. Law; Doogie Howser, MD; Murder One; and NYPD Blue.


But long before that, he was a story editor on Ironside, Columbo, McMillan & Wife, Griff, and The Invisible Man. However, Hill Street Blues will probably be the show for which he's best remembered—on this side of the pond, anyway.


What made Hill Street Blues special—aside from tight scripting, fly-on-the-wall camera work, convoluted character interplays, a thick dose of humour counter-pointed by the all important moments of high pathos—were the story arcs. Story arcs are multiple storylines bridging numerous episodes, some of which are concluded sooner than others, and some that are never fulfilled. Think Coronation Street in the UK, or EastEnders.


Before Hill Street Blues, this kind of multi-layered teleplay was unusual in the US (but not unknown). However, Bochco re-mixed these concepts and directing practices into a formula that nailed it perfectly and made his show so compelling.



Hill Street Blues cast. Yes, the picture is missing actor Michael Conrad (as Phil Esterhaus) who died during the fourth season leaving behind the much-repeated fan line "Let's be careful out there!" plus a lot of memorable wit, wisdom and verbal eloquence. The show's location was intended to represent almost any big American city such as Pittsburgh, Boston, St Louis, New York or Chicago. But it was mostly filmed in LA.



So okay, today the production looks dated. It burned brightly, and consequently it burned out relatively quickly. Not so long ago, we watched an episode or two and saw the strings everywhere. The dialogue was largely predictable. The characters felt obvious. And the plotlines felt thin. Nevertheless, it was a great show (both in its day and in retrospect), and Bochco later nailed it again with L.A. Law and NYPD Blue—both of which are also ageing at an accelerated rate (note that L.A. Law was co-created with Terry Louise Fisher, whilst NYPD Blue was co-created with David Milch)



NYPD Blue (261 episodes) ran from 1995 to 2003. Left to right: Nicholas Turturro (as James Martinez), Dennis Franz (as Andy Sipowicz), Jimmy Smits (Bobby Simone) and Kim Delaney (Dianne Russell). If you're not quickly lawyered-up, NYC's finest will git ya. The memorable theme music, as with Hill Street Blues, was provided courtesy of Mike Post. Dennis Franz, incidentally, appeared in both shows.



Steven Bochco was born in New York. His mother was a painter. His father was a violinist. Bochco studied theatre and playwriting, and in 1966 he graduated with a BFA (Bachelor of Fine Art). He moved to LA and joined Universal Studios where he worked on films and TV shows, eventually switching to NBC where he co-created Hill Street Blues.


In later years, Bochco flirted with internet productions, and he was frequently at odds with network and studio bosses whom, he felt, were ageing just as he was ageing, thereby losing that all-important connection with their target audiences. It would be fair to say that he thought he was losing relevance. Nevertheless, he was still working more or less up to the end where failing health finally took its toll.


Steven Bochco won numerous awards for Outstanding Drama, Outstanding Writing, a couple of Edgar Awards, a Directors Guild of America Award, and various Peabody Awards. In 1996 he was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame.


Bochco was married three times, once to Barbara Bosson who, in Hill Street Blues, played Fay Furillo, the estranged wife of police captain Frank Furillo (played by Daniel J Travanti). Steven Bochco also fathered two children, one of whom is the producer and director Jesse Bochco.


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Hill Street Blues was a great show in its time as long as you didn't take it too seriously, but it's mostly dated now like you say in your piece. However, The Sweeney was great then, and it's great now, if not greater. Just wanted to get that said while the thought was in my head. —BSA Bob

Dear Sump, Fans might like to know that the Hill Street Blues theme was released as a single with ex-Steely Dan man and fusion jazz maestro Larry Carlton showing his guitar skills. You can pick up a copy on eBay for a couple of pounds. —Peter Matthews, Shropshire

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Electric Alley 2018


Electric Alley at Orwell Motorcycles


Story snapshot:

A range of electric bikes to try on this new demo day

Make sure you book your ride


This, we think, will be the second outing for the Electric Alley Roadshow. The first was at the Copdock Bike Show in Suffolk last October (2017). This event will be happening at Orwell Motorcycles, also in Suffolk.


Over the next few months, the show will be travelling all over the East Anglia region. The idea is to bring you the latest intel on the state of electric biking whilst giving you the opportunity to get astride an up-to-the-minute battery-powered machine and become better acquainted with the new tech.


A range of electric motorcycles are being fielded including models from Zero and Super Soco. All licence types, we hear, will be catered for. Also expect food and drink. And note that you'll need to book.





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UK government to debate ANPR


Story snapshot:

Data Protection Bill under scrutiny

Labour Party forces a debate


Currently, there are 22 million records stored in the UK Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) database. Each day, 30 million number plate "reads" are made by around 8,300 cameras. And each year the total racks up to 30 billion or so.


The numbers, take note, are vague because the coppers are vague with the facts. If you want to get a peek at the figures and the details of storage, usage, etc, you'll need to make a Freedom Of Information (FOI) request which the police can, and will, address or ignore at their unchecked discretion.


Understandably, that's caused a lot of concern among civil liberty groups, not to mention upsetting the odd MP, journalist, concerned citizen and suchlike. Officially, the police have agreed to store ANPR data for a maximum of two years. But the rozzers want to increase this to seven years—and some reports suggest that already the two year limit has been breached numerous times.


The ANPR data is a useful tool in the fight against crime and terrorism. We understand that. The number plate meta-data can be overlaid with data mined from a variety of sources thereby building a very detailed picture of an individual's habits, behaviour and whereabouts. That's great new for tracking down the next Bin Laden. But it's not such good news when Joe Bloggs becomes illuminated by the police spotlight for more minor transgressions and/or becomes the target of a little official persecution.


And it happens.



So finally it looks as if a stand-up debate has been forced, the idea being to set mandatory codes of conduct and practice for the police and other bodies who are able to harvest the ANPR data—and that includes an increasing number of (dodgy?) private contractors from parking enforcers to insurance firms and beyond.


The new requirements, if and when they come to pass, will become amendments to the forthcoming Data Protection Bill, and that's an important bill with regard to the UK's exit from the European Union. Why? Because after "Brexit" the EU will not transfer data to another country unless and until that country has "adequate" data protection rules in place. And the UK needs access to a variety of EU data, and vice versa.


The ANPR issue is a relatively small piece of a bigger puzzle. Nevertheless, the question of number plate data storage and dissemination needs to be addressed—not merely to satisfy the requirements of the Eurocrats, but to quell domestic protests at unregulated ANPR data.


Of course, the bottom is really this: Regardless of the protections put in place, do we really trust any government, body, group, department, authority or organisation with access to our comprehensive personal data?


In this age of free information, it's worth reminding ourselves constantly that there's always a cost involved, and when there's a cost, it's the ordinary citizen who, one way or t'other, pays the bill.


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Dear Sump. Readers might be interested to hear of the man who was fined by a supermarket for parking longer than the permitted couple of hours. He visited the supermarket once in the morning and again that evening. But the cameras mis-read his number plate after leaving the first time and marked him as parked all day. He had to fight the £85 fine in court. Now is it fair that ordinary folk should foot the bill for failed technology? —Karen Holmes, Dartford

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Henry Cole at Kickback


Kickback Show on Henry's TV


Story snapshot:

Cole's TV company will be bringing a film crew

The date is 7th - 8th April 2018


TV presenter, producer, director and globetrotting British biker Henry Cole will be attending the next Kickback Show on 7th - 8th April 2018. The idea is to film the custom bike award ceremony at the 2018 National Championship, and then televise the event on the The Motorbike Show, a new series of which is about to begin.


Kickback Show Norton custom


Kickback Show Norton Dominator custom


Kickback Show Gas Gas


The Kickback Show will happen at Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire. And if you haven't yet visited Kickback¨—and if you're into chops, cafe racers, brats, bobbers and streetfighters—you're advised to get along there and check for yourself the current state of the custom bike builder's art.


And if by chance you manage to get yourself on TV standing alongside Henry whilst wearing a Sump T-shirt, we'll send you a tennis racquet or something.


Kickback is organised by Lorne Cheetham who's evidently got the right instincts and attitude for this type of event. He's looking to make this show one of the cornerstones of the British motorcycle scene.


Good luck to him, we say. Events such as these are difficult to keep on the boil, but Lorne's certainly got the drive and ambition. Support it if you can, please.



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