Don't confuse Gillet Herstal with René Gillet. The former is Belgian. The latter is French. Gillet Herstal was founded in 1919 by Desire Gillet and son Leon. Formally known as Société Anonyme des Ateliers Gillet, the name 'Herstal' was added to avoid confusion with its Gallic rival. But confusion abounds anyway. These Belgian bikes were built at the company's factory near the town of Herstal (think Coventry). Along with FN Herstal and Saroléa, Gillet Herstal was one of the leading marques of the era and earned a reputation for solid and dependable engineering.  This example is a 1931 Supersport. The 350cc engine is a "unit" OHV twinport single that, we hear, has been totally rebuilt and is in top running order. Unusually (but by no means unknown) the engine architecture is pretty much a reverse of the classic British layout of the era; i.e. the pushrods are on the left and the drive chain is on the right. But here, the primary drive is also on the left. Gillet Herstal production ceased in 1959. With regard to the inset image above right, that's Robert Sexé (1890 - 1986; French journalist, photographer and globetrotter) who rode a Gillet Herstal around the world and is said to be one of the inspirations for Hergé's Tintin. Bonhams will be auctioning this bike (online only) at the Bicester Heritage Sale, 14th - 16th August 2020. The estimate is £5,500 - £7,500.


July 2020  Classic bike news

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


Motorcycle news

How to write a great motorcycle for sale advert

100 years of Alvis exhibition

Allan Jefferies BMW prize draw offer

Kickback Show: entries sought

Calling all coffin dodgers...

One liners - Vic Eastwood

Coventry-Eagle Flying-8 "tin" sign

Catalytic converter thefts on the rise

Poet's Corner: 1959

One liners

Incoming: nuclear hype from BMW!!

Harrison OK-Supreme to auction

2019 Brighton Speed Trials date

February 2019 Classic Bike News

H&H upcoming auctions reminder

One liners

Peter Halsten Thorkelson: 1942 - 2019

Charterhouse February 2019 results

59 Club May ride-outs to St Paul's

Nippy Normans "handy" airline tool

One liners

New classic car metal garage signs

2019 Kickback Show seeks sponsors

Bauer print sales take another dive

Australian cops speed camera poser

One liners

Henry Cole wants your shed

London Classic Car Show 2019

Christopher Chope's FGM backlash

Albert Finney: 1936 - 2019

International Motobécane gathering

One liners

Charterhouse Auctions reminder

Bud Ekins' Husqvarna MX360 Viking

2019 Bristol Classic Show postponed


Henry Cole's Motorbike Show returns

Oxford Bradwell wax cotton jacket

Norton Commando Winter Raffle

2019 Triumph Scrambler 1200 details

80 years of AMC with Colin Seeley

One liners

A blue plaque for Rex McCandless

"Barn find" RE Constellation to sell

Kawasaki Zed series restoration manual

Bonhams Stafford Sale hits £3 million

Weise®  Boston Jeans tried & tested

One liners

Star attractions at Barber Sale

Andy Tiernan 2019 charity calendar

Zhongneng buys Moto Morini

Bonhams Autumn Stafford preview

Charles Geoffrey Hayes: 1942 - 2018

Mark Wilsmore's bikes to auction

2019 Street Twin & Scrambler boost

Two Wheeled Tuesdays invitation

Bonhams Alexandra Palace Sept Sale

NextBase 312GW dashcam tested

Charles Nicholas Hodges

Suzuki Motorcycles from Veloce

2019 BMW R1250GS & R1250RT
Dudley Sutton: 1933 - 2018 

Oxford Products Kickback Shirt

One liners

Moto Guzzi V9 Bobber Sport unveiled

Burton Leon Reynolds: 1936 - 2018

Comet Classics Open Day

H&H Auctions seeking consignments

One liners

Motus Motorcycles is bust


June 2018 Classic Bike News

One liners

Trump & Harley-Davidson toe to toe

"Governator's" Harley-Davidson sold

Car Builder Solutions recommended

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


May 2018 Classic Bike News

The Daily Not News

IOM jaywalker in the hoosegow

Rare Norton Hi-Rider to auction

Clint Walker: 1927 - 2018

Ducati Museum Hailwood exhibition

Tougher protection for cops mooted

One liners

New London-Brighton Run route

April 2018 Classic Bike News

Bonhams Spring Stafford results

Royal Enfield Interceptor NMM raffle

60th International Motor Scooter Rally

New Honda "Monkey Bike" for 2018

Carole Nash's dangerous roads

An Austin Anthology from Veloce

Bonhams Stafford Sale reminder

One Liners

Bradford Dillman: 1930 - 2018

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

Autonomous Tesla claims a cyclist

Motor insurance premiums fall

March 2018 Classic Bike News

Watsonian's GP700 & Indian Chief

Bonhams Stafford Sale April 2018

One liners

We Ride London new demo date

Dee Atkinson & Harrison March Sale

Bull-it Men's SR6 Cargo trousers

Franklin's Indians: Veloce Reprint

One Liners

Kenneth Arthur Dodd: 1927 - 2018

Carole Nash Google Petition

New Musical Express is out of print

1954 500cc Triumph-Matchless chop

1,800 bike collection to be auctioned

Art Exhibition at Sammy Miller's

2018 Cardiff Classic Motorcycle Show

John Lennon's monkey bike: £57,500

One liners

This day in history

February 2018 Classic Bike News

Foscam Wireless Camera system

Pioneer Run eBook: now £2.99

Oxford Clamp On brake lever clip

One liners

2018 Curtiss Warhawk unveiled

Here's the latest bike scam attempt

George Beale appointed H&H director

Next Kickback Show 7-8th April 2018

"Alley Rat" - 2018 UK BOTK winner

One liners

Defeat the online scammers with Skype

Triumph Hurricane scammer alert

CCM Spitfire-based Bobber for 2018

Cafe Racer Dreams: 8 bikes stolen

Coys' Feb 2018 London Excel Auction

Thieves ransom Triumph Thunderbird

Harley-Davidson recalls 251,000 bikes

"Police biker" banker convicted

Bringsty Grand Prix Revival 2018

Two new Weise wax cotton jackets

Murderous solicitor is still on the books

£7k - £10k Triumph 'X-75 Hurricane'

Retro wireless GPS speedometer

"Anvil Motociclette...

2018 Triumph Speed Triples launched

Royal Enfield Flying Flea stolen

Brühl Twin Turbine Motorcycle Dryer

January 2018 Classic Bike News

Laser Power Bar Extension Wrench

One liners

Harley-Davidson quits Kansas City

Online traffic accident reporting plan

Silverstone Auctions February 2018

12th Annual Dania Beach Show

Black Lightning sells for $929,000

Online motorcycle scammer alert

One liners

AJS Tempest Scrambler for 2018

Charterhouse's February 2018 sale

Can anyone add info on this rider?

HJC FG-70s Aries Yellow helmet

One liners

Peter Wyngarde: 1927 (ish) - 2018

Death Machines of London - Airforce

Lancaster Insurance; reality check

One liners

"Fast" Eddie Clarke: 1950 - 2018

Bonhams' Las Vegas Sale reminder

Ban on credit/bank card charges

December 2017 Classic Bike News

Information on this picture wanted

Levis Motorcycles set for comeback?

One Liners

Oops, we screwed up [again - Ed]

H&H December 2017 sale at the NMM

Immortal Austin Seven from Veloce

Triumph T140V for sale: 237km

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

MCN closes its biker forum

Arm rural UK coppers suggestion

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

Falling bike sales, 11 straight months

Triumph Birmingham is set to close

New electric black taxi breaks cover

Semi naked girl straddles an Indian!!

November 2017 Classic Bike News

Riding Japan; new touring website

British motor racing anniversary day

Triumph T140 restoration guide

Ratchet handle taps & dies - Chronos

White Helmet Triumphs reach £12K

H&H's first timed automobilia auction

Goldtop £50 off gloves—limited offer

London pillion rider ban idea

Ford Design in the UK - Veloce

Thruxton Track Racer Kit offer

Want to post a comment on Sump?

New Davida "Koura" full face helmet

One liners

NMM BSA Gold Star winner details

Norton 650 twin scrambler planned

RE travel book: Hit the Road, Jac!

Stoneleigh Kickback Show April 2017

Brough Superior Pendine racer

One liners

H-D Battle of the Kings 2017 winner

New Royal Enfield 650 twins launched

NMM's 2018 Speedmaster prize

Meriden Off Road Tiger Cubs

One liners

Andy Tiernan's 2018 calendar

Scrappage scheme classic car poser

Norton launches the California

Scooter gangs face new response

One liners

September 2017 Classic Bike News

Sump news archive



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Stolen Troy Bayliss bike sculpture


Story snapshot:

Troy Bayliss signed artwork created by artist Terence Ross

The owner is still looking to recover it


Almost three years ago the above sculpture, created by automotive artist Terence Ross, was purloined from a lock-up facility in Houston, Texas. It's one of just five identical pieces, and you can gauge for yourself how big this thing is.



We don't know what it's worth, financially speaking, but clearly it's got a value to someone, and that someone would very much like to be reacquainted with it. So if you know anything useful about this sculpture, tip us the wink and we'll pass the word.


Meanwhile, have a gander at the Terence Ross website (see the link below). Some interesting stuff there, wethinks.




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Peter Allen Greenbaum: 1946 - 2020


Story snapshot:

Peter Green, founding member of Fleetwood Mac has died

The legendary blues/rock guitarist, singer and songwriter was 73


We couldn't let the month of July pass by without a mention of British rock/blues guitarist Peter Green who has died aged 73. A founding member of the band Fleetwood Mac, Green is best know for the hit songs "Albatross", "Black Magic Woman", "Man of the World", "Oh Well", and "The Green Manalishi (With the Two Prong Crown)".


He was born in Bethnal Green, London, the youngest of four Jewish children. Inspired by Hank Marvin, he began playing rhythm guitar at age 11 and started gigging aged just 15, albeit playing bass. His repertoire included covers of both established and obscure American rock and blues songs, but soon he was writing and singing his own material broadly in the same genre.


In 1966, following a few temporary gigs with John Mayall's Blues Breakers, Peter Green became a full time member replacing Eric Clapton. It was, however, a short-lived association because he left the following year to form Fleetwood Mac (with Mick Fleetwood, John McVie and Jeremy Spencer).


In 1968, the song "Black Magic Woman" charted in numerous countries around the world, and in 1969 the instrumental song "Albatross" hit number one in the UK hit parade, number one in The Netherlands, number four in the US, and did respectably well in many other nations—and we give an appropriate nod here to the late guitarist Danny Kirwan whose contribution to the band is often underrated if not overlooked entirely.


Peter Green left the band in 1970 (another short-lived association). What followed was a long spell of personal issues relating to drugs that in turn led to mental health issues. It's not something that we intended to linger on, suffice to say that he finally re-emerged in the late 1970s, older, perhaps wiser and certainly changed.


Numerous noted musicians and an army of fans welcomed his return. He became involved in a variety of projects with the likes of people such as Ray Dorset (Mungo Jerry) and the late Vincent Crane who co-wrote "Fire" with [The Crazy World of] Arthur Brown, Mike Finesilver and Peter Ker.


In the late 1990 he formed the Peter Green Splinter Group with support from Nigel Watson and Cozy Powell. Nine albums were recorded before Green moved to Sweden, later to return as Peter Green and Friends. His slow and sensitive playing style had unquestionably lost something over the years, but he was still possessed of the classic motifs, trills, vibratos and bends, and he found a new legion of fans to add to those already signed up for the duration. There had been some talk of a reunion with the surviving members of the original line up, but it never happened.



A complicated and sophisticated man, Peter Green is unquestionably one of the most soulful guitarists the UK has produced, and ranks very high among his peers around the world. If you've grown up to the later pop-rock sounds of Fleetwood Mac (including Lyndsey Buckingham, Christine McVie and Stevie Nicks), we suggest you grab a copy of Fleetwood Mac's [early] Greatest Hits; see the image immediately above. All credit to later incarnations of the band, but for us at Sump, the early stuff is the music that resonates best and is still very listenable and sounds fresh five decades after it was released.


Peter Green was 73 years old and died at his home in Canvey Island, Essex.




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Can you help identify these guys?


Story snapshot:

Could be in the Gloucester area (correction; Banbury, Oxon)

Ford Transit: DN56 JJE





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Consumers hoarding cash (small bike sales up, large bike sales down)

KTM self-distances from Austrian roots (shares de-listing intrigue)


London lags: New bike theft. Capital is twice as bad as other hotspots

Guy Martin returns to Elvington as he targets 300mph barrier


Harley-Davidson developing variable valve timing

Kawasaki electric bike plans ramping up

Three more new Ducatis confirmed for 2021


60mph [speed] limits through roadworks get the green light

New water-cooled tourer from Indian revealed in patents

Could COVID-19 help save Harley-Davidson?


Benelli 752S is a Ducati Monster clone

Helmet intercoms to be crash tested


Helmet intercoms! See, they've had the technology all the time—skiffle on the move. Sing to me, my love.—Roj, Sheffield.

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1951 Matchless G80


Miller motorcycle collection sale


Story snapshot:

Northern Ireland online auction set for 27th - 31st July 2020

A Joey Dunlop SP-1 Honda and a few Brit classics are on offer


Confession time: We've never heard of George Miller. We've never heard of George Miller Motorcycles. We've never heard of the small village of Ardstraw, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland. And we've never heard of Mid Ulster Auctions either. But then we drink a lot of beer, and we forget a lot of stuff—not least the stuff that we ought to remember to remember (if only we could forget a lot of other stuff that we keep forgetting to forget).


But you can't know it all, and you can't keep it all between your ears. So we're writing this down for future reference. Here's the story:


George Miller (despite the fact that we've never heard of him), is (or was) a renowned motorcycle expert on his home turf. He also ran George Miller Motorcycles for around 40 years, and (we're pleased to say) enjoyed a good reputation. An "extensive collection" of motorcycles once belonging to him is going under the proverbial hammer in just a few days.


The catalogue opens next week commencing Monday 27th July 2020, and will continue until Friday 31st July 2020. It's a timed online auction, and we're advised that over 300 lots are up for grabs.


The headline bike is a Joey Dunlop (we've heard of him) commemorative Honda SP-1 (and we've heard of that). It was commissioned by Honda dealer Tippetts Motors of Surbiton, Surrey (who everyone has heard of), in the early 2000s. The idea was to commemorate Joey Dunlop's record number of Isle of Man TT victories.

Just 26 examples of this motorcycle were built. This example has only three miles on the clock (shame, shame), and is number nine off the line.


1981 Royal Wedding Bonneville

Other bikes in the sale include a limited edition 1981 Triumph Bonneville Royal Wedding (image immediately above). Only 125 UK models were built to commemorate the ill-fated union of Princess Diana and Prince Charles. And if that doesn't scratch your itch, there are two 500cc Daytonas (one is a 1974 model, but details of the other bike are thin) and a Speed Twin; also no year of manufacture is given, but it's a pre-unit, swinging arm, four-bar-tank example.

We also see a Honda CB750F, a BSA A7 500cc twin, an Ariel NH350 Red Hunter, a 1951 Matchless G80 500cc, a Hercules W-2000, and an Ehrlich 250 GP. And there's a lot of other gear, memorabilia, essential junk and whatnot in the sale.

Viewing is by appointment only (in line with social distancing guidelines).

Call +44 (0)28 7946 9564—and don't mention that we've never 'eard of 'em. It's embarrassing (at least it would be if we had any shame).


Beer time.




Update: We've tried to review the sale results for the above bikes, but Mid Ulster Auctions doesn't appear to publish them.


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Despatches, now available for Macs


Story snapshot:

Page turning publication

Converted to .pdf format


Brief story here. Our Despatches eBook is now available for Macintoshes, and will work across many other platforms. This publication was created way back in the dark ages of 2013. Hence primitive page turning software with limitations, etc.


We've since been asked by many Sumpsters if we could convert it to make it more widely available. And finally we have.


But what's it all about? Well it's centred on WW2 motorcycles; specifically images and poetry and quotes and suchlike. But we haven't been too rigid with our thinking or presentation. So it's not all bikes. We think it's pretty interesting—provided you're the kind of person who finds this stuff ... well, interesting.


So if you want to see it on a platform other than a PC, fire off an email to us and we'll get back to you with a copy. It's free, incidentally. But if you have a PC, follow the link below for the original format. It works better than a .pdf.


See: Despatches eBook main page


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Madeira Drive is "back on track"


Story snapshot:

Get ready to start racing again in Brighton

The council have agreed to what sounds like a prize fudge


If you've been following Sump for a while, you'll recall that we recently ran a story on two Madeira Drive, Brighton petitions. One was in favour of making the current temporary closure permanent. The other was lobbying to ensure that one of the country's best known public drag strips stays open.


Well, after much wrangling at the Brighton & Hove town hall, an agreement has been reached to keep Madeira Drive both open, and shut. Specifically, the temporary closure to all but pedestrians will stay in place for the foreseeable future. But motoring events such as the Speed Trials, the Brighton Burn Up, and the London to Brighton Rally have been given the green light—except that, because of the coronavirus emergency, it's not clear when these gathering will actually take place.


Brighton & Hove Council is Labour led. But with 19 seats, the lefties have no overall control. That's because the Green party also has 19 seats, whilst the Tories (Conservatives) are holding on to 13 seats, and the Independents have 3.


From pretty much all accounts, it was the Labour members who put the mockers on Madeira Drive. Coronavirus was perhaps exactly the excuse they wanted, but the Greens, naturally and instinctively rarely miss an opportunity to switch off a few engines and extol the virtues of Shank's pony. However, it seems that the Tory members kicked up a fuss, and support from motoring groups, bikers and the general public appear to have forced a general U-turn. Of sorts.


Madeira Drive and motoring events have helped bring millions of quid each year to the council coffers, and the parking charges generated along that disputed stretch of tarmac total another millions or so, annually.


We don't know exactly what happened at the last meeting. But as we said, the upshot is that Madeira Drive is still temporarily closed, but could be re-reopened in principle if not in practice as soon as someone is ready to start using it in anger.


Councillor Robert Nemeth has been quoted as saying: "I’m pleased we’ve put the brakes on Labour’s plan, and I welcome confirmation that the future of motoring events on Madeira Drive is now secure.

"It’s a win for the Old Crocks, the Speed Trials, the Mods, The Rockers, the Minis and all of the other loved motoring events that take place on Madeira Drive."


Meanwhile, we hear that the closure to everyday traffic could be made permanent. But there's been no confirmation of that yet. Just talk.


So there you have it. The much loved strip of asphalt that's been thundering to the roar of high performance engines since 1905 is still in play-ish, but subject to terms and conditions and backsliding caveats.


What it all goes to prove is that you can't always have your Madeira cake and eat it, whatever the hell that means.


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Missouri helmet repeal law now ratified. Over 26 year olds can go lidless

American Iron, American Iron Garage and American Iron Salute are bust

Ron Haslam Race school shuts after 24 yrs to "embark on new challenges"

Highways England reports rise in "upgraded smart motorway accidents"


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X-75 Triumph Hurricane metal sign


Story snapshot:

Sump's homage to Craig Vetter's design masterpiece has arrived

Yes, you can have one if you ask nicely...


Here's another cool metal garage sign designed to brighten your life, lighten your load, freshen your perspectives and warm the cockles of your troubled hearts. As you can see, it's our homage to the venerable X-75 Triumph Hurricane, the best BSA that Triumph ever built—and the first batch is right in front of us warming our own cockles.


We haven't got many, and we've already sold a few of those to some of our regular news subscribers. So you'd better open your throttle wide while the offer is still there.


The price is £15.99 plus P&P. The signs are designed by us and printed right here in the UK. The size is 300mm x 400mm. They're printed direct-to-metal. They're ready to hang. They're good quality and high-res. They should last for many, many years, and they'll make a great gift, etc. Need we further labour the dizzy marketing spiel? The bottom line is either that you want one or you don't. And you probably do.


Check the links below.


X-75 Triumph Hurricane metal sign

More metal garage signs from the Sump collection


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Indian Motorcycles: Ride-Post-Win


Story snapshot:

Go test ride a new Indian with a chance to win one

At the very least, you'll be rewarded with an Indian mug


It's perfectly simple. Here's what you have to do.


1. Take a test ride on any new Indian Motorcycle between now (mid-July 2020 and 31st September 2020.

2. Claim your free Indian Motorcycle Test Rider Mug
3. Enter Indian's latest "Experience of a Lifetime" competition as a guest of Indian Motorcycles.

4. Post a "unique picture" on social media and talk about your experience (ideally in positive terms).

5. Tell Indian about it at: #IndianTestRide

6. Wait patiently and get on with the rest of your lives.


Indian will subsequently select four winners from across Europe, and those winners will be treated to an experience of a lifetime including:

1. Travel to/from a special destination within the EU
2. Four nights accommodation including full board
3. Use of an Indian Motorcycle for a guided ride over two days
4. Professional photography and videography of the full event

To get started, simply visit your local Indian dealer and follow the dots. Sounds pretty straightforward to us.



Meanwhile, with regard to the guy on the bagger immediately above, we expect to see more images of "ethnic" riders on Indian's website and social media pages (from where this image was drawn). In this age of rampant and largely misguided BLM (Black Lives Matter/George Floyd) activism, Indian must be increasingly uncomfortable with the name of the marque that we all love—and must also be looking urgently to obviate any threat or further PR damage to their identity. In short, the Indian name is, to some, toxic. It's a name that many folk view in a highly negative way claiming that it represents repression, exploitation and even racism.


But we don't see it that way at all, and neither should anyone else. The Indian badge and identity is actually a homage to Native Americans. It's an adulation. And a huge tribute. The Indian name is no more a disrespect to Native Americans than Fat Boy's Diner is to the obese.


Indians, redskins, negroes, niggers, honkies, pommy, blacks, chinks, slopes, frogs, sambos, wops, gringos, krauts, micks, jocks, feringhees, gwai-los and so on and so forth. Erasing the words and names and sandbagging real or imagined ethnic insults and abuse won't in itself change anything. All that ever does is cloak the world we see beneath a veneer of respectability and pander to short term social compliance. A little desensitisation here wouldn't do the world any harm at all.


Here at Sump, however, we sincerely hope that parent company Polaris doesn't do anything precipitous with that 119 year old name. And if anyone in the biking community simply can't get over it, we suggest they vote with their wallets and buy a Honda.


See also:

Wikipedia list of quick change names

Sump Classic Bike News May 2013


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"Feast of Triumphs" from H&H


Story snapshot:

Fair mix of British classics from the fifties and sixties

Also some sixties and seventies Jap classics


The next H&H online sale is scheduled for 22nd July 2020. According to the British auction house, half of the sixty bikes on offer are Triumphs. However, when we counted, we could find only 19 examples. So someone's made an error. But we should mention that there is also a T140E Triton.


Here are four lots that the company feels Triumph fans should be looking at:


1959 Triumph T120R Bonneville. Est: £15,000 - £16,500


1952 Triumph 6T Thunderbird. Est: £10,000 - £11,000


1975 Triumph T160 Trident. Est: £10,000 - £12,000

1971 Triumph T100R Daytona. Est: £6,000 - £7,000


But we've got our eyes on a 1979 Harley Davidson FLH-80 (main image at the top of this story). This is a 1,380cc (80cu in) Shovelhead that's enjoyed the same owner for 21 years. It's fairly original, and there are some accessories including Performance Machine brakes, forward foot controls, and a Corbin saddle. It hasn't been used much over the past year, we're told—partly because it's a "sunny day" bike and lives near Aberdeen in Scotland.


The estimate is a lowly £2,000 - £4,000, which might simply been auction bait. On the other hand, H&H might have estimated this right, and if it sells for anything below, say, £3,000 we think it could be a very good bargain for someone.


If you've owned/ridden Evo Harley-Davidsons, Shovelheads now feel very primitive. They clunk and chuff and wheeze along. They throw up interesting quirks. And in stock trim you need a brick wall to stop 'em. But we have to say that we quite like them all the same. They've got an acquired charm (but you sometimes have to work very hard at acquiring it).


Our garages are currently filled to capacity, so we won't be bidding. But if you've got a little space and a little extra cash, and if you're looking for classic Harley-Davidson, this hog might get you started on the right road—and those Performance Machine calipers will give you at least some stopping power. Just bear in mind that there is an intermittent starting issue with this bike that needs investigating. But Harley-Davidson electrics are fairly straightforward. Would we lie?


Overall, no lot numbers have yet been assigned. And if the bikes don't do it for you, there are a few interesting classic cars also on the block.



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New Triumph Speed Triple 1160 "spotted on trials". No launch date details

Thousands of German bikers protest Sunday riding bans/new noise limits

17/7/2020. NMM auction. Norton Commando, BSA B31, Ariel NG350

Scottish motorcycle testing & training to resume: 22/7/20 & 3/8/2020

"UK 2nd safest EU roads". 28 deaths/1 million (Sweden 1st @ 25/1 million)


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June motorcycle & scooter sales rise


Story snapshot:

UK small bike sales lead "the recovery"

14.8% rise in combined bike registrations


The headline news is that new UK motorcycle/scooter/moped combined registrations for June 2020 were 13,361 units. That's up from 11,643. Or, looked at another way, an extra 1,718 new machines were sold last month (June) compared to the same month last year (2019). In percentage terms, that's rise of 14.8%. And that reflects ALL types of powered two wheelers. The breakdown needs a little more attention. But it won't hurt much (see further below).


You hardly need telling what's at least partly behind the jump in sales/registrations. It's the coronavirus, of course—but it's doubtful that anyone has collected confirmatory data of exactly who bought what and why. However, anecdotal information points to a rise in the number of people abandoning public transport and looking to other, more private means of cost-effective/cheap-ish motorised locomotion.


That helps explain the jump in moped sales which accounted for 730 units compared to 526 for June 2019, a rise of 38.8%.


Scooters, meanwhile, sold 2,625 units compared to 1,790 in June 2019, a rise of 46.6%.


June motorcycle (specific) sales were also up and saw dealers hand over 12,520 bikes compared to 11,038 for June 2019, a rise of 13.4%.


Adventure sport machines top the type-of-bike listings with 2,232 machines sold compared to 2,021 for June 2019, up 10.4%.


Unfaired bikes (note that we don't say "naked") were down slightly to 4,243 units compared to 4,443 machines for last June (2019). That's a - 4.5% drop.


Custom bikes sales accounted for 1,113 machines compared to 870 for June 2019, a rise of 27.9%.



Now take a look at the year-to-date figures (YTD) and cool your heels. Total motorcycle and scooter/moped sales for 2020, when compared to the same YTD period in 2019, are down from 56,219 units to 41,401, a fall of - 26.4%.


Not good, but not bad under the circumstances.


Particular mention should go to Royal Enfield’s Interceptor 650 (image, top of this story) which has sold well, albeit from a low base (196 machines registered). The Kawasaki 1000SX and the Triumph Tiger 900 also fattened up a little. And while we remember to mention it, plenty of small capacity bikes such as the Honda PCX 125 (image immediately above), the Lexmoto Superlight and the Keeway LXR125, found much improved traction.


Finally we ought to mention that the 651cc - 1000cc category fell to 2,646 units (down 9.3%), and the 1000cc-plus bikes were down to 2,469, down 1.6%.




Small bikes did pretty good, mid-capacity bikes did less well, but the very big stuff is struggling. However, given the Covid-19 emergency with most of the planet living in restrained panic, motorcycling (in the UK at least) hasn't actually done so badly. Dealers are still hurting, and general biking product sales are way down. But the market is clearly finding new blood that refuses to take to the buses and the trains.


Note that there are no stats available for second hand bike sales in the UK. Our numbers for new bikes come from the MCIA (Motor Cycle Industry Association) which concerns itself with new registrations only.



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H&H June 2020 online auction results


Story snapshot:

Most motorcycle lots didn't sell

But others found some fairly respectable money


The immediately above 1951 500cc Vincent Comet (Lot 252) carried the highest estimate at the June H&H online sale (24/6/20). Despite posting 69 images, some highly detailed, the £18,000 - £19,500 anticipated price was never realised and the bike didn't sell. Or maybe there was simply too much detail and not enough sell.


It happens. All the time.


It was one of 31 motorcycle lots on offer of which 18 failed to shift. So the sell through rate was less than fifty percent (actually, 42%), which is pretty dismal. Yet despite that, most of the remaining lots achieved fairly robust prices given the topsy-turvy times we're living in; certainly a little above our expectations. It suggests that while the classic bike market has cooled a little further, there are still people who know what they want and are prepared to pay "decent" money to acquire it.


Here are some of the lots for your consideration:



Lot 239. 1970 650cc BSA A65 Lightning. This, we're told, is an older restoration that's covered just 150 miles since rebuild. We've commented on these Beezas once or twice before, notably that they've come of "classic age" and have acquired that evocative 1970s look (cue CCR T-shirt, Levi jeans, and ox-blood DMs). A few years ago we wouldn't have paid them too much attention, except for the fact that they're very decent classic all rounders that tend to hold their oil better than the equivalent 650cc Triumph (T120), and are easy to live with. The conical hub brakes, when properly fettled, offer acceptable if not superlative stopping. And unlike, say, a pair of T140 discs, these drums often provide more feel and progressiveness. Those cables and wires need tiding up. Spares are fairly easy to acquire. Maintenance can be done in your sleep. The MPG is around 50 - 60. And okay, the saddles are a little high for a British classic at 31 - 32 inches depending on the suspension set up, but the path-to-ground isn't huge. The price? £4,050.



▲ Lot 253. 1954 500cc Norton Dominator 88. Nortons of this vintage have a similar appeal to Velocettes, inasmuch as although most people recognise their virtues (and are happy to overlook their vices), the pool of potential customers has pretty much always been smaller than the market for equivalent Triumphs or BSAs. It's as if Norton got most things right except that missing ingredient—and we're not simply talking about the price. These Dommies just lack that extra sex appeal of "lesser marques". But we like 'em (and, case in point, have never owned one or aspired to own one), and this example apparently couldn't find anyone else to buy it. The estimate for this "good running older restoration" was £7,500 - £9,000. And that's not silly money for a near 100mph, taut handling, featherbed framed, matching number classic with world class heritage. Maybe next time...



▲ Lot 248. 1975 900cc Kawasaki KZ900-A4. These very worthy Kwackers still haven't hit the high notes that we expected. For a while it seemed that they were on a roll, and then something stalled. That's not to say there isn't a demand. But it hasn't outstripped or even threatened the supply. So okay, this Zed isn't the fabled Z1. But these A4s do carry technical improvements that make 'em just that little more reliable than their forebears. And they still steam along quite nicely with a little over 80bhp on tap—which underlines the fact that after 45 years of motorcycle development, you don't really get that much more bang for your buck, power-wise. £9,000 - £10,500 was the estimate. But no sale, said the auctioneer. Up close, in the detail pics, we could see a little scragginess. Just the usual grime and oxidation you might expect with a bike of this vintage. But overall, this appears to be a prime example of classic Jap Crap, and we wouldn't mind owning one for a spell. Talk to H&H if you want to make a more realistic offer.


They might be listening.


See also: H&H online June 2020 auction reminder


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e-Scooters for motorcyclists?


e-Scooters: Temporarily road legal


Story snapshot:

A one year trial of these urban runabouts has started

The new law applies only to hired e-Scooters


Since yesterday (Saturday 4th July 2020) e-Scooters have for the first time been legal for use on UK roads, but only if you hire one from an approved rental company.


This is a 12 month trial, however, and anyone looking to get mobile on these dangerously (?) small wheels must (a) be at least 16 years old, and (b) be in possession of provisional or full licence for moped, car or motorcycle. The scooters will be limited to 15.5mph. But crash helmets will not be mandatory—but they are strongly advised.


Also, take note that the e-Scooters will also be legal for use on cycle lanes and cycle tracks.


So why aren't private e-Scooters also being made legal? Well, that's because there is a huge variety of machines built to differing standards and boasting different equipment. So the government wants to rationalise and homogenise the architecture and set a baseline for future legislation.


Rachel Maclean, DfT Transport Minister, said: "E-scooters may offer the potential for convenient, clean and cost-effective travel that may also help ease the burden on the transport network, provide another green alternative to get around and allow for social distancing. The trials will allow us to test whether they do these things."


Naturally, the big concern relates to exactly how dangerous these scooters will be when introduced in large numbers. There has already been an e-Scooter death in the UK, and more are sure to follow. But it remains to be seen if a disproportionate number of fatalities is coming at us.


15.5mph doesn't sound much. But clearly, an eleven stone man of woman (for instance) can easily kill you in a collision. Meanwhile, in a nation replete with pot holes, worn Tarmacadam and even raised white lines, you have to question the wisdom of putting powered tiny wheels onto UK roads where a scooter has even less presence than a bicycle.


You might try using your own e-Scooter under cover of the new trial—and we hear that some of these machines are good for up to 60mph, although 20mph is more typical. But there will be big fines for small transgressions (possibly up to £300 and six points). So comply with the law, or don't comply.


So where can you rent a road legal e-Scooter? Well, that information is yet to filter through the wires. Therefore you'll have to do a little checking in a few days if this is your idea of downsizing, transport-wise. But keep watching the pavements in your locality. Sooner or later you're bound to fall over one or more of these loitering in a rack. And while we remember, other e-Scooter rental firms have had a pretty tough time making the numbers work. So the trial might yet come to a juddering halt before a year has elapsed.


Also, it's not clear if these e-Scooters will be restricted to geographical areas, which suggests that this particular cart is moving faster than the government horse.


But that's pretty normal these days, right?


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These things will turn out to be death traps.Potholes and small wheels
don't mix at all, and travelling in the gutter at 15mph or less when everyone else  is doing 30 - 40mph (and not looking for e-Scooters) will only lead to accidents. With the Mickey Mouse lights I can't imagine what will happen on dark, wet winter evenings. Or maybe I can. Not to mention the untrained, partially in control pilots....Will these users be insured?. I certainly hope so. We already have uninsured cyclists and horse riders on the roads who all have the potential to injure/kill the unsuspecting motorcyclist.
—The Village Squire.

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Madeira Drive petitions launched


Story snapshot:

Famous road is "temporarily" closed to motor traffic

Some folk want it to stay that way...


That's Ollie Wilson immediately above. He's a Vespa rider, a charity worker and resident of the small town of Hove in East Sussex (not necessarily in that order). And he's recently launched a petition that's looking for as many signatures as possible.


The petition comes in the wake of the coronavirus emergency which, in April 2020, prompted Brighton & Hove City Council to close the world famous Madeira Drive to all motor vehicles. The original aim was, arguably, worthy enough. The council says that they simply wanted to provide more walking space for residents looking for a little lockdown exercise—never mind all that beach and miles of promenade to amble around on, etc.


That aside, there's now loose talk—and we stress talk—about closing Madeira Drive permanently to everyone except walkers and cyclists. That's resulted in petitions for and against, and naturally you can guess which side we're on.


Ollie's argument has a number of prongs. Firstly, plenty of people with mobility issues use Madeira Drive for its large car parking facility. They park up, pay the charges (that put a lot of dosh in the council coffers), then take a convenient stroll and move on—and if you know Brighton at all, you'll be aware that parking space is often obtained only at gunpoint.


The other prong of Ollie's argument involves business; notably the numerous shops and traders who operate on Maderia Drive who could/would be badly hit by any permanent closure to road traffic.


Two ways to think of Madeira Drive. As a drag strip for petrolheads, or as a Victorian seaside promenade for genteel relaxation. There is, however, a middle ground. But as the Beastie Boys reminded us, you gotta fight for your right to party. Sign the petition below, if you will...




And then there are the numerous motoring events that use Madeira Drive as a focal point. We're talking, amongst others, about the Pioneer Run, the London to Brighton Run, and the Brighton Burn Up. Of course, closing the road to general traffic doesn't necessary exclude special events, and these events bring millions of pounds into the local economy. But generally speaking, the thin end of the wedge precedes the thick end.


Leading the opposition is a guy named Ian Ross. He's from Kemp Town in Brighton, and he wants to see the shut-out extended at least until the end of the year (2020), and even beyond. He says, with some justification, that Madeira Drive is often little more than a night-time hooligan drag strip populated by boy racers who are a threat to walkers, cyclists and (no doubt) people named Ian Ross.


So he's launched a counter petition. At the time of writing, the KEEP MADEIRA DRIVE MOTORING camp are in the lead (5,947). But the SHUT OUT THE BOY RACERS AND EVERYDAY MOTORISTS AND BIKERS mob (2715) are drawing some support.


Most Sumpsters are going to have a view one way or t'other, so follow the link/s below and make your voice heard—as if local councils ever listen to anything that doesn't mesh with their own peculiar agendas. Except, of course, there's a lot of money to be lost here, so maybe this particular South Coast tide won't overrun this particular beach, so to speak.


Note that the petition closes on 22nd July 2020, so you've got less than three weeks to kick Ian Ross where it hurts.


Aim carefully, people...





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975 Suzuki 750cc XR11 Formula 750 Racing Motorcycle


Bonhams Bicester Heritage Sale


Story snapshot:

The date is 14th & 16th August 2020, Saturday & Sunday

It's an online auction only, take note


Over 580 lots are promised at the Bonhams Summer Sale at Bicester Heritage, Oxfordshire on the 14th & 16th August 2020. But if you want to view the lots before making your bid, you'll need to get in touch with the organisers and arrangement an appointment. This is, after all, an online sale only. And if that doesn't fire your plugs, blame Covid-19.


You can make your pitch by phone, online or by leaving an absentee bid.


One of the star attractions is the immediately above 1975 Suzuki 750cc XR11 Formula 750 Racing Motorcycle which was ridden to victory by Texaco Heron Team Suzuki works rider John Williams in the 1976 Isle of Man Classic TT. We haven't seen a lot number yet, but we can tell you that the estimate is £42,000 - £48,000.


The bike, we're advised by Bonhams, "represents the final development of Suzuki XR11 Formula 750 racer (also known as the TR750). Initially dubbed the 'Flexy Flier' on account of its wayward handling, it was an XR11 that Barry Sheene was riding when he had that famous Daytona crash in 1975 – though that was notably caused by a tyre failure rather than any inherent deficiency in the machine."


The vendor of this motorcycle apparently saw the motorcycle advertised in MCN. It formed part of an "important collection" of racing machines and is being offered in "as last raced" condition.


On the 30th May 2020 Bonhams enjoyed its inaugural Live & Online Motoring Auction, also at Bicester Heritage. The auction house has claimed a sale total of £2 million with a combined sell-through rate of 80%. Moreover, the firm tells us that "100% of all motorcycles sold to new owners, [with] 82% selling above [the] top estimate." We'll take them at their word—unless, of course, you know differently.


This auction, incidentally, was originally intended to be held at the re-scheduled Stafford Motorcycle Show (International Classic MotorCycle Show) which was supposed to happen on 14th - 16th August, but was cancelled—once again due to the ongoing coronavirus emergency.


We tried to find out more about this sale, not least details of the Morbidelli Collection Spares and Memorabilia which are listed and are likely to attract a lot of interest. But at the time of writing, there was nothing on the Bonhams website. So make your own enquiries if you can.


We'll return to this sale later in July.




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