1967 Greeves Scottish Trials. It's 66-years since Bert Greeves MBE (1906 - 1993) founded the near legendary motorcycle company that bears his name. We haven't written much on Greeves, which is odd since we're such big fans of the marque. But we'll be putting that right soon. Meanwhile, you can enjoy a look at this bike (Lot T71) that was sold in January at Las Vegas, USA by Mecum Auctions. The hammer came down at $3,250 (£2,587); a small price to pay for such a lot of mobile fun.

February 2017  Classic bike news


Motorcycle 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


December 2014 Classic Bike News

John Robert "Joe" Cocker: 1944 - 2014
British Bike Bits for Interceptor Mk2s
Billie Honor Whitelaw: 1932 - 2014
Mike Hailwood print from the ACU
Ian Patrick McLagan: 1945 - 2014
One million Ducati dreams: Official

Cool Ducati 60 limited edition poster
European H.O.G Rally 2015 details
Goldtop Large Leather Care Kit
Mann-Hailwood-Beart bikes to sell

Norton Dominator SS for 2015?
Akrapovič custom "World Premiere"

Andy's Tiernan's Triumph 3HW
New style police court bright idea

First seven Hesketh 24s set to ship
2015 Limited Edition Rocket Three X
"500 Nortons headed to Australia"
Swinton execs fined £928,000

Old Empire Imperial Ducati Typhoon
Sterling Autocycles replica flat tanker
Ultra Low Emission Zone update
Barn Built Cafe Racer Dot Com kit


November 2014 Classic Bike News

Noise complaint e-petition appeal
Bonhams Bond Street Sale 2014
Gold plated Speed Twin on eBay
"True Greats" sale at Coys
£12.50 per day classic bike charge
Frankie Fraser: 1923 - 2014

Driving licence changes for January 2015
"Last V1000 Hesketh" is produced
1964 Triumph TRW: asking £5,000

Warning: Have you seen this man?

Watsonian GT4 Sports Touring chair
Triumph recalls various 2014 models
Rare 1934 BSA R34-4 now on eBay
H&H Chateau Impney auction
Bell Bullitt RSD Viva helmet
Hedon crash helmets

Terblanche shifts to Royal Enfield
Greeves Motorcycles Ltd is for sale

Vapour blasting service by SVS ...
Andy Tiernan's 2015 calendar
NMM 30th anniversary Vincent draw
New Broughs unveiled at EICMA

Bernard Stanley Bilk: 1929 - 2014
Sump's moving. Expcet prolbems
New emissions threat from TfL
Stolen Triumph Tiger Cub alert


October 2014 Classic Bike News

Matchless Model X: new teasers pics

Time to switch off London's traffic lights?

Limited edition "space age" Ural MIR
John "Jack" Bruce: 1943 - 2014

London to Brighton Run Sale
UK adult minimum wage rise

Alvin Stardust: 1942 - 2014

Oops! We screwed up
£104,540 Flying Merkel at Bonhams
Cheffins Cambridge Sale results

Fonda's chop: $1.35 million. Sold!
New Sump T-shirt "spy shots"

Herb Harris Vincents for Bonhams

BSA M-Series clutch chain wheels
Samuel Truett Cathy: 1921 - 2014
Police bail time limits proposed
Slovak Aeromobil drives and flies
H&H Duxford Oct 2014 Sale results

Ace Cafe's "Ultimate burn up" ride
Venhill generic switchgear

Johnny Foreigner clampdown plan
Holly Ariel Cyclone makes: $457,500
Bikesure-Sump insurance link
Atalanta relaunched and unveiled
Plausible Ferrari safety fear recall
No deathanol increase before 2017, promise
Council vandalises Bansky artwork
Lynsey De Paul: 1950 - 2014
Metzeler Sportec Klassic launched
New Mitas motocross mudpluggers
October tax disc changes crash DVLA website
2014 London-Brighton Run reminder
Triumph unveils the T214 Bonnie

"Nurb's" by Fred "Krugger" Bertrand


September 2014 Classic Bike News

Bob Crewe: 1930 - 2014
Graham Coxon's bike collection charity auction
GSXR-powered Bond Bug for sale

Norman Hyde's half century, and not out
Distinguished Gents charity ride

Mole Benn Collection for Stafford

Battlesbridge urgently needs your support
British Customs "Cassidy" project
Andrew Victor McLaglen: 1920 - 2014
Captain America's bike is for sale
The DVLA wants your classic view

Triumph Thruxton Ace unveiled

H&H Duxford Sale: 8th October 2014
Donald Alfred Sinden: 1923 - 2014
British Customs gel saddle: $329.00
New Bristol car promised by 2015
Free vintage Brit movie screenings
The Scottish independence myth
Triumph 250cc single project "on hold"
Bonhams Beaulieu 2014: Top lot
Elvis Presley found alive on moon
Ex-Buddy Holly Ariel to be auctioned
Three car shows bought by Mortons
Worst ever Netley Eurojumble?
New "road tax" complications ahead
"Anti-social" Ace Cafe warned off
IKON shock absorbers/dampers


August 2014 Classic Bike News

Ken Rees, the real Steve McQueen?

Mortons buys Fast Bikes magazine
William Henry "Bill" Kerr: 1922 - 2014
Britain First "hijacks" The Royal Crown
National Motorcycle Museum robbery URGENT APPEAL: £20,000 REWARD
Ugly Fish Slingshot Ozzie shades
New Heritage Buses Festival 2014
Watch the Foley beheading video and get nicked—Met Police
1953 Triumph Terrier. £10,000. eBay
Richard Attenborough: 1923 - 2014
Don't forget the 2014 Brighton Speed Trials
New domestic abuse laws mooted
"Last Hughie Hancox restoration"
McQueen's 1930 Chief: $100,000. Sold
170,000 Continental tyres recalled
Bob Derrick, RIP
Matthew Thompson ePetition opened
The Empire buys Wrighty's Show
Confederate Hellcat Speedster X132
BMF 2014 Tail End Show cancellation

European Bike Week: 2 - 7 Sept 2014
Stephen Hill's off the wall design
Lauren Bacall: 1924 - 2014
Video recording at English local council meetings is "now legal"
Jean Panhard: 1913 - 2014
Harley-Davidson Road Glide returns
Romney Marsh inaugural bike auction 2014
Motorcycling in the 1970s - new eBook series
Foundry Matchless 500cc G9 bobber
2015 69-inch Indian Scout launched
Classic Car Boot Sale goes Olympic
The UK "tax disc" is soon to vanish
Savatech Sport Force tyre recall


July  2014 Classic Bike News

Ex-McQueen 1912 Harley X8E to sell
Half price Gasolina boots at Foundry
Dora Bryan: 1923 - 2014
The 42nd International British Biker Meeting
Harley-Davidson VRSC V-Rod guide
Kieran Shortall: 1959 - 2014
James Garner: 1928 - 2014

"Quadrophenia Lambretta" to auction
Electric cars for 10 Downing Street
Johnny Dawson Winter: 1944 - 2014
Cheffins' July Cambridge Auction
Northampton Classic Club Scramble
Coys Auction kicks off at Blenheim
Dave Bickers: 1938 - 2014
Government scraps 60mph limit plan
MyLicence insurance honesty checks
Ex-servicemen's charity Euro jolly
Mecum's July 2014 Harrisburg sale
So who the hell are you people?
Francis Barnett "makes a comeback"
2014 Indian Chieftain at Sturgis


June 2014 Classic Bike News

Ariel Motorcycles launches the Ace
Eli Wallach: 1915 - 2014
Francis Matthews: 1927 - 2014
Government set to limit CCTV cars
New Harley-Davidson Sump features
Harley-Davidson "LiveWire" concept
High Beech tea hut under threat
The Hesketh 24 is officially unveiled
Bonhams' Banbury "Record" Sale
Avon & Somerset Police's Ariel Atom
1937 Matchless Model X eBay scam
Cotswold Classics is bust
Northants Classic MX Club appeal


May 2014 Classic Bike News

VMCC petition seeks blood

£60 million left on TfL Oyster Cards

AJS Model 18 & Matchless G80 guide

London Congestion Charge hike

Banbury Run 2014 reminder

Maserati centenary celebrations

Mechanical Art Devices Exhibition

First UK Royal Enfield Store opens
Dangerous Dogs Act amendment
Police dog ePetition wants your vote
Fiat-Chrysler chooses London
New logotype for Royal Enfield?
Sump plates for Triumph T140s/T120s

Cheffins April Cambridge Sale results

Bournemouth Wheels Free Festival
Efrem Zimbalist Jnr: 1917 - 2014

Charges dropped against Les Allen

Two civic plaques for George Brough

48% of bikers want to vote away your right to decide—IAM

Clarkson utters the "nigger" word


April 2014 Classic Bike News

New political T-shirt from Sump
Mark Upham nabs Brough's Brough
Ex Hailwood/Surtees Sportmax sells
Reunion of the Rockers, 3rd May 2014

u r txtng. stp drvng u mrn
Looking for a Stafford alternative?

Another implied classic bike threat from London Mayor Boris Johnson?

Houston Motorcycle Auction results

Government to scrap camera cars?

Cheffins Vintage Sale: 26th April 2014

The Stranglers Bonneville raffle

Rare DKW SS250 leads Duxford Sale

BSA C15, B25, B40, B44 & B50 aficionados look this way
Johammer electric motorcycles
Death comes calling at Bonhams
Wal Handley's Lagonda to sell at H&H

Vincent Series C Rapide raffle

Classic British Bikes book

Stuff we like: Bell Bullitt Helmet - TT

Triumph Model P from Andy Tiernan

Foundry First Anniversary Ride In
April - Houston Motorcycle Auction
Ernest "Ernie" Lyons: 1914 - 2014
UK campaign to reinstate .22 pistols


March 2014 Classic Bike News
DVSA to name and shame ex-MOT stations
Mick Woollett: 1930-2014
Richard Edmonds Sale - March 2014
Captain Maurice Seddon: 1926-2014

Introducing Stephen Hill, pop artist

Classic bike tax discs are on a roll
Kempton Park bike jumble sells out
BSA Bantam 3-string steel guitar
Boris Johnson to ban classic bikes?
Gruppo Bertone's in trouble. Again
Paris bans cars and motorcycles
Southend Shakedown & Margate Meltdown:
2014 biker diary dates

Rabers British motorcycle parts
Agostini and Cooper to headline
Mallory Bike Festival

Second Classic Car Boot Sale rocks
Anthony Wedgwood Benn: 1925-2014

Hinckley bullish about 2014 sales
UK bike parts distributor now accepts bitcoins

New BSA M20 T-shirt from Sump

New AA-Halfords "safety" campaign

Bandit 9 customs - Made in China

Secret British Government webcams
in the home...

Anglia's first classic sale "success"

UK magazine sales continue to drop

De Bruir Parachuter leather backpack


February 2014 Classic Bike News

New Lotus Bike: Not Made in Britain
Met set to pay out huge rape compensation
Any information on this outfit?
National Motorcycle Museum appeal
"Whole life sentences" ruled legal
Brian Hampton appeal bid update
Tom Armstrong Manx Norton for sale
Martin Squires Sketchbook Volume 4
ACA's first classic motorcycle sale
New Rocker T-shirts from Sump
Alex Botwright steps down as Fenman Classic Bike Show chairman
"Droves" at Bristol Classic Show
Kool new Davida candy coloured lids
Rare 1930 MGC makes £15,297
Nobody hurt in small earthquake
Royal Enfield "Valentine's Day sale"
Chris Bushell takes over Nourish
SBS Harley-Davidson "Speed Demon"
New 69 Club T-shirt from Sump
Mr & Mrs Oil Drip: under the hammer


January 2014 Classic Bike News

Vintage Boot Sale, London
Chelsea Bridge tea stall petition
Stylish café racer T-shirt from Sump
Triumph again tops UK big bike sales
2014 Brighton Speed Trials is back on
First British motorway pub has opened
Hurricane tank from Burton Bike Bits
1936 Brough SS80 and chair on eBay
General Jumbo control freaks ahead
Festival of 1000 Bikes is cancelled
New congestion charge "con"
Bonhams Sale: "New records set"
Twenty jobs at Triumph Motorcycles
Cafe racer rival for Triumph Thruxton
Phil Everly: 1939 - 2014
Stuff we love: Vanishing Point (1971)
Derringer electric board track bicycle
Illegally fingerprinting the kids

Sump news archive



We've got plenty more classic bike news for you to enjoy. Check out the links below.


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Kickback Show April 2017Kickback April 2017 ticket offer


Story snapshot:

Online ticket 20% discount

Free limited edition posters


The next Kickback motorcycle show happens on Saturday 1st - Sunday 2nd April 2017 and takes place at Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire. The organisers are offering a free limited edition A3 poster for everyone who attends, and if you book online you'll have  20% knocked off the ticket price.


Adults will pay £9.50 online compared to a gate price of £12. Tickets are valid for the whole weekend.

There are discounts for children, etc. Opening hours are 12 noon to 6pm on Saturday, and 10am to 5pm on Sunday.


Expect around 100 or more custom bikes, trade stalls, food and drink outlets, exhibitions, a stunt show, vintage biker movies, etc. And if you want to exhibit, there's still time. Email Lorne at: lorne@rwrw.co.uk




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Brother can you spare an anecdote?


Story snapshot:

Wanted: tales of real world motorcycle sale prices

A few lines on an email will do nicely


We're collecting anecdotes, and we need your help. Specifically, we're trying to find out what's really happening to motorcycle prices in the internet age. To do this, we can't simply check the adverts in the usual rags or on eBay. These ads merely tell us what people are asking, and not always the sale price (and these days we're seeing plenty of very unlikely asking prices). Meanwhile, eBay items are frequently re-listed due to "time wasters" and failed sales.


That's the internet for you, of course. The www has given us all access to a huge worldwide market, and because of that, there will always be someone somewhere willing to pay way over the everyday market price (whatever that is anymore) for a motorcycle, car, house or whatever. And there will always be "chancers" willing to wait the longest time to score big.


Naturally we check the auctions constantly, and auctions are a reasonably good indicator of what's happening in the real world. But even auctions are subject to the whims of tactical, or ill-informed, or confused, or overly-competitive or simply desperate local or international bidding. And auction houses frequently see lots sail under the hammer at way below "sensible" estimates for no obvious reasons, except perhaps the perversity of chance. What we want to know is what's really being sold at what price.


In other words, we'd like some insight into motorcycles that were asking "crazy money", but which you know actually sold for way less. Or maybe you've been trying for months to sell a bike at what you feel is a fair market price, but can't get so much as a peep from the phone or a line of semi-literate scribble on an email.


We won't publish details of whatever you tell us, and we're not collecting email addresses. In fact, we'll probably trash the email as soon as we unload it. And we won't hand out prizes, but we will acknowledge everyone who writes to us.


Put simply, we'd like to hear personal accounts of what you tried to sell and couldn't sell, or how much you had to drop the price, or whether you feel you could have asked more.


Recent history tales only, please (such as the past few years). And we're interested in sales of all bikes, but more specifically classics.


If we get enough interesting and insightful tales, we'll run a generalised piece on Sump giving everyone else the news, such as it is. What we don't want to do is add speculative fuel to an already distorted market. But beyond this, we'll simply use the information as a reference point for future news stories about the motorcycle market.


So if you feel so disposed, spare us a few lines on an email. We're ready to hear the awful truth if you're ready to tell it.





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Classic Off-Road Motorcycles - Veloce


Story snapshot:

Decent enough general restoration guide from author Ricky Burns

Suitable for dirt bike beginners

It's an "Enthusiast's Restoration Manual". That's what it reads on the cover, and that sounds about right. We're talking about Classic Off-Road Motorcycles from Veloce Publishing, and what comes across most strongly is the fact that it's a book written by your average (or possibly above average) off-road fiend for people of a similar bent.


It's just been launched as the next instalment in the publisher's on-going "How to Restore" series, and we've got a few observations to make that might influence your decision to buy, or not buy.


In terms of printing and photography, the quality is about on par with the rest of the series (that we've seen, anyway) which is fair to good. Actually, most of the close-up shots are well framed and tight, and they get right into the meat of the metal and show you what you need to see. But there are no pictures anywhere that you'd want to cut out and stick in a frame beside the TV. And that's a pity because every book deserves at least one truly great, achingly evocative image.


Then again, that ain't what this book is about. It's a grass roots tome focussing on classic off-road motorcycles built between 1950 and 1980. But most of the coverage actually reflects the latter of those years when Bultaco and Montessa dominated. However, if you're looking for an in-depth guide to restoring a particular marque or model, look elsewhere (such as a workshop manual, which is in fact what the author advises).


Instead, this book takes a more generalised view of the off-road restoration orthodoxy and guides the newcomer into the broader issues surrounding buying, inspection, maintenance and rehabilitation of a suitable bike.


More specifically, this publication will suit budget off-road riders. It happily extols the virtues of wet-and-dry paper, wire brushing and Hammerite paint rattle cans, and you should expect a few bloodied workshop knuckles if you follow the author's path all the way to the end.


In short, it's very much a hands-on look at everything you might need to do, or at least consider, if you want to get mobile on the dirt and flick some serious mud in someone's eye.


If you're not much of a reader, you'll be relieved to know there's no heavy prose within, and certainly no poetry. This book is more a collection of helpful and reassuring captions liberally splashed around the 140 or so pages that are carrying 480-plus pictures. You'll probably read it once for the broader picture, and then once more for the detail, and then again when you actually get started in the workshop.


Looked at another way, if this book doesn't actually answer all your technical questions, which it won't, it will quite probably be exactly what you need to inspire you to get started and overcome the inertia of indecision.


There's a very pretty Dot on the back cover, and there are occasional snaps of other British off-road classics from BSA to Triumph to Royal Enfield. But as mentioned earlier, the core of the book is 1970s and 1980s Spanish bikes with a few appropriate Japs thrown in as and where needed/available.


Older and more seasoned off-road trials and scramble riders will notice that there are more than a few eggs being sucked between these pages. But these guys are generally a good natured bunch and will no doubt take a generous stance and tell you that you have to start somewhere. But it is true that one or two author comments and observations stray dangerously close to "the bleedin' obvious". However, that same author is assuming that you have little or no knowledge of the scene, and is therefore wisely taking little or nothing for granted.


The book is asking £35, and that's a fair amount of money for the hopeful beginner. But we haven't got any real issues with the price. Serial author Ricky Burns has evidently worked hard on this and carried his baby to term, so we think you should just pay up. And if you see the book discounted anywhere, it's a bargain.


The bottom line? The off-road scene is a fun place to be, and having studied this book from cover to cover, it's made even hardened tarmac trippers like us casually peruse the dirt bike ads, and we're the last people you're likely to see nose down in the dirt on a Sunday afternoon.


ISBN: 978-1-845849-50-4




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"World record" unrestored Thruxton


Story snapshot:

H&H press release claims a new world record sale price

The underlying story is perhaps a very different tale...


£24,295. That was the price paid for the (immediately) above 1968 Velocette Thruxton (Lot 22) at H&H Auction's Donington Sale on 22nd February 2017. But note the qualifier "unrestored".


We were actually in two minds about running this piece as an addendum to our story immediately below. Why? Because we can't confirm or refute the Velocette Thruxton world record price claim; not that £24,295 is much to shout about, anyway. But in recent times we have had reason to question H&H's credibility regarding auction listings (see: H&H Auctions fake Indians sold, August 2016).


However, we finally decided to move on from past transgressions and give H&H the benefit of the doubt. But if you know differently, drop us a line and we'll look into it.


Of course, if we were MI6 or the CIA, we'd ask a more fundamental question. Instead of looking at what was said by H&H, we'd wonder why they said it. And in this instance it seems clear. The Velocette was simply the thin silver lining in a darker and more ponderous cloud in which the top lot at the Donington sale, a 1939 Brough Superior (Lot 47), failed to find a buyer.


But you can't blame a firm for trying to put a little top spin on a very public commercial disappointment. And beyond that, the Donington sale looks very good for the company.


Check the story below for details...


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1951 Sunbeam S7


H&H Donington February 2017 results


Story snapshot:

Successful sale for H&H Auctions

Top lot fails to shift, but late Triumph twins are looking strong

It looks like H&H Auctions did pretty good at its recent Donington Sale on Wednesday 22nd to Thursday 24th February 2017. Initially we counted 77 bikes. But there were only 76 on the day, so it appears that one was withdrawn. On the other hand, we might have miscounted. It happens.


1939 Brough Superior SS80


Either way, of the 76 or 77 lots, 68 found buyers which represents a very creditable conversion rate. The top billed item, however, failed to sell. This was Lot 47, a 1939 Brough Superior SS80 (image immediately above). The estimate was a reasonably plausible £75,000 - £80,000, but for whatever reason, nobody came forward with a big enough cheque.


It's unwise to form any conclusions from any one auction regarding which bikes are on the way up, and which are on the way down. However, we draw your attention to Lot 55, a 1951 Sunbeam S7 Deluxe which was estimated at £6,000 - £7,000, but sold for £8,362 (main image this story).


That's not a huge hike over average Sunbeam S7 prices over the past year, but these 500cc classic cruisers have been steadily rising in appeal and value, and this one certainly didn't undersell. That said, we're a little surprised that they don't fetch considerably more. But fad and fashion will have its way, and the S7s have a (largely undeserved) reputation for unreliability. And they're not exactly the fastest classic on the block, not that that necessarily means a great deal.


1972 Triumph TR6C 650cc


1972 Triumph TR6C 650cc


Beyond that, we see further evidence that 1970s Meriden twins have finally established themselves as worthy classics. We're talking about oil-in-frame T120s and T140s which, for a long time, were treated with some disdain by the Triumph cognoscenti.


Why? Who knows. But we can well remember plenty of snide comments, largely from the old guard, suggesting that these 650s and 750s weren't "real Triumphs", whatever the hell that means. Ten years ago, you could pick up a reasonably clean oil-in-frame 650cc T120 for maybe £1,800 - £2,500. Typical prices now appear to be anything from £3,500 - £4,500 with better examples asking £6,000 - £7,000. And we think that we recently saw a freshly restored one asking £8,000, but we can't remember where that was. At a dealer's shop probably.


Regardless, H&H sold Lot 51, a 1972 650cc TR6C for £5,650 (see the two images immediately above). The estimate was £4,500 - £5,000, but clearly the market had other ideas. These TR6's, note, were manufactured with slightly higher seat rails and conical hub brakes, neither of which drew much applause. But time is at last being kind to these motorcycles, and the current asking prices reflect this. Note too the right-side gear change lever.


The 650cc T120s, we think, have a particularly nice feel. Naturally, they're not as torquey as the 750cc T140s. But once you get them on cam (and assuming you've got "a good 'un"), they buzz along with a little more verve than the seven-fifties. And the single carb is all you need on an all-round Meriden Triumph twin.


1979 Triumph Tiger TR7 750cc


As if to underscore the growing appeal of oil-in-frame Meriden 650s and 750s, H&H also found a buyer for this 1979 Triumph TR7 Tiger (Lot 25, image immediately above and below). The estimate was £4,000 - £5,000, and the hammer came down at £4,181.


1979 Triumph Tiger 750cc


Described as an un-restored machine, the high US-spec handlebars aren't standard on these "slab-sided" European petrol tanks. And that blue saddle with red piping looks to be from a T140J Jubilee Bonneville. But beyond that, not withstanding a missing chromed front brake caliper cover, this Tiger looks about right.


For more on the February 2017 H&H Donington Sale, follow the link you've just passed.




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Knox Leonard Wax Cotton Jacket


Knox Leonard Wax Jacket Mk2


Story snapshot:

Dual purpose bike jacket retails for £250, give or take a penny

We haven't tried it for size


First a confession: we don't know anything about wax cotton jackets, not technically speaking anyway. So for the purposes of this product news story, pretty much everything you read for the next sixty seconds or so comes straight from the manufacturer.


Knox calls this jacket the Leonard Wax Jacket Mk2. Cool name. Not. It's an updated version of (we presume) the Mk1, and it's described as hard-wearing, abrasion resistant, breathable and waterproof. So far, so good. The seams are fully taped. YKK Aquaguard® zips have been fitted. There's a removable throat guard and a ribbed collar. And the firm has apparently included some kind of clever zipper mechanism that allows the jacket to be expanded so you can wear a Knox armoured shirt beneath.


The overall idea, we gather, is that this is an item of upper body clothing that you can wear on the bike to keep the bugs, breeze and sundry elements off your delicate skin, and can also wear with a shirt and tie when next chatting up your bank manager or when going to dinner with your girlfriend's highly-strung and deeply conservative folks.


You get the idea.


Knox is asking £249.99 which includes VAT. The colour is russet brown, which we think is pretty awful. But then, this week we're going through a turquoise phase, so make up your own mind. The sizes are S–3XL.

And that's it. Check if out if you're a russet brown man or woman.


It takes all sorts to make a world, huh?

Call: 01900 825825


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Despatch Rally May 2017


Despatch Rally: 7th May 2017

Okay, here are some details of a new event to add to your busy 2017 calendar. The balloon doesn't go up until May 2017. But it will be May soon enough, so you might as prepare for it.


It's called the Despatch Rally, and its aim is to "bring together the motorcycling community to celebrate and honour the despatch riders from whom motorcycle culture descended."


Clear enough?


Expect themed destinations and challenges including motorcycle control and navigation skills and shooting. Shooting? Sounds interesting, especially if there's live ammunition on the range. But we've no further details. Just bring your own artillery or something.


Also expect live music, a BBQ and drinks. The fun and game will encompass a large swathe of Dorset with the Sammy Miller Motorcycle Museum at the epicentre.


Event times are 8.30am - 5.30pm. Tickets are £25 per vehicle (solo rider or with pillion).



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Airhawk Comfort Seat


Airhawk Comfort Seats and Pads


Story snapshot:

Updated support offered for the softer regions


Maybe we're just wimps. But after 11 hours more-or-less-non-stop in the saddle, we start to feel a little uncomfortable. It was different when we were young. Back then we could spend nine gruelling days perched on our bikes, living on teeth-bugs and rainwater, and often stopping only to rebuild the engines at the roadside or water a passing bush.


Does that sound like you too? Well, probably not if we're honest. Fact is, everything gets uncomfortable after a while, not least motorcycle perches. That's what this updated Airhawk seat cushion is all about. Strap it on your saddle, park your derriere, weigh the anchor and ride.


But wait! Is it really any better than the saddle the manufacturer provided? Truth is, we don't know. We haven't yet availed ourselves of this kind of supportive technology. But we understand the non-rocket science concept behind it. [More...]


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Peter Skellern: 1947 - 2017


Story snapshot:

Writer of 70s pop hit You're a Lady has died aged 69


Peter Skellern's You're a Lady was an oddball song when we first heard it on Top of the Pops way back in October 1972. The vocals were "breathy". The delivery was ... well, "square". The lyrics felt like they belonged in the 1940s or 1950s. And the accompanying brass ensemble (the Grimethorpe Colliery Band) made us wonder if they'd simply been guided into the wrong studio.


But Peter Skellern, who has died aged 69, held his nerve at the piano and made no apologies for his stylishly romantic middle-of-the-road ballad that subsequently travelled the world compliments of dozens of singers (including Brigitte Bardot) who were happy to carry this particular tune.


If you recall that October, Alice Cooper was hammering out "Elected". Elvis was singing about his Burning Love. 10cc was campaigning Donna. And Lieutenant Pigeon was at number one with Mouldy Old Dough.


Skellern's record label (Decca) was very pleased with You're a Lady. The song spent a creditable two weeks in the top ten and moved as high as number three. Not bad for an average bloke from Lancashire, and brought up in Bury, who was working as a hotel porter in Shaftesbury, Dorset when his song hit the airwaves.



In the 1980s, Peter Skellern collaborated with noted lyricist, composer & humourist Richard Stilgoe. Three albums were recorded and the duo appeared together many times in cabaret.



Soon after this success, Peter Skellern sang the theme tune to the 1973 British TV series Billy Liar, and more limited success came his way with the songs Hold on to Love; Love is the Sweetest Thing; and Put out the Flame.


When the movie Blade Runner was in production, Skellern's skills as an economical lyricist (with an ongoing flair for the romantic) were put to work on the song One More Kiss, Dear.


Skellern wrote the theme tunes for many other TV productions, and in 1984, together with Julian Lloyd Webber and Mary Hopkin, he formed a short-lived group called Oasis. Although he had largely disappeared from mainstream public view, he was always busy behind the scenes providing words, music, voice-overs and a lot of old-fashioned charm. As an antidote to the likes of Alice Cooper (and we love Alice Cooper), Peter Skellern will do nicely.


He also managed to record over twenty albums whilst developing his interest in the Christian church, and he wrote a number of choral pieces. In October 2016, Skellern fulfilled a lifelong ambition and was ordained as a priest and a deacon.


By then, his health was seriously in trouble and he knew that the end was in sight. He leaves behind a wife and two children and a large volume of intelligent, stylish and sophisticated music.



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Selling a Panther or a pre-war BSA?


Story snapshot:

Business is "booming" for Andy Tiernan

New stock urgently needed


Suffolk-based classic bike dealer Andy Tiernan is looking for more Panther and pre-war BSA motorcycles to add to his stock. Andy, who's been established since 1972, has long been a big fan of Panthers and usually keeps a handful in stock. He's also noted for a decent line of old Beezers of all types.


But what with the biking season waking up, the drop in Sterling and the usual alignment of unspecific market forces in the economy, it seems that he can't get enough bikes to satisfy demand. Which is where you come in.


So if you've got a BSA or Panther and are thinking of a sale or a trade, now is probably a pretty good moment. But wait! We have to declare an interest here because we know Andy and count him among our friends. However, that doesn't change the fact that he's a straight-shooter and likes to make a fair deal every time.


"Business," said Andy when we spoke to him today, "is doing very well at the moment. Some of my stock is going overseas, but there's growing interest here in the UK."


That's good to hear, and it runs counter to other trends that we've been looking at that suggest classic bike prices are cooling. Trouble is, it always looks different when you stand someplace else, and if Andy says that business is good, it's good for him. Give him a call. Make a deal.




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Motorcycle delivery services feature

Motorcycle transportation services


Story snapshot:

Is your motorcycle delivery company insured?

Some advice before handing over your machines...


Here's a little tale for any of you Sumpsters out there planning to have one or more motorcycles shifted by a delivery service. Recently, we contacted one such firm. It followed a casual recommendation from a friend in the motorcycle trade. We needed to transport two bikes two hundred or so miles, door to door. Simple enough.


The delivery guy we spoke to (by mobile phone) quoted a price of £100 for the first bike, and just £50 for the second. Very competitive rates. So we checked again with three friendly bike dealers, two of whom said they'd used this guy before without problem and were still using him. One dealer, however, said that he was currently using a different firm. No reason given.


So we fixed a tentative date for a collection of the bikes and explained that a goods-in-transit insurance certificate would need to be produced. At that point, we were told by our would-be delivery guy that he didn't carry such a certificate. [More...]


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1939 Brough Superior SS80 - Matchless engine


H&H Donington Sale February 2017


Story snapshot:

"Matchless" SS80 Brough Superior is looking at the top money

One or two keenly priced lots in this sale


Wednesday 22nd & Thursday 23rd February 2017 is the date for H&H Auction's next sale. It will take place at Donington Park, Derbyshire and will feature a small-to-medium sized range of classic cars and classic motorcycles. So far, there are 77 lots.


We've been perusing the catalogue, and we can't see anything to get too excited about. But one or two items are perhaps worthy of a line or two.


The bike with the highest estimate is the (immediately) above 1939 Brough Superior SS80 (Lot 47). Apparently, this 982cc sidevalve (nominally 1,000cc) is well known to the Brough Superior Club and has always been on the road in and around the Oxfordshire area. That's a Matchless engine, incidentally (in contrast to the earlier and more common JAP-powered SS80), and if you're interested, the estimate is £75,000 - £80,000.


We're watching this Brough closely. Why? Because classic bike prices are lately starting to struggle a little. At least, there seems to be some significant "adjustment" as marques and models come and go out of fashion, and various blue-chip examples appear to be coming off the boil.


1961 Triumph 5TA Speed Twin


H&H has also posted some interesting estimates on other motorcycles such as Lot 14 which is the (immediately) above 1961 500cc Triumph 5TA. This "bathtub" example needs some re-commissioning. But even so, the £1,500 - £2,000 estimate looks like a small chunk of change for a great looking and eminently usable 500cc Trumpet that will take you anywhere you want to go, and still at a reasonable/viable velocity. We're even considering a bid on this bike if the piggy bank will stand it.


1998 BMW R1200C


Meanwhile, the (immediately) above 1998 BMW R1200C is estimated at just £3,500 - £4,000, and that sounds like a bargain for what is very likely to be a future classic that will command some big money.


Between 1997 and 2004 BMW manufactured around 40,000 of these flat twins (including the smaller 850cc R850C version). The designer was noted BMW man David Robb who had earlier worked for Chrysler and then Audi.


The R1200C was, and is, a divisive bike that usually polarises opinion. The model was intended as a radical re-interpretation of the modern motorcycle cruiser and might have loosely had an eye on Harley-Davidson's market. But it's doubtful that BMW, or at least David Robb, seriously thought this was going to get Milwaukee worried. It's a bold Germanic statement that looks more at home on the European mainland as opposed to the American continent. But, as with Saab cars, the fans are scattered thinly, but widely.


Today, people often see this custom as a commercial failure, and we've no idea how the numbers stack up on the profits and losses sheets. But still, 40,000 sales sounds pretty good for a radical design such as this, and we like this model just fine (well, subject to lopping a few inches of the handlebars).


BMW is reported to have cited the increasing unsuitability of the 1,170cc engine for the market that this bike entered and, after seven years, pulled the plug. Or plugs. Today, there is some speculation about the company taking another trip past this particular custom corner. But we haven't heard anything definite.


1952 Vincent Comet Series C


Beyond that, Lot 15 is the (immediately) above 500cc 1952 Vincent Comet Series C. Extensively restored in 2005, and little used since, H&H is estimating £15,000 - £18,000, which once again isn't exactly overly optimistic. Then again, we have seen a few Comets lately struggling to find buyers even at this price. Only, those were all Stateside. Here in the UK, the situation as of February 2017 might be very different. Stay tuned.




UPDATE: The Brough Superior (Lot 47) didn't sell. The Triumph 5TA sold for £4,181. The BMW R1200C (Lot 30) sold for £3,390. And the Vincent Comet (Lot 15) sold for £22,400.


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Harley's "Discover More" tour offer


Story snapshot:

Test ride a Hog and enter a prize draw

Win and bike and collect two grand cash


Go into any UK Harley-Davidson dealer between now and 30th April 2017 and test ride a bike. This small and enjoyable manoeuvre will, apparently, make you eligible for a prize draw which could jet you and a passenger off to the USA, meet Bill Davidson (great-grandson of HD co-founder William A Davidson), hop on a 2017 Touring Hog, take the Great Lakes Tour, visit the HD Museum, then visit the HD production line in York, Pennsylvania, receive a £2,000 cheque to help you enjoy a weekend in New York City, and jet back home where a brand new Harley-Davidson Touring motorcycle of your choice (which you saw being manufactured on the aforementioned production line) will join you.



The firm calls it the trip of a lifetime, and we ain't arguing. And that's the whole deal right there. Just ride the Hog and enter the competition. It's not clear from the press release what happens if you take the test ride and actually buy a bike. Presumably you get your money back or something. Either way, it's a pretty compelling come-on from a company that's actually doing okay on this side of the pond, but is struggling in its domestic market.


We'd take a test ride ourselves, only we never win anything in competitions. But someone's gotta win it. So talk to your local Harley-Davidson dealer and check that we've got the facts right, then book that test ride.


We've no idea how many people in the UK take a new H-D for a speculative spin each month, but we figure that the odds are pretty good.


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Merseyside cops wield new weapon


Story snapshot:

"New DNA" spray to catch bike and scooter thieves

UV dyes and SmartWater-type tech rolled out

Apparently, there's an ongoing epidemic
of motorcycle and scooter thefts in the Merseyside area which has led directly to the development of a "new" kind of high-tech spray designed to catch, or at least mark, offenders.


Actually, the spray appears to be using two existing technologies; specifically ultra-violet dye marking tech and a new kind of SmartWater. The combined product is called SelectaDNA Defence Spray.


The idea is simple enough. You're a Scouse copper. You spot a pair of mobile hooligans causing mayhem and otherwise having fun in the local streets and/or council housing estate. You chase said hooligans for a couple of hours in cars and on foot. You send for the dogs and a chopper and you get thoroughly irritated because you can't quite grab 'em. They're too slippery.


Then your partner hands you the SelectaDNA Defence Spray and you know your problems are over. Almost.


At the most opportune moment, you rush forward and spray the high-tech solution all over the ne'er-do-wells and thoroughly mark them, their knocked-off trainers and their hoodies. And then, when you later run them to ground (usually hiding under their beds or something) you flash a UV light in their faces and they're indelibly marked with a unique code that links them to the spray bottle or device you were wielding at the scene. And that's enough for the courts, which promptly gives the hooligans X-number of hours of community work, and they're more or less instantly back on the street.


It sounds as if the DNA component doesn't actually have much to do with deoxyribonucleic acid. We're figuring that that's just ad-speak for whatever coded thingies are in the spray. What we're really hoping for is a true DNA spray that enters the bloodstreams of the hooligans and corrects whatever crooked genes are present at the nuclear level.


Alternately, we could try and do something meaningful about UK unemployment and associated social conditions in deprived area of the country. But that's not seriously on the agenda at the moment, so it's back to the spray.


Got to be coming to a force near you sooner or later.



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2009 990cc Ducati Desmosedici RR


Bonhams Grandes Marques results


Story snapshot:

14 motorcycles on offer. 6 sold

1935 Aston Martin draws the big money


The top selling motorcycle lot at Bonhams' recent Les Grandes Marques du Monde au Grand Palais Sale (9th February 2017) was the (immediately) above 2009 990cc Ducati Desmosedici RR which sold for €70,150 (£59,830) including buyers premium. The estimate was €50,000 - €60,000 which the bike (Lot 207) comfortably cleared.


Of the 14 motorcycle lots on offer, eight didn't find buyers which represents less than a 50% conversion. However, this wasn't really a motorcycle sale at all. Rather, this was a gathering of Ferraris, Porsches, Bentleys and similar exotica. The bikes were more of a side treat.



The top selling lot overall was the (immediately) above 1935 Aston Martin Ulster which, we hear, saw four bidders slugging it out until the hammer came down on €2,012,500 (£1,714,730).


Regarding the motorcycles, it's hard to draw any performance conclusions, except perhaps to say that of the lots that failed to sell, the market appears to have been against the higher priced bikes. The non-sellers include:


1974 Ducati Formula SS €60,000 - €70,000
1972 Ducati 750 Sport €30,000 - €40,000
1985 Bimota 745 €40,000 - €50,000
1950 Series C Vincent Comet €23,000 - €26,000


That aside, Bonhams is said to be pleased with the overall results. But puzzlingly, the firm hasn't released details of the overall turnover at the sale. We checked around for the information we wanted, but at the time of writing this news item, that information wasn't forthcoming.


However, we can tell you that in 2013 Bonhams turned over £13million at this venue. In 2014, that rose to £17 million. For 2015, the only figure we can find is €21.5million. However, the Euro-Sterling exchange rate has since shifted, so we can't easily make the conversion. In the meantime, we're looking into this and will talk to Bonhams.


Check here for more on Bonhams' recent sales



Update: Bonhams has since sent us information regarding the overall turnover (bikes, cars & automobilia) at the Grandes Marques du Monde Sale in Paris.

February 2015:  £16,396, 866 (€21,915,085)

February 2016: £8,318,465 (€10,860,324)

February 2017: £12, 966,546 (€15,238,625)



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2016 Triumph T120 Givi luggage


Givi's Triumph T120 touring gear


Story snapshot:

Hard & soft luggage kits for the Triumph Bonneville T120

Choose from the Dolomiti or Metro-T range

Owners of 2016 Triumph T120s
looking for quality touring equipment can talk to Givi dealers and ask about the firm's new luggage racks and fixing systems for hard cases and side bags.


The Italian manufacturer, founded by ex-GP racer Giuseppe Visenzi and which currently employs around 500 staff, is also offering a new Race Café screen mounting kit and engine guards.


2016 Triumph T120 Givi hard and soft bags


T120 Bonnie owners can select luggage components from the established aluminium Dolomiti or thermoformed Metro-T ranges (featuring a new Multilock system). We haven't seen any prices yet, so talk to your local motorcycle spares and accessories shop and point them at Givi.




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New i-ticket parking app has arrived


Story snapshot:

Parking app for automotive bounty hunters

Smaller firms to benefit from new self-policing initiative


Did you hear the one about the private car parking enforcement firm that's paying a £10 bounty for snapshots of illegally parked vehicles? Well the punchline is that it's no joke.


The firm is UK Car Park Management (UK CPM). This outfit looks after parking acreage for firms such as Tesco and other nationally established companies. The idea is that you, as a smaller business person with land to defend, first sign a deal with UK CPM. Then you download a new parking app on your smartphone. Then you get out there on the ground and do your own policing. When you catch a miscreant misappropriating your turf, you take a snapshot of the offending vehicle complete with vehicle registration number, and fire it off to UK CPM.


A quick check on the DVLA database will (probably) reveal the name and address of the offender. The offender gets a £100 parking ticket in the mail (with a reduced rate of £60 if paid within two weeks), and you get a tenner.



iTicket is one of many rivals to i-ticket. And it can only be a matter of time before we see i-Fraud, i-Ripoff, i-Scam, and similar. But beyond the immediate parking issue, there's the matter of the DVLA selling driver details to private parking firms. Do we really trust any of these guys?



However, it's not clear if you get the tenner regardless of whether or not UK CPM wheedles the money from the offender. But most vehicle owners are indeed on the national database, so the chances are that the system works reasonably effectively.


UK CPM calls the app "i-ticket". But we think they missed an opportunity by not calling it "i-snitch" or "i-gotcha". That's got a better ring to it. But is it fair on the poor driver or rider who really had nowhere else to park and needed to block or borrow a piece of your driveway, access road, slipway or whatever?


Hankies out, everyone.


Naturally, there will be a few schools of thought on this. But generally, we figure that most people will feel that if you can't do the time, don't do the crime. We also figure that human nature, being what it is, will sooner or later land a fist in your gob for your perseverance. And that remedial dental work could work out a lot more costly than ten quid.


Beyond that, we can also see a few opportunities here for some serious abuse of the system. Fortunately, it's not our problem. We're currently living way off the grid. But if you're faced with repeated territorial invasions, CPM just might have the solution. And if you don't fancy these guys, there are a few other players out there hoping to milk this cash cow.




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Brighton's new vintage market


Story snapshot:

Traditional market set to open in New Road

Tip: parking enforcement in the area can be fierce


This is one of those fringe stories that barely made it onto Sump's classic bike news page. Why? Because the interest here is tenuous. Nevertheless, this snippet will no doubt appeal to some of you Sumpsters, so here goes...


There's a new vintage market waiting to open on 11th March 2017 in New Road, Brighton. If you're familiar with "The Lanes", the Brighton area famous for the numerous antique, alternative and simply weird shops, you'll have some idea what to expect. Think Covent Garden or Camden Town. Think scented candles, T-shirts, vinyl records, and plenty of dodgy repro tat from the Far East.


New Road is a little further south and east and just a minute or so walking distance away from The Lanes. We're advised that the new market is "bringing you a brand new vintage throughout the year ... with the traditional market vibe of Brighton .... with beautiful vintage & antique stalls and much more."


We've cut and pasted the above marketing hype, but it might be worth checking out if you're in the area or fancy a trip to Brighton. Expect bric-a-brac stalls, artworks, old furniture, repro stuff. You get the idea.


We get down there as often as possible. Plenty of other bikers make the same trip, and every now and again something interesting turns up that might look good in the garage or hanging on your living room wall.


Brighton's cool.


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Draganfly buys Supreme Motorcycles


Story snapshot:

Draganfly adds 4,500 Triumph spares lines to its shelves

Leicestershire-based Supreme has closed after 50 years


Half a century. That's how long Supreme Motorcycles has been in bike business. Run by Heather Hallam, Dave Hallam & Dave Colley the Leicestershire-based firm built a name and reputation selling Triumph and BSA spares. But that's all over now that Draganfly Motorcycles of Bungay, Suffolk has bought the name, lock, stock and barrel. Or barrels.


Draganfly has made its name and reputation selling Ariel, BSA, Burman and Amal spares. The company is now clearing shelf space for Supreme's stock of post-war pre-unit and unit Triumph twin parts.


The Supreme website has gone. The phones have been switched. Erstwhile Supreme customers are therefore cordially invited to talk to the men at Draganfly. Just don't call on a Saturday, however, because on the traditionally busiest day of the motorcycling week, Draganfly is closed.


So why did Supreme close? We don't know for sure. These things are usually the result of various reasons. But we are advised that retirement has something to do with it.


Early February, which is about now, is the start date for the new diversion.


Telephone Draganfly on: +44 (0) 1986 894798

Website: www.draganfly.co.uk


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Davida PMX goggles


New from Davida: PMX goggles


Story snapshot:

New lightweight goggles for low-profile Davida lids

£32.20 plus VAT


Davida has sent us details of a new, lightweight pair of goggles aimed specifically at owners of the low profile Davida Speedster V3 and Ninety 2 lids, but will also suit other Jet style helmets. The goggles are manufactured from 0.8mm-thick LEXAN® polycarbonate. They've got an anti-fog & scratch resistant coating, and they offer 380 UV protection.


The general idea is that you get a very snug, windproof fit with vents to keep the goggles mist-free, plus plenty of peripheral vision to help keep you alive. And to ensure the goggles stay put, there's a trio of silicon grippy thingies around the strap that, we hear, is kind to the helmet's paintwork.


The goggles are supplied with a protective bag, and replacement lenses are available. Choose from: Clear, Yellow, Smoke, Smoke Silver Mirror and Smoke Red Revo Mirror.


The price for the goggles is £32.20 excluding VAT. The price for the replacement lenses ranges from around seven quid to around twelve quid, also ex VAT.




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Story snapshot:

Cool bobber T-shirt is back in stock

Black only, £19.99 plus postage & packing


Late last year we printed a limited run of T-shirts with this design and totally underestimated the demand. So we ordered another batch. But in between, we received a number of emails asking if the tee was available on a black shirt (as opposed to the original grey). It seemed a reasonable enough request, and we decided it looked a whole lot better on black anyway.


So here we are. We're expecting them to sell fast. So if you want one, be quick. The price is £19.99 plus P&P. Sizes are S, M, L, XL, and 2XL. We can, for a while, order larger or smaller sizes. They'll take a few days extra. And if we run out or something, we'll let you know pronto.




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Ariel Leader and Arrow Collection


30 unrestored Ariel Arrows & Leaders


Story snapshot:

H&H Auctions is selling a one-man decades long collection

Anyone out there got a Kettenkrad for sale?


During 2017, H&H Classics will be flogging a collection of 30 Ariel Arrow and Ariel Leader two-strokes. The sales will begin at the firm's Donington Park Auction on 22nd February 2017, and will end at an unspecified date during the coming year.


The bikes were collected over a 30-year period by pattern-maker Clive Pearson of Leicester. His interest in the Ariel marque began when Pearson was a young man and became fascinated with the futuristic looks of the Arrow. His parents, we hear, were strictly against the idea of their son becoming involved with motorcycles. So he did the sensible thing and bought one anyway. He paid just £10.


At the time, Pearson wanted a Super Sports Golden Arrow which retailed at £79. And now, at age 68, he's got one (or two), but he feels it's time to move the collection on. However, it's not clear how many, if any, of the bikes are fully restored and ready to roll. But it certainly looks like most will at the very least need re-commissioning. What this collection does to Ariel Arrow and Leader prices is anyone's guess.



On the mean streets of Leicester, the only way to get some respect is from behind the handlebars of a Kettenkrad. Designed and built by NSU, these WW2-era vehicles were good for around 45mph and could be operated with or without the front wheel.



Clive Pearson, we're pleased to say, hasn't been entirely cured of the collecting bug. He once owned a German WW2 Kettenkrad (a "motorcycle" with tank tracks), and he's looking to acquire another. So if you have one in the loft or something, talk to H&H.


Meanwhile, if Arrows and Leaders are your thing, pencil Donington Park in your diary. Or check out H&H's listing right now to see if anything else catches your eye.




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Bonhams Las Vegas "bloodbath"?


Story snapshot:

Auction house is curiously silent about this sale

No press releases are expected regarding the results


"Bloodbath" is our word, not Bonhams, and it's perhaps a little dramatic. But when you check the context, you'll see why we make no apologies. The word "bloodbath" was coined sometime after we further examined the results of the firm's 26th January 2017 Sale at Las Vegas, Nevada, USA (see further down this page) and we wondered if an official press release was coming our way. A couple of days had passed since the auction, and no word. Finally we called Bonhams for clarification of the results and asked a spokesman if he could shed any light on exactly what happened. Certainly, from where we sat, the sale looked more and more disappointing by the minute.


The Bonhams spokesman was clearly reticent, so we asked, a little playfully, if it would be fair to describe the sale as a "bloodbath".


"No comment" said the spokesman, and we were given an email address through which to make further enquiries. That returned an email from another Bonhams spokesman stating:


"It doesn't look like there will be an official announcement from Bonhams about Las Vegas this year."


So, puzzled, we fired-off a follow-up email and asked WHY there would be no statement. This question drew a reply that read:


"They [Bonhams] didn't feel it necessary. They had a good sale and now are focusing on Amelia Island in a few weeks."


Yet another email exchange told us;


"What can I say? They [Bonhams] don't feel it necessary. It was a 70% sell thru rate at just under $4m total. Sure, some high profile bikes didn't sell, but they still had a good sale. The market reacted similarly with the classic cars in Scottsdale, although Bonhams had a higher % there."


We emailed to say that it looks very bad for Bonhams, PR-wise, if the company holds a high-profile sale and can't issue a simple press statement on the results. And we were told;


"...you're forcing a negative narrative. There's no reason for it, although you seem to have your mind made up. It's unfortunate to see this from a media outlet."


Well we didn't have out minds "made up". We looked at the results. We awaited a press release. We checked the results with the estimates. We ran some numbers. We looked again. We phoned Bonhams. We emailed Bonhams repeatedly. And we went back to the posted results and checked once more.


And the position is clear. Many of the top lots (see below) simply didn't shift. Many others sold way below estimates. But yes, there were some great sales successes. BMWs seemed to do pretty good, most of which were bang on their estimates, or slightly above.



1957 BMW R69


1957 600cc BMW R69. Las Vegas January 2017 appears to have been a good sale for Beemers. This one (Lot 122) sold for $18,400 (£14,701) including premium. The reserve was $18,000 - $24,000.


1974 Ducati 750SS


A 1974 Ducati 750SS (Lot 131, image immediately above) was estimated at $65,000 - $85,000 but sold for $109,250. A 1970 500cc Indian-Velo was looking at $12,000 - $15,000 but sold for $18,400.


Meanwhile, however, a 1971 Norton Commando Production Racer was estimated at what sounded like a reasonable $8,000 - $10,000, but fetched just $5,750 (over $2,000 below bottom estimate). And to add to the woes, a 1941 Harley-Davidson WLA was estimated at (a very hopeful?) $28,000 - $34,000 (£22,414 - £27,217) and didn't find a buyer. These are just some examples.


So okay, all sales have their winners and losers, but this looks like a very, very poor event for the firm. And in the absence of a clear statement from Bonhams, you'll have to draw your own conclusions. And remember, a 70% conversion rate isn't necessarily saying very much if most of the top sellers failed on the block, and if many (or most) of the other bikes sold below bottom estimates. Additionally, last year Bonhams totalled around $4.8million at Las Vegas (see Sump Classic Bike News January 2016). This year, after all the extra hope and hype, the total was "just under" $4million. Still nothing to sniff at. But it's far short of expectations, and everything has to be seen in context.


And consider this, we totalled just a handful of the top lots and, based upon their lower estimates, calculated that over $2million went south, $500,000 dollars of which was expected to be realised on Lot 223, a 1936 Crocker.


So why does any of this matter? Firstly because it possibly has huge implications for the classic bike world. If the money is now turning away from the investment motorcycle market, it might mean that the world economy is doing better now and the investment desire has subsided. Or it might mean that the money has run out or has stopped moving, which is bad news all round. Or it might mean that Bonhams simply over-reached itself with unrealistic estimates. Or it might mean that we're reading the results all wrong. Or it might mean any of a number of other things (exchange rate issues, Trump in power, a butterfly fluttering its wings in the rain forest, etc).


But then you still have to question why Bonhams, one of the world's greatest auction houses, has failed to produce an official statement and simply wants to brush the results aside and move onto the next sale.


1954 Vincent Comet


1954 499cc Vincent Comet. Bonhams, which supplied the image, estimated a sale price of $28,000 - $32,000. The bike was sold for $28,175 (£22,512) including buyers premium.



We don't want to talk the firm down. We don't want to talk the economy down. We don't want to compound the company's woes. We don't want to draw the wrong conclusions. We don't want to damage goodwill with Bonhams. We don't have an agenda, except to get some facts (or at least some opinions). We're not "forcing a negative narrative". But we would like some answers. Official answers, that is. And we suspect a lot of other people would like some answers too. In short, we think we're telling it like it is. For years we've been highly supportive of Bonhams. But that doesn't mean we're just going to gloss things over when it's commercially expedient to do so.


We told Bonhams that we were going to publish this piece, and now we have. If we get further info from the company, we'll be happy to post it. Bonhams has an excellent auction track record and will no doubt bounce back. But credibility begins by admitting your errors, weaknesses and failings. And at Las Vegas 2017, something pretty serious went wrong with the plan. The bottom line is that if this isn't a bloodbath, it's certainly a pretty nasty wound.


Over to Bonhams...




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Keis X300 dual power heated insoles


Story snapshot:

We tested these on our T140 Triumph Bonneville

Will suit medium to long-haul riders rather than short-haul


We've been road-testing heated insoles this month, which is a first for us. Being riders mostly of classic bikes equipped with relatively low output alternators and generators, we haven't had much to do with this kind of technology. Usually, there simply isn't much electrical power to spare.


But when we were offered these insoles to test, and what with winter being upon us (and what with our years rolling away a lot faster than we'd like) we figured we'd give 'em a go and see if they made much difference in real-world riding. And the quick answer is that yes, they make quite a big difference. But this statement needs some qualification and explanation.


Firstly, the dual power X300 Keis package isn't what you might think. For £59.99, the product box opens to reveal a pair of insoles and some cabling/wiring. With this package there's no battery pack, no mains charger, and no controller.


The idea is that you connect the first half of the power cable onto your motorcycle battery. That cable is 48-inches long and terminates at a connector block. Next, using some cable ties, you need to position the connector block somewhere suitable on the bike (possibly next to the side panel or something). You'll also want to secure/lose some of the excess cable.



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1936 Crocker hemi head


Bonhams Las Vegas result Jan 2017


Story snapshot:

Disappointing performance

Numerous headline bikes unsold


We're trying to figure out exactly what happened at the Bonhams Sale on 26th January 2017 at Las Vegas, USA. But at present, the results look very disappointing. For instance, the above 1936 Crocker "hemi head" (Lot 223) was expected to sell at between $500,000 - and $600,000. It said to be just one of seven hemis, and is the lowest numbered Crocker to go on public sale. But it looks like it didn't find a buyer. Certainly, at the time of writing the bike is still not listed on the results page.


1949 Indian-Vincent


It's the same story with Lot 187, the 1949 Indian-Vincent. The estimate was $250,000 - $300,000. But it didn't sell.


It's the same story with Lot 208, a 2013 Ecosse Founders Edition T1 which was estimated at $150,000 - $175,000. No sale.


1912 Flying Merkel


It's the same story with Lot 200, a 1912 Flying Merkel that was estimated at $135,000 - $150,000. It didn't sell.




It's the same story with Lot 233, a 1911 Reading Standard that carried an estimate of $110,000 - $130,000, and didn't sell.




It's the same story with Lot 142, a 1958 Ducati 125 GP Bialbero. The estimate was $100,000 - $130,000. No sale.


1984 Ducati TT1 Road Racer


It was the same with Lot 217, a 1984 748cc Ducati TT1 Road Racer. The pundits were looking at an estimate of $125,000 - $150,000. But this high performance projectile didn't shift an inch.


It's the same story with Lot 224, a 1936 Harley-Davidson EL Knucklehead that was estimated at $120,000 - $150,000. It didn't sell.


It was the same story with Lot 298, a 1951 Vincent Series C Shadow that was estimated at $100,000 - $120,000, but no sale.


It's the same story with Lot 221, a 1975 Ducati 900SS Prototype. Estimated at $80,000 - $120,000, it didn't sell.





It's the same story with Lot 202, an Indian TriCar Quick Delivery van. The estimate was $80,000 - $100,000, but no one bought it.


It's the same story with Lot 212, a 1912 Harley-Davidson X8E Twin (not to be confused with the McQueen Harley-Davidson XAE below). The estimate was $80,000 - $100,000, and it didn't sell.


It's the same with Lot 246, a 1952 998cc Vincent Series C Rapide. Bonhams estimated $90,000 - $110,000. But nobody bought it.


It was the same with Lot 280, a 1953 998cc Vincent Series C Touring Rapide. The estimate was $80,000 - $90,000. It didn't sell.


Most of these motorcycles, we figured, would find buyers fairly easy. And clearly Bonhams thought as much. But no sale prices have been listed, so until we can check with Bonhams, we marking these bikes as missing in action. And there were many others unsold.


Feilbach Limited


But on the other hand, there were some (qualified) successes. For instance, the top selling lot was the (immediately above) 1914 Feilbach Limited 10hp. That bike was estimated at $150,000 - $200,000, and it sold for $195,000 (£155,492) which was just below top estimate.


Steve McQueen Harley XAE


But Lot 143, the ex-Steve McQueen 1912 Harley-Davidson X8E Big Twin (image immediately above) was looking at $100,000 - $120,000 and sold for just $88,800 (£62,024) which is some way below bottom estimate.


We're still analysing the rest of the sale, but as it stands, it looks like Bonhams has either over-reached itself, or the market has significantly cooled in the past few months.


It was supposed to be THE GREAT DUCATI AUCTION, but clearly the wheels have fallen off a number of bikes, including many of the Dukes. And that TT1 Road Racer further up this page (Lot 217) was expected to be the really big gun that, somehow, didn't even go "pop" let alone "bang".


Watch this space for updates...




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Tougher sentencing guidelines for UK
hardcore speeders


Story snapshot:

Heavier financial penalties mooted

Animal cruelty "technology" fines coming


Currently, if you're caught "seriously speeding" in the UK and dragged up before the beak, any financial penalties start at 100% of your weekly income. However, under new and tougher sentencing guidelines, magistrates will soon be looking at 150% of your pay packet.


In this day and age, what with a large percentage of the country working any number of earnings-related dodges and drawing income from numerous sources (not to mention being on zero hour contracts), it's not clear how anyone clearly works out a weekly wage for anyone. But that's not the issue at the moment. The point is, the government is looking to get 50% tougher on heavyweight speeders, and the obvious sanction is via a wallet or purse.


In practical terms it works something like this. Currently, riding 80mph in a 70mph limit usually won't get you nicked, not unless there are other aggravating factors (heavy traffic, weaving, front wheel in the air, etc). But if you do get your lead jerked, any fines will be based upon 100% of your weekly income. Ditto for riding at 100mph in a 70mph limit.


But soon, if you're caught riding at 100mph in a 70mph limit, or even 50mph in a 30mph limit, 150% is the starting point. The key issue is whether the speeding offence can be considered "serious". More minor offences won't carry heavier penalties.


RAC road safety spokesman Pete Williams has been quoted as saying: ‘Anyone who breaks the limit excessively is a danger to every other road user and is unnecessarily putting lives at risk." Presumably he's not referring to police vehicles which routinely hurtle along at 100mph plus. But let's not go there either right now.



Are working TV detector vans an urban myth? Some say so. We've heard that TV detector van evidence has never been presented in a UK court. If true, you have to ask why. Meanwhile, penalties for licence evasion could be set to fall, in some instances.



Other new sentencing guidelines being mooted relate to animal cruelty and TV licencing. Specifically, the suggestion is that if you use technology to promote or encourage animal cruelty (YouTube videos filming hare coursing or dog fighting, etc), you'll find yourself in a correspondingly much bigger doghouse, and rightly so.


As for TV licencing, the currently annual fee/tax is £145.50. If you're caught watching the box (including, since September 2016, catch-up TV online), you'll probably get a fine. It can be up to £1,000. But in practice it's usually much lower. Maybe a few hundred quid, depending on the circumstances (i.e. persistent offender, threatening a licence snoop, and so on).


But the new guidelines will allow a magistrate to issue conditional discharges for hard-up cases or where the offence is considered more trivial (such as forgetting to renew a TV licence for a few months or something of that ilk).


In practice, it remains to be seen what difference any of this makes. Traffic cops are few and far between. SatNavs usually spot the cameras. Animal cruelty fiends are getting more and more sophisticated. And the general public is pretty shrewd these days when the TV licence snoops come calling.


All the same, be warned, or behave. Changes are coming.



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UK MOT changes consultation


Story snapshot:

Should the first MOT test date for new vehicles change?

Government seeks views from all road users


This idea has been floating around the ether for a while. But Her Majesty's government has now firmed up the notion with a consultation document. Specifically, Whitehall feels that improvements in automotive technology means that the first MOT for new cars and motorcycles can be put back one year from three to four (in line with Northern Ireland).


In other words, a new car or bike (on mainland UK) is currently not required to undergo an MOT test until three years after first registration. That, however, could shift to four years. And note that small vans could be part of the mix.


Before introducing new legislation, the government wants to hear from Joe Public and the wider motoring/motorcycling industry regarding the perceived pros and cons of the proposed changes.


Possibly the most obvious concern is the fact that brakes and tyres, arguably the most crucial components on a motor vehicle, are for many motorists and motorcyclists not likely to endure three years after first use; not without maintenance. Yes, modern brakes are fitted with pad wear indicators, and modern tyres have monitoring systems which obviate some of the concern. But that still leaves the prospect of tens of thousands of road users zipping around with serious tyre wear issues, damaged sidewalls and/or brake-line problems, etc.


And given the state of British roads, you can also factor in damaged suspension components and wheel bearings. Of course, the onus is always on the motorist/motorcyclist to ensure that his or her vehicle is roadworthy (and a valid MOT certificate, as the coppers are fond of reminding us, is no guarantee of that). But human nature being what it is (and finances being what they are for many), a large proportion of cars and bikes on UK roads are mechanically faulty, with some being seriously dangerous.



Light vans, incidentally, also form part of the consultation, presumably because such vehicles are primarily used commercially and are therefore more likely to hit high mileages (never mind the UK car-driving sales reps travelling 25,000 plus miles per annum).


The UK MOT was introduced in 1960. At that time, a re-test was required after 10 years, hence the Ten Year Test. But in 1967, that was cut to the present 3 years (and we're wondering if that's why the current MOT logo displays 3 triangles, hence our modified graphic above).


Of course, the government is keen to save money for road users. And naturally, the government wants to reduce associated administration costs. But there's also the loss of trade to garages/MOT stations which can have a knock-on effect for the wider UK economy.


Remember, it isn't just the MOT test income that helps keep garages/workshops in business. It's also the related repair work. Moreover, less MOT business makes it harder for smaller firms to maintain an MOT inspector. In short, there are numerous issues here that need to be considered.


So think carefully if, when and how you respond...


UK Government MOT Consultation Document

MOT scrapped for pre-1960s vehicles, Classic Bike News May 2012


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Datatool S4 alarm Red Series recall


Story snapshot:

Faulty product batch identified

Some systems could unexpectedly immobilise your bike


If you've got a Datatool S4 alarm fitted to your bike, DON'T RIDE IT if you've been experiencing any odd beeps, bleeps or faint glowing LEDs when the alarm is set to DISARM. That's the warning from Scorpion Automotive which owns the Datatool brand. This product, take note, is also being sold as a Triumph Approved Accessory.


Why the warning not to ride it? Because the immobiliser could kick in unexpectedly.


The DVSA (Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency) is said to be monitoring the recall. The general advice is to contact Datatool and/or the dealer who sold you the alarm. There will be advice on hand on how to check if your system is part of the recall batch. That said, if you've got any suspicions at all, check it out anyway.


We have seen a lot of complicated advice on how to identify the serial number for yourself and decode the affected products. But we wouldn't be happy passing that on. These things are best heard straight from the horse's mouth. So get on the phone or on the net if you've got any suspicions. Datatool has undertaken to replace any affected alarm free of charge.


These recalls are embarrassing and expensive for most firms, and goodwill can quickly dissipate. But we've heard nothing that would generally undermine our confidence in Datatool. The recall is the responsible thing to do. But you already know that.


Meanwhile, if you've got a friend with a Datatool S4 Red Series alarm, perhaps you'd been kind enough to pass the word?




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Bikeshuttle group discount offer


Story snapshot:

Weekly scheduled motorcycle transport service into Europe

10% discount for groups of ten


We've never heard of Bikeshuttle, so we figure that many of you Sumpsters might not have heard of it either. And seeing as many of you like to indulge your wanderlust with a little European motorcycle travel, this news item might interest you. So draw close...



Bikeshuttle operates out of Northampton in the East Midlands. The firm runs a regular service transporting motorcycles onto mainland Europe leaving you free to catch a flight and save your biking energies for the foreign stuff (as opposed to wearing yourself with a long jaunt down to Dover, a tiresome ferry connection, and thence to Geneva).




Well that's where the Bikeshuttle ends up. So if you're headed for, say, Poland, this service might not suit you. But if Switzerland is in your field of view, you can have your bike delivered to what is more-or-less Central Europe. And if there are 10 of you on the same tour, Bikeshuttle is offering a 10% discount. In cash terms, this means a return delivery to Geneva and back to the East Midlands will cost £391.50. That, we're told, is a saving of £43.50 on the list price, and it will save you 1,500 miles of travelling which, as we said, you can cash in elsewhere on your sojourn.


There's a "handy transfer service" to Luton Airport where you'll need only hand luggage because Bikeshuttle will take care of the riding gear. The company can also help with overnight stays in Geneva, where necessary. But you'll be expected to book your own flights.



Bikeshuttle, launched in 2015, reckons its the only weekly scheduled service transporting bikes to mainland Europe. The services runs from mid-May to the end of September. They've got a "purpose built lorry" (don't you just love the word "lorry" as opposed to "truck"?).


If you need more info, talk to Bikeshuttle direct. Sounds to us like an interesting proposition. But we'd want to know a lot more about cancellations and motorcycle security and breakdowns and suchlike. Check 'em out, why don't you?


01327 831552




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Ducati Diavel Diesel Limited Edition


Ducati Diesel "apocalyptic" ... thingy


Story snapshot:

Incoming turbo-charged galaxy warping hype (duck!)

Read this and weep...


Ducati Motorcycles and fashion house, Diesel, have jointly created the latest thing for road warriors scootering around the neighbourhood zombie-infested post-nuclear war wasteland. Check Sump Motorcycle News Jan 2017 for the awful reality that's coming atcha!


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Dambusters Mohne Charity Ride 2017


Story snapshot:

Not-for-profit appeal seeks more participants

A ride around the dam plus "good company, a few beers and food"


We've reported on this event once or twice before, and not without some misgivings. The WW2 Dambusters Raid (aka Operation Chastise) on 16th - 17th May 1943 was unquestionably a major propaganda victory for Britain during the conflict, and it was also something of a military success—albeit with less long term and less destructive damage than was envisaged by the Whitehall and RAF strategic planners.


Fifty-three RAF aircrew and over 1,600 civilians were killed as a result of the WW2 attack on the dams of Germany's industrial Ruhr Valleyand most of those civilian deaths were not German military personnel (i.e. "fair game") but forced factory labourers, largely from the Soviet Union.


The aims of the current Dambusters charity are, of course, worthy enough; the objective being to raise money for various causes, including the Help for Heroes campaign and the RAF Benevolent Fund.


However, as times goes by these kind of events are being increasingly viewed as deeply insensitive, bordering on offensive. In fact, some would say that a bunch of guys coasting along and glorifying in what was essentially a pretty nasty episode in modern European history trivialises or ignores the wider human cost of the Dambusters Raid. In short, some have suggested that we need to learn how to remember WW2 and heed the political warnings, but without overly venerating the brutal military escapades and overlaying the horrific truths with a modern motorcycling jolly such as, in this instance, a day out at the dams.


Naturally, you might see it very differently, in which case you can follow the link below and perhaps join the "2017 Grand Slam Challenge" cavalcade. On the other hand, you might instead want to sit this one out and simply send a cash contribution to one or both of the aforementioned charities.


And before you decide, ask yourself how you'd feel if a German motorcycle club staged a charity ride based upon the infamous Baedeker Raids in which the Luftwaffe, in 1942, followed a 1937 copy of Baedeker's Guide and bombed the hell out of York, Norwich, Bath, Exeter and Canterbury simply to satiate Hilter's rage after Berlin was hammered by British Bomber Command. Or how about a Coventry Cavalcade in which the Coventry Blitz could form the backdrop of a German motorcycle charity appeal. Like the sound of that?


Meanwhile, we're hearing that just £24,000 has been raised since this annual Dambusters event began in 2012. And we're guessing that the collective cost of these rides is considerably more than the funds raised for the various worthy causes, which perhaps makes the success of this particular charity raid pretty disproportionate and unimpressive. But does any of this really matter? You tell us.


Money raised for charitable causes is generally welcomed. But maybe next year the organisers can find a less controversial way of doing it, such as the Dresden Run. Think that'll sound good?


See: Sump March 2013 Dambuster charity motorcycle ride




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Harley sues Urban Outfitters. Again.


Story snapshot:

Multinational clothing firm accused of hijacking the H-D brand

Serial offender is headed back to court


Here's the long and short of it. Urban Outfitters is a multinational clothing brand based in Philadelphia, USA. Founded in 1970, it currently specialises in hipster, retro, kitschy, Bohemian and generally "cool" items of apparel for men and women. The company has had a chequered retail history.


For instance:


In 2003 the firm launched a version of the board-game, Monopoly. Only this one was called Ghettopoly. Not very PC, and branded as racist.


Also in 2003, the company sold T-shirts bearing the slogan: EVERYONE LOVES A JEWISH GIRL. The lettering was surrounded by dollar signs.


In 2006, Urban Outfitters began selling gun-shaped Christmas tree ornaments.


In 2011, the firm upset the Navajo Native Americans by fielding a range of products called "Navajo". The Native American tribe has for years been using its name as a brand and logo.


And there are dozens of other complaints and criticisms levelled at this maverick firm that can't possibly, by accident, be stepping over and over again on the garden rake of controversy. In short, brand hijacking, in one way or another, appears to be the rule rather than the exception.


Well, in 2014 Urban Outfitters upset Harley-Davidson by selling remanufactured and reconstructed garments. Specifically, Harley-Davidson T-shirts and similar were being slashed and cut and re-sewn into new "sexy" shapes. H-D cried foul and claimed that their brand was being diluted and adulterated and had suffered damage. Moreover, H-D claimed that the products were being sold as if authorised, which they weren't. After a few lawyers bought a few new Porsches, a settlement was reached, and the matter was put to bed.


But now, Harley-Davidson is again suing Urban Outfitters, this time for creating bodysuits (see main image this story) and once again adulterating its reworked products with unauthorised tags, labels and designs.


Naturally, an action has been filed in the appropriate court, and naturally Harley-Davidson is looking for a big payout. And you can understand the firm's point of view. But whatever the result, you can be sure that Urban Outfitters will come up smiling. Publicity is, after all, publicity, and the regular column-inches generated in the media more than compensates Urban for the occasional slap on the wrist.


What we're now hoping is that Urban Outfitters buys a few thousand Sump T-shirts and re-structures them around a few sexy young things. Our despatch department is ready and waiting. But our lawyers may not be encouraged to get into the fray until some way down the line...



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Peter Eardley Sarstedt: 1941 - 2017


Story snapshot:

Where Do You Do To My Lovely? songwriter has died

Indian born brother of Eden Kane and Robin Sarstedt was 75


It was one of the biggest hits of 1969 which, together with David Bowie's Space Oddity, won that year's Ivor Novello Award for songwriting and received seemingly endless hours of radio and TV airplay. Pretty much everyone on this side of the Atlantic, including most of the European mainland, knew the record. We're talking about Where Do You Go To My Lovely? which was written and recorded by Peter Sarstedt who has died aged 75.


Sarstedt is one of England's most underrated songwriters. He scored another hit with Frozen Orange Juice which reached number 10 in the UK charts also in 1969. But although he never enjoyed another major recording success, he continued to make music for the next five decades and released no less than 15 albums.


Peter Sarstedt was the younger brother of 1960s pop singer Eden Kane who recorded the hit song Well I Ask You which made number 1 in the UK singles chart in 1961, and who was perhaps better known for Boys Cry which went to number 8 in 1964. He was also the older brother of Clive Sarstedt better known as Robin Sarstedt who scored a number 3 hit in 1976 with My Resistance is Low.


Sarstedt was born in Delhi, India. His parents, both of whom were classically trained musicians, worked in the British civil service and returned to the UK in the mid-1950s and settled in Croydon, South London. At that time, skiffle music was the in-thing and the big noise to make, and that's where the Sarstedt boys began their respective recording careers.



Musical success came quick and hard when Where Do You Go To My Lovely? hit the airwaves. The song, like Don McLean's American Pie was infectious and instantly singable. It was also slightly mysterious, haunting, controversial and suggestive. Underpinned by a French-sounding accordion, a waltz feel and containing numerous European references, the lyrics ran:


You talk like Marlene Dietrich
And you dance like Zizi Jeanmaire
Your clothes are all made by Balmain
And there are diamonds and pearls in your hair
You live in a fancy apartment
Off the Boulevard of Saint Michel
Where you keep your Rolling Stones records
And a friend of Sacha Distel
But where do you go to my lovely
When you're alone in your bed?
Tell me the thoughts that surround you
I want to look inside your head...


Numerous interpretations and meanings of the song have over the years been discussed. At one point, Peter Sarstedt suggested that it was about his girlfriend Anita, a dentist, who he later married. Others have suggested that the song was about Sophia Loren. And it's also been suggested that the main character in the lyric is fictional. Either way, royalties were at one point said to be earning Peter Sarstedt £60,000 per annum. In 1997, Sarstedt recorded a follow-up song called: The Last of The Breed.


After the hit subsided, Peter Sarstedt moved to Denmark but later returned to the UK and toured extensively. Numerous albums followed, pretty much all of them containing intelligent, thoughtful, contemporary ballads, a little folksy, a little poppy, and always very much from the heart.


He was still writing and working until 2010 when poor health intruded, and in 2013 he retired to a care home in Sussex. If, following his huge 1960s success, you haven't really given Sarstedt a second thought, you might want to now review a little of his other material.


Peter Sarstedt was quite simply a very much overlooked quality songwriter who made a significant contribution to British popular music and has left behind a large number of dedicated fans. He's survived by two children and both of his brothers.



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Kempton Park redevelopment plan


Story snapshot:

The Jockey Club announces a £500 million redevelopment plan

Kempton Park could become the site of new housing stock


It's by no means signed, sealed and delivered, but there are clear plans afoot to redevelop Kempton Park Racecourse and transform this hallowed piece of horse racing turf into a new housing project. The news comes straight from the horse's mouth, which in this instance is the Jockey Club.


Classic bikers will perhaps primarily associate Kempton Park with a very different kind of horsepower. For longer than we can remember (which, given the amount of alcohol we consume, isn't necessarily all that long), Kempton Park has been London's premier autojumble as founded by Eric Patterson (image left). It was run by him up until May 2016 when Mortons Media, aka The Empire, bought the event to add to its bulging portfolio.


According to the Jockey Club, over the next decade £500 million is to be invested in its share of British horse racing sport, and as part of that investment plan Kempton is being viewed as prime housing territory. But nothing is expected to change until 2021 at the earliest. Then again, when you get to a certain age, four or five years is no time at all.


The Jockey Club, which boasts a 266-year history, owns 15 major UK racecourses including Aintree and Epsom Downs. Kempton Park, current home of the King George VI Chase, accommodated its first race in 1878. In 1932 a major fire severely damaged the grandstand. In WW1 the racecourse was a transport depot for military vehicles. In WW2 German and Italian POWs were stationed there. And in 2009 and 2014, we picked up some great value parts for our T140s and BSA sidevalves.


In short, it's had a chequered history.


There are still a number of hurdles to negotiate (pun intended) including a rash of thorny planning issues, any of which could scupper the whole deal. But the neighbourhood around Kempton, which is located roughly 10 miles South West of Central London, has a severe housing shortage, and the racecourse sits on an awful lot of fertile building land. If the Jockey Club proposals come to fruition, a new racecourse (or part thereof) will be built elsewhere (possibly Newmarket, Suffolk) and the King George VI Chase will be moved elsewhere (possibly Sandown, just a mile or so away).




As for the autojumble itself, it's too soon to know what will (or might) happenand we can only wonder if, when Mortons (image immediately above) bought the event last year, it had any inkling that this venue might have a very limited shelf life. Or looked at another way, was Eric's decision to flog it when he did, more than a mere timely coincidence?


We might never know, and we don't want to ask. An amusing myth, after all, is much more fun than a simple banal twist of fate. Meanwhile, we suggest you go and enjoy your Kempton days while you can. The steamroller of history might not yet be on the move in that particular direction, but its engine is permanently ticking over.


UPDATE: We did speak to Mortons regarding Kempton park, and their spokesman was certainly aware of the redevelopment proposals. But he expressed no particular concern. "We're looking a long way into the future," he said. "It will be at least five years, and there is likely to be lots of consultation and possibly local objection to various aspects of the Jockey Club plan. And it may not happen at all. In the meantime, we'll be carrying on as usual at Kempton."


Mortons buys Kempton Park Jumble

Kempton Park bike jumble sells out


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Victory Motorcycles gets the axe


Story snapshot:

Polaris Industries winds up Victory Motorcycles

Indian Motorcycles is likely to find itself in a slightly stronger position


We confess that we hadn't exactly expected this, but neither is it much of a surprise. The "success" of Victory Motorcycles was always a little surprising, not least the relatively low retail prices of the bikes. When we thought about it at all, which wasn't very often or in much depth, we figured that owner Polaris Industries had deep pockets and was probably reasonably happy running Victory at a very low profit margin, or even at a loss. Prestige is important too, after all. Except that prestige alone doesn't pay the bills, and eventually reality kicks in.


What it all amounts to is that Victory Motorcycles is history. Polaris, which also acquired the Indian brand in 2011, has in recent years been running Victory and Indian side by side and desperately trying to get some clear water between the brands without sinking either.


This kind of commercial positioning is, like political positioning, very tricky. And what with Harley-Davidson flying lazy circles above the Polaris manufacturing plants, it looked likely that something was going to give. In hindsight, anyway.


The winding down begins immediately. Victory dealers will, no doubt, run down their existing stock, possibly at a lossor at a knock down price. So there could be some bargains there. And Victory is obliged by law to supply parts for the next 10 years to cater for those owners who bought into the marque.



2016 Victory Magnum with a "21-inch wheel, slammed back-end, custom paint, and our best performing sound system ever."  Polaris aimed high with this good looking bagger. At £17,899, it's not cheap in absolute terms. But it's good value for a low volume tourer such as this.



2016 Victory Hammer S. £12,999. No doubt the rival Harley-Davidson accountants had already figured out the profits and losses on this one and reasoned that Victory was about to disappear up Indian's exhaust pipe. But did the rest of us see it? We didn't.



Polaris has issued a long-winded and heavily spun statement explaining the reasoning behind the axe (investment considerations, struggling to establish a significant market share, etc), but what it boils down to is Indian. Indian is a far stronger brand and is easily outselling Victory. It's as simple and as ruthless as that.


So after almost 60 models and 18 years of hard work, much of it by Victory dealers busily campaigning and demonstrating the product at motorcycles shows around the world, it's all over.



2016 Indian Scout Sixty. If you're looking for a big American cruiser, it's now back to the old rivalry twixt Harley-Davidson and Indian. The question now is how many disgruntled Victory riders will exact some kind of commercial revenge on Polaris and look to Milwaukee for their thrills...



It's always a bit of a blow when this kind of thing happens, not least to anyone in the employment firing line. We suspect that Polaris will do what it can to save jobs at Spirit Lake, Iowa, or redeploy them. But there will be losses.


Meanwhile, UK Victory dealers will probably fill the niche in their showrooms, perhaps by putting a few extra Indians on the reservation. But the chances are that Victory sales simply weren't high enough to make a huge difference. If they were, the brand might still be here (but take note that this is simply speculation on our part, and should be treated as such).


Finally, if you own a Victory Motorcycle, you might be better advised not to panic and flog it quickly for bottom dollar. Cool heads get rich when everyone's running around with their hair on fire. Be smart.


See: Victory axes seven models (Sump Motorcycle News Sept 2016)


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Bonhams' Las Vegas Sale shapes up


Story snapshot:

Las Vegas Motorcycle Auction on Thursday 27th January 2017

Plenty of Dukes and some other very cool stuff


This sale, we're led to believe, is being dubbed "The Ducati Auction". Why? Because Bonhams is fielding 38 Dukes which is apparently an "unprecedented" number. The location for the sale is the Rio Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas USA.


The star Ducati attractions are the following:


1984 Ducati 750 TT1 Works Road Racer. This is one of three European endurance factory racers considered to be the “rarest of the rare". Estimate: $125,000 - $150,000.

1975 Ducati 900 SS Superbike Prototype. 1979 AMA Superbike Winner. Estimate: $80,000 - $120,000.

Lot 240: 1973 Ducati 750 Works Road Racer. This is one of three factory racers "of its kind" and former Bol d’Or 24 Hours team bike and Isle of Man TT entrant. Estimate: $100,000 - $140,000 (see image immediately above).

1958 Ducati 125 GP. Rare early competition Grand Prix bialbero (twin cam) model. Estimate $100,000 - $130,000.


In total, we're so far looking at 345 motorcycles, and (as ever with Bonhams) there's some very cool stuff on the lot. Check this out:



Lot 135: 1970 Indian Velocette Venom (image immediately above)
Lot 143: 1912 Harley-Davidson Big Twin (ex-Steve McQueen)
Lot 161: 1949 Vincent Series C Rapide
Lot 167: 1949 Vincent Series C Black Shadow
Lot 168: 1955 Vincent Black Prince
Lot 179: 1962 500cc Lito Motocross
Lot 187: 1949 Indian-Vincent factory prototype
Lot 194: 1949 Vincent Series B Rapide
Lot 200: 1912 Flying Merkel
Lot 202: 1908 Indian Tri-Car delivery van
Lot 205: 1949 Vincent Series B Black Shadow
Lot 208: 2013 Ecosse Founders Edition T1
Lot 212: 1912 Harley-Davidson 8-X-E twin
Lot 213: 1912 Excelsior chain drive single




Lot 223: 1936 Crocker "Hemi head" (two images immediately above)
Lot 224: 1936 Harley-Davidson Knucklehead
Lot 233: 1911 Reading Standard Single
Lot 237: 1955 Vincent Black Knight
Lot 246: 1952 Vincent Series C Rapide
Lot 250: 1914 Feilbach Limited
Lot 255: 1932 Vincent-HRD 500 Python Sports
Lot 256: 1913 Flying Merkel
Lot 265: 1930 Montgomery
Lot 266: 1952 Vincent Series C Black Shadow
Lot 298: 1951 Vincent Series C Black Shadow



Take note that the above bikes are likely to be the biggest sellers, but there are plenty of others at more "affordable" prices. Overall, we counted 345 motorcycles, and we'd like to take home around 300 of them.


However, being the simple souls that we are, we've got our eyes fixed more realistically on Lot 170 which is a 1961 Harley KR flat track racer (image immediately above). The estimate is U$18,000 - $22,000 (£15,000 - £18,000), and that's probably more than we can rustle up at present. But we're watching anyway. Click on the link you've just passed, or on the bike, for a more detailed look.


As usual, we'll update the sale details in due course.






The Indian-Velocette (Lot 135) sold for $18,400 (£14,701).

The Crocker (Lot 223) didn't sell.

The 1973 Ducati Works Road Racer (Lot 240) sold for $40,250 (£32,095).

The Harley-Davidson KR (Lot 170) sold for $15,525 (£12,379)

No word yet on the other Ducatis in the sale.

All prices include premium


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High-level braking light for bikers


Story snapshot:

New braking light tech due in May 2017

Real time GPS/smartphone toy tracks your progress


We're hearing that this is a "world's first", but we wouldn't know about that. It seems to us that every time someone tells you it's the first time something happened, someone else will tell you that it happened before and/or that Leonardo da Vinci invented it.


But this high-level brake light from French firm Cosmo Connected, is certainly a new product on the market. The idea pretty much speaks for itself, but maybe we can add a few extra words for your edification.



The unit comes in two parts. The first bit attaches to your lid with 3M tape. That piece has a built-in magnet. The second part (the light) snicks onto the magnet.


Inside the light unit, there's an inertia thingy that recognises when you're braking. That causes the light to flash on, and in doing so warns vehicles behind, etc. We're told that the batteries last 8 hours, which we assume refers to continuous use (and which doesn't actually sound that long). The electronics, meanwhile, indulges in a continuous pow-wow with your (Android or IOS) smartphone and will recognise whenever you fall off the bike and land in a ditch or something. In which case it pings out an emergency signal which is picked up by a GPS satellite and bounced to an operator who'll call to see if you really are lying in a ditch, or if you're just thrown your helmet across the room at your girlfriend.


Additionally, the GPS facility can be configured to allow your significant other to snoop on you (in real time) everywhere you go, which will be great for some, and pretty bloody awful for others. The light is expected to be available in May 2017, and the price is expected to be around £84.


See the story below for more on questionable technological advances.




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Self-balancing Honda revealed


Story snapshot:

Forget gyroscopes. This bike has a different balancing approach

Asimo Robot tech on wheels


Remember Roy Rogers or the Lone Ranger whistling for his horse? Well, you can do much the same thing now with this new self-balancing Honda. Not only does it manage to stay vertical, with or without a rider on board, but it's been fitted with some kind of horse whistle that encourages the motorcycle to follow whoever's given it the appropriate instruction.


There's nothing very new about gyroscopically balanced bikes, of course. They've been around for at least 10 seconds. But this machine, just revealed at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, USA, is different. Apparently, there are no gyroscopes on board. Instead, it manages to remain perpendicular in much the same way that any rider keeps a bike vertical; i.e. by twitching the steering left and right.


The difference is that the onboard computer can twitch a lot faster than any human. And to help things along, there's another onboard gadget that increases the fork angle for more trail, hence greater stability.



Based on the NC750X, the development of this motorcycle owes much to the robotics lab that created the Asimo robot. Honda refers to this box of oriental tricks as Moto Riding Assist Technology.  If you follow the link below and watch the YouTube video, you'll probably agree (grudgingly or otherwise) that it looks pretty clever. And at first glance it seems like the solution to a problem that nobody actually has. But as ever, there's an application for everything.


People with balancing disorders, for instance, might soon find themselves able to pilot a motorcycle for the first time in their lives. Or riding home drunk from the pub might suddenly get a whole lot safer (not that we'd recommend or encourage such unlawful and irresponsible behaviour). Or maybe we'll all simply be able to take a country walk with our motorcycle obediently in tow, and even lighting the way ahead.


However, is it just us, or does anyone else out there find the accelerating pace of modern technology just a little disturbing? We're talking about the increasing redundancy of the human race. Augmented reality. The notion that once the machines take over, we'll have a beautifully run and wonderfully efficient planet that nobody but Asimo and his (or her) descendants will enjoy.


Maybe it's just encroaching old age, and maybe if we live long enough, technology might have something helpful to say about that too (as if there haven't already been plenty of advances in the sphere of gerontology). In the meantime, we're struggling to stay with the old order while we can, never mind that this diatribe was written on a machine that's a long way from the quill pen and a strip of parchment.


Check the video. It's the future. For some of us, anyway.


Honda Moto Riding Assist Tecnhology


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VMCC June - Dec 2016 raffle winners


Story snapshot:

"Bill Russell" wins the Velo

"Mr Clipperton" gets the Davida


The Vintage Motor Cycle Club (VMCC) has announced the winners of the June - December 2016 raffle. So if your name isn't Bill Russell, and if your ticket number isn't 203601, you didn't win the top prize which was the (immediately) above 1961 500cc Velocette Venom.


We note from the press release that there's no other information on Mr Bill Russell (or any of the winners) aside from the ticket numbers. No geographical location, for instance, and certainly no mugshot. And although we don't for a second doubt the VMCC's honesty and integrity (and the lawyers can read that line twice), it might significantly enhance the raffle and boost PR if the biking public were ... well, let's say "given the opportunity to see the smile on the lucky boy's face." And if Bill's a little shy, as many of us are, perhaps the club could contrive some other means of sharing just a little more of the winner's identity? Just to satisfy our cynicism and curiosity.


In other words, being honest isn't always enough. You have to be seen to be honest. And the more honest a raffle looks, the more likely folks are to buy into the gamble. That's the theory, anyway.


Meanwhile, here are the other winners:

Second prize went to a certain Mr Clipperton who bought ticket number 008320. He won a Davida Classic Helmet.

Mr J Middleton with ticket number 073896 took third and was rewarded with a year’s subscription to Old Bike Mart and The Classic Motorcycle.

Mr Phil Hodges with ticket number 074244 came fourth with a year’s subscription to The Classic Racer magazine.

Mr Cunningham with ticket number 001413 took the fifth, so to speak, and received a one year’s subscription to Bonham's Motorcycle Auction Catalogues.


Now, the Velo and the Davida lid are very worthy prizes. But waiting up to half a year to be rewarded with a one year's magazine subscription (no disrespect intended to publisher Mortons) sounds a little mean for an organisation such as the VMCC which, as far as we know, isn't short of a couple of quid. Still, it's better than nowt. And in this life, we must be grateful for whatever reward, returns or largesse comes our way.


Still, if the movers and shakers at the VMCC are reading this (and why wouldn't they be?) how about upping the ante just a little with something more memorable and enduring? A pair of gloves, for instance. Or something of that ilk.


It's just a thought, of course, and none of our business ...


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The use of a tractor in Slovenia has led to huge changes in the rest of the EU that's threatening to impact on UK motorsport. Or is it?


Motorsport in the UK "under threat"


Story snapshot:

Recent EU Directive is "mandating third-party race insurance"

Government consultation document launched


British motor sport is under threat. Or so sayeth a joint statement issued by the Motorcycle Industry Association (MCIA), the Amateur Motor Cycle Association (AMCA) and the Auto-Cycle Union (ACU). It involves what's become known as the Vnuk Judgment and it could lead to all legal motorsport in the UK coming to a crashing end. Pun intended. At least, that's what's being claimed by the doom-mongers. But we're not so sure.


Here's what happened: In 2014 a Slovenian farm worker named Damijan Vnuk was knocked off a ladder by a tractor towing a trailer. Vnuk looked to the tractor driver's insurance firm to make restitution, but the insurance company wriggled out of it by stating that the accident happened in the farmyard where the tractor was being used as a "propulsion device" and not on the road as a "transport device". There is a distinction there, but it's a thin one.


There was a legal challenge, and the Slovenian Supreme Court subsequently told Vnuk that he didn't have a ladder to stand on. But the European Court of Justice (ECJ) disagreed and ruled that in this instance, the insurance firm in question was liable and hadn't made the on-road/off-road or transport/propulsion distinction as part of the original contract. The ECJ further ruled that as the tractor was going about its normal business in the normal way, it was covered by insurance. So the firm was expected to pay out.



Fast forward to the present moment and we have the British Government looking to implement a new Motor Insurance Directive (MID) that, we hear, could have unintended consequences for what Whitehall calls Newly-in-Scope vehicles. This refers to vehicles not currently covered under the UK Road Traffic Act (ride-on lawn mowers, Segways, fork lift trucks, etc) that could soon be required to buy third party insurance to cover victims of off-road accidents. Remember, third party motor insurance in the UK is required only for vehicles that use the road.


The worry now is that motorcycle sport could be hit hard by the ECJ judgment. Why? Because most motorcycle sport is uninsurable as far as third party claims are concerned. That's what we're hearing, anyway. Therefore, if all motorcycle sporting bikes have to be third-party insured by law, and if they can't be insured, that's the finish line before the race has started.


We've been looking hard at the relevant EU directive and at the messages put out by Whitehall, and we can't actually see any need to panic.


Here's why:


1. The UK is expected to soon exit the EU and will be able to ignore any directive. However, the government is keen to point out that up until the point where the cord is finally cut, the UK will indeed obey all EU directives. So there could conceivably be some short-term pain (which the motorcycle sport industry reckons would be extremely damaging). But the position is not necessarily terminal, or irrecoverable.


2. The UK government has certain derogation powers whereby it can specify which vehicles should and should not be included in the new directive. So it could require fork lift truck and garden mowers to carry insurance, but make an exception for sporting bikes and allow the general public the luxury of accepting any concomitant risk. But how this would be policed is another (major) issue.


3. It's not yet clear how the EU itself will (shortly) amend the existing insurance directive. And beyond that, there might well be legal challenges to be reckoned with.


We ought to mention that the aim of the directive isn't to hammer motor sport. The aim is mostly to "harmonise" insurance cover across the EU and ensure that all European citizens are third-party protected wherever they happen to be on the continent. However, the recent ECJ Vnuk ruling had impacted on this plan.


The MCIA reckon that in the UK, the motorsport industry employs more than 50,000 people. Additionally, that industry annually generates £11 billion for the economy. Motorcycle sport is said to attract 1.9 million spectators and 58,000 riders, and it accounts for 4000 off-road and track events.


We're taking these figures at face value.


Clearly, there's a lot to be examined both in the courts, at Whitehall and at Brussels. And the lawyers are looking fat these days. But it's all but impossible to imagine the EU introducing legislation that will wipe out motorsport across the UK and/or the continent. Nevertheless, changes of some kind are on the way for some of us. So if you've got concerns, follow the link below and see where you stand on this issue.



Meanwhile, you might consider this: If it's true that UK motorsport really is uninsurable as far as third-parties are concerned, maybe that's something that ought to be looked at. In other words, if you attend a race meeting, shouldn't you expect certain standards of physical safety and other forms of protection? And if so, the people best placed to assess that risk are arguably the actuaries rather than the motorsport industry itself which, no doubt, will be happy to cut a few corners (no pun intended) if it keeps the bikes rolling and the turnstiles spinning.


And one final thought: In view of how stupid and reckless most of the human race is, there's a good argument to be made that all of us should carry some form of personal indemnity insurance. The higher premiums engendered by the most dangerous among us might do much to mitigate the worst excesses of their actions.


Or would this be pushing social responsibility and personal liability just a little too far?


Consultation document



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