New range of classic bike signs set for launch [ NOW IN STOCK! ]
200mm x 150mm, printed direct to metal
We've commissioned a new range of metal signs, and we're expecting them yesterday. Or maybe the day before. We've already offering larger direct-to-metal signs which you can access via the link you've just passed. But these smaller signs are different and are intended for guys and girls looking to add some essential style and colour to their bijou sheds, one-bed garages, lean-to huts, igloos and other types of more compact workshops, barns or outbuildings. Or just hang them on the wall in your living room, hall or bedroom. You'll buy them once, and will enjoy them for years.
Our larger signs are 400mm x 300mm and retail for £12.99 to £14.99. These new additions are 200mm x 150mm, which is roughly A5. We've pegged the price at a modest £8.99 each. As soon as they land on the doormat, we'll begin despatching—and we'll post an additional notice around here somewhere.
However, the production numbers are limited. So if you like the look of these signs, you can fire off an email and we'll put one or more aside for you. And there's no commitment to buy, take note. If you change your mind, we'll simply strike your name from the list.
But why would you change your mind? We worked hard on these conveniently-sized minor masterpieces, and we can't imagine anyone not loving them. Just send an email and write the word SIGNS, and we'll come back to you with buying details.
UPDATE: These signs are now available for immediate despatch (and I'll check them individually and will post them myself). Just follow the links below for details.
BSA Super Rocket metal motorcycle sign
Greeves metal motorcycle sign
Triumph Thunderbird metal motorcycle sign
Vincent metal motorcycle sign
Museum exhibit is looking for a new home
16th - 19th August 2017, Monterey, California
This one-of-27 850cc 4-cylinder racer has been tucked away in a California museum for way too long. But if the bid's right, it could be headed for a new home. Check Sump's Motorcycle News pages for details.
Four/five day event for militarists everywhere
Tickets are £20 on the day
If you haven't already bought your tickets for the 2017 War & Peace Revival, you can still mosey on down there in your Soviet tank transporter, or Praga reconnaissance truck, or Willys MB Jeep. Or what the hell? Just tow your 88mm artillery gun or BSA M20 if you prefer and keep it low-key. Either way, the War and Peace Revival is exactly where you'll want to be if you love the blood and guts of war, but without any blood and guts.
We visited the War & Peace Show some years ago, and we were disappointed to find not a single severed limb in the mud, or rotting corpse in the hedgerow, or even a death-camp Jew wandering around like a living skeleton. It's all harmless boys toys and deactivated military hardware—which is kinda fun if that's your kind of fun.
Think Disneyland and forget Passchendaele.
We're not running it down, mind. We'd go again if we weren't so busy. But it helps to keep things in perspective. So if you don't much fancy the idea of a few blokes strutting about in Nazi SS uniforms and suchlike, check the TV listings for this week instead.
▲ US troops unloading a fresh consignment of cushions and corn plasters at an earlier War and Peace Show. The recent heavy rainfall should make the ground nice and muddy for 2017. So bring a pair of wellies—and if someone yells "fire in the hole", it's probably just a barbecue flare up.
The show has been a non-event since 2012. It began at the Hop Farm and moved to Folkestone. Then came an armistice or something. But now, as best we can tell, the event is booked at the farm for the next four years.
But take note that there's a lot of confusing information about the show, and the organisers clearly haven't properly sorted out their publicity material. So if you plan on travelling any distance beyond, say, a couple of hundred yards, better check the website and/or make a few calls. The show, take note, is billed as a four day event. But it looks like five to us. So we might be looking at a "camping only" day, or "exhibitors only" day, or there might be some other explanation for the disconnect. So do your homework.
Expect a very large gathering of just about every conceivable military weapon or vehicle since Carthage. Most displays are themed around the 1940s, but you'll still enjoy (?) guys in modern US uniforms, World War 1 British Army get-up, one or two more independent-minded characters wearing Napoleonic-era battle dress, and more than a couple of Florence Nightingales dressing broken fingernails and removing painful splinters.
It's a great show. It's a terrible show. You can decide for yourself which camp you're in. And if you want to start a war over it, the guys at the Hop Farm are ready for action.
Check Sump's events page for more detail
UPDATE: We received the following email from one of our Sumpsters who totally missed the ironic point we were making about the War & Peace Show—and that point is the fact that this show manifestly fails to reflect the true horror of war in which millions of people die violent deaths. We don't enjoy seeing "concentration camp-like victims". Far from it. We just think that if you're going to roll out the big boys toys and macho machinery and have a little fun in the mud, we ought to be reacquainted with the grim realities too. Here's that email:
"Just seen Sam's article on the W&P show and his reference to skeletal concentration camp-like victims wandering around beggars belief. For a crass ignorant stupid, idiotic statement he deserves to be sacked at least. He has obviously no concept of suffering by these unfortunate people. Where was your proof reader? On holiday?"
By the end of 2018, all crossings will be free of charge
But what's driving the timing of this announcement?
Currently, if you're driving a car/people carrier with up to 9 seats it costs £6.70 to cross either of the two Severn Bridges from England into Wales. A van/double-cab pick-up/light truck or similar costs £13.40. An HGV or coach/bus crossing costs £20. Note that the charges apply only when travelling westbound; in other words, when leaving England to head into Wales. But there's no charge when travelling the other way—which is pretty much how it's always been.
There's no charge for motorcycles either, but you have to stop at the barrier and have your card marked by a camera or something.
However, it's just been announced by the UK government that by the end of 2018, the tolls will be abolished thereby annually saving the average commuter around £1,400—and a whole lot more for haulage firms.
Interestingly, the news has come on the same day that it was announced that electrification of the Great Western Railway line between Cardiff and Swansea in South East Wales was being postponed until 2022 at the earliest (which is of course government code for "indefinitely").
Think there's a connection? The local folk around that neck of the woods (which includes South East Wales and what was Avon County until 1996, but is now controlled by numerous neighbouring counties and Bristol City), certainly think that this was another example of "a good day to bury bad news". However, it's worth mentioning that Prime Minister Theresa May had, in May 2017, promised to scrap the tolls were she re-elected (which doesn't necessarily mitigate the announcement timing question). It's also worth mentioning that three months earlier, in February 2017, the (Tory) government stated that it had no plans to change the tolls or bring public ownership in the bridge ahead of schedule.
All this might not sound much to the average Joe or Josephine living outside of that area. But locally speaking, it's fairly big news. Cutting the bridge tolls will, it's reckoned by some, boost the local economy (Wales and the Bristol area) by around £100 million annually. Additionally, the proposed rail upgrade was seen as the removal of a "psychological, economic and social barrier".
A total of 25 million crossings are said to be made each year across the bridges, so you can run your own numbers to see what's at stake here, toll-wise. And although crossings will be "free" from the end of 2018, it's worth reminding ourselves that "free" always costs someone some money.
The £8 million Severn Bridge (as distinct from the Second Severn Crossing) was funded by the public purse and opened in 1966. The tolls were introduced at the outset. The private consortium that built the Second Severn Crossing was promised 25 years of tollbooth returns as profit/reward. The bridge was opened in 1996.
The bad news in all this is that because motorcyclists have never been charged for using the crossing, there's no pecuniary advantage to us when the tollbooths are removed at the end of 2018. Now is that fair, we ask?
Surely a protest ride is in order...
Extra places allocated
New closing date is 31st July 2017
The VMCC has reported that a few extra places have been made available for the 2017 Brighton Speed Trials. But before you make your pitch, there are a couple of points worth noting:
1. The VMCC is the "sole point for motorcycle entries".
2. Previous winners, competitors and interesting bikes will jump the queue.
3. Riders with race experience will also score a few brownie points.
4. ACU rules apply (racing licence, correct gear, bike scrutineering, etc).
Consequently, merely submitting an entry won't guarantee acceptance. But if you're interested, you've got until the 31st July 2017 to make contact. However, with all the attached rules and conditions, we can imagine that quite a few riders won't bother now. Whatever happened to first come, first served?
That said, this is a pretty cool event, and Brighton's an interesting place to be at any time of the year. So if don't mind jumping a few hurdles, and if you can handle the fear of rejection, talk to the VMCC sooner rather than later.
Note that the Brighton & Hove Motor Club is the organiser of the Brighton Speed Trials. And while we remember, the Sprint Section of the VMCC isn't running at full chat at the moment. Instead, it's being managed on a "caretaker committee" basis, so it's not clear what, if any, other events will be sprinting off the line this season. However, the VMCC has had a long association with the Brighton Speed Trials, so this is one event the organisation simply doesn't want to miss.
Treat acid attacks with cool, clear water
Avoid putting anything else on the skin except sterile gauze
Further down this page you'll come across a story we've run about the recent spate of London acid attacks on scooter/motorcycle riders that have been so prominent in the news. Stupidly, however, we neglected to mention what you need to do if you come across an acid victim, or if you are the victim.
The correct treatment is to wash/rinse the affected area with cool water. Avoid using iced-cold water unless there's nothing else. Ditto for warm water. And avoid touching the burned area. That will only increase the risk of infection. Equally importantly, don't apply any creams, lotions oils or whatever. Leave that to the medics.
Just keep dousing the area until the burning sensation stops, or until a paramedic or doctor relieves you of duty. If you have any sterilised gauze to hand (first aid kit/local chemist), this can be gently applied to the skin once the burning stops.
But don't use any kind of non-sterile fabric on the skin. The real danger is infection. Remember that. Non-carbonated mineral water from a shop or petrol station is acceptable. Tap water is also acceptable. And you might have to restrain a victim while you apply water/treatment, so be as sensitive and as sensible as you can.
We ought to mention that these attacks are very rare. Statistically speaking, you're highly unlikely to become a victim—but scooter and delivery riders are a more obvious target, so take extra care.
Lastly, if you sense an imminent attack, our advice is to simply abandon the scooter or bike, walk away quickly, don't look round, and let the thieves have it. It'll hurt, but not as much as a face-full of acid.
Don't be a hero.
Iconic gloves, as worn by cowboys and Luftwaffe pilots
You don't have to be a cowboy or an ex-WW2 Luftwaffe pilot to push your digits into a pair of these new shorty gloves from Davida. But apparently, these two dissimilar groups of individuals have been the most prominent wearers.
The grey gloves were the choice of the German fly boys. Check your war movie library for details of how to put them on or draw them from your mitt with a sardonic glint in yer eye. After the hostilities, the gloves were cheaply available via military surplus stores, so continental bikers adopted them and made them their own.
In the USA it was a slightly different story. Cowboy gear was always tough and well-constructed, and it was ideal apparel for motorcycle use in the days before purpose-made biking clothing became available—and no self-respecting wrangler or buckaroo would be seen dead in anything that wasn't cow coloured.
Well, Davida has been flogging shorty gloves for some time, and these tan or grey shorties are the latest addition to the range. We haven't seen a pair, neither up close or from a distance, so we can't comment on quality. But we trust Davida to supply a decent product at a fair price. The gloves are "smooth and supple" cowhide. Fleece linings help keep them warm and comfortable. The thread is Kevlar, or Kevlar reinforced. The available sizes are as follows:
Unisex, Grey: Small, Medium, Large, XL, XXL & XXXL
Unisex, Tan: Small, Medium, Large, XL, XXL & XXXL
The suggested price is £42.90 ex-VAT
Classic biker takes a new role
Author and journo turns consultant
Many, if not most, of you UK-based Sumpsters will know Jim, or will have come across him at one time or another. He's enjoyed 60 years on innumerable motorcycle saddles and is a noted classic bike journalist and author.
In 1990, together with Frank Westworth, he launched Classic Bike Guide magazine. He also established the Borders Classic Bike Show. But you might know him better as an interviewer and regular commentator on the classic bike scene.
Well now he's a consultant with Bonhams, specifically focussing on Shropshire, Wales and Gloucestershire. So if you're in that area and want to consign a bike to a Bonhams sale, this is the guy to talk to. We don't yet have direct official contact details. But you'll find him easily enough through the Bonhams website (see below).
Jim's first outing for Bonhams will be at the firm's Autumn Stafford Sale on 15th October 2017 which will be held in conjunction with the 24th Carole Nash Classic Motorcycle Mechanics Show.
Indian Scout Bobber for 2018 details
£11,299 is the anticipated price
It's not clear if this new tank badge will remain peculiar to the new Indian Scout Bobber, or if it represents a more general company logo design shift. Either way, we think Indian pitched it right with this lettering. It's bold. It's clear. It's macho (for what that's worth). And it looks suitably retro without being old-fashioned.
We can't really imagine Indian dispensing with its long established Native American head dress imagery. That war bonnet device is pretty much central to the firm's identity which is currently in the care Polaris Industries.
But things change.
While you're thinking about that, you might want to check the link below and take a peek at Indian's new Scout Bobber. We've got mixed feelings about the bike. But then, we've got mixed feelings about pretty much everything. Some folk are like that.
2018 Indian Scout Bobber
London Mayor wants to get tough, but has no useful ideas
We're suggesting a possible answer to the problem
In case you don't recognise the bozo in the lid immediately above, that's Sadiq Khan, the left-wing Mayor of London who already rates fairly low on our approval rating (so we're happily declaring a bias here). He's not a biker or a scooterist, note. Not as far as we know, anyway. But (courtesy of Photoshop) he's wearing the lid to help put him in the frame.
Call it editorial licence.
The underlying story here is the recent spate of acid attacks on scooter riders in the British capital. At least six people have in the past few weeks been injured by scooter-jacking robbers. The modus operandi is straightforward. The robbers ride alongside a delivery rider or commuter, squirt 'em with a faceful of sulphuric, nitric or hydrochloric acid, grab the handlebars and ride off leaving the victim writhing on the pavement with "life changing injuries".
▲ Sulphuric acid. £10.95 for one litre. £7.95 for 500ml. Applications include lead-acid batteries for cars and other vehicles, mineral processing, fertilizer manufacturing, oil refining, wastewater processing, chemical synthesis and bike-jacking.
One teenager has just been charged with 15 offences, while another has been released on bail.
The Khan has understandably waded into the fray with a typical knee-jerk, politically-weighted, brain dead response by lobbying for:
a "zero tolerance approach" to incidents
a clampdown on the sale of corrosive substances
clarification of sentencing guidelines for judges
... all of which underline the fact that this bloke is a complete plonker and ought to shut up until he's got something intelligent to say, or useful to contribute.
In the first place, the Mayor speaks of a zero tolerance approach. But what the hell is a non-zero tolerance approach? Here at Sump, we can't think of a single scenario when someone might squirt acid in someone's face and get let off with a caution or a fixed penalty. In other words, this offence is most definitely a zero tolerance hotspot for all law enforcers.
In the second place, tougher sentencing implies that the bastards that carry out these attacks actually think they'll get caught and/or particularly care about the consequences following an arrest. Our inexpert guess is that the disturbed train of thought that drives these morons to commit these crimes simply hasn't sufficient mental fuel to make it to the end of whatever track they're on.
In the third place, a clampdown on the sale of corrosive substances is unlikely to achieve much in a society that absolutely depends upon acids, alkaline solutions and sundry industrial cleaners. But even if Khan could stop access to chemicals, etc, there's always lighter fluid, petrol, and any number of inflammable substances that would present a victim with a similar kind of "life changing" experience. Then there are knives, hammers, crowbars and so on.
Lastly, clarification of sentencing guidelines for judges presupposes that the average beak or judge hasn't the wit to deal with the ramifications of a vicious assault of this nature (which occasionally sounds suspiciously true, but most judges actually get it right most of the time).
The solution to this problem (no pun intended) seems fairly clear cut to us. Robbers steal the scooters or bikes because they can. It's as simple as that. Therefore, the focus needs to be placed on making the machines un-steal-able.
And we already have the technology to do just that—and in doing so we can make most opportunist motorcycle theft nigh on impossible. How? By developing ignitions systems that, upon request, are programmed to move from destination to destination, perhaps with a small margin or variance.
For instance, delivery riders might simply plug a card into the ignition system which tells the scooter where it is, where it can next go, and where it must return to. All within a specified time limit. For anyone used to handling this kind of techy stuff, the programming is probably straightforward. Satellites can monitor the bikes. And bike-jackers would be faced with a machine that will either (a) take them to the designated destination where the cops might be waiting; or (b) back to base, where the cops and the managers of the delivery firm will be waiting; or (c) will simply shut down the engine in, say, 15 seconds if the scooter heads out of the pre-determined corridor of travel.
The system would also benefit ordinary commuters riding bikes or driving cars to regular locations. Yes, we can see numerous issues with such a system that would need to be overcome, meaning that we don't have all the answers (only Sadiq Khan has those). But the basic principle of moving between programmed locations is probably sound—perhaps not for everyone, but certainly for most people. Certainly most delivery riders.
And naturally, a DataTag system wouldn't hurt.
What's needed now are a few switched on people capable of devising and developing such a system. It's all beyond our puny intellects, you understand (we have trouble reading a spark plug). But maybe someone out there can run with this idea and make it work. In fact, there could be a pot of gold at the end of this particular rainbow.
▲ On Tuesday 18th July 2017, hundreds of scooter and motorcycle riders staged a demo in Parliament Square demanding government action aimed at curtailing the recent London acid attacks. But police resources are finite. These crimes are spontaneous. And Mayor Sidiq Khan is clueless. The answer perhaps lies with the motorcycle industry.
Meanwhile, if you're likely to be a target of this type of crime, better consider reviewing your crash helmet options and ride extra defensively. The streets in and around London are currently a little more dangerous than they used to be. And no doubt, this type of crime will be migrating to other neighbourhoods around the UK.
We did in fact directly contact the Mayor's office with this idea. Just a passing suggestion, you understand. The Mayor's office has a department called MOPAC (Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime). But so far no one has replied. Whether or not they will remains to be seen—and whether or not we hear from Khan himself will perhaps be the acid test.
Tickets are still available
The National Motorcycle Museum has reminded us that there are still tickets available for the Summer 2017 raffle. The top prizes on offer are:
1960 BSA DBD34 Gold Star Clubman 500cc motorcycle
1955 BSA C11G 250cc motorcycle
We've already acquainted you with the DBD34 Goldie (see May 2017 Classic Bike News). But we haven't revealed the BSA C11G which is shown immediately above and is parked against what looks suspiciously like Andy Tiernan's wall (not that there's anything suspicious about Andy Tiernan).
Tickets are still two pounds each.
Law firm launches a mental recovery initiative
Aid for riders looking to get re-mobilised
Fallen off your bike? Hurt yourself? Well bad luck. The trick now, after the quacks have done with you, is to get back on your motorcycle as quick as you can before you lose your nerve. That's where Minster Law promises to rush to your aid.
This firm of legal eagles (with offices in York, Wakefield and London) has launched a scheme to help get your rear end back on a saddle. The programme is called Back to Biking. It comes in three phases.
Part one will put you astride a simulator at Brooklands museum and plug you into some kind of virtual reality gizmo. Part two will send you to a sympathetic motorcycle training school which will re-engage you with a little actual reality. Part three will put you back out on the road. One rider, fit for purpose again, both physically and mentally.
The catch? You have to be a Minster Law client, which is only fair seeing as it's their idea. We don't know the firm, and they're certainly not paying for this news story (we never do that at Sump and prefer to leave the advertorials to Mortons). So we can't tell you how good (or bad) is this firm of ambulance chasers, or how well the scheme works in practice. Just remember that you need to keep your friends close, and your lawyers closer (and all that Godfather stuff). And for balance, we ought to mention that some accident lawyers are excellent.
Note that the agency which sent us the press release has some technical/redirect issues with the links supplied. So we're leaving those buttons alone and can't send you to the appropriate pages. Instead, just hit the link below that we've created. That will land you on Minster Law's homepage, and you can take it from there.
Meanwhile, keep in mind that it's easier falling off than staying on, meaning that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, etc.
Contact Minster Law
Star of Mission Impossible and Space 1999 is gone
He was the "man of a thousand faces"
He wasn't the only big name star associated with the 1960s US TV series, Mission Impossible. Leonard Nimoy, famed for his Mr Spock role in the original Star Trek series was another regular IMF agent, as was actor Peter Graves and actress Barbara Bain. But Martin Landau, who has died aged 89, achieved greater subsequent TV and movie success and rightly earned the industry's respect as a great old trooper.
He began his screen career with a supporting role in Hitchcock's North by Northwest (1959). He appeared in Cleopatra (1963), The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965), and starred alongside Steve McQueen in Nevada Smith (1965).
▲ Need to depose a Banana Republic dictator? Send for the IMF team. Left to right: Barbara Bain, Peter Lupus, Greg Morris, Peter Graves and Martin Landau (with Bain and Landau in the background). But would Mission Impossible been a success without Lalo Schifrin's music? Maybe.
Mission Impossible, which first aired in 1966 and was cancelled in 1973, saw Landau in the role of Rollin Hand; "the man of a thousand faces" who routinely glued on latex masks and slapped on greasepaint and wigs in order to impersonate whoever was in the IMF sights for that episode. Landau, in fact, starred in just three of the seven series of the show—and would have featured in more episodes had he not shrewdly negotiated annual contracts (as opposed to five year contracts) in order to be free to take on interesting new movie roles.
In 1975, Martin Landau played Commander Koenig in the British sci-fi adventure series, Space 1999. He starred alongside his (then) wife, Barbara Bain (who had played Cinnamon Carter in Mission Impossible). The personal chemistry undoubtedly contributed to the on-screen dynamic in the short-lived series. But had producers Gerry Anderson & Sylvia Anderson (of Thunderbirds/Stingray/Fireball XL5 fame) had their way, Landau and Bain would never have got the parts. They were, after all, American actors and "wholly unsuited" to a British sci-fi show.
▲ When you gaze into the abyss, the script gazes right back at you. Space 1999 added a little extra glam to the 1970s but lacked the heavyweight punch that producer Lew Grade needed. Martin Landau earned our sympathy and respect, if only for wrestling with the plotlines.
Producer Lew Grade, however, had other idea and felt that Landau and Bain would help give the show the extra gravitas needed to make it a worldwide hit. In the event, Space 1999 was never the success it was hoped for. The plots, which in more ways than one revolved around the marooned residents of Moonbase Alpha, generally aimed high but were usually too obscure and esoteric for mainstream viewing. The acting switched between unashamed melodrama and painfully wooden posturing. The overall premise (with the moon blown out of Earth orbit and floating around where only Star Trek has gone before) was, within its own terms, unbelievable. The effects were often nothing other than humorous.
Yet it was for millions of viewers an enjoyable romp through the galaxy, and what it lacked in credibility it made up for in terms of quirky British sci-fi charm—and it was supported by numerous well known on-screen faces including Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, Leo McKern, Billie Whitelaw, Patrick Troughton, Judy Geeson, Peter Bowles, Ian McShane, Shane Rimmer and Brian Blessed.
After Space 1999, for the best part of a decade Martin Landau faded from view, but he reappeared in Tucker: The Man and His Dream (1988), the story of Preston Tucker's brave, but failed challenge to the established US motor industry. He was award a Golden Globe for that performance.
▲ Johnny Depp and Martin Landau in Ed Wood. Landau surprised us with his portrayal of Bela Lugosi and added the right blend of comedy and pathos. The movie industry agreed and gave him an Oscar.
In 1994, he played Bela Lugosi in the movie Ed Wood, and for that role he won an Oscar. He also later shared the screen with Robert DeNiro, Al Pacino, Matt Damon and Jim Carrey. But for all his plaudits, there was always something a little awkward and misplaced about Martin Landau as if you watched him for who he was rather than who he was playing. Think of him, if you will, as an A-list actor with B-movie tendencies—and certainly, he shone in Ed Wood, a movie about the B-movie maestro.
He was born in New York City into a Jewish family. He trained as an actor under the highly reputed Lee Strasberg, famed for his "method" style of acting. For a while, Landau shared an acting classroom with Steve McQueen and became good friends with James Dean. He later taught acting, and also enjoyed a short-lived career as a cartoonist working on "The Gumps", a long-running syndicated US comic strip.
Martin Landau married Barbara Bain in 1957 and was divorced in 1993. They had two daughters. How he'll be remembered will depend entirely on which generation is reflecting upon his large body of work. But to us, he'll mostly be thought of as Commander Koenig, constantly besieged by hysterical crew members and dangerous aliens (and vice versa) while exchanging meaningful looks and grimaces with Barbara Bain and co-star Barry Morse.
Not the world's greatest actor, perhaps. But an enduring performer who was still working right up to the final curtain.
Military personnel can save between £220 and £300 on a new bike
Triumph Motorcycles is offering discounts of between £220 and £300 to any member of the British armed forces looking to buy a new motorcycle between now and ... well, it's not clear when is the cut-off date. But there's no time like the present, huh?
The three hundred nicker cash-back deal applies to selected models above 1,000cc (Speed Triple or Tiger Explorer etc). For bikes below that 1,000cc threshold (Street Triple, Street Twin or Tiger 800, etc), the discount is £220.
You don't have to be a combat soldier, fighter jet pilot or frontline Jack Tar to qualify. It's enough to be working in the stores at Catterick or the canteen at Aldershot. All that's required is the presentation of your service card and a driving/riding licence (although we don't understand what the driving/riding licence has to do with it except perhaps as proof of identity).
Now, some might say (and have said, actually) that this offer is (a) a little too commercially shrewd for their tastes, and/or (b) just a tad divisive seeing as the country also has thousands of fireman, police officers and suchlike putting their lives on the line every day of their working lives (and indeed, one dealer told us that as far as he was aware, Triumph was looking to extend the offer).
But we're not getting into a row over this one or taking sides. We're just keeping our heads down until the shooting stops. Meanwhile, if you're a squaddie or similar (and that includes members of the Territorials, take note) our advice is to simply take the discount at face value, and enjoy the ride.
As for Triumph, seems that the firm is damned if they do, and damned if they don't.
The National Tram Museum in Derbyshire was the place
Sunday 1st July 2018 is provisionally booked for next year
We've never been to Crich Tramway Village. It's one of those places that we've been meaning to visit but have so far been unable to get it together.
In case you're out of the loop, Crich Tramway Village is in Derbyshire. You can find the site just off the A6 about 8 or 9 miles north of the city of Derby and adjacent to the quaintly named village of Whatstandwell.
Crich is the home of the National Tram Museum, a volunteer backed repository boasting an impressive collection of 60 tram cars built between 1900 and 1930. Most of the rolling stock is British, most vehicles are fully restored, and pretty much all the cars are at one time or another accessible to the general public—meaning that you can ride 'em. The museum traces its origins to the late 1940s. The Tramway Museum Society was established in 1955.
The history lesson aside, this piece of hallowed turf was the location of the Classic Motorcycle Day held on Sunday 2nd July 2017. It was organised in conjunction with the Vincent Owners Club. We're advised that 316 motorcycles from the 1920s to the 1990s were exhibited. Around 1,500 visitors attended.
▲ Adult tickets to the Crich Tramway Museum are £16.50 (concessions are available). The venue is open from Saturday 18th March to Sunday 5th November 2017. Open daily from 10am – 5.30pm (last admissions 4.00pm). Images courtesy of VOC photographer Tim Smith.
Johnny Kunica of Derwent Waste Management sponsored the event, so this firm gets a mention. Vintage Motor Cycle Club Chairman, Rob Reaney handled much of judging, so he also gets a mention. Terry Crofts enjoys a name-check having won the Best in Show prize for his "stunning Norvin". John Williams took Best British Bike for his Norton Dominator. And Clive Steemson took a trophy for Best International Bike after displaying a 125cc Motobi.
Jon Lambley, one of the organisers, said; "We are delighted with the success of the gathering, and were always confident that if you create a good event, ‘they will come’."
And come they did. But if you missed it, you might get another chance next year because a provisional date has been set for a re-run—and that date is Sunday 1st July 2018. So make a note somewhere. Or tattoo it on your hand or something.
At pretty much any time of the year, the county of Derbyshire is a nice place to be. But in summer it's a stunning 1,000 or so square miles of prime English turf—especially out on the Peak District—and we highly recommend renting a cottage and riding some fantastic roads. Tip: There's more to Derbyshire than Snake Pass (which is just another fatality waiting to happen; so be warned).
And if ever you need an additional prompt/excuse to visit the National Tram Museum/Crich Tramway Village, the Classic Motorcycle Day is probably the ticket. Ding, ding.
Significant decline in 17 - 25 year old car licence holders
Insurance costs said to be at the root of it
If you believe respected motoring site Honest John, it's not just motorcycling that's witnessing a reduction in fresh blood. Apparently, over the past decade there's been a 20 percent drop in the number of young people taking the wheel. Looked at another way, 100,000 fewer 17-year olds sat their driving test over the past year compared with 2007. Naturally, the stats vary from county to county with East Sussex seeing the greatest decline—said to be as much as 61 percent over the same period.
But what's fuelling (pun intended) the fall? Well the price of petrol itself is perhaps part of it. But mostly it appears to be the burden of motoring insurance (often thousands of pounds per annum for even small/low-powered vehicles) coupled with the cost of taking driving lessons (often around £1,500 for a complete course plus the driving test fee). The price of cars, however, doesn't appear to be a significant factor. There are currently plenty of great value four wheelers on offer in the UK.
As riders, we perhaps ought to welcome a reduction in car drivers. The streets are crowded enough as it is, and newer motorists are over-represented in traffic accidents. However, plenty of bikers start off as drivers, and motorcycling could also use some new recruits (albeit further down the line) to keep the scene financially buoyant and socially interesting. Except, of course, that's not happening—with the current motorcycle training paradigm generally recognised as part of the problem.
Remember how it was when you started driving or biking? Aged seventeen-and-one-pimply-minute and already taking those first urgent steps towards personal motoring mobility? Well if these numbers are correct, it could be that that age is coming to an end, with a new era of bus and train travel beginning.
Autonomous vehicles (or semi-autonomous) might mitigate some of the losses with regard to new drivers and (eventually) riders. But significant disposable income for millions in the UK is clearly under threat. And it's getting worse, not better.
Is it any wonder that the Sony PlayStation and Microsoft
X-Box are so popular? A few hundred quid and a TV screen gets you all the dangerous highway you can handle.
Party time for UK retro bike firm
The entire Mutt range will be on display
Brum is Birmingham. Pretty much everyone in Britain knows that. But Sump is a global magazine, so the word hasn't necessarily got around to every corner of the planet. And we're talking about Birmingham, or Brum, because that's where Mutt Motorcycles has opened a flagship HQ, and that's also where the firm will be holding a launch party this coming Saturday (15th July 2017).
The guys and girls behind Mutt have been around for a while (maybe 15 years or so). But more recently, the firm has established its own brand of lightweight retro motorcycles based upon Chinese built copies of the long-established and creditable Suzuki GN125 four-stroke. It sounds a thin marketing claim to say that "All our bikes are hand-finished in the UK." But certainly it appears that there is a lot of upgrading done to suit local tastes before the motorcycles see a British street.
Exhausts, wheels, tyres, shocks, handlebars, mudguards, grips and livery are given the Mutt treatment depending on the specific model. And a two year warranty is part of the deal. Beyond that, everything is clearly underpinned by the desire to be cool. Benny Thomas is the guy to talk to.
▲ The Mutt Baja 125. These bikes, we're told, feature tanks and side panels hand-painted right here in the UK. Mutt also handles the seats and front 'guards. Other features include electric starting, a 5-speed 'box, stainless exhausts and numerous other modest treats. The price? £3,700. But check the details. The pricing structure isn't clear to us.
▲ This firm is evidently ambitious and determined. The company is one of many building bikes upon a largely common platform, each with its own twist (not literally, we trust). Chinese-built bikes have come a long way in the past decade. So rein in your prejudices, if you can, and give these characters a chance and see exactly what's on offer.
▲ Mutt's New Imperial 400. We know very little about these twin-ports built by the Jinan Qingqi Motorcycle Co in China (and reworked here in the UK), but they're currently unavailable anyway. Something to do with the Euro4 regulations, perchance? Meanwhile, does the use of the hallowed New Imperial name grate? If it does, you'll just have to suck it up. In more ways than one, the wheels keep turning.
As for the party itself, that will be held at Mutt House, 77 Upper Trinity, Digbeth, Birmingham B9 4EG. Expect to find Mutt's Brake Fluid Coffee Bar, food, secure parking for motorcycles, on-street parking for cars, and the full range Mutt bikes on display and a selection of bike parts and sundry apparel. It kicks-off at midday and will go on until whenever.
UK motorcycle sales fall six months in a row
Mopeds and scooters are taking the hardest hit
First the raw numbers. Figures for June 2017 show that 11,450 new motorcycles were registered in the UK. That's down from last year's (2016) figure of 13,190.
More worrying still for the bike industry is that this is the sixth month in a row in which new bike sales have dropped. Practically all categories except adventure bikes and touring bikes have had their skittles knocked down. And there's small comfort to be had in the fact that 651cc - 1,000cc sales saw a growth of 5.5%, or that over 1,000cc bikes saw a rise of 3.5%. That's because everything else is down, with mopeds and scooters taking the brunt of it.
Naturally, the stats mask a lot of other truths that are too complicated to get into here (and we're not smart enough to play too hard with statistics, anyway). Suffice to say that the UK motorcycle trade now has serious cause for worry. The poor figures at the beginning of 2017 could be blamed on excess stock and/or Euro4 compliancy issues (i.e. dealers trying to dispose of Euro3 stock and rationalising ordering and sales of incoming Euro4 bikes).
But that excuse won't wash now, so you can form your own theories. Certainly there are plenty of decent bikes out there in all classes and capacities. And certainly, the UK bike trade (mostly) knows what it's doing and hasn't let the grass grow under the tyres.
▲ UK new motorcycle sales haven't quite hit submarine levels. But June registration figures suggest that there are likely to be plenty of good deals out there; good for bikers, that is. The question now is whether this is an indicator of the state of the economy, or whether other factors are at play.
What it looks like is more evidence that the British economy is slowing with the guys and the girls at the bottom of the financial food chain unable to get a foot on the pegs, and the guys and girls at the richer end continuing to enjoy whatever wealth they've accumulated.
We don't have figures for second-hand bike sales, and we don't have figures for classic bike sales either. It's only new motorcycle numbers that are available. So it might be that things aren't quite as bad as it seems overall.
But new bike dealers will be worrying and desperately trying to mitigate the worst of the situation, perhaps by creating some knockdown deals in an effort to cut the losses rather than make a profit.
And the top three motorcycle brands for June 2017? That would be Honda (2,309 units); Yamaha (1,550 units) and Triumph (1,325 units).
See Sump Classic Bike News June 2017
Hastings Pier is the venue
Cool retro event warrants a closer look
The best trips are the spontaneous ones. Are we right? You wake up, suddenly decide to go someplace, have breakfast on the bike and skidaddle down to wherever the compass of your life is now pointing. No planning. No equivocation. And no time to change your mind.
If that's the kind of guy or gal you are, you might consider the Classic Car Boot Sale that's going to kick off tomorrow, Saturday 8th July 2017, and will run on into Sunday 9th.
We don't have any connection with the organisers, but we've attended a couple of their events in London. The first one (beside the Thames at Waterloo) was great. The second one (at the Olympic Park in Stratford) was less great (but still pretty good).
There were two reasons for the (slightly) diminished enjoyment. The first reason was that the novelty and freshness of the original event wore off a little second time around. The second reason is location. On the banks of the Thames is a pretty cool place to stage a boot sale, whereas the Olympic-sized-waste-of-money-Park is less so.
But on Saturday (which is tomorrow), Hastings Pier in East Sussex is the venue, and that's a pretty cool location too,
What's that? The pier burned the hell down? Well yeah, we heard that. In 2010. In fact, it burned down shortly after we'd paid it a visit—and for a suitable fee, guv'nor, maybe we could visit your pier and help you with your cash flow problems.
That aside, the pier, after years of neglect, was rebuilt at a cost of £14.2 million, and although it's lost pretty much all of its olde worlde charm, it is nevertheless a very practical space now and ideal for staging a ... well, a classic car boot sale.
This particular Classic Car Boot Sale is by far one of the best events of its kind in the UK. Actually, we can't think of a rival event; not for charm, buzz, retro content, and cool kitsch appeal. You can expect a lot of classic cars of all types including Yank tanks, a few classic bikes (and maybe the odd custom), lots of trade stall flogging ephemera from the 1940s through to the 1970s (or thereabouts), people hamming it up in period dress and rocker gear, creative and exotic food stalls, bric-a-brac merchants, old bicycles, the air filled with music and a generally great-beside-the-sea-side ambience.
The entry price is just five miserable quid—which would be cheap at double or triple the price. And we're not going to tell you where can find Hastings Pier because if you can't locate it through your own cunning devices, you don't deserved to be there.
Our advice? Get down there if you're within 50 miles of the place (or 100 miles if, like us, you're a diehard Hastings fan, boot sale bozo or hardcore pierhead.
Check Sump's events page for more on this boot sale. If you miss it, you just regret it. And check Sump Classic Bike News March 2014 for more info and pics.
R1200GS owners beware
Fork problem alert
This story has been developing for a while now (actually, since at least 2013). However, not wanting to add unnecessary grist to the rumour mill, we've been watching it obliquely and wondering at what moment we ought to step in and write something. And it seems that that time has now come. So here's the long and short of it ...
A growing number of riders around the world have been complaining of fork problems on their BMW R1200GS bikes. Most, or all, of these riders have been engaging in some pretty heavy duty off-road fun and games, and that's led to talk of fork seals bursting, looseness in the works, odd handling characteristics, rattling bushes, and at least one guy has complained that his forks snapped. In fact this guy, a South African named Tony Giorgio, claims to have suffered serious injuries as a result of this incident.
To stay on top of the situation, PR-conscious BMW had been (as discreetly as possible) inviting R1200GS owners to revisit their dealers for a quick chat and check up. The firm, take note, had studiously avoided the "R" word; "R" for "recall" preferring to use the phrase "service campaign".
However, that's not been enough to douse the flaming torches of discontent, so the matter has now mutated into a full scale recall. Therefore, if you've got a BMW R1200GS manufactured between sometime around November 2013 and June 2017, better have a BMW technician check it out for you. Naturally, there's no charge.
▲ It looks like BMW should have stopped forking about with this one some time ago and dealt with the problem. However, it's not always easy to jump until you're pushed, and the company is now publicly on the case.
Specifically, the problem appears to involve fork bushes and/or plugs that are apt to come loose or adrift following a usage shock that might or might not be noticed at the time it occurs. We're not looking here too deeply into the technical aspects, largely because there are all kinds of explanations in circulation, and it really wants a BMW technician to sort out the fact from the fiction.
How many bikes are likely to be affected? We don't know for sure, but it's certainly going to be somewhere above 100,000 units, and maybe as much as 150,000. Or perhaps that's just more uninformed rumour. Whatever the true number, better make sure that your bike is fit for purpose. We should mention that when we spoke to a BMW technician about the matter, he said the bikes "are safe to ride"—albeit perhaps not quite as safe as they might be (our afterthought, not his). But naturally, you'll use your own judgement as and when you give your wheels a once-over.
If you want to read a little more on this, Tony Giorgio has created a website called BMW Fatal Flaw. It details exactly what has gone wrong, highlights what BMW has (or has not) done about it over the past four years, and invites other GS riders to share their tales of woe. There's also a petition on the site demanding that the company addresses this problem poste haste—but given that the "R" monster is now out of his cage and running amok, that petition is probably redundant.
Facebook/Twitter group aims to pressure Mahindra
Looking for support from Beeza Geezas
Remember the slogan "TRIUMPH STAYS AT MERIDEN"? That was the call of the Triumph workers and wives who, back in the early 1970s, campaigned so vigorously (and even passionately) to keep the T140 Bonneville out of the clutches of NVT which wanted/needed to rationalise production by shifting it elsewhere.
Well, in the wake of Indian firm Mahindra's recent acquisition of the BSA name and rights (see Sump Classic Bike News October 2016), a campaign has been launched hoping to persuade the Indian giant to manufacture any new BSAs right here in Blighty (and "Blighty", you might be interested to know, is in fact a corruption of the Indian word "bilayati" which is Urdu for British—and is more loosely a synonym for "foreign" or even "European").
That aside, Steve Brown (pictured immediately below) who owns and runs www.classicmotorcyclemanuals.com has opened a Facebook/Twitter Group and is looking for support to get BSA back where it (arguably) belongs. The name of the group is: #bringbackBSA2UK. The idea is to draw together BSA clubs, individuals and business leaders and convince Mahindra that its interests are best served by having the bikes built right here in Shakespeare country—and perhaps more specifically back in Small Heath, Birmingham.
Sounds like a very worthy use of Facebook/Twitter, so lend this guy your support if you can. And if it's successful, maybe we can then persuade Triumph to repatriate the Bonneville and have it produced in Hinckley rather than Thailand.
We know that we live in a global world (and all that new age international stuff). But the secret truth is that we're traditionalists around here, and we still tend to think locally. Let's get over it.
National Motorcycle Museum sale highlights
Four outfits on offer; 17 bikes listed so far
Triumph Hurricane X-75 prices have jumped hugely over the past decade. We're not talking about ten or twenty or thirty percent. We're talking of around one hundred percent. Back in 2007, for instance, we saw the fabled 750cc X-75 routinely changing hand for around £12,000 - £15,000. But more recently, we've seen the top end of the market hit thirty grand, minus change.
Well H&H Auctions, which is holding its second sale at the National Motorcycle Museum on 2nd September 2017, will be offering a 1972 X-75 Triumph Hurricane with an estimate of £20,000 - £23,000. There will be a 15% commission on that, take note, and that will add £3,450 to the top end of that estimate thereby raising the bar to £26,450. And that will include 20% VAT on the commission. The question now is whether or not this particular Hurricane will hit the "right" numbers, or surpass them, or even fall.
We do know of two other Hurricanes currently struggling to sell at the top end of the market (whatever that really is), so we'll be watching with interest to see what's happening to prices.
This example was restored in 2015 by Aspire Classics in Oxfordshire. We understand that there's a fair amount of documentation with the bike including an X-75 book signed by Hurricane designer Craig Vetter.
The top lot in this sale is the immediately above 1998 1,200cc RTV-Vincent; said to be one of only four built. The estimate is £40,000 - £45,000. RTV was formed in 1966 by Terry Prince (who worked with Fritz Egli) and Ron Slender.
Meanwhile, we also note that there are so far four motorcycle combinations listed in the sale. Here are the details:
1936 Nimbus - estimated at £7,000 - £9,000
1957 Ariel Square Four - estimated at £15,000 - £17,000
1961 BMW R69S - estimated at £15,000 - £17,000
1962 Panther 120 - estimated at £5,000 - £7,000
However, the total number of motorcycle lots in the sale is still pretty low at just 17—but of course that might rise over the next few weeks. More details, as and when.