▲ We'd like to tell you all about this bike in graphic detail, because it looks like there's a long and interesting story there. But the fact is, there's not actually much information coming down the wires. What we do know is that there's a 1968 900cc Harley-Davidson Sportster lurking under that tank, fairing and seat. But you'd probably have trouble finding it. So much has been modified on this bike including the head, barrels, crankcase, clutch cover, transmission—and pretty much everything else. There's an exhaust pipe on the tailpiece styled like a jet nozzle. There's a faux Gatling gun on the front. There are all kinds of mods to the braking system, the suspension, the controls and so on. The bike, named "Last Puff" was built by a Vietnam veteran and is intended to honour all members of the US Cavalry Aero Scouts; a largely covert intelligence gathering operation. It took twelve years to create this machine. The graphics on the petrol tank reference the aforementioned Scouts. The bike picked up first place at the 2018 Harley-Davidson Milwaukee Bike Show, and it's listed by Mecum Auctions as a display motorcycle only—whatever that really means. It's going under the hammer between 25th and 29th January 2022 at Las Vegas. No estimate has been posted. But why have we featured it here? Simply because it's a fun custom—albeit with a more serious reference at its core. We often take motorcycling way too seriously, don't we? This Sportster reminds us to easy-up and kick back a little. Nuff said.



December 2021  Classic bike news


Motorcycle news | Biking headlines | Latest motor bike stories | Press


Motorcycle news


2021 Triumph Trident on the way

How to write a great motorcycle for sale advert

100 years of Alvis exhibition

Allan Jefferies BMW prize draw offer

Kickback Show: entries sought

Calling all coffin dodgers...

One liners - Vic Eastwood

Coventry-Eagle Flying-8 "tin" sign

Catalytic converter thefts on the rise

Poet's Corner: 1959

One liners

Incoming: nuclear hype from BMW!!

Harrison OK-Supreme to auction

2019 Brighton Speed Trials date

February 2019 Classic Bike News

H&H upcoming auctions reminder

One liners

Peter Halsten Thorkelson: 1942 - 2019

Charterhouse February 2019 results

59 Club May ride-outs to St Paul's

Nippy Normans "handy" airline tool

One liners

New classic car metal garage signs

2019 Kickback Show seeks sponsors

Bauer print sales take another dive

Australian cops speed camera poser

One liners

Henry Cole wants your shed

London Classic Car Show 2019

Christopher Chope's FGM backlash

Albert Finney: 1936 - 2019

International Motobécane gathering

One liners

Charterhouse Auctions reminder

Bud Ekins' Husqvarna MX360 Viking

2019 Bristol Classic Show postponed


Henry Cole's Motorbike Show returns

Oxford Bradwell wax cotton jacket

Norton Commando Winter Raffle

2019 Triumph Scrambler 1200 details

80 years of AMC with Colin Seeley

One liners

A blue plaque for Rex McCandless

"Barn find" RE Constellation to sell

Kawasaki Zed series restoration manual

Bonhams Stafford Sale hits £3 million

Weise®  Boston Jeans tried & tested

One liners

Star attractions at Barber Sale

Andy Tiernan 2019 charity calendar

Zhongneng buys Moto Morini

Bonhams Autumn Stafford preview

Charles Geoffrey Hayes: 1942 - 2018

Mark Wilsmore's bikes to auction

2019 Street Twin & Scrambler boost

Two Wheeled Tuesdays invitation

Bonhams Alexandra Palace Sept Sale

NextBase 312GW dashcam tested

Charles Nicholas Hodges

Suzuki Motorcycles from Veloce

2019 BMW R1250GS & R1250RT
Dudley Sutton: 1933 - 2018 

Oxford Products Kickback Shirt

One liners

Moto Guzzi V9 Bobber Sport unveiled

Burton Leon Reynolds: 1936 - 2018

Comet Classics Open Day

H&H Auctions seeking consignments

One liners

Motus Motorcycles is bust


June 2018 Classic Bike News

One liners

Trump & Harley-Davidson toe to toe

"Governator's" Harley-Davidson sold

Car Builder Solutions recommended

Dirtquake VII 2018 at Arena Essex
One liners
Mecum Auctions at Monterey 2018
H&H NMM auction shapes up further
Chris Chope gets 'em in a twist
Daniel David Kirwan: 1950 - 2018
Reg Allen Motorcycles is closing
One liners
World Motorcycle Rally 2018
Glynn Edwards: 1931 - 2018
Den Hartogh Museum Sale
Grip-Tite Sockets, tried & tested
Donald Trump's US trade war starts


May 2018 Classic Bike News

The Daily Not News

IOM jaywalker in the hoosegow

Rare Norton Hi-Rider to auction

Clint Walker: 1927 - 2018

Ducati Museum Hailwood exhibition

Tougher protection for cops mooted

One liners

New London-Brighton Run route

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 insurance 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

Sump news archive



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December 2021


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Anne Sacoolas video link trial set? 


Story snapshot:

18th January 2022 is the anticipated date

But it's not clear that both parties are in agreement


It's being widely reported in the UK mainstream press that Anne Sacoolas, the American woman heavily implicated in the fatal traffic accident that killed British biker Harry Dunn is to face prosecution on 18th January 2022.


However, the US legal firm acting for Sacoolas has denied that they've agreed to the date. That said, failure "to appear in court" doesn't in and of itself mean that a trial can't go ahead. Or does it? These are murky international legal waters, and even the "experts" can't agree on very much. But certainly, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) believes that Sacoolas is finally going to be brought to book, albeit from across the Atlantic.


Then again, the CPS is as smart as it's stupid, and we've all seen examples of that stupidity time and time again. In this instance, the CPS will on 18th January 2022 be present at Westminster Magistrates Court with its TV screens switched on and its case ready to air, and we'll see what we'll see.


If the trial goes ahead, it's difficult to see where it will actually end up—and even harder to see what judgements, if any, will be enforceable.


The Sacoolas family has already offered compensation to the Dunn family (no doubt without prejudice), but all such proposals have so far been rejected. The untiring Dunn family evidently wants a full and formal trial and will take nothing less.


Harry Dunn was killed on 27th August 2019 outside of the US military base RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire, UK.


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Dot Motorcycles at Motorcycle Live


Story snapshot:

Two new ICE models are being touted

But electrics are "on the way"


The Dot Motorcycles brand is returning to the market place with two new bikes—and the promise of electrics to follow. Who says so? Dr Anthony Keating and Dr Daniel Keating from Keating Kinetics. Also in the fray are Gary Hewitt and Ian Martin plus the owners of the Dot brand. And that's official. We don't know any of these guys, but maybe we'll get to know them in due course.


Meanwhile, we hear that serial speed freak Guy Martin has been roped in to bolster the brand's street cred and help put the Manchester based firm on the motorcycle map.


Dot's roots date back to 1903. Harry Reed was the founder of the firm who also won the twin-cylinder class in the 1908 Isle of Man TT. His mount was a Peugeot powered machine of his own creation.


Over the next sixty odd years the company was variously formed and reformed, and the factory premises moved closer to the heart of Manchester. In 1978, having struggled on with depleted energies and resources, the firm ceased manufacturing and continued as a spares supplier. That lasted until very recent times thanks to the efforts of Michael Scott Wade (see the link below).



The two new machines being developed are the Dot Reed Racer (image immediately above) and the Dot Demon (image immediately below), both powered by 650cc Kawasaki engines churning out around 67hp (68PS) at 8,000rpm and 47lb-ft (64Nm) at 6,700rpm. Both have just been unveiled at Motorcycle Live at the NEC, Birmingham.


Frames, as we understand it, are hand formed. Various proprietary parts have been included. But unfortunately not an inch of new ground has been broken. Not that we can see, anyway.




Aside from oodles of hype, there's not an awful lot else to say at present. And exactly how the company plans to pitch and price its products remains to be seen. But what is difficult for us to understand is why the company feels that the Dot marque itself is a brand that's worth campaigning.


Don't misunderstand us. In its day Dot made some great bikes (notably its off-road offerings that did well on mud and dirt), and the brand still commands a loyal, if diminishing, fanbase. But it's not exactly a marque that trips off the tongue like Triumph, Norton, BSA and Brough Superior, and it doesn't have any inherent sex appeal (for want of a better way to express it). It just sounds old, but without being very bold.


Then again, we sincerely hope that the current owners have got some clever marketing and design strategies. But we haven't seen or heard anything yet that gets our motors running.


How about you?


See also:


Dot factory to close - but not just yet

Michael Scott Wade: 1936 - 2010

Dot factory raided over Easter




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Robert Michael Nesmith: 1942 - 2021 


Story snapshot:

The co-star of The Monkees hit TV series has died

He was a musician, a songwriter, an author and a movie/video producer


Davy Jones died in 2012. Peter Tork died in 2019. Now Mike Nesmith has also died, leaving Mickey Dolenz as the last of The Monkees—still one of the most recognised pop groups in America, if not the world.


Often derided in their day by critics and commentators for being a fake band, the guys who took the starring role in the TV series of the same name were actually pretty good musicians who became great musicians. And the songs they performed have stood the test of time and are still very enjoyable—with one or two of the tunes being exceptional.


Mike Nesmith was born in Houston, Texas. He joined the United States Air Force when he was aged eighteen (1962) and trained as a mechanic. It was at about that time that he made his first serious moves into the world of music by forming musical partnerships and covering existing country songs coupled with a few of his own tunes.



▲ The Monkees were quite simply a great band of prime mates who brought us a lot of good sounds, sunshine and memories. Left to right: Peter Tork, Mickey Dolenz, Mike Nesmith, and Davy Jones.



Looking to further his opportunities, he soon gravitated to Hollywood, California. Through a friend, Nesmith was offered a part in a new ABC TV series called The Monkees; a tongue in cheek, goofy, slapstick mix of juvenile madness and mayhem underpinned by pop music and set against a backdrop of surfing, hot rods and girls. The songs were largely the work of rising composers such as Tommy Boyce, Bobby Hart, Harry Nilsson, Carole King, Gerry Goffin, Carole Bayer Sager and Neil Diamond. The series ran from 1966 to 1968 and was aired in the UK.


Peter Tork left The Monkees in 1969. Mike Nesmith left in 1970 and formed his own outfit, First National Band. The combo was moderately successful and enjoyed a Top 40 hit with Joanne. The two remaining Monkees (Jones and Dolenz) continued to perform in various iterations of the group, but the salad days were over.


Mike Nesmith, meanwhile, continued to write and record, largely as a solo artist. He had a minor hit with Propinquity (I’ve Just Begun to Care) in 1971. He did even better with Rio in the late 1970s. He subsequently turned to novel writing and became a video/TV producer. He also accepted a few cameo appearances on US TV shows.


In the decades that followed there were numerous reunions with The Monkees, the last being in 2021 with just Nesmith and Dolenz on tour—an event that, unfortunately, was cancelled in various venues thanks to the Covid-19 emergency.


▲ Mike Nesmith was very familiar with motorcycles too and competed in the 1969 BAJA 1000 (driver 126, Triumph). Other celebrity riders include actors Steve McQueen, Paul Newman and James Garner. Later, Nesmith would race desert trucks.


Mike Nesmith was always leaning towards the hippy/counterculture world of music and prose. But mostly he was rooted in down-home-Texas country pop-rock and was responsible for many of The Monkees hit songs including Tapioca Tundra; What Am I Doing Hanging Round; You Just May Be The One; and Mary, Mary.


Mike Nesmith was married three times and fathered four children. In recent years his health has been suffering, and he finally succumbed on 10th December 2021, which was yesterday. He was 78 years old.


Mike Nesmith Videoranch


New album from The Monkees (2016)


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Triumph "world record auction price"


Story snapshot:

$231,562 (including premium)

Fonzie's bike enjoys some Happy Days


You can shake your head all day and gasp and choke on your beer (or whatever), but you're just going to have to get over it. Some folk will hand over amazing sums of money for motorcycles that the rest of us might pay just a couple of grand for—or in this case maybe five or six grand. That, after all, is roughly the everyday market value for a 1949 rigid 500cc Triumph TR5 in average condition. Or, okay, maybe a few grand more than that.


But this, of course, is Fonzie's bike as ridden by US actor Henry Winkler in the American hit ABC TV show, Happy Days that ran for about ten years. Not that Fonzie ever rode it much. But the bike certainly had an on-screen presence, including a brief shot of it in the titles—and now Bonhams has found some very big money for this machine; specifically $231,562 (including buyers premium). The sale happened in L.A on 8th December 2021.


But let's not confuse apples with (totally?) bananas. $231,562 is, at today's exchange rate (10/12/21) roughly £175,000.


Still big numbers.




We're advised that this is in fact a world record price for a Triumph motorcycle. And we'll take that at face value (the brain cells start to go past 40, right?). We're also advised that Henry Winkler couldn't even ride the bike and had to be pulled around on some kind of trolley. True? False? So what? We certainly don't care. And neither can we understand why anyone would fork out that much cash for a fairly run of the mill 500cc Triumph. But we're just not into the motorcycle investment scene; not on a personal basis, anyway. And now that almost a quarter of a million dollars has been handed over, that's what it's worth.


For now.


Whether the next sale produces the same, or better, results remains to be seen. Bonhams, after all, tried to sell this Trumpet ten years ago. That was 2011 when the bike was estimated at £39,000 - £53,000. It didn't sell.


Come September 2015, the auctioneers (Profiles in History) were anticipating £100,000. But still no sale. In 2018 the Triumph went under the hammer again and sold for roughly £135,000. From there it went into a museum for a spell, and now it's found a new home for even bigger money.



We should now mention a couple of other salient points. The first is that Bud Ekins procured these bikes, and Ekins' name is (increasingly) worth a few bob in its own right (but especially due to the Steve McQueen connection). The second point is that there were actually three bikes acquired for the show. All, supposedly, have been accounted for—but no doubt a fake or two will turn up in due course. They usually do.


Beyond that, we've seen conflicting information regarding the bikes used and sold and ridden and crashed and whatnot. So it's simpler to treat all information about the Happy Days show and its back story and icons as suspicious and unreliable. Except, of course, that this bike featured here has hit some big numbers.


Go figure.


See Sump November 2011


See Sump September 2015


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Ron Gardner: 1929 - 2021 [carburettor designer]

MAG challenges petrolhead ban


Harley-Davidson to launch new Adventure Centre with Mick Extance

Voxan Wattman zaps to 283mph [Max Biaggi piloting]

Cake yourself to work: Swedish machine is part e-bike, part workbench



White Motorcycle Concepts WMC300FR

Magnesium shortage could hit bike production



BMW M 1000 RR LEGO Technic set has us updating our list to Santa


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2022 BSA Gold Star is go for launch 


Story snapshot:

650cc DOHC single

Liquid-cooled modern retro Beezer, A2 compliant


Well it's been a long time coming, but now it's arrived. For some time at Sump we've been listening to rumours of this machine, and we've seen a few computer renditions too. But we've resisted the impulse to write some premature words because we prefer to avoid idle gossip, uninformed hearsay and general scuttlebutt [so much for the journalistic professionalism and integrity crap, etc—Ed]


However, now it seems that fiction has finally collided with fact, and the 2022 BSA Gold Star is about to be unveiled at Motorcycle Live in Birmingham (4th - 12th December 2021). And from most quarters, first impressions are very positive.


Just as Triumph was so keen to capture the essence of the original Bonneville, so Mahindra (current owner of the BSA brand) has clearly emulated the style and poise of the original DBD Gold Stars from the golden era of the British single—and, given that the engine is Euro 5 compliant, we've got a pretty shrewd idea of how complicated the technical jiggery-pokery must have been for the designers and engineers.



The bike boasts a 652cc, liquid-cooled, DOHC single cylinder engine that's reputed to be good for around 45bhp @ 6,000rpm with 40.5 lb-ft (55Nm) of torque. Gears number five. ABS is a given. Starting, naturally, is electric.


The front fork carries 41mm tubes. The twin shocks are adjustable for pre-load only. The wheels are 18-inch at the business end, and 17-inch at the rear. The frame is a tubular steel cradle. The brakes are (front) 320mm x twin piston, and (rear) 255mm x single piston.


The general specification is more budget than premium. The motor is said to be "laid back and low revving", and we're awaiting confirmation of which markets will see this machine. However, as it's being launched in the UK, it seems likely that that's where BSA plans to sell it. Meanwhile we're still waiting to hear the price.





With Triumph, Royal Enfield, Brough Superior, Norton and now BSA in bloom again, it's almost like the British Bike Industry is back in force—except that some of that industry is British only in spirit. Nevertheless, it's great news for thousands of motorcyclists who have long been awaiting the revival of the BSA marque.


But will it endure?


We've no idea. But the firm behind it has deep pockets and a lot of ambition, and the Far East market is huge and getting wealthier. Meanwhile we might want to remember that this is actually the age of the electric vehicle. So the day of the ICE is quite probably coming to an end.


Bears thinking about.


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Hinckley Triumph: 1,000,000 bikes


Story snapshot:

57 countries

700 dealers

31 years


Back in 1990, few of us—if any of us—saw this coming. Most pundits believed that John Bloor would fall flat on his saddle when he announced plans to rebuild Triumph from the ground up. The best we expected was a short-lived manufacturing spasm with a few also-ran, follow-the-herd wannabe motorcycles. A brave attempt, in other words.


But Bloor did what he did, and fans of the marque bought what they bought, and the rest is history—and Triumph has since manufactured 1,000,000 motorcycles. To commemorate the event, a one-off special Tiger 900 Rally Pro was recently unveiled by CEO Nick Bloor.



Follow the link below for more on this, together with a close-up of the bike. Its livery leaves us a little ... well, liverish. But it's a Triumph in every sense of the word, and it's a great landmark—or is that landmarque?


Congrats to Triumph, etc.



More on the 1,000,000th bike


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A great achievement by Triumph to have got this far, and long may it
continue, which is more than can be said for the usual uninspiring and
unimaginative 'special model' graphics from Triumph to commemorate it
—The Village Squire

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November 2021



NMM Winter Raffle 2021/2022 details 


Story snapshot:

A 1955 500cc Triumph Speed Twin tops the prizes

A 1958 650cc Triton is runner up


The National Motorcycle Museum (NMM) Winter Raffle for 2021/2022 has just been announced, and as ever, there's a pretty cool motorcycle topping the bill. Specifically, first prize is the immediately above 1955 Triumph Speed Twin. It's in fully restored condition and is ready to roll. Can't imagine that anyone wouldn't want to win this. It's still a very viable motorcycle and will keep up with modern traffic—well, with all but the hardcore speed freaks and boy racers.


But if your tastes are a little racier, second prize is a 1958 650cc Triton cafe racer that, we understand, is also in tip-top condition. Meanwhile, third prize is a Sealey Tools cabinet (valued by whoever at £815).

The raffle runs from November 2021 until April 2022 (if Covid-19 and its latest variants haven't sorted us all out by then). The draw will take place on Sunday 24th April 2022 at the International Classic Bike Show at Stafford.


Tickets are ten quid for five, and five is the minimum order. But the NMM, as ever, prefers to talk about £2 per ticket. Which is true, but isn't entirely the truth. Debit card payments only.


What are your chances of winning? Well we've no idea how many tickets are actually sold. But the NMM wouldn't be running the raffle if they didn't expect to cover their costs. So, allowing £8,000 for the 5T, and maybe £6,000 for the Triton, that comes to £14,000. Then add a grand for the Sealey cabinet, making £15,000.


£15,000 divided by £2 (per ticket) comes to 7,500. Therefore, your chances are probably not better than 1-in-7,500 (or, if you prefer, 1:7,500). However, the NMM wants to make a few bob for its chronically depleted coffers, so you might be looking at 1-in-10,000, or even 1-in-20,000. Or more.


And one other thing. If you've bought five tickets, and haven't given away the other four (or shared the ten pound cost with four friends) your chances might actually start at around 1-in-1,500 or thereabouts (think about it).


Have we worked out the odds correctly? How should we know? It's all wild and whacky guesswork on our part. So if you've figured it better, let us know. The point is, the odds are pretty good that you'll win something. However, most people won't win a bean. Remember that.


So to paraphrase Dirty Harry, "are ya feeling lucky, punks?"



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Royal Enfield SG650 cruiser concept announced [same old same old?]

Royal Enfield (also) announces new 350 Classic at 2021 EICMA Show

Kickback Custom Show confirms 2nd & 3rd April/17th & 18th Sept 2022

BikeTrac Lite launched for "cost conscious" riders. £199 + £5.99 month

Mac M/Cs announces 2022 Ruby; 600cc, 4-stroke, liquid-cooled single

Festival of 1000 Bikes confirmed for 16th & 17th July 2022, Mallory Park

RAC: "200 generator vans with rapid boost EV tech by end of 2021"


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High flying Hinckley Bonnie auction


Story snapshot:

Hinckley firms unite, 77 years apart

Aerobility to benefit


Two Hinckley companies are involved in this next story, and it's a fairly interesting one. So draw near, gentle reader.


The 1,200cc Hinckley Triumph T120 Bonneville in the foreground (immediately above) hardly needs any introduction. It's the most successful model produced by Bloor's boys in the West Midlands, and its reign as the pre-eminent classic roadster is probably a long way from over.


But the Spitfire in the background is the real star of this story. The aircraft was funded in 1944 by the Hinckley Hosiery Company and was built by all-too-willing hands at the Vickers Supermarine factory at Castle Bromwich, West Midlands. By the end of that year, the fighter (PV202) entered service with 33 Squadron based at Merville, Northern France and saw active service strafing German controlled goods yards, locomotives and road transport.



A very respectable 96 operational sorties were undertaken, and on 4th May 1945 PV202 was retired from service, battle weary, but by no means out of the game. Post war, a certain Steve Atkins restored the aircraft and converted it (as we understand it) from a single seat fighter to a twin seat trainer.


Since then it's been engaged in another war; a war against disability courtesy of Aerobility, the British disabled persons flying charity. The aim of the charity is mobilise anyone with serious or life changing mobility issues and demonstrate that although life has its ups and down, some of those ups can be very up. In the pillion seat of a Spitfire, for instance.


A worthy cause? You know so.


What's happened now is that Hinckley Triumph is donating that T120 Bonneville to the cause (and doesn't care who knows it). Cynical observations aside, we're glad that the charity is getting the boost it needs, and you can directly benefit from that boost at the forthcoming auction that will see the Bonnie go under the hammer.





The auctioneer is Historics. The date for the auction is Saturday 27th November 2021. The venue is Mercedes Benz World which is near to the Brooklands Race Track and Museum in Weybridge, Surrey. And that's no battle-scarred worn out T120 you're looking at. It's a brand new model in a one-of-a-kind livery.


Good enough?





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▲ Modern, fresh and clean—and not a motorcycle in sight. Let's hope that Norton has got a few bikes parked outside the next time we see this image. Ideally new ones.


Norton's new UK HQ & facility 


Story snapshot:

£16 million investment

73,000 sq ft


The location is Solihull, West Midlands; just down the road from the National Motorcycle Museum. This is where the new (or is that merely "current"?) Norton Motorcycles has built and opened its new combined HQ and production facility.


The new "state-of-the-art" plant has been built under the watchful eye of Indian firm TVS which bought the Norton rights back in April 2020 for £16 million—and in view of the mud (to put it politely) still sticking to the Norton name and reputation, that was perhaps a brave commercial move. Or maybe it was just a very shrewd one. £16 million isn't, after all, actually all that much when you think of the heritage that's attached to the brand (Stuart Garner notwithstanding). There's a lot of headroom here if the new owners play it smart.



▲ "Our design philosophy is the DNA of all Nortons," whatever the hell that overworked cliché really means. But world-class motorcycles bearing the Norton brand will be thundering down a road near you soon enough. That's the plan. Does it matter that the firm isn't British owned?



Here's what (TVS) Norton has to say about the new facility:


"We’ve been keeping our new headquarters a secret for most of 2021, but now we can officially reveal the Norton facility in full scale! Having returned to our roots in the West Midlands, Norton is now positioned to begin executing our ambitious plans for production. Our new 73,000 sq ft facility is complete with state-of-the-art equipment and the capacity to manufacture up to 8000 motorcycles per year. And we’re only just getting started…"


Whether or not Norton can maintain production in the UK, as opposed to shifting it to the Far East (à la Triumph) remains to be seen. But for now we'll look on the bright side and will be glad of the news that dozens, if not hundreds, of new jobs are being created. And remember that the theoretical capability of producing 8,000 bikes per annum isn't the same as actually hitting those numbers. But good luck to 'em if they do. Eight thousand bikes a year will help keep rival manufacturers on the boil. Right?


Perhaps understandably, but not forgivably, the company has gone overboard with the hype sauce. Already the marketing men are heralding the company's 123 year old history, which is pushing it a bit. But okay, it's a half-truth that we'll eventually learn to live with in much the same way we do with Hinckley Triumph. But if you're of a more sensitive disposition, there's some cringeworthy stuff on the firm's website. So take care.


Meanwhile we're being told that the facility underlines TVS's commitment to the brand. But it's conceivable that the new move is simply an investment strategy intended to hike the company value before off-loading and making a quick, and fat, profit. Or maybe TVS is in it for the long haul.


We'll see.



▲ It's not entirely clear if this is a new V4SV being assembled, or an old V4SS being examined for faults. But Norton is saying that it hopes to re-start production before the year is out. Beyond that, we're still waiting to hear what other models are in the pipeline...


The current company buzz words and phrases include "open plan", "non-destructive testing laboratories", "in-house welding", "flexibility", and "no compromise." The current CEO is Dr Robert Hentschel. He's newly reiterated a promise to the owners of troubled/dysfunctional V4SS models (built under Garner's ownership) to offer competitive/discounted prices on the re-engineered V4SV model currently being readied for production. The Garner model, we hear, simply has too many faults for viable rectification. So that bike is toast.


Exactly how much discount buyers of the new V4SV will get will be announced in due course. Certainly, TVS is under no legal (and probably no moral) obligation to do anything. But we figure that it will be a wise and shrewd move to be more than a little generous. There's a lot of reputational damage here that urgently needs addressing—especially with Triumph so well established (albeit in a slightly different market segment), and Royal Enfield looking increasingly ambitious.




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Triumph extends the thin Gold Line


Story snapshot:

Eight bikes in the range

Six to eight hundred quid for a stripe or two and a few tweaks


We love Triumph motorcycles. But Hinckley isn't beyond criticism, and this latest marketing wheeze deserves a kick where it hurts. Ya gotta sell your wares, of course. We understand that. But if you step over the line—even the Gold Line—you're risking some flak.



Follow the links around this news feature and find out what we're talking about...


Triumph's new Gold Line bikes


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Rampant recovery at Piaggio [best performance since 2007]

Polaris takes a dive [Indian parent company's 9 month rise clipped]


Star Wars-inspired Royal Enfield Meteor 350 leads a tide of custom builds

Norton V4SV: New Norton superbike unveiled


Top 10 motorcycle discount codes & competitions


Government could consider smart motorway U-turn after report

Motorcycle manufacturers brace for magnesium shortage

Classy looking Sinnis Outlaw 125cc cruiser motorcycle launched


The best motorcycles not sold in North America

Yamaha recalls Bolt over oil leak issue


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Bonhams at Moto Dei Miti 2022 


Story snapshot:

1 - 3 April 2022 is the date

100 motorcycles are expected


The date will be the 1st - 3rd April 2022. The venue will be the world-renowned Moto dei Miti museum in Genoa. 100-plus motorcycles are promised. And Bonhams will be in partnership with Genesio Bevilacqua, founder of the famed Althea Racing team.


Based in Civita Castellana on the outskirts of Rome, Italy, the museum is a record of the past 50 years of top-flight motorcycle racing. Genesio was himself both an amateur racer later turned professional manager in 2007.


According to Bonhams, "All motorcycles in the collection are ‘on the button’ and ready to race having been maintained in the museum’s dedicated workshop by technicians with years of experience in the paddock, and have recently [been] ridden by Genesio and other professional riders."



Genesio Bevilacqua (image immediately above) has been quoted as saying: "I am happy and proud to partner with Bonhams to bring to Italy their first auction dedicated to motorcycles and to the history of motorcycles, in which Italy has always played a vital role.

"Moto dei Miti is, without a doubt, the best location to hold this great event. Bonhams’ heritage and reputation will attract the attention of international collectors and will play an important part in growing the collectors’ market for the motorcycles of the last 50 years."


Further consignments are invited.





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October 2021




Goldtop special offer on socks


Story snapshot:

£14.99 is the price

Or 20% off if you mention TOASTYTOES before 30th November 2021


If you're anything like us (and a lot of you Sumpsters are), you probably don't think too much about socks—until you mosey on down to your sock drawer and see that the foot fairies haven't been around lately.


It happens, brother.


Fortunately, Kasey Cullen at Goldtop is the next best thing to a foot fairy and is lately offering a range of essential toe-loving hosiery topped by these 75% Merino Wool Motorcycle Socks for just £14.99. But wait, brother! If you order between now and 30th November 2021 and mention TOASTYTOES (no, we're not kidding) Kasey will drop the price by 20%.


For practicality, there's also 15% polyester, 10% nylon, and 5% elastic in the mix. But it's the Merino wool, of course, that makes 'em special. Merino comes from Merino sheep that originate from Spain. The wool, we're told, is finer and has other ... well, bacteriological qualities that keep your lower digits fresh and healthy and ready that the next 500 miles in the saddle.


But look, if these sexy stockings are a little too expensive for your tight-fisted budget, Kasey has some other (ahem) more cost-effective £9.99 socky items in stock that might suit you.


Before ordering, just ask yourself how much your size tens are worth. Tip: don't sell yourself short.



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"£2 million record sale" for H&H


Story snapshot:

1938 Brough Superior sells for £224,200

Vincent Black Shadow fetches £76,700


H&H Classics is said to be cock-a-hoop over the results of the firm's latest motorcycle sale held on 27th October 2021 at the National Motorcycle Museum in Solihull, West Midlands.


The previous high water mark was around £1.5 million, but that's now been raised to an impressive £2 million. Furthermore, the auctioneers are also claiming a sell through rate of 92%—which, according to our maths, is correct.


The top selling lot was the immediately above 1938 Brough Superior SS100 (formerly the property of Titch Allen, amongst others) which fetched £224,200. Runner up was a 1953 Vincent Black Shadow that sold for  £76,700 (image immediately below).



Owned by the same family since 1980, modifications to the Vincent include an electric starter kit, a BTH mag, an Alton dynamo, a stainless steel exhaust system and a Hills centre stand. Additionally, we hear that "a lot of the nuts and bolts are stainless and the wheels are fitted with stainless spokes"


Other top lots include:


1977 MV Agusta 832 Monza sold for £50,740

1948 Vincent Series B Rapide sold for £42,480

1990 Norton F1 with 2,256 miles from new sold for £40,120
1929 Indian Scout 101 sold for £24,190
1921 Kenilworth Motorcyclette sold for £6,490



Lastly, we note that a 1964 Lambretta GT 200 that's been in storage since 1976 finally saw some daylight and sold for £23,600. That's more than four times its top estimate of £4,000, and is a lot of money for a hairdryer. But we ain't knocking it. In this world, you've gotta get it whilst it's going.






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Motorcycle frame/Reynolds tubing expert Ken Sprayson (left) dies aged 94

Nourish Engineering founder/engine specialist Dave Nourish has also died

Triumph Adventure Experience launch. Malaga, Spain. Tigers/Scramblers.

Michelin Uptis airless tyre first public reveal. Rubber. GRP. "Recyclable"

London Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) growth. 25/10/21. £12.50. 24/7

Grand Prix and IOM TT racing legend Paul Smart, 78, killed in an RTA


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The Future of Transport consultation


Story snapshot:

Possible threat to motorcycle modification

Carbon concerns and autonomous vehicle worries are at the heart of it


The UK government is seeking your views via its newly launched "Future of Transport" online document (as if it hasn't largely already made up its  mind). Specifically, this document highlights the burgeoning desire to reduce the carbon footprint (or is that tyreprint?) of cars, bikes, vans, trucks, etc and help hit the 2030 "Net Zero" target and save the world from imminent doom. Or so goes the script. But the document also relates to the impending introduction of autonomous, or semi-autonomous, vehicles in general.


The notion of preventing owners from tampering/adjusting/modifying vehicles is hardly new. The Department of Transport has flown this particular kite more than once, albeit without much conviction. More recently however, the EU introduced proposals intended to ensure that original manufacturing standards are maintained throughout the life of a given vehicle. And although the EU is mostly history as far as these matters are concerned, the general threat regarding owner-modification of motorcycles lingers in and around Whitehall.


Beyond that, the government is concerned about how modified electronic control systems might impact (no pun intended) autonomous or semi-autonomous vehicles.


Sound a bit thin? That was our first impression. But there may be something in all this that's worth considering. So we're reserving judgement.


Either way, your opinion is sought (either before or after the fact). So follow the link below. Meanwhile, the Motorcycle Action Group is said to be hot on the trail of this one. Colin Brown, Director of Campaigns, has been quoted by MCN as saying: "As the owner of a motorcycle with less OEM parts than aftermarket ones, you can imagine my reaction. This renewed attack on the right to do what you wish with your own property is not something that I can see many motorcyclists welcoming."


And that of course, if it's an accurate quote, is a naive and facile response in a world where we have to share pretty much everything, not least the air and the roads, and in doing so make regular adjustments to the status quo. But better a weak argument than no argument at all. Perhaps.


Don't misunderstand us, mind. Modifying bikes has always been where it's at, and long may that continue. However, you have to be realistic and learn to mitigate threatening issues as best you can whilst mindful of the fact that change will have its way whether we like it or not—which isn't to advocate outright surrender.


Put another way, blunt resistance is futile, but shrewd opposition is probably wiser. Keep that in mind as and when you formulate your response.




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Nick Mason Kawasaki KE100 for sale


Story snapshot:

Drumming up interest for Pink Floyd's skin basher

Low mileage, with just one (or two) owners...


If you don't know who Nick Mason is, you might as well skip this news story because it will probably be of interest only to Pink Floyd fans. It is, after all, just a minor tale about a lowly/modest Kawasaki KE100 bought new in late 1996 by the aforementioned Mason and registered for the road early the following year.



▲ Nick Mason (left) and Pink's Floyd's Roger Waters snapped in 2019.

Mason is busy campaigning his current band, Saucerful of Secrets, and enjoying mucho dinero from his new (and uninspiringly titled) album, Live at the Roundhouse. Pink Floyd, meanwhile, is defunct—subject to whatever reformations are forthcoming.



There's really not much to say about the bike. To coin a much hackneyed phrase, it is what it is. The mileage is showing just 356. There are a few scratches, knocks and dings, and it's estimated by auctioneers H&H Classics to fetch between £4,500 and £5,500. That's a long way down the financial ladder from Mason's Ferrari 250 GTO bought new in 1977 [price unknown—Ed] and now reputed to be worth around £30 million. Meanwhile, there's a recent MOT on the bike, and it's carrying a current V5C—in the second owner's name.


Does that kill the deal? We don't know, but for some folk that probably makes the acquisition just that little bit less sweet and personal. Then again, H&H has confused us by also stating that there's a V5C in Nick's name plus an old request for a duplicate log book. So two V5Cs? Sounds like it.


Either way, the bike isn't the most exciting item of pop memorabilia, but there is other documentation bolstering the provenance (if that's needed). Also offered as part of the deal is "a signed and numbered first edition copy of Nick's book 'Into The Red' about his collection of supercars."


The sale goes down on 27th October 2021 at the National Motorcycle Museum in Solihull.


Small earthquake. No one hurt.





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From 1st October 2021, Bullit Motorcycles becomes Bluroc Motorcycles



Triumph launches Tiger Sport 660. 80bhp. 240° triple. Jan 2022. £8,450.

Motor Lock Secure: New tamper proof security device for motorcyclists

UK govt seeks thousands of new ADIs (your chance to promote MCs?)

Triumph Motorcycles: "12,500 Trident 660s sold in one year."

National Motorcyclist's Council (NMC) calls for bike license test changes

NMC expresses more concern over motorcycle freighting/transport issues


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1919 Kenilworth scooter prototype. Click the image for a closer look


Two rare Kenilworth scooters to sell


Story snapshot:

A century old, and still running

A prototype scooter and a Motorcyclette


Once again we're reminded of how history has a curious habit of intruding on the present and showing us that what seems new and original has actually been done before. Specifically, at a time when large sections of the planet are discovering the dubious appeal and questionable wisdom of powered step-on scooters, we see that it's all been done before. Except that modern traffic is a lot faster than it was a hundred years ago, which is when the immediately above scooter first hit the mean streets of post WW1 Britain.


This 103-year old machine is a 1919 Kenilworth prototype. Dubbed "Lenny", it's the earliest known example of the marque, or so we're told, and was designed by Captain George Thomas Smith-Clarke (1884 - 1960), better known for his association with Alvis cars (and the Royal Flying Corps).


The first production Kenilworths were powered by single-cylinder, 4-stroke, OHV, 55mm x 60mm, 142cc, air-cooled Norman* engines. Drive was direct (single speed). Maximum velocity was 15 - 20mph. There was also a single bicycle type brake. And there was no suspension. Wheels were 18-inches.


In 1920 the Kenilworth Miniature series was introduced. These machines included the luxury of a saddle on a sprung pillar, optional electric lighting and brakes front and rear.



The Motorcyclette (image immediately above) was introduced the following year (1921) and featured a re-designed frame, sweptback 'bars and leg shields. Front suspension was now available. The weight was around 80lbs. Fuel economy was around 130mpg.


Given the general condition of British streets in the 1920s, and despite the relatively large wheels (when compared to modern scooters), the ride must have been challenging. But for many scooterists/riders, these machine would have been a very convenient form of personal locomotion.





The last of the miniatures was manufactured in 1923. These machines were equipped with a novel multi-speed friction drive, a clutch and a crank handle for starting. The engine was now perforce mounted longitudinally with the cast iron flywheel at the rear. Wheels were now 24-inch [but note that we've got some doubts about the wheels sizes and exactly when they were changed—so feel free to set us straight, please].


More specific information on these two machines isn't available from the seller, except to say that the Motorcyclette has spent thirty years or so at the Murray Museum on the Isle of Man, and that it's also been a familiar sight on the Banbury Run.


Of the 550 or so scooters produced by Kenilworth, only ten are known to survive of which two are scooters and one is a Motorcyclette. The factory, incidentally, was based at Much Park Street, Coventry.


The two machines are to be auctioned by H&H Classic at the National Motorcycle Museum on 27th October 2021. The estimate for each is £5,500 - £6,500.


*This refers to the Norman Engineering Co Ltd of London, Leamington Spa, Uxbridge and Warwick (1919 - 1964) and not Norman Cycles of Kent which produced bicycles and lightweight motorcycles. Norman Engineering was founded by J.A. Watts and E.J.H. Norman. Norman Cycles was founded by Charles and Fred Norman.


Update: The Kenilworth sold for £6,490




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Sump Route 66 Road Trip

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Buying a motorcycle crash helmet

Classic bike parts & services

Motorcycle transportation services

Motorcyclists and the police


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BSA M20 & M21:
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Pioneer Run eBook:

What's it all about? Well, it's a photoshoot of the world's greatest veteran motorcycle run with poetry and quotes from Ixion to John Masefield to William Shakespeare to William Wordsworth. It's unique (as far as we know) and has been downloaded thousands of times from both the Sump website and the website of the Sunbeam Motor Cycle Club. Think of it as poetry in motion. It's a treat. Sorry, it's not available in hardcopy or for Macs.




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